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"The first dating site for humans"

It seems like just yesterday the two of us were out on the fire escape of the Nerve.com office, smoking (smoking!) and coming up with the profile questions for the original Nerve Personals (you may remember “______ is sexy; ______ is sexier”). The Nerve Personals had a meteoric rise, signing up affiliate partners like Salon and The Onion left and right. It was so successful, it spun itself off into a purely personals company called Spring Street Networks. But what goes up must come down: the personals network was eventually sold to Friend Finder long after we’d gone and the whole thing just seemed to fizzle out, at least on Nerve’s end.

But like Jesus, Nerve Personals is reborn! This time as “Nerve Dating.” Their new take on personals is to create a network that feels more like ever-changing and -updated social media, rather than a collection of static profiles. Of course, everyone still has a profile: you still answer similarly clever questions that try to capture your true — or at least aspirational — essence (“If I could give my sixteen-year-old self any piece of advice, it would be…”), and you are still given access to users who meet your criteria.  But gone is the limitless personal essay that can sometimes feel like homework. Instead, they ask you for a Twitteresque mini bio: “Now sum up your whole life in 141 characters. (Just kidding, have fun with it. You can change it at any time.)” As they put it, when you visit Nerve Dating, you talk about that movie you saw, that band you heard, that new sushi place you tried. Think Facebook for dating. (Or, if you prefer, dating for the ADHD generation.)

Nerve Dating is in its beta stage but it looks great: the design is clean and the interface is smooth and easy. And these personals still have the clever, wink-wink nudge-nudge attitude that really takes us back. You can really see it in some of the more euphemistic options in the pull-down menus of the profile generator (body type: “great personality”;  drinks: “like Hemingway in Paris”;  religion: “into crystals”;  politics: “Glenn Beck has some good points”). Almost makes us wish we were single again. Almost.

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