It’s kind of amazing to trace the ways in which people have tried to use technology in order to (hopefully) get laid.
When I was in high school in the early 1990s, we filled out some dopey questionnaires that were supposed to gauge our personality, interests, and temperament. I believe this was done on a Scantron sheet, like the kind you were used to filling out for achievement and I.Q. tests. These were fed into some computer where they were analyzed. A couple weeks later, we were given “Data Match Sheets” with the names of people the computer had matched us with, along with compatibility scores. I honestly can’t remember who ended up being on my form, nor whose form I ended up on. But I do remember being racked with anxiety over the stupid thing, figuring I would get matched with the biggest dullards my tiny school would have to offer, and that somehow, this was saying something bad about me.
I can’t find my Data Match Sheet, but I allude to it in some notes I’ve found here and there. Although this was just some silly high school stunt, it reminds me of a primitive match.com type service. They both insinuate that they will be able to find a perfect match for you because they’ve got their mitts on some sort of benevolent, HAL-esque love machine/computer. Nevermind the fact that those questionnaires can’t really gauge the context of your answers, or measure the ways in which you might ultimately be hard-wired for attraction.
I was reminded of that when I saw the following video today, which was shared with me by my friend Jesse S. It’s a montage of video profiles made by men in the 1980s for a service called “Video Mate.” These men have hilarious mustaches, muscle shirts, mullets, Cosby sweaters, and yes, there’s even a viking costume in there. It is a total charm offensive. Hilarious one-liners and snazzy pick-up lines abound. Some of the men are pretty creepy, and yet some of them seem like genuinely sweet guys who are just clueless when it comes to how to get members of the opposite sex to pay attention to them. It’s a fun little time capsule from a time in which video reigned supreme. It all seems so hopelessly cheesy to us now, but we have to remember that this was actually a viable option for singles back in the day. That and going on The Love Connection.