Trolling dating website drawings of cars
Reclining on a purple velvet throne, inside his castle – a sixth-floor office in a grey tower block in central London – Karl Gregory is reeling off some of his favourite statistics. ” He whisks a print-out from a pile of papers on his desk and prods a blurry image in the middle.
“517,000 relationships, 92,000 marriages and around a million babies,” he grins. It’s a picture of a customer’s baby scan under the words: “all thanks to Match.com”.
“Mention Match.com, and see how many say they met their partner on there, or encouraged a relative to go on it, or know someone who has.” When launched in April 1995, there were only 25 million internet users worldwide, compared to 2.92 billion in 2015.
Having web access at home – like owning a mobile phone - was considered quite exotic. It promised a clever algorithm, which used character traits and interests to pair users with their perfect partner. At first, online dating occupied a seedy corner of the internet, ranking in people’s minds just above red light services.
“It started off as sheer geek territory,” says Gregory. Stigma was high.” Jane Stuart barely told anyone when she set up a profile on the site in 2001.
“I had just broken up with somebody and I decided, aged 53, that maybe it was time to get married,” says Freddie.
In his first TV interview, Kremen wore a tie-dyed shirt and sat on a beanbag.
“will bring more love to the planet than anything since Jesus Christ,” he pronounced.
“I was worried that people would think I couldn’t get a boyfriend normally. Things were different, too – I didn’t have a laptop and certainly didn’t have internet on my phone, so I was logging on in my lunch break at work.” Then, Jane, a 28-year-old travel saleswoman from Twickenham, west London, came across Andreas Palikiras, an olive-skinned marketing manager from Corfu.
Fourteen years later, the pair are married, with twin four-year-old daughters, and, rather aptly, their own Greek wedding business.