Flirting in the fast lane

A website puts a whole new spin on flirting.

by Vanessa Ramstack

You log on to the website LikeALittle and read: âÄúMale, Blonde, T-Hall. You held the door open for me today. I was shocked that guys still did that. Chivalry isnâÄôt dead!âÄù Or this: âÄúFemale, Brunette, Bailey. One of the cutest girls I have seen at UMN so far.âÄù The immediate question: Could this be me?
Ever since the launch of the multibillion-dollar website Facebook, students have had an excuse to delay any sort of homework progress. Now, thanks to the new website LikeALittle, there is another procrastination outlet âÄî one thatâÄôs growing rapidly.
In October 2010, Evan Reas of Stanford University launched LikeALittle, proclaiming it an FFP, or âÄúflirting facilitator program.âÄù The main goal of the site is to allow college students to flirt across campus without any human interaction. Each user is assigned a random fruit name and can select the sex, hair color and location of their flirting interest and post an anonymous blurb. Make it funny, make it sassy, make it sweet âÄî it is all up to the poster.
Reas explained the inspiration behind the site to me via e-mail. âÄúIt is difficult and awkward to make that first move and we knew that firsthand from seeing cute girls around us and just being too shy to say hello,âÄôâÄù Reas says. âÄúWe decided to try to come up with interesting ways to connect people in the world around them, and the rest is history.âÄù
Currently, the site has reached to more than 50 college campuses and continues to grow. If a campus does not have a LikeALittle page, a simple e-mail request will create one.
Flirting âÄî defined as behaving in an alluring manner âÄî can take place over the Internet. Yet, much of flirting hinges on body language that cannot be conveyed through the written word. LikeALittle can be viewed as a harmless way to release hormones or to express the âÄúdeep, burning emotionsâÄù for the person on floor eight, but it is futile flirtingâÄîflirting that goes absolutely nowhere. The beautiful thing about anonymity is that no one knows who you are, but the inconvenient thing about anonymous flirting is that no one knows who you are. You could be anyone. And it is awfully difficult to pursue a relationship, serious or otherwise, with some random âÄúanyone.âÄù It seems silly to waste time hiding behind a computer screen when there are so many fascinating people to meet in person. At best, LikeALittle is an excuse to ignore the adventurous, and yes, potentially awkward, moments of flirting face-to-face.
Perhaps I am alone in this thought, because after creating a post asking for University of Minnesota usersâÄô opinions, each fruit did nothing but rave about the site. A user identified as Cranberry says, âÄúI think the site just has a really good-hearted idea behind it. We all have that someone that we just can’t seem to tell how we feel. This site provides both bold and shy alike an outlet to say âÄòHey, you’re cute!âÄôâÄù
Tomato follows up with, âÄúThis site is a wonderful way to procrastinate on homework! ItâÄôs perfect when IâÄôm looking for a distraction.âÄù
Reas believes the site appeals to college students because it âÄúempowers people to express their feelings and to communicate in a more authentic way. People feel very comfortable opening up to strangers when theyâÄôre anonymous. Since itâÄôs location-based, they can easily move those new connections from LAL into the real world.âÄù
Maybe Reas has something here. Maybe your future boyfriend or girlfriend is only an anonymous flirt away. So, go on, Orange/Kiwi/Apple. Log on to LikeALittle and find out.