LOVE IN THE MATRIX

As the real world and the Web converge…

The NYT had one of those trend pieces the other day about how women now are walking up to guys and giving them special calling cards.

As she neared his table, she flashed a diminutive black card.

“I nestled it in his French fries,” she said, “and kept going.”

As Ms. Cheek, 37, disappeared into the July night, the man plucked the card from his fries. It read: “Look up. You might miss something.” Below, in smaller letters, were the words “find me,” a code and the address of a new Web site for singles.

Move over, Match.com. This is the next generation of online dating. Unlike traditional dating sites where members spend hours on computers writing autobiographies and scrutinizing photographs, a raft of newfangled dating tools are striving to better bridge the gap between online and real-world romance.

Some companies offer a combination of flirty calling cards and Web pages. Others operate dating applications that use the global positioning systems in cellphones to help local singles find one another.

Actually, this has happened to me before — in the pre-Internet age, when once or twice in a crowded place I found a young woman’s business card tucked into my back pocket or pressed into my surprised palm.

I think these webworld+fleshworld romance entrepreneurs probably have the right idea — about making money from the mating urge, anyhow.  But it’s unclear to me why they haven’t taken it all the way:  Just sell people t-shirts or buttons or wearable stickers with bar codes (see image above), which can even be of the 2D Android-readable variety.  With the right app a cellphone could read it and bring up the person’s page on the site.  People-watching would become a geek sport suddenly.

LOVE IN THE MATRIX