Here’s the thing: I just got a Twitter account, I still read dog-eared books, and only recently have I mastered the art of flirting via text (FYI, sarcasm can get you in trouble...) So when I was asked to test drive the newly launched Philly site for Nerve Dating, man, did the palpitations hammer.
It’s not just my personal boy-meets-girl-in-real-life preference, it’s my friends’ horror stories that make me hesitate to take to the computer screen for love. No doubt, online dating still gets a bad rap these days, with the masses of OK Cupid trauma support groups and all them crazy fishes down at Plenty of Fish. Add to that Match.com’s Freudian questionnaires and diagnostic surveys, the algorithm for your heart’s success equals not much more than frustration—and don’t forget the periodic creep factor.
Then enters Nerve Dating: Philadelphia. While the other sites claim scientific infallibility on what should be an organically emotional connection, Nerve Dating ditches the all-knowing Dr. Love façade and instead takes a cue from its veteran brand of all things sex, relationships, pop culture and honestly human.
Beyond this new network’s confident, stylish design and very intuitive interface, you’ll find that the usual sterile profile questions are actually casual, smart and hilarious banter. Instead of baring your lovesick soul online right away, users will quickly find themselves at ease, naturally answering a built-in selection of normal conversational prompts such as the harmless ice-breaker “What did you do last night?” which is immediately followed by the extra, tender nudge, “Care to elaborate?” Like a trusting friend with nothing but the best of intentions, Nerve’s guidance is consistently personalized, from their Friendly Advice for picking a profile photo (“We all get that Zoolander was a joke, right?”) to nonchalant email notifications (“Someone is checking you out”—no pokes, Quivers or other nonsensical movements, here.)
The major highlight is the “Opinions” multiple-choice section, which is similar to many dating sites where they investigate your preferences and hobbies with an infinite list of dry Q&As. But here’s the golden kicker: Nerve cites very up-to-date and ever-changing pop culture and current events that will generate real user answers. For instance, bookworms will be smitten with the spot-on queries referencing Ayn Rand, John Updike and Tennessee Williams. Music lovers may not forgive the unfair challenge of choosing between “Purple Rain or Thriller?” but will more often than not agree that Punk is NOT dead (“F-cking-A Right!”). If you’re into film and TV, it will be very revealing should you choose Michele Bachmann as the funniest female comedian of our time, while lovelorn types can still enjoy the opportunity to chalk up “love at first sight” to just “pheromones.”
Nerve Dating keeps the scene real, and doesn’t try to guarantee that they’ll immediately find you a true love like the other sites. Nerve.com has been in the business of love since 1997 and knows very well that you can find it yourself in time; they’re just here to help. The experience is kept fun and light, effortlessly bringing out the user’s best self, and aren’t relationships at their healthiest when you’re at your best?
The brainchild of Sean Mills, former president of The Onion, Nerve Dating is clearly an excellent product of lessons learned in the short lifetime of online courting. Launched less than four months ago, nearly 30,000 users have already registered to find that future Mr./Mrs./FWB in select cities. As of today, Philadelphia officially joins in on the action. So whether you’re a conservative courter like me or a die-hard digital dater, check it out. I can’t guarantee a totally creep-free experience, but you'll definitely have a whole lotta fun.
Photos of the real-life happy couple provided (and brought together) by Nerve.com
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