Are you a dating ‘dick’?

are-you-a-dating-dickYou stop into your favorite watering hole after a long week at work and what should happen but you meet somebody cute. And not only are they cute, they’re seemingly single, obviously interested and there’s even a bit of a spark.

So what do you do?  Give them your card?  (That’s backfired before.)  Give them a deep wet kiss in the back of the coat closet? (Only to be surprised by “sudden spouse syndrome” three weeks down the line.) Or do you pull out your iPhone and do a quick background check while they’re in the loo so you can find out if they’re a creep or a con man or a convicted pedophile before things get out of hand.

My latest Tech story for MSNBC.com looks at DateCheck, a brand new mobile phone app that (for a fee) lets you plumb a slew of public databases to find out if Mr. or Ms. Seemingly Wonderful is married, a convicted felon or worse, a weekend clog dancer.  

Some singles love having a “private dick” in the palm of their hands; others feel this sort of access to private information — i.e., a person’s address, employer, property tax records, a record of their unpaid parking tickets — is a bit of a slippery slope. Or just plain old unethical.

What do you do think?   Would you want to get the 411 on a complete stranger (and/or have them be able to get it on you?). Or do you prefer to trust your gut when it comes to potential suitors. Discuss among yourselves. I’ll be in the coat closet awaiting your answer.

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4 Responses to “Are you a dating ‘dick’?”


  1. 1 JalapenoBob November 1, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Perhaps I am just a romantic or maybe, just a naive old fossil, but I believe in learning about people by talking with them. The key is to listen very carefully, not just to what they say, but also to what they do not say. Do they answer reasonable questions, or do they evade, give vague answers or slide to another subject? Do you have friends, acquaintances, coworkers or classmates in common? Beware of anyone who tries to rush through the process of getting to know each other.

    • 2 singleshot1 November 2, 2009 at 12:35 pm

      Excellent point, Bob! I’m not sure I’d use a tool like DateCheck either. I’m much more likely to rely on that biological/emotional “app” known as my gut.

  2. 3 Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles November 12, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    I’m not sure I’m getting how this differs from the various background check sites already available on the Internet?

    I’ve never personally used one of these. I guess I’ve never been with anyone who raised any red flags about his marital status, financial standing, or status with the law. 🙂 But I see no reason why someone shouldn’t use a service like this if they have reason to be suspicious. It’s all public information anyway, and anything that’s online is fair game. Which is one reason why I try to keep a low profile when using my full name on the Internet. 🙂

  3. 4 The Geezer November 13, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I will typically get a name before meeting, first and last, and look at the court records, and the voter database.

    That will show if they are a financial flake, substance abuser, multiply married, and the voter database will show adults living at their address, or that they are civic flakes, sometimes.

    That, plus the advice to “listen carefully” works for me. I vet my dates/potential relationships really hard.

    Sure don’t want to end up with a Privileged Princess, or worse, a Merchant Maureen.

    Geezer OUT!!!!


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What’s the story?

Meet Diane Mapes, your friendly neighborhood freelance writer. My beats include health (with an emphasis on cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship) and lifestyle and singles issues, but I also love writing about history, natural history, pop culture and TV/film. On this site, you'll find links to stories, praise for my writing (*blush*) and the odd bit of social commentary about the single life. Also here, a few shameless plugs for my books (hint: see links below). Have fun, glad you're here and hope to hear from you soon.

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