Dating site gives book lovers a chance to find their literary mates.
EMMA Krygowski of Casselberry can think of a few reasons her last relationship didn’t work out, but one of them trumps the rest: “The guy didn’t read at all.”
That complaint makes sense when you consider Krygowski’s passion for the printed word. After working at an Orlando financial services company each day, she returns to her apartment and more than 400 books, arranged spine to spine across tall shelves.
They take up her time as well as space. Lev Grossman’s novel, The Magicians, was so engrossing that Krygowski re-read it twice this year.
Krygowski, 26, who majored in English at the University of Central Florida, is one of many bibliophiles who signed up for Alikewise.com, a relatively new dating site targeting her kind.
“I’ve never done online dating before. I’ve always been opposed to it because it seems so forced, but I found the concept kind of cool,” she said.
The site is just starting to catch on in Central Florida, where a couple dozen users have signed up. That might explain why Krygowski has had only two people contact her, one of whom was a reporter for this story.
“The only other message I’ve gotten is from a 40-year-old man who lives in Hong Kong.”
On the Internet, romantic compatibility seems easier to find than a deal on a domestic flight. Finding your literary mate is just the latest addition to the everexpanding world of niche matchmaking sites.
Animal owners in search of love get datemypet.com. Afraid your inky bodywork is a turnoff? Not on tattooedsingles.com. And the URL says it all at womenbehindbars.com.
Matt Sherman, 41, and longtime friend Matt Masina, 36, both of New York, launched Alikewise. com in late July, and it’s now approaching 4,000 members. Most are in New York, but there are clusters in other US cities, and readers are trickling in from New Zealand, Germany, China and Latin American locales.
The site has been featured in a number of publications, including The New Republic magazine, Canada’s National Post, the popular women’s website Jezebel and literary site The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog.
Alikewise.com is easy to use. Enter a beloved book or author in the search area on the left side of the page, and suggestions for soul mates load on the right. You have to create a profile to contact someone.
Sherman said in an e-mail that so far, user book choices are “quite mixed”.
“A lot of (author) Milan Kundera lately, (A) Confederacy Of Dunces is popular, too. Our customers’ choices don’t track the bestseller lists too closely, which implies that people are focusing on their most important books, instead of simply what they’ve read lately.”
Atlas Shrugged author Ayn Rand appears frequently, but that shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that a dating site for Rand lovers called theatlasphere.com has some 12,000 profiles.
Sherman was coming off a breakup when he came up with the idea for the book-lovers site. Immersed in The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, it hit him that he would really like to meet someone else who couldn’t stop thinking about Taleb’s book. They would have common ground right off the bat.
He spoke with Masina, who completely identified.
“You go on a date. There’s always that first time when you go up to the person’s house. ... I always gravitate toward their bookshelf,” Masina said. “There are times there when I see all self-help books like He’s Just Not That Into You. And I think, I’m probably not the first guy sitting here looking at this bookshelf.”
Kindling a romance?
But just scrutinising bookshelves may not provide a clear personality blueprint. Many readers are omnivorous consumers of books, jumping from genre to genre and discovering new favourites all the time.
Megan Wasnechek, 28, who lives in Orlando and works in film production, fits that description. She signed up on Alikewise.com a few weeks ago and is mainly interested in meeting someone who shares the same passion for reading.
“Someone who is open to different kinds of books, someone who likes Jane Austen. I don’t know. People who like to read tend to be more open to things in life ... be more curious about life in general,” said Wasnechek. The same taste in books isn’t all that important to her.
And that brings up an important question about Alikewise. com: If you can’t judge books by their covers, can you judge people by their books?
After all, Romeo and Juliet met at a party, not the Verona Public Library. – The Orlando Sentinel/ McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
A common love: Emma Krygowski
recently joined Alikewise.com, an Internet dating site that matches people
based on their reading preferences.