A novel form of dating

At Drip cafe in New York, a single person's road to a date begins not with scoping but with scribbling. Call it a sort of application for a love life. Customers fill out a one-page profile about themselves and can search through binders housing 30,000 of the same. When there's a match, Drip sets up a date at the cafe.

"Everyone knows you're not really going to meet anyone in bars anyway, and I considered this a step or two above regular classifieds," says Ed Rumph, who has had several dates at Drip over the past year.

The form was devised by cafe owner Nancy Slotnik, who says the questions about favorite time of day, typical weekend plans, musical preferences, and biggest turn-ons and turn-offs are what she always wanted to know when meeting someone. The responses do open small windows on one's personality.

"For a lot of people it takes some serious thought about how they would describe themselves and what they're looking for," Ms. Slotnik says. "Just figuring that out is half the game, I think."

There are no photos accompanying the profiles, but do looks matter? Registrants are instructed to circle one. "Looks: Matter, Don't Matter, Shouldn't Matter but Do."

"People's explanations about whether looks matter are extremely revealing," says Diana Halperin, who on a first trip to Drip was perusing the profiles with a friend.

As expected, the majority circle the "shouldn't matter but do" option. One who boldly circled "matter" commented, "Anyone who says otherwise is lying."

"People who got engaged [after meeting at Drip] believe that the form had something to do with it," Slotnik says. One man says that he screened by looking at women who said they liked classical music.

Many people seem to like the idea that first impressions are more substantive than a crown-to-cuff once-over. Take this couple: He is a leather-jacket, downtown type; she is more earthy and athletic. "They both said they wouldn't have picked each other out in a crowded room," Slotnik says. But their Drip forms brought them together, and they became the first of the Drip marrieds.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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