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Trying to Find Love on These Streets? Better Have a Big Roll of Tape.

Alex Miller, a software engineer living in Brooklyn, needed a date for his brother’s wedding. Being a digitally savvy millennial, he set to work on a plan to attract a potential plus-one to the event: He printed about 20 personalized ads with his contact information and posted them around the borough. Posted the pass.

Mr Miller, 32, was surprised to find that people were actually messaging him with enquiries. There were also some who treated the search like “The Bachelor,” with questions about the “competition” and whether Mr. Miller would be “giving out roses.” Others were approached by friends who they thought would be a perfect match for her.

“I asked someone, ‘OK, I’d like to see a reference,’ and one of their friends texted me, ‘Hey, my friend is such a great person and I think she’d be great. . Date,” Mr. Miller said in an interview five days before the wedding. “So it was a fun thing to happen in my life.”

Long before people were swiping left and dating online, hopeful singles were buying space in their local newspapers to advertise themselves as potential lovers. Such personal advertisements started appearing in newspapers As soon as possible 1700s

By the mid-20th century, The trend had exploded In various publications including The Village Voice, New York Magazine And Singles Newsas a new alternative to bars and clubs for people looking to find a match or just a fling.

With dating app burnout practically the default mode for digitally active singles (all that swiping! all those paid subscriptions!), is there room for that kind of old-school approach today?

Back in the fall, when his younger brother sent out invitations to his April wedding, Mr. Miller wasn’t sure who to take as his date. While discussing his predicament with his sister, Hannah Miller, he came up with the idea of ​​a personal ad. After a while, they produced about two dozen copies and began posting them on various bulletin boards and signposts in Brooklyn.

“Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on dating apps, and they’re good in some ways but not so good in other ways,” he said. “At the time I created this flyer, I felt like I wasn’t enjoying the dynamics of being on these apps and feeling the stress or anxiety of responding to various artificial-looking conversations. “

“Mr. Miller’s dating life is not that unusual,” he said. It’s a volatile mix, with a lot of time spent on possession. “Sometimes that can be a challenge, so it was nice to experience a different way of meeting people,” he said.

Her flyer featured a photo collage showing her happily engaged in various pastimes, including playing the keyboard, indoor rock climbing and reading a book on the beach. He screened dates with just three questions: “Do you like dancing? Do you like pleasing Jewish grandmothers? Do you want to get married in April 2023? For those who are all three The answer can be yes, at the bottom of the page there were hidden strips with a Google Voice phone number that he made to avoid any potential trolls to his personal line.

He said he has received at least 20 messages since December. Among the respondents were a couple who wanted to be plus-twos at their brother’s wedding and a woman from Texas who got her number from a friend in New York.

This month, a flyer posted recently at Carroll Gardens on Tuesday was missing all its phone number strips by Friday.

“It’s funny, because in today’s day and age, there’s no need to tear up the flyer at all: you can just take a picture of it or stick it directly into your phone,” mused Mr Miller. . “I guess it’s quite satisfying, tearing one of those apart.”

It can also speak to the excitement of being asked on a date (sort of) in the middle of your trip: maybe, just maybe, if there’s a match, there’s a number on the scrap of paper. Will be the physical evidence of which it all started.

In addition to the affair, Mr. Miller ended up riding alone to his brother’s wedding, which took place in upstate New York on Saturday, April 15. He said he realized a few days before the wedding that a family event might not be an ideal setting. For a first date.

“I still have to work on my wedding speech, so I don’t want to go into a corner practice and not know if they’re going to be comfortable,” he said.

That’s not to say he didn’t gain anything from the experience. He has made a couple of connections and has other weddings he plans to attend later this year.

“I’ve started conversations with one or two people that I’m excited to see,” he said.

Send your thoughts, Stories and tips thirdwheel@nytimes.com.



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