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Drip claims to be the only online dating service where the dates are set up and e-mail addresses remain confidential.As for Slotnik, she had her own profile posted in a binder for more than three years before she met The One - while walking on the street.Convinced that there must be a better way to connect with potential suitors, Ms.Slotnik set out to build her own house of dates, Drip cafe on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.They're not so fed up as to turn to a matchmaker, but some informal structure to their dating life is a welcome change from trolling the singles scene."It's a numbers game," says Ed Rumph, a Long Islander who has belonged to Drip for a year and a half and been on several dates that never went beyond that first meeting. "You can get good meals out of a chef." But "uh-oh," she sighs."Coming in here and finding out a little bit about people is better than trying a club or a bar."There's quite a cross-section to choose from, but overall, Slotnik says the Drip clientele is quite educated (most seem to have or are pursuing graduate degrees), thoughtful (filling out that questionnaire requires it), and more ready for a relationship (if they weren't, who would bother with all this? Some singles take the process very seriously, scrutinizing the binders one by one, making a list and checking it twice. "I'll be in Central Park for a run, come over here, flip through the books, pick out a few profiles and request them," he says. "He wants a 'petite, fit woman.' How can you want a petite, fit woman if you're a chef? Settled into an orange vinyl wing-back chair around the corner from where Halperin and Pudil are dismissing gentlemen one by one, Mr. Since he revised it two months ago, he hasn't gotten any responses to his requests.
It works much like the binders, whose profiles are scanned and posted online for a monthly charge, which includes date requests.All that will get you to square one."Going to a coffeehouse feels off-beat rather than going to a formal dating service, which seems so serious," says Diana Halperin, who recently made a first outing to Drip after discovering that friends of hers had met there.