Every Friday, when Randa Sakallah sends out her free newsletter, Hot Singles, she hopes to make a match. Maybe not a forever love, but a connection, however fleeting, between two people who are interested in something more.
Her emails feature profiles of eligible New Yorkers, framed in the old-school style of personal ads. One day, subscribers might learn about a “spiked-seltzer-loving, beat-boxing, techno dancer extraordinaire.” Another, a “31M Pomodoro Papi” looking for his “Bucatini Baby.”
Each subject answers at least three questions: What is your toxic trait? What makes you hot? What are you looking for?
“It’s a good prompt that’s a little tongue in cheek that gets people to speak positively about themselves when they’re in this dating environment where being self-promotional is kind of awkward,” Ms. Sakallah, 27, said in a phone interview last month. Interested readers are encouraged to email her with their personal information to pass on to the featured “hot single,” who takes it from there.
Ms. Sakallah started Hot Singles, a Substack newsletter, when she moved to New York City from San Francisco last October. At the time, many singles, hot or otherwise, were despairing about the pandemic and the ways it had complicated the dating equation. Finding a potential partner was hard enough in the era of apps.
“The existing ways of meeting people had been getting old,” she said.
Back in the Bay Area, Ms. Sakallah had dabbled in the matchmaking game: She ran an event where participants asked each other the 36 Questions That Lead to Love, developed by a psychologist to help pairs assess their potential for intimacy. She’d also taken note of an Instagram account called Personals, which borrowed from text-based methods of yore to help strangers connect in ways that felt novel. (The account later gave way to an app called Lex.)
“I was thinking it would be cool to do a dating profile that focuses on the whole person,” Ms. Sakallah said, “rather than ‘why you should date them.’” She added that the Q. and A. format “gives you a sense of the person’s voice.”
Avery Bedows, 24, a subscriber who reached out to one featured single, said: “The personality screams through Hot Singles, and it’s very muddled through something like Hinge.” It wasn’t a …….