Online Dating Without the Ick Factor
Paypalwmz.com just appeals to me because I’m as single as the shot of espresso in my soy latte, but I think this startup may be the most exciting new company I’ve seen in a long time.
Paypalwmz.com might be best described as YanikaDate.com meets The Sartorialist meets Gilt Groupe meets a group of Yentas. It’s bespoke online dating with a side of highbrow editorial. Simple, innovative and filling a need in society.
The company has been in development since the summer and launched about two weeks ago, on Dec. 4, 2011, in New York City.
The founder, who’s big in the New York City fashion scene and wants to remain anonymous for the time being, is herself married. But she got the idea for the company after chatting with a friend who kept having really disappointing online dating experiences.
They realized that the problem with online dating now is that there are so many guys on these sites that sorting through them all to find a decent one was almost a fulltime job. Since the women who rely on online dating the most seem to be the career-focused ones who have intense fulltime jobs, this is quite a dilemma.
Focus groups confirmed that, yes, it would be really cool if there were a way to cut through all the clutter and help women find just one really great guy. Turns out it’s pretty hard for a woman to find a man who is successful, handsome, charming and most importantly — commitment-oriented (no kidding!).
I don’t mean to be all on my feminist high horse. I’m sure there is an equivalent problem for guys and Blackbook365 takes that into consideration. They will start featuring women in early 2012. And while the company launched in NYC, they have big plans to roll out in 26 cities next year. Dallas and Chicago are coming next and San Francisco and Los Angeles will follow soon after.
So how exactly does it work? It costs about $240 to be featured for one day on the website (price will vary with location). When compared with the monthly subscription fees for other online dating sites, the price is actually quite reasonable. Considering the Paypalwmz.com team spends about an hour with each featured individual and a professional photo shoot is part of the deal, it’s quite the steal… especially if matches are made.
And hopefully matches will be made! It’s a personalized matchmaking service, after all. Interested women sign up for the website and create a profile free of charge. They then have the option to contact the featured guy with a calling card that contains a personal message.
Once all the cards are collected, the Paypalwmz.com team puts together a list of the best matches based on the guy’s wants. It’s on the guy to start corresponding, but Paypalwmz.com is there to hold his hand. They have connections to all the hot new spots in the city and can help him set up a date and get exclusive reservations.
Soon Paypalwmz.com will start hosting cocktail parties and dinners. The team meets enough savvy singles that they can start to say, “Oh, she’d be great for him” and vice versa.
If it all sounds a bit like Fiddler on the Roof, be warned. There are actually plans to create a J Blackbook section of the website for Jewish singles as the company grows (hence the Yenta reference).
It’s only been running for two weeks, so it’s still too early to know if any matches have been made. But so far there are 60 guys lined up to be featured and about 40 calling cards sent in each day. This without any marketing efforts.
I was assured that Paypalwmz.com isn’t trying to marry people off, just focusing on men who are ready to settle down. Sounds one and the same to me. But I’m intrigued and eagerly awaiting Paypalwmz.com arrival to San Francisco.
B.C. woman arrested for 18-year-old Ontario child abduction case
It’s the longest outstanding unsolved parental abduction case that Christy Dzikowicz, the director of missing children’s services at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, knows of in Canada.
Astounded neighbours and provincial government colleagues knew O’Byrne as Pamela Whelan, a public information officer for the provincial government at several ministries, a friendly neighbour and an active member of her daughter’s school community.
Sigourney Teresa Chisholm, the child her father Joe last saw when she was 20 months old, was known to all as Thea Whelan, valedictorian of her 2009 graduating class from Victoria High School, honour student and well-liked athlete.
On Thursday, she was told her father had been looking for her for 18 years. It’s not known what her mother had told her about her father. The couple lived in Toronto, had separated, and had joint custody of their baby when the mother and daughter disappeared.
At the same time her mother was being arrested at the tidy bungalow she bought in 2005, Thea Whelan was being told about her family situation by Toronto police and counsellors from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Victoria police deputy chief John Ducker said.
Thea has lived in Ontario for the past year, neighbours say, and is believed to be attending university, although they didn’t know where.
“I cannot begin to comprehend the magnitude of what this young woman has just learned,” Ducker said.
Neither can her father, Joe Chisholm, even though he has “been dreaming of this day for 18 years.” Chisholm, a Toronto musician and financial adviser, said Friday that he will wait for his daughter to contact him when she is ready.
“I’m thrilled we’ve found her safe but I don’t think we’re at a Hollywood ending,” Chisholm said. “My daughter’s mother has been arrested. My daughter has a lot to take in and we’ll wait until she’s ready. It’s not about my needs, it’s about hers.”
He has little interest in the criminal charge of abduction in contravention of a custody order that Whelan will face Monday in Toronto’s College Park courthouse.
“I’m not invested in that. I don’t see how it benefits my daughter.”
Dzikowicz said it is completely Thea Whelan’s choice when or if she has contact with her large family in Ontario.
“She’ll have supports around her but she will make her own decision,” Dzikowicz said. “We are obviously happy when there’s a resolution to a case, but it’s hard to be joyful when we know how much impact this has on everybody.”
There was nothing out of the ordinary about the Whelans, say neighbours who swapped house keys with them, mowed lawns and had barbecues.
“I feel sorry for everyone involved,” said neighbour Debbie Kennell. “I’d like Thea and Pam to know that we’re here for you, no matter what’s happened.”
B.C. women online hunt for spiritual purity
“Confessions of a 29-year-old virgin.” That’s the title of the emotionally revealing blog of four virgins from British Columbia’s Fraser Valley who are looking for some good men for marriage and “holy” sex.
The Abbotsford, B.C., women online “virgin diaries” have suddenly made them media stars. Their quest for guys led to a video about them appearing Wednesday on the popular show of Ellen DeGeneres, who proceeded to get in some virgin jokes.
The virginal British Columbians, all of whom are 29 or 30 and evangelical Christians, were also set to be videotaped Wednesday night for an upcoming appearance on HLN’s Dr. Drew Show.
And this Sunday evening three of the four young B.C. women online will be starring on a pilot program called The Virgin Diaries on the TLC network. The program includes video of the young women online dating eligible men, all of whom also happen to be virgins.
The extroverted B.C. women online, all members of a small church in Abbotsford called The River, began their blog four months ago because they were tired of being stereotyped as defective for being virgins (actually one confesses to being a “born-again” virgin who wants to start over). They are fighting back against a sex-saturated culture, and looking for guys, in the name of spiritual “purity.”
“We’re in a culture filled with sex, where sex sells. And it’s sold every day. And we believe it shouldn’t be sold,” said photographer Lisa Marziali, the online ringleader for the virgins. Marziali notes that sex is “God’s idea” and should be held for marriage.
Marziali and her friends want to be “cheerleaders” for virgins. They say it’s sometimes difficult to be among so many friends who are married.
The four young women online crusade for virginity before marriage goes against the grain of North American culture, where a poll released this week by online polling system SodaHead suggested 70 per cent of North Americans think cohabitation before marriage is a good thing.
Unlike religious right leaders in the U.S. who have turned sexual abstinence into a wedge issue against liberals, Marziali said her crew of virgins is not pushing their views on anyone.
“We just want to tell our stories.”
Marziali’s story, according to her online diary, is that she is one of four “great-looking” siblings. “I am 29, I have never had a boyfriend. I have shared one kiss in 29 years. Yes, I’m a virgin and no, I don’t plan on being the old, grumpy, crazy spinster that never ends up married.”
Tamara Larson’s story is that she currently works with street people. She was an aspiring basketball player who crashed. It led to “self-hatred, striving excessively, cutting, bulimia and abusive men.” Tamara is the one who says she’s a “born-again virgin,” who believes sex should be “pure, holy and good.”
Danielle Michaud as a youngster endured frequent foster homes and “the shadow of abuse.” She is now a nurse who loves Jesus Christ and who has had one serious relationship, “which taught me a lot.”
The last member of the virgin quartet, Amy Schmidt, is in Uganda working for a church mission program. The daughter of Fraser Valley pastors says she is “just a young woman on a quest to find what true love, true beauty, and true intimacy really are.”
Even though Marziali is finding this week’s flurry of media attention “exciting,” she said she was unaware until the last month that many U.S. evangelical churches have advocated sexual abstinence outside marriage for more than a decade.
It’s led to hot political controversies in the U.S, over whether sex education programs in public schools should promote only abstinence, while censoring information about birth control.
But the goals of Canada’s increasingly famous four virgins are much more intimate.
“We’re beautiful, confident, successful women” who are open to serious approaches by men, Marziali said.
For her part, Marziali is looking for a man whom she’s already nicknamed “The Rock Star.” She wants him to be “strong in character, a leader and have Jesus as his centre.”
Marziali insists she and her sexually inexperienced friends are not romantic dreamers seeking the ideal, non-existent “perfect” man.
“No. No. We’re just looking for a guy who has a heart after God, and who is man enough to pursue us.”
A lot of young Canadian men, especially in B.C., are insecure about making the first moves, Marziali believes. So she and her virgin friends are getting out the message they’re ready and willing.
“We are here,” she said. “We are waiting to give our hearts away. We want to be pursued.”
Breaking news: Branson girls volleyball team wins third consecutive state title
With the favorites’ label firmly attached, the Branson School girls volleyball team knew there were expectations on them to succeed Saturday in the Division V state championship match at Concordia University.
Despite the pressure, the unflappable Bulls delivered.
With KathleenWallace claiming MVP honors for the second consecutive year after recording 27 kills – including six in an 8-0 run by the Bulls to close out the match – Branson beat Tri-City Christian of Vista to claim its third consecutive state championship, this one by a 25-12, 25-15, 25-21 score.
So, coach Michelle Brazil, how do you celebrate such a feat?
“We’re going to Disneyland, we actually are,” the Branson coach said. “I kind of lied for a minute and said, oh , only if we win we’re going to Disneyland. But I felt bad so I let it go.”
Even if Brazil had been serious about her plan to only award her team a trip with a win, Branson was never really in jeopardy of losing its chance to head to Anaheim.
The Bulls (40-1) jumped to a 10-2 lead in Game 1 and had an early 11-3 lead in Game 2. Tri-City Christian finally got some momentum in Game 3, but it was too little and too late.
“I think we were a little nervy,” Tri-City Christian coach Kristen Wright said. “They were a fast team and we started to adjust in Game 3. We had an idea of what was coming at us, but we were a little slow to start. I think we adjusted. They’re a very good, team, though.”
Though the Eagles (27-14) did take
their first lead of the match and still held a 21-17 edge as Game 3 neared its end, Branson was undaunted. Having a weapon like Wallace for the closing run was more than Tri-City Christian could handle.
“I think we got a little tentative when Wallace got I the front row,” Wright said. “She played out of her mind. Good for her. She’s one of the best (that we faced this season). Definitely I mean, 27 kills in three games is pretty incredible.”
Wallace’s effort “was pretty awesome,” Brazil agreed.
But Wallace said her heroics were a byproduct of teamwork.
“At that moment, I just felt this was the time to get it done,” said Wallace, who plans to play at Harvard next year. “But I couldn’t really do it without my teammates. I feel like sometimes they support me more than I support them. At that moment, I wanted it for the team. I wanted it for all the hard work we put in this year. This was our senior year I really wanted it for us.” Teammate Lauren Alper said Wallace’s humble outlook was something that made her such a special player.
“She’s obviously an amazing player and MVP twice in a row, but I don’t think anyone understands how humble and how good of a teammate that she is,” Alper said. “That she can be that ‘rock star,’ that awesome, and then be such a good teammate, so kind and so supportive It’s really cool that she can help us end the game and be that great of a teammate.”
Brazil acknowledged her confidence in Wallace, but added that she also believes in the rest of her teammates.
“The truth is I’m confident in every single person on this team,” said Brazil, whose teams now own 75 percent of the state titles won by Marin teams (Marin Academy in 2004 is the only other state champ from the county).
“Regardless of who was in the front row, who was serving, who was in the back row, I know they’re all capable of doing what we need to do to win.”
That team feeling is one that leaves a lasting feeling, the players said.
Setter Meghan Wentzel, who will play at Bucknell University next year, said Branson’s three-year run will be tough to top.
“Going off to play college volleyball is going to be very exciting,” Wentzel said. “But I’m never going to have a team this great. This is like family.”