Looking For Love In All the Swipe Places

Aug 10, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Thomas Kies

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy Thomas’ book Whisper Room and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Did you know that 25% of married couples met each other online? Or that 10% of affairs also start online? Or that 40% of online affairs turn into in-person affairs? That’s according to Technology Review and Trustify in their 2017 posts. Did you know, according to a New York Times piece in 2018, that women’s online desirability peaks at age eighteen or that men are most desirable online at age fifty? Go figure.

During the height of the pandemic when the world was locked down, no, I wasn’t looking to date anyone. However, I was like almost everyone else who was hunkered down at home, I was looking online for items that were difficult or impossible to find in our local grocery store (toilet paper, anyone?). The longer I was in lockdown, the more apps I discovered on my phone and my laptop. I found that I could buy most anything from the comfort of my home office while still in my pajamas—clothing, food, insurance, furniture, gym equipment, cars, boats, even a house.

When the pandemic started to wane, my horizons expanded. I could order an airline ticket, hotel room, cruise, rides to and from the airport, even complete overseas tours. During that time, I was working on my fifth book, Whisper Room, and the thought occurred to me: what if there was an app where you could order an escort along with all the bells and whistles—a nice dinner, a fancy hotel room, a Broadway show, or a trip to the Bahamas? Or as the fictional owners of the Whisper Room describe it, it’s a full-service dating app where both the escorts and the clients are fully vetted.

That all led me to do some research into dating websites and apps. I was amazed to discover that online dating started in 1965 when two young Harvard students managed to wangle time on an IBM 1401 computer (one of the first computers to run on transistors and not vacuum tubes) and created the very first digital matchmaking service.

The two men created a seventy-five question survey that applicants would answer and then mail in along with their $3 fee. In turn, they would receive a list of matches that the IBM machine generated for them. By 1966, Operation Match claimed to have 90,000 people using the system.

Computer dating really hit its stride in 1993 when Match.com was created by Gary Kremen and Peng T. Ong in San Francisco. Match became a household name early on after garnering over 100,000 users in its first six months. At that time, participants were matched up based on answers to a wide variety of questionnaires. It wasn’t until 2014 that Match created a mobile app that used location to match people based on photos and using similar algorithms as the dating app called Tinder.

With the success of Match, starting in 2000 a company called eHarmony brought people together by what they described as “scientific methods.” Prospective members answered a proprietary questionnaire about their characteristics, beliefs, values, emotional healthy, and skills. At its height, thirty-three million members used the service. In 2010, the company claimed that after finding their match on eHarmony, an average of 542 members in the United States were getting married every day. It was during this same period, the 2000s, that social media skyrocketed. Once again at Harvard, Facebook was founded in 2004, and by the end of the decade, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn had taken root. All online places to meet and interact.

Then in 2012, Tinder came along and really kickstarted online relationships…or hookups. Tinder is location based and subscribers can swipe right on someone’s photo if they like them and left if they don’t. If both users swipe right, then they can message each other. As of 2021, the app has been downloaded four hundred million times and has fifty-seven million active monthly users.

The advent of dating app specificity has exploded.

No matter what your experience, demographic profile, or sexual interest, you can find it online if you know where to look. Looking for a same-sex relationship? Here are a few online sites: Her (specific to lesbian, bisexual and queer—worldwide), Grindr (location based app geared toward gay and bisexual men), Manhunt, GuySpy, and Blued (the world’s largest gay dating app).

If you’re looking for a DTF dating app…and I didn’t know this, but DTF means easy hook-up: Pure (no-strings attached hookup app), Feeld (looking to match singles with couples..threesome anyone?), Ashley Madison (an extra-marital website that thinks life is short, so have an affair), and Bootyshake (give your phone a shake and anyone who has logged on in the past hour will appear on your screen).

Then there’s Farmers Only (connects country folks), High There (for stoners), Clown Dating (yeah, exactly for what you think it is), Redhead Passion (for gingers), Gluten Free Singles, and Singles with Allergies…the list goes on and on.

But in doing research for Whisper Room, I wondered if you could buy sex online? Silly question. You can buy anything online.

One site, that appears to have been taken down, is called Redevu that focused on creating a safe space for sex workers. When it was up and running, Rendevu was supposed to be safe because everyone is vetted and customers have to put in their credit card info before they receive their booking. The escort can see the client’s identification before they meet so that they’re not walking into an unknown, possibly dangerous situation. The app tracked appointments, and data was stored for a limited amount of time so that if an escort wanted to go to the police, the details could be of help. Both clients and escorts wrote and were able to read reviews about their experiences.

Ohlala is an app that is supposed to be designed with women in mind. On Ohlala, the customer makes a date request along with time and a budget. The escort sees the request, and if she accepts, a new private chat will pop up. If they agree on a location, duration, and price, the date gets locked in. According to Bustle, “Ohlala is the one dating app where everyone’s intentions are clear.” According to Tech.co, “Now there’s a dating app that is purposefully putting women in control.”

PinkDate connects clients and escorts just like Uber connects riders and drivers. The app has a Tinder-like feel where clients can scroll through thousands of escort profiles. When the customer finds their choice, they check available times and dates. Escorts share hourly rates and calendar availability.

So, during the lockdown, when I dreamed up the app called Whisper Room, I thought I had come up with something unique. In reality, if you want something bad enough, you can find anything…or anyone…online and make a purchase.

To enter to win a copy of Whisper Room, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “whisper,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 20, 2022. US only, and must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode just went up.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Thomas Kies lives and writes on a barrier island on the coast of North Carolina with his wife, Cindy, and Lilly, their shih-tzu. He has had a long career working for newspapers and magazines, primarily in New England and New York. You can visit Thomas Kies on his website.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, which are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. It is amazing that online dating started in 1965 with the ideas of two enterprising young Harvard students! Whisper Room sounds like a book that I would enjoy reading!

    • Very interesting. I’ve never tried online dating but the book sure sounds good.

  2. Sounds interesting! Count me in1

  3. 64 years ago we met over the telephone. (that black
    thing that hung on the wall). Life goes on. sounds
    like a good story. thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. We have a winner!


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