I wasn’t sure where to begin when I first embarked on this process. Finding new friends in the age of technology was a fascinating task. Sure, there’s a multitude of sites you can use to find someone for a quick fling (as the case may be with Tinder) or where you could hope to make an emotional connection (OkCupid or POF, to name only a couple of examples).
There’s a very noticeable void when it comes to sites where you can make connections with people without the oppressive expectations of romantic or sexual courtship. My first instinct when I thought about this was to go to that most wondrous and unpredictable of sites—Craigslist. After all, they do indeed have a “Strictly Platonic” section among their personals.
However, when I searched each section that would be of interest in my ambition of reaching out to people, I mostly found women a couple decades my senior only interested in conversation with men of the same age in the W4M section, dubious offers of “massages” in the M4M section and a barren T4M section. It was quite clear that Craigslist was not the avenue I was looking for.
So, I needed to seek out other options. Patook and Badoo were two options that arose in a meticulous Google search. Badoo—with its promise that I'd meet new people around me—quickly struck me as an interesting option, but when I suddenly got so many likes, I began to wonder if it was mostly a site operated by bots. The proportion of the number of people who liked me compared to the number of messages I received made me nervous.
I saw a lot of potential in Patook. I had signed on before the release of the full site—which released on October 10th— I was joined by a slew of people who were from Ottawa themselves. Patook’s mission statement did state rather explicitly that flirting of any kind wasn’t to be tolerated, so it seemed like the perfect place—a far better one than Craigslist, anyhow. Unfortunately, the youth of its concept may have also owed to my lack of success in talking to anyone from it so far. In its novelty, Ottawa’s beta users may have forgotten it, but I’m optimistic that it will find its audience in Ottawa with sufficient media coverage.
I’m going to leave both profiles open for the duration of this experiment, but for now, I might have better fortune if I turned my scope towards seeking out people in the physical world.
It’s a big city out there, after all.
There has to be someone out there I can make a connection with.
Operating under the nom de plume, "Legion", Alex Sundaresan is a writer/poet/cartoonist based in the city of Ottawa. He has a strong interest in, and is drawn towards, the strange – being somewhat strange himself. Hoping to gain work one day as a graphic novelist, Sundaresan spends his days in search of good stories and good company.