HEY NOW! Hooking Up in Seattle

Bloomberg carried this story last week.

“Geeks, Single and Proud, Turn Seattle Into Online Dating Mecca: To find a date in Seattle last April, Allstate Corp. attorney Steve Takahashi carried a stick of salami around a Trader Joe’s grocery store. He was following the instructions posted on a chat board, called Trader Joe’s Love, frequented by devotees of the trendy food chain. The item was a signal to female shoppers he was available.

“This city is really good for being single, going out, flirting,” says Takahashi, 43, a Seattle native who estimates he has been on 250 dates since 1979.

Seattle is rapidly becoming the computer-assisted dating capital of the U.S. as chat boards and online services like Match.com help to transform local dating traditions. In the process, the city that has long had a reputation as being populated with computer geeks is turning into something of a singles paradise.

The Web-based BestPlaces guide this month ranked Seattle the No. 1 place in the U.S. to “hook up,” based on 33 factors, including male-to-female parity, membership in online dating services and the number of coffee shops and dog parks in the city.

Match.com, owned by New York-based IAC/InterActive Corp., chose Seattle as one of four cities in the country to test a new dating site called chemistry.com, designed for people “actively seeking meaningful long-term relationships.” The company says there are 186,480 active members of Match.com in the Seattle area, equal to roughly 6.1 percent of the population of 3 million. That’s the highest proportion of online daters among the 12 largest metropolitan areas, based on 2000 U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

Not all Seattle singles are interested in embarking on a long-term relationship, of course. For some, dating itself is the objective.”