How far would you go to help your friend find love?
An Ottawa woman has taken her matchmaking efforts to the next level. Samantha Page has created a website dedicated to finding a boyfriend for her best friend, Jami Styan.
"We've been joking for a long time about finding unique ways to get Jami out there. At first we pitched a billboard, maybe some flyers, but we ended up with a website," said Page.
The site is called DateJami.com, and its mission statement is clear: "Our friend Jami is looking for love. She is searching for an adult human man, who enjoys people, places, and, things."
"It started as like a very small joke just to show our friends. And then it got shared a few more times than we expected it to, and it really took off," said Page in an interview with CBC's Ottawa Morning.
Within a week of going live, the site has already attracted nearly 300 prospective beaux.
"Very overwhelmed" is how Styan described her own reaction. "I have people that I haven't spoken to in a really long time telling me, 'Wow, Jami, I'm following you. I really hope this works out'. My family is excited for me."
I haven't been in a relationship for almost three years, and I've done every single dating app. - Jami Styan
The end goal may be sincere, but the tone of the site is decidedly tongue-in-cheek. Styan's accomplishments are described as being, "a Scene member, holding a driver's licence, and never having been on The Bachelorette."
Styan is also described as a runner, traveller and reader, and is "according to our recent polls, really popular with Grade 7s/8s." (Styan is a teacher with the Upper Canada District School Board.)
But the website also hints at something more: "Jami makes sure everyone around her is ready to have an amazing day."
The site includes joking testimonials from "a blonde man at Starbucks," but also one from Styan's mother: "Jami is the second best thing I've ever made. The first, is this quilt I've been working on. Can you show the quilt to your Internet friends?"
Not all the respondents were deemed truly serious about meeting Styan, but Page has narrowed the field to the top 20 applicants whom she describes as "real adult, human men with some real potential."
When Page took profiles of the shortlisters to an office supply store to be printed and laminated, she said the clerk "knew the website and recognized the materials we were printing, which was really cool."
Finding love during COVID-19 is tough, but Styan, 29, admits her issues with finding a date predate the pandemic.
"I haven't been in a relationship for almost three years, and I've done every single dating app," said Styan. "I've gone to the gym hoping that some man is going to walk up to me and ask me out. I've done it all."
"I'm at that point where I'm almost 30 and my mom's tapping her foot [saying] ... 'I want to be a grandma.' And I'd like to have kids and be in a relationship and married, but I haven't found the right one," said Styan. "This website has definitely made it a lot easier."
So, what's next? "We'll get Jami to do some small interviews, maybe over Skype or Zoom. And then we're going to have to very politely reject some folks … let them down very gently," said Page, a youth worker. Styan will share her dating progress via her public Instagram account @jamisonsty91.
The website has even inspired a local copycat site called Date Kevin — turns out Kevin actually filled out an application to date Styan, but it's not clear if he made the short list.