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A St. Louis man went viral looking for love — and may have found it

Phil Hamer
Colin O'Brien went viral after launching a dating site with only one eligible bachelor — himself.

Colin O’Brien’s pandemic project is an act of love, literally. He launched a dating website in August where applicants can take their best shot at love — with him, and only him. And it’s had great success: O’Brien has heard from more than 300 women the past few months. He’s gone on many first dates and several seconds, but now, it’s getting serious with one.

“I kind of cleared out the dating schedules,” O’Brien said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “I am giving myself the space to explore just this relationship with this one person. We really clicked; she's really great, so I'm seeing where that goes and for now I'm, like, keeping the additional first dates on pause for a little bit.”

He had the idea to build the site for years; it was a running joke with friends who thought it would be an amusing experiment. But as O’Brien grew frustrated with how dating apps hinder authenticity in fear of rejection, he chose to take the plunge.

“I was not getting a lot of matches, and the matches I did get weren't leading to conversations. And when occasionally a conversation would start, it would fizzle out right away. So I wasn't finding it to be an effective way to actually meet people. And so I wanted to sort of flip the script a little bit and see if I could be more strategic about it,” he explained.

Colin O’Brien’s dating site becomes an internet sensation

When he built DateColinOBrien.com, O’Brien included “testimonials” to make a case for why people should date him, including one from Tony Award winner Faith Prince. He also laid out his “pros and cons” so applicants can know what they’re getting into. But he’s not asking the same from them; he said he’s truly open to whoever comes his way.

“I let them share whatever information with me they're comfortable with sharing,” he said. “It's kind of like a blind date, which I like to do. I wanted it to not be a place where people felt they were going to get preemptively judged for various parameter reasons. And I think that's part of the toxicity on the dating apps, so it was very intentional to do it that way.”

What's next for O’Brien as he navigates his latest relationship? That depends.

“As much as this is a real attempt to meet people, I'm [also] a creative guy, and I like doing stuff like this. And so I do want to figure out what's next. If I start dating this special girl that we're talking about, what do I do with the website? I can't just let it die,” he said. “I have to keep it going in some way, because it's a lot of fun for me, and it's a lot of fun for other people. And so that's what I want to brainstorm.”

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.

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