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Wolf Files: Sex and the Cell Phone

Love Laundromats, Hypnosis Matchmaking, and Reunion Dating

By Buck Wolf

April 15  Looking for a soul mate? Don't stop just because you're stuck in traffic. In fact, you can now reach out and flirt with that cute cell phone user in the next car.

Get ready for the brave new world of cell phone dating services. It's as easy as ordering in a pizza: You call up and punch in the age, hair color, body type, and special interests of the person you're seeking.

Voilà! in seconds, you get a list of the single folks who fit your description.

Here's the best part: The cell phone matchmaker has the technology to locate where you're calling from and provide a list of potential matches within that zip code.

"You start by sending text messages, and if you feel comfortable with the person, you can speak with them on the phone," says Trish McDermott,'s vice president of romance. launched the service last month, making it available to AT&T Wireless customers. In the first five days, the online matchmaker reported more than 11,000 text messages on the new service.

High-tech alternatives to Cupid's arrow are certainly in demand. Americans spent $313 million on online personal ads last year, and that figure will reach $642 million by 2007, according to Jupiter Media. That's a lot of lonely hearts.

Cell phone flirting might be even bigger. You can hunt for a soul mate all day long, wherever you are. The world is your singles-only chat room.

"The key to this service is proximity," says McDermott. "You can make a connection with someone and say, 'Hey, I'm at the Starbucks down the street in a red sweater. Why don't you come by to say hello?' "

That's romantic. But is that dangerous?

Of course, you must always be cautious meeting strangers. Match Mobile offers the same privacy features as's Web site. You only give out your phone number and personal information when you feel comfortable.

Match Mobile's search engines will not identify the users or their cell phone numbers. Before sending a message to a Match Mobile member, the interested party must first send a "chat request."