Hot Singles, a weekly newsletter by e-mail, evokes nostalgia for a simpler approach to finding romance, before dating apps became ubiquitous.
Every Saturday when Randa Sakallah sends out her free newsletter, Hot Singles, she hopes to make a match. Maybe not a love forever, but a connection, however fleeting, between two people who are interested in something more.
Its e- mails feature profiles of eligible New Yorkers framed in the old-school style of personal ads. One day, subscribers might discover an "extraordinary techno dancer loving seltzer, beat-boxing and extraordinary ". Another, a “31M Pomodoro Papi” looking for his “Baby Bucatini”.
Each subject answers at least three questions: what is your toxic trait ? What makes you hot? What researchz you?
"It's a good prompt that's a bit ironic that gets people to speak positively about themselves when they're in this dating environment where being self-promoting is a bit awkward, ”Ms. Sakallah, 27, said in a telephone interview last month. Interested readers are encouraged to email her with their personal details to forward to the "hot single" featured from there.
Ms. Sakallah started Hot Singles, a Substack newsletter, when she moved to New York from San Franci. sco last October. Back then, many singles, hot or not, were in despair over the pandemic and the way it had complicated the dating equation. Finding a potential partner was difficult enough in the age of apps.
"Existing ways to meet gens had become obsolete "she said.
Back in the Bay Area, Ms. Sakallah had tried her hand at the game of matchmaking: she hosted an event where participants wondered the 36 questions that lead to love , developed by a psychologist to help pairs assess their potential for intimacy. She also took note of an Instagram account called Personals, which borrowed from old-fashioned text-based methods to help strangers log in in new ways. (The account later gave way to an app called Lex.)
"I thought it would be cool to create a dating profile that focuses on the whole person, " Ms. Sakallah said, "rather than " why you should date them. " Sheadded that the Q. and A format "gives you an idea of the person's voice.
Avery Bedows, 24, a subscriber who contacted a featured single, said: "The personality screams through Hot Singles, and she's very confused through something like Hinge. " It wasn't a match, but he keeps reading.
Spenser Mestel ("32M Prince of Polls Seeks Active Voter With Kindred Soul") described the newsletter as a "lonely person's dream. " He had met Ms Sakallah in a Substack Writers' Group and was intrigued by the alternative she had concocted to the "stilted and stilted prompts " common to dating apps, like "Two Truths and a Lie " "from Hinge.
" I just lack the will to live on apps, "Mr. Mestel said. Being on Hot Singles meant that d 'others could do the pursuit.Indeed, two people contacted her to express their interest.)
Application fatigue is a feeling many people have, according to Stephanie Tong, director of the social media and relationship technologies lab at Wayne State University. Navigating online dating started to feel, she said, "like a part-time job ". noted. When asked questions, people think and present themselves differently than if they were writing their own profile. Also, as the profiles are written through an intermediary, "it seems more truthful," she said. "It 's not just you writing how awesome you are and posting it on your own profile - someone else might be more likely to believe that because they are introduced by someone. "
Success has been modest so far. The reResponses ranged from zero to five per single, and some connections resulted in a month or two of dating. The newsletter subscriber base remains low: around 800 people, where the most popular Substack publications have nearly 100,000 subscribers. But Ms. Sakallah has a growing waiting list of singles looking to be introduced - over 60, and these are just the ones who have passed her Google Form exam.
Mrs. Sakallah has since started a monthly advice column as part of the newsletter. While she doesn't make any money with Hot Singles - she works in tech - she has a few ideas for the future, like increasing newsletter frequency and sending out personalized blasts.
"Personally I'm more interested in how it makes the experience of dating and finding people so far more fun", a-she declared. As long as it doesn't involve slipping, it should.