Despite my lofty position as Asylum's resident dork, I am somehow chronically single. So when I heard about HowAboutWe, a new dating site that places the emphasis on the date idea, as opposed to the daters, I figured I had less than nothing to lose.

HowAboutWe works like most dating sites -- facilitating romance between interested parties. But it puts a novel spin on the process by allowing users to propose first-date ideas and search for prospective paramours based on theirs.

In doing so, it removes a few great online-dating aggravations: filling out hours of questionnaires, scouring for women who don't list "have kids by the third date" as a requirement, and wasting cash to contact ladies who don't even write you back.

With the charm of a 14-year-old boy and the good looks of a 52-year-old meth addict, I was sure to be the most popular person on the site. Of course, when I signed up on March 31, HowAboutWe's official launch day, there were few choices for dating partners.

Keep reading to see if Asylum's field test of HowAboutWe resulted in success.

Stumbling out of the Gate
One woman -- let's call her Nina -- seemed like a catch because she had fewer than four face tattoos. Her proposed date idea was to hit a bar with a photo booth. But instead of responding to that with a direct message, I created my own date idea ("Let's go to Bar X and check out its vintage photo booth") and proposed it directly to her.

I figured that she would appreciate my taking the initiative to suggest a specific place. But for whatever reason, she never responded. Maybe she wanted someone with more than four facial tattoos?

A few other tweaks of this method produced zero responses from others, so I decided that I would have to propose my own date to the general populace.



But what to choose? "Happy-hour drinks" is beyond clichéd, while "dinner and a movie" doesn't give her much conversational time to tell you how brilliant you are. I decided to propose a simple concept ... with a twist.

Within a few hours, I had several responses, mostly from women who clicked on the "I'm intrigued" button -- which was actually kind of annoying because I then had to write each of them a message based on a two-word response.

But I dutifully went to the profiles of each and tried to work some of their information -- and mine -- into my response. For example, I asked one girl about her sightseeing tour of volcanoes in Central America, and referenced a note in my own profile about my having been to "the most amazing volcano in all of Costa Rica."

A Few Tweaks and a Little Luck Later ...
Pretty soon, I had more dates than I could handle. It helped that I proposed a goofy date: "How about we ... grab a beer and play Connect Four at Common Ground in the East Village." I actually stole the idea from HowAboutWe's suggested date ideas list, which keep the site free, according to my source at the company; the site partners with area businesses to encourage people to carry out dates at those establishments.

But not every user plays that game. One girl I went out with thought my date idea was kind of lame, but she asked me out anyway to a Scottish-week-themed event at a bar -- and we ended up going somewhere else altogether. Of course, the whole point of the site is to cut out the whole "so, now that we like each other, what are we going to do about it?" problem, but sometimes the answer seems natural and not what anyone proposed.

On another date, with a girl named Sara, I did exactly what I'd originally suggested -- play Connect Four at Common Ground -- but the goofy joke got old and things stalled very quickly.

Luckily, Sara was up for winging it, and we abandoned the game. We went to what she called "the worst bar in the world," a dive bar two blocks away where we got free drinks from the manager, who loved seeing Sara with a new guy.

Two female friends I spoke with specifically for this story were not sold on the site. Selma reported suffering from a profile glitch that had her receiving date suggestions from women, which is a bit of problem because she's straight.

Ella said she flipped through a series of profiles and didn't see anyone she was interested in. "I don't know if there are enough users yet," she said sadly.

Despite these minor flaws, HowAboutWe is definitely worth your time. Based on the site's super-cheap sign-up rates and its ease of use, you really have no reason not to give it a shot.

Brian Fairbanks is Asylum's resident historian/dork historian. Your eligible sisters and gal pals can contact him through HowAboutWe -- if they dare.