High-tech apps, websites bring Houston singles together

Meetattheairport.com creates dates at airports #lookingforlove #valentinesday

HOUSTON - If you find yourself looking for love this Valentine's Day, it might be time to throw out the conventional dating rules and go mobile. There is everything from dating apps that use GPS to Internet dating services catering to business travelers.

If you're looking for your love life to take off, meetattheairport.com is for the adventurous type.

Silvia Cermenchii travels a lot and admits boredom in the airport brought her to the website.

"Mainly, it's the time I have to spend in the airport waiting for airlines, for planes, for everything," said Cermenchii.

It works by creating a username, inputting some interests as well as the airport you'll be visiting and finding your matches.

Steve Pasternack came up with the idea for the website.

"It can be for anything," said Pasternack. "It can be for networking for business, just someone to chat with to pass the time or it could be for romance."

For Cermenchii, she met for coffee.

"It was pretty exciting. I mean it's not like a regular date," said Cermenchii. "It's like a no-pressure date. It's just like meeting a friend of yours and you're just sitting and talking to a friend of yours for a couple of hours, catching up."

Smartphone apps are becoming a very popular way to make dating a mobile affair.

One app called Singles Around Me pinpoints your location using the GPS on your smartphone and shows you other single people immediately around you.

People enjoying happy hour along Houston's Washington Avenue were intrigued.

"I would love that app," said one man. "I'd know where all the ladies are and they know where I am."

"It's cool, but it's creepy," said Carina.

Relationship coach Nancy Pina (www.rightrelationshipstv.com) agrees creeps could be using the app, so be careful.

"I really think you should be discerning about which app you choose," said Pina. "Don't live in fear but be wise about where you share your information online and be mindful that people sometimes have good motives and sometimes don't have good motives."

Pina said it's safe to share your picture, your username, your age, and your interests, but play it safe.

"If you don't really want to reveal your location, you can always turn off your location," said Chris Klotz, founder of Singles Around Me. "But you can also switch to approximate. On the map, it displaces you a couple of miles away from where you are. It puts you outside the neighborhood."

Each week, about 20,000 people are joining Singles Around Me.

"People don't switch it off," said Klotz. "Most people are out there having fun, enjoying the social discovery aspect of the app. They're meeting people. Whether they're at a bar or a restaurant, they're flirting away!"

But Pina has a warning for the romantic-at-heart who are looking for love with a GPS dating app.

"I believe those apps are for people who want to have a good time right then and there," said Pina. "I don't think it's a long term solution in these people's minds. It's just who's available right now."

Pina said for love to work you have to enjoy the journey, whether through an app or sitting around an airport terminal. Her advice is to be cautious but keep an open mind and an open heart.

"The most important thing is to have an availability for love, for love to come into your life," Pina said.

Back at the airport, Cermenchii is doing just that. She's planning a trip to Frankfurt and she is already checking out who she can meet during her two-hour layover.

"If something happens afterwards, that's great," said Cermenchii. "If not, (that's) great too."

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