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Dating Sites Aim for a Novel Idea: Actual Dates

Dating sites are trying to get potential partners away from web sites and into actual real-world dates.
Dating sites are trying to get potential partners away from web sites and into actual real-world dates.Photograph by Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Images

New Yorkers—wait for it—like to dine at trendy restaurants on a first date. In Detroit, they prefer to do the serving themselves via volunteer work. Singles living in sunny Los Angeles are apt to be sporty and hit the hiking trails for a first outing together, according to data collected by the website HowAboutWe.com, a startup that offers a platform to suggest first dates.

How about we … go to a swanky wine bar and complain to the bartender that the vino isn’t half as good as boxed Chablis. The date suggestions are nearly endless, although the company’s filters reject propositions deemed inappropriate or lewd. How about we … go to couples therapy and pretend to be married. How about we … buy a dozen roses and hand them out to strangers who appear to need a boost. Or, from one man, how about we … go get manicures? (He had plenty of takers for that idea.)