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Back to School 2010: Looking for Love Online

Clicking your way to true love.


With the online revolution kicking down every door, personal information that formerly would have been dragged out of us only after being beaten and injected with Pentothal is now easily offered up for carefree public consumption. You can read your company’s hallway gossip on Twitter, see a photo of your most recent drunken debacle tagged on a friend’s Facebook page, and skim job details about your crush in her LinkedIn profile. You don’t really exist without a complete profile, including your birth date, family pets and notable milestones, such as the first time you shaved. Employers screen applicants after searching for them on Google and checking out their Facebook page, and why not? Everything is available with a few keystrokes.

It’s the same with online dating. Finding the perfect someone is no longer left to serendipity. Even meddling matchmakers have gone digital. Case in point: A mother posted an ad on Craigslist, trying to find a mate for her son, whom she apparently had become tired of living in her basement. While she didn’t post a photo, she did say very nice, motherly things about him. (On a more personal note, the last time my mom wanted to introduce me to a guy, I ignored the phone number, e-mail and bank statements she provided and went straight to his Facebook profile. He passed, and we went out a few times.)

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When it comes to college students, two things remain constant: 1. They want to have fun, and 2. They have no money. Knowing this, a number of brilliant Internet-savvy people went out and created places in the Web-i-verse where students could meet, play games and do ... uh ... other stuff for free. Even in Utah.

For example, is a free site where users 18 and older can post profiles, use webcams and do whatever it takes to set up a one-night stand. Or, if you’re looking for a “higher” connection, there is a site to find love and a toke: Of course, the challenge is the likelihood that one of you will forget to respond.

For Salt Lake City-specific sites, choose from among,,, and—all are free and awaiting your clicking mouse. Click, click, click. Ta-da! True love!

Although Salt Lake City gay bars are usually great places to hook up, they’re not necessarily the most fertile place to find a loving relationship. So, for those not inclined to hunt in the diva-filled bar scene, there is For smart phone users, there are new tools arriving every day, including gaydar. That’s right, thanks to Grindr—an application for iPhones, iPads and Blackberrys—users can upload photos, create a profile and use GPS to find any gay man (mostly) within several miles. The next generation of stalker-ish sites has come of age, complete with chatting, hookups and catty snubs.

My favorite is one of the most popular free sites in Utah: While it offers the usual amenities, it also has a few new applications to narrow down the playing field, including a Friday Date Night and a huge database. After typing in a few criteria, I found that within 100 miles of my ZIP Code (about one block west of the U), there were 700 listings for male wanting female, 195 female wanting male, 180 male-male, and 120 female-female in ages 18-25.

Online dating is just one more way for 20-somethings to quickly zero in on people who share their interests; the free sites seem to hold the popular vote. Most guys won’t spend much money on a date if they can help it—saving money for beer and gadgets often trumps the quest for a soul mate. But, for those who consider themselves more proactive and willing to spend, there is or Both are well-known, thanks to their insipid commercials. Because they do charge, their clientele tends to skew more toward middle-age professionals and divorcees.

And finally, there’s online classifieds, such as City Weekly’s and the Big Daddy of them all: Craigslist. But with soulless Craigslist, most of the “personals” seem to be less about finding love than even

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