By: Toby Sells
Memphians turn to internet friends for recommendations on doctors and moisturizers. So, why not someone to date?
That’s the basic rationale behind an Instagram account launching next month from a pair of Memphis singles hoping to crowdsource dating connections for other area singles. The “Meet My Person Project” account is slated to go live March 1st. Nominations for slots on the account are open now.
Meet My Person is not a company. It’s not an app. It’s not even a formal effort. It’s more of an experiment, according to co-founders Meredith Regan and Melissa Whitby.
It works in two ways, Whitby said. It’s for people looking to meet “their person.” It’s also for people looking for possible matches for their single friends.
For now, the account will run only for the month of March but will run longer if it’s successful. A new single will be featured each Monday and Thursday.
Nominations run through a Google Form. They can be done by the person seeking to meet someone or by someone who knows a worthwhile, eligible single person. The nomination form asks for the person’s name, sexual identity, social accounts, photos, and a bit on why the person would be a fit for the project.
There are also a couple of voucher statements. Before filling out the form, one has to agree that “Black lives matter. Women’s rights are human rights. No human is illegal. Science is real. Love is love. Kindness is everything.” A safety statement also has one vouch that the nominated person is “a good, kind, and law-abiding human.” To which, one can answer “absolutely” or “I can’t say for sure.”
The idea for Find My Person came as Whitby and Regan commiserated over the downfalls of online dating. Whitby said she got married young, didn’t learn to date until she was in her 40s, and that has involved a lot of online dating, which she called a “pretty terrible experience.”
“Women put a lot of thought into our profiles,” Whitby said, for example. “We try to say something funny but not too funny. We take time to take some really good photos and edit them.
“Men, on the other hand, get in their car, decide to start a Bumble profile, and take a picture with their seatbelts on. They put nothing in their bio, except for their height. Then, they joke that they’re over six feet tall and we really don’t care.”
Regan calls dating apps “catalogs of humans” that come with the “burden of limitless options.” Think Netflix but with people.
“It’s just so easy to keep swiping and swiping and swiping, looking for better versions of the last person you saw,” said Regan. “In a lot of ways that keeps people from committing to the real things that can be right in front of them, like going on a good date and then second-guessing whether a second date is worth it because there’s a hundred more people you can swipe through tonight when you get home.”
Whitby and Regan also saw social-media Memphis mobilize in the real world on the Midtown/Downtown Facebook group “Buy Nothing.” In it, members offer up items they no longer use (like furniture, electronics, or clothes). Or, members post for what they need. Either way, members are connected with each other, items are promised, and, most times, picked up from porches. This community, too, had the Meet My Person co-founders believing that “there’s got to be a better way” to meet someone online.
“So, our hypothesis is, basically, that people will activate in that way if we bring dating out from behind the curtain or from behind the apps and make it a little bit more forward-facing,” Regan said.
To get you in the love-connection-making mood, check out this Spotify playlist from the Meet My Person Project.