Randa Sakallah has created the ANTIDOTE for dating app fatigue. hotsingles.nyc. You might have seen it featured as a “classified ad” in last month’s issue of The Drunken Canal. Let’s chat with her to see what it’s all about and how you, my sweet Substack singles, can get involved.
What is hotsingles.nyc?
hotsingles.nyc is a website and weekly email featuring cool single people in New York.
Features on hot singles are less like dating profiles and more like editorialized interviews with celebrities, except instead of a celeb it’s the cute person you might run into at your local coffee shop.
How does it work?
Every Friday, you receive an email featuring the hot single of the week. If you’re interested, you respond to the email with a message to pass along. If there’s mutual interest, you’ll get connected to the hot single.
You can also always reach out to email@example.com to get in touch with people from previous weeks.
Introduce yourself! Who are you, what do you do, where do you live, etc. etc. etc.
All I do is work on hot singles, eat chips, and lie.
I live in Brooklyn, where I’m a proud member of a community fish share and renter of a studio apartment with (not to flex) in-unit laundry.
Why did you start hotsingles.nyc / how did the idea come about?
hotsingles.nyc was borne out of my own selfish interest. After two months of unsuccessful dating in NYC, I started collecting emails from all the single people I knew and all the single people they knew. I figured that friends of friends would probably make for a better dating pool than whatever the algorithms were serving me. I don’t think dating apps are evil, I just think algorithms are not good enough at detecting vibes (yet).
I bought the domain name and started sending emails, and three months later, I’m facilitating dates for hundreds of single New Yorkers.
What makes dating in NYC different than dating in other cities?
When I was in college, I met this archetypal wise old man. Upon telling him I wanted to move to San Francisco, he told me “the odds are good, but the goods are odd.” This turned out to be true. In NYC, I get to meet all kinds of different people on dates. There’s the chain-smoking creative director, the anti-vaxxer scientist, and the social worker who surfs. They don’t just have different jobs, they have different values and interests and even when a date doesn’t work out, I tend to at least be entertained or learn something. I can’t definitively say it’s better, but it does feel a lot more fun to date in NYC than in the other places I’ve lived.
Dating during a global pandemic. What are your thoughts? Positives? Negatives?
We already know pandemic dating is slower and more thoughtful because we’re less willing to make out with someone who might give us COVID. But if we’re all depressed, starved for novelty, and involuntarily celibate, then my take is that we have to be more creative when we go on dates.
One of the tenets of improv is to respond “yes, and” to keep up the momentum of a conversation. During the pandemic, I’ve been joking that we should treat our dates like we’re performing improv comedy together, throwing out weird topics and saying “yes, and” at every chance we get. If you go on a date via hot singles, best believe I will encourage you to adopt this tactic.
What’s something you’ve learned through creating this newsletter?
When I started it, I thought hotsingles.nyc would be about getting people on higher potential dates. But it’s actually become something more compelling–it’s a way for single people to promote themselves without seeming desperate or self-absorbed. The name sounds like a porn website, so when you’re featured on hotsingles.nyc, you get this built-in cheekiness that makes being single a fun and funny thing to talk about.
Making a dating profile sucks. It’s hard to be funny and cool, but also not seem too aloof or self-deprecating. With hotsingles.nyc, I’ve gotten people comfortable with calling themselves “hot,” if even as a joke to send around to their friends.
How do I get in on hotsingles.nyc?
The feature waitlist is long, but I’m always looking for cool people to apply to be on hot singles.
If you want to meet a hot single from the archive or otherwise want to get in touch, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love meeting people from the hot singles community <3
Bonus: Are you single?
I don’t want to destroy the credibility of this entire interview, but, yes I am single! I do it for the good of the community, because as long as I’m single, I will work tirelessly to expand the reach of hotsingles.nyc. I hope to one day write a Modern Love story about how I started a Substack to find a boyfriend. Until then, I toil.