8 ways to get a date when you're desperate

Crowdsourcing your love life, renting a girlfriend, and more crazy things you can do to end your singleness

What lengths would you go to get a date?
What lengths would you go to get a date?
09 Jul 2015

What lengths would you go to get a date?

Most people meet their significant others through parties, school, work, Tinder, or a “friend of a friend’. But what happens when all of these channels prove unfruitful? You could try your luck in a different country. You could stock up on anime body pillows and declare yourself “forever alone”. Or you could set up a website offering $10,000 to anyone who can set you up with your life partner. We’re serious! After going on 30 failed dates in 10 months, Harvard Business School graduate Ren Lu You, 29, created a website promising 10k to anyone who could help him find a girlfriend.

No one knows whether such gimmicks actually work. But one thing’s for sure: Ren will do just about anything to find his special lady. And he’s not the first who’s had to resort to such extremes. Here are eight other people who had to do crazy things just to find someone to date. 

1. Crowdsource your dates online
1. Crowdsource your dates online
09 Jul 2015

1. Crowdsource your dates online

In 2010, a newly single guy simply known as “Brian” decided to give the Internet control over his love life after moving to New York City from Wisconsin. What started out as a joke between him and his friends about crowdsourcing his dates turned into a serious project (connected with his internship at BBH), wherein he went on dates with 30 women in 30 days. Basically, people on the Internet could either recommend someone for Brian to date or submit themselves as a candidate. Everything, from his outfits to where he took his date, was decided by his followers. Afterward, Brian would publish a video on YouTube discussing on the date went, and the girl would get a chance to represent her perspective on the date via voicemail (yeah, yeah, it was 2010), or by writing or drawing about it. The “Dating Brian” ends at Date 13, so we’re assuming he either found love prematurely, or that his internship ended. 

(Photo: DatingBrian.com) 

2. Put up flyers with your phone number
2. Put up flyers with your phone number
09 Jul 2015

2. Put up flyers with your phone number

Hate social media? Try crowdsourcing the old-fashioned way: by printing flyers. In 2014, New York resident Dan Perino, 51, plastered Greenwich Village with flyers stating that he’s “Looking for a Girlfriend.” The flyers even had tear-off sheets and a request for “Serious Enquiries Only.” In an interview with Vice, he revealed that he’d received over 7,000 calls, mostly from pranksters. ‘

“I’m lookin’ for a girlfriend,” the 51-year-old divorcee said. “She’s gotta be smokin’ hot. No old ladies, gotta be 25 to 30s. No 40-year-olds…I want the damn models.” 

(Photo: The Observer) 

3. Pimp yourself out on YouTube
3. Pimp yourself out on YouTube
09 Jul 2015

3. Pimp yourself out on YouTube

YouTube is the most honest way of advertising yourself online. Only a video can capture your smile, your laughter, or the silky baritone of your voice. Perhaps this is what Terry, a 24-year-old Singaporean, was thinking when he published a video simply titled “I’m looking for a Girlfriend !” In the video, which got over 57,000 views, the Terry described his ideal girl (“it can be anyone”) and why he would be an ideal boyfriend. He’d considered local matchmaking websites, but they were too expensive.

“I hope to find a girlfriend by Christmas of this year, so I can prove to everyone that an average guy can have a girlfriend just like everyone else,” he said, before asking interested candidates (or the friends of interested candidates) to leave their comments below so that he could contact them. Terry was so grateful for the video’s unprecedented popularity that he posted a second video two days later with a short dance routine to thank his viewers. 

(Photo: YouTube) 

4. Offer ONE MILLION DOLLARS to anyone who can act as your girlfriend
4. Offer ONE MILLION DOLLARS to anyone who can act as your girlfriend
09 Jul 2015

4. Offer ONE MILLION DOLLARS to anyone who can act as your girlfriend

Ren from Alabama has got nothing on this super rich Chinese guy, who offered 1,000,000 yuan (about S$21,760) to a woman who could act as his girlfriend over Chinese New Year. But he wouldn’t just settle for anybody: the ideal candidate had to be taller than 168 cm, weigh less than 50 kg, and be under the age of 25. He wanted someone with a “sweet” appearance, and at least a bachelor’s degree, although PhD holders and virgins (what?) would be given priority and a 10 per cent bonus. Despite the guy’s impossible standards, he received over 5,000 applications: a number so overwhelming, he had to cancel the ad after two days. We’re not going to lie: we’re secretly happy that this douchey dude had to deal with his relatives’ annoying inquiries into his love life over Chinese New Year after all. 

(Photo: ETToday) 

5. Turn yourself into a walking advertisement
5. Turn yourself into a walking advertisement
09 Jul 2015

5. Turn yourself into a walking advertisement

It’s a tale as old as time (or well, as old as the Internet): You meet someone online, you fall in love, everything’s awesome, but as soon as you try visiting them, they disappear. But this 60-year-old Canadian man refused to give up. He and a woman he met on a dating website exchanged messages and love letters for 11 months, only for her to suddenly stop responding to his messages. At this point, the man, identified as Jake, had already spent around $2,000 (S$2,700) on the service without even knowing her real name or her personal contact details. So he did what any sensible person would do: He cut his losses and gave up. Just kidding! He flew to Shenzhen, strapped a poster with her photo around his neck, and walked around the city in hope that someone would direct him to her. This was in April, and as far as we know, he searched to no avail. We can only hope he’s had better luck trying Tinder. 

(Photo: Shanghaiist) 

6. Use a boyfriend/girlfriend rental service
6. Use a boyfriend/girlfriend rental service
09 Jul 2015

6. Use a boyfriend/girlfriend rental service

Can’t find a real date? Then try a rental service, such as Fake Internet Girlfriend, Moe Date in Japan, Rent a Friend, or even Taobao, where you can hire a boyfriend or a girlfriend for a day of simulated romance. For a couple hundred dollars, you can go on dates with this person (with all costs borne by you), cook together, or ask the person to lay in bed with you – with no sexual activity, that is. Sure, in most cases, this person isn’t an actual relationship candidate, but perhaps the experience has helped some of the company’s clients hone their skills for real dates. 

7.  Post a missed connection
7. Post a missed connection
09 Jul 2015

7. Post a missed connection

We all have those moments where see a good-looking stranger, only to let them walk away before we can introduce ourselves. While most people would at most post a “missed connection” ad on Craigslist, a Scottish backpacker went the extra mile by posting this adorable illustration on the beach where she first saw her mystery man. Unlike most of the stories we’ve talked about so far, this one has a happy ending: the stranger turned up (in front of a crowd of onlookers, no less, as the poster had gone viral), and invited her for a drink. He even brought his own bottle of champagne! 

(Photo: Beachcomber Fun Cruises) 

8. Hey, locals do it too
8. Hey, locals do it too
09 Jul 2015

8. Hey, locals do it too

Spotted at the bus stop near our office. 

(Photo: Ours) 

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