As traditional online dating (yep, no longer an oxymoron) becomes a social norm, the Internet dating world keeps one-upping itself with newfangled ways to have awkward encounters with strangers. The latest: Dating calling cards, which really have no calling involved unless it comes way later in the relationship. They’ve appeared in the New York Times, Marie Claire, and blogs all over the universe. But what the hell are they? Why would anyone use them? And which company makes the best/most embarrassing/cringe-worthy…or perhaps even effective variations?
Several companies make these cards, and the gist of the shtick is to prolong dating anonymity. People sign up as members of these sites and receive cards that have a personal code on the back. Once they hand a card to a stranger, the stranger signs into the site with the code, and can send the “giver” a message and start a conversation that can, ideally, lead to a perfect match! It’s basically a choreographed and narrowly directed form of Craigslist’s Missed Connections.
We’re judging the three most legit brands we could find on the most important criteria we could muster up:
Catch Phrases: Dating just Got Flipped. and Look. Like. Flip.
Sales Pitch: Today’s online dating really doesn’t give fate a chance…FlipMe… it’s like fate’s second wind. Fate’s enabler. Fate’s wingman.
Extra Sumthin’: The founder’s significant other “flipped” her with a place mat at a restaurant. It was a cute, normal, nice gesture that inspired this over-the-top digital candy gram for adults.
Cost: $24.99 for 30 cards and three months of service.
Odd fact: I guess it’s good to flip off someone you like? Whatever happened to the wink?
Catch Phrase: You’ve been cheek’d.
Sales Pitch: Cheek’d provides a fun and non-intimidating way to meet that intriguing stranger who just sparked your interest…Because sometimes it’s better to let a card do the talking for you, Cheek’d provides members with a deck of 50 cards, each bearing a flirtatious comment to charm and pique the curiosity of your intended.
Extra Sumthin’: The cards all have little phrases on them that are actually more entertaining than you might expect. Here are some highlights:
— act natural; we can get awkward later.
— i don’t have cats.
— i just put all my drinks on your tab. (Runnin’ Scared personal favorite!)
— i’m hitting on you.
— i’m totally cooler than your date.
Cost: $25 for 50 cards and one month of service + card case.
Odd Fact:The founder’s name is actually Lori Cheek — she was born to start a company like this! And in the Times article on this card phenomenon, she slips a Cheek’d card into some dude’s fries at Pastis. Not cool, those are his delicious, expensive fries, and you’re a stranger!
Catch Phrase: Embrace chance encounters.
Sales Pitch: Less than honest, sometimes even dehumanizing (ouch!), online dating sites are missing one important ingredient: good, old-fashioned, tried-and-true, you’ll-know-it-when-it-happens, in-your-face chemistry.
Extra Sumthin’: Under “fun stuff” on the company’s website, there are ridiculously cheesy videos that can entertain and frustrate you for at least a solid five minutes. (Our favorite is embedded below.)
Cost:$99/ year + $25 for 25 cards
Odd fact: Greenlight is a “green” company — “Greenlight Cards are printed on recycled paper with vegetable based inks. Our tin-plated steel card cases are recyclable, as new steel is made from recycled steel. Even our shipping paks are 100% recycled.” So if you want to hit on a hippie, your odds of getting a phone call are best with this card!
So which do you prefer now that checking someone out and asking for a number is such an outdated and far too personal way to communicate? After all, that hot guy could be a serial killer…or he could be a nice guy who’s creeped out by new-age dating tactics — which sentiment is riskier is up to you.