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Helping Motorists Find Love in the Fast Lane

February 14, 1985|DAVE LARSEN | Times Staff Writer

No, Tail Dating isn't a cupid service for dogs.

But, what with St. Valentine's Day upon us, let the record show that another dating service is in action in Southern California.

Inasmuch as there are dating arrangements for fat people, for victims of herpes, for atheists, why not one specifically tailored to a state that has more than 19 million registered vehicles?

We already have the Freeway Singles Club, founded 18 months ago by Ruth Guillou of Huntington Beach. More on that later.

And it should be reported that in San Antonio, separate matchmaking outfits named Moving Singles and Bumper Connections are in operation.

Comes now, just starting operation, Tail Dating Inc., the brainchild of Century City attorney and bachelor Steven Greenberger. It adds a new twist to the fantasy of those whose driving ambition is to find true love in the fast lane.

"Some friends and I were lamenting the fact that while motoring, we were forever spotting women we would like to have met," the 30-year-old Greenberger said. "There wasn't any way to do it. You wink, smile, wave or honk, then the light changes or a freeway exit appears, and that intriguing stranger disappears forever."

Tail Dating promises to make that stranger reappear in person--from glance to romance.

Greenberger, who is with the firm of Gipson, Hoffman & Pancione, said he has more than 1,000 members enrolled for the service, which works this way:

A person calls the Sherman Oaks headquarters of the dating intermediary, pays the membership fee of $29, and receives a black-and-fuchsia bumper sticker, five referral cards and a personality profile that must be completed.

"With most computer dating setups, you fill out a profile and in return you get a list of names," Greenberger said. "But you haven't seen any of those people. It's all blind dates."

In the bumper sticker arrangement, you see the driver, note the license number and submit it to the Sherman Oaks headquarters. Your profile, first name and phone number are forwarded to that person you saw, who has the option of whether or not to get in touch. You aren't provided with the other member's name or phone.

For an extra charge, flowers or balloons or candy will accompany your profile card.

Conversely, if you attract someone, that driver turns in your license number, the sketch that person provided is forwarded to you, and you make the decision as to any rendezvous.

"If you submit all five referral cards and get no response whatsoever, there is something wrong with your personality profile," the founder explained. Either that, or you are a world-class nerd. Or your car may be using the wrong deodorant.

Informative Profile

Whatever, the always-helpful dating service people are available to review the profile with you. "Let's say you have a passion for archeology," Greenberger said. "You shouldn't write that you like to dig in the dirt."

The questionnaire seeks such information as musical preference, political inclination, three all-time favorite movies and books, astrological sign and what the person likes to do on a date.

The service even offers helpful opening lines for the initial phone conversation, should there be one ("I really like the way you change lanes").

"So far more women than men have signed up," the founder disclosed. "I think the reason is that this is completely safe. You don't meet anyone you don't want to, but it is an easy and trendy method of meeting people."

On the hi-way.

-- -- --

Roads scholars, however, can tell you that the Freeway Singles Club has already staged a coupe, or sedan, as the case may be.

Guillou said she started the organization after her eyes met those of a male driver at a red light. "I wanted to meet him and could tell he wanted to meet me, but the signal changed and we both had to leave. I'm still looking for him."

In the meantime, though, she and more than 3,000 other motorists--throughout the United States and in Canada--have had the means to do something about such a poignant occurrence.

The way Guillou's club works is that a person writes to the Huntington Beach headquarters or calls the Los Angeles number, pays the membership fee of $35, and receives a numbered decal to stick on a car window.

Identified by Decal

Another driver seeing that person, and wishing to arrange a meeting, notes that decal number. He or she writes a letter, encloses it in a separate stamped envelope, and sends it to the club, which forwards it to the member who was seen.

"Before forwarding the letter, we glance at it to make sure it contains nothing obscene," said the club founder. "But otherwise we don't read it thoroughly.

"We receive anywhere from 10 to 50 letters a day. I have two married women working for me. I tried single women at first, but they spent too much time reading the letters, doing some looking for themselves."

The widowed Guillou, who describes herself as "50ish," said that inasmuch as she doesn't pry, she doesn't know how many marriages have resulted from encounters of the road kind. "The club is exclusively for singles. Sometimes we'll get a letter from someone asking that the membership be canceled. The person has gotten married, and thus has accomplished a goal. That's the only way we ever know."

She did know of one couple, currently dating each other, who caught each other's eye one night while out with other companions. "All four were at a restaurant, and these two kept looking at each other. When the couples left, the man I am referring to took note of the car the other woman had entered by herself--it had one of our decals--and he wrote her a letter."

The club founder had this advice for the pavement passionate: "Make sure you always look good while driving. Don't be in curlers, or shaving, or picking your nose."

Other than that, where there's a wheel, there's a way.

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