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Last year whilst over in New York we came across a flyer posted by Dan Perino, a guy who has been advertising for a girlfriend by posting Thousands Of Flyers On Telephone Poles Around New York with a few words about himself and his real mobile number for “Serious Enquiries Only.” The stunt has made him somewhat of an urban legend in NYC at least in the East Village and there’s talks of a movie about his stunt. So to mark our September Missed Connections theme we thought we’d send our own Francesca Berardi to catch up with Dan Perino in New York and see how his luck has been holding up in his search for a Girlfriend.
“Oh my god, I know who you are, of course I do…”. The young waitress’s facial expression changes from suspicious, to surprised, to puzzled in front of that fiftysomething year old man.
Then she asks for a picture with him (things don’t actually happen until they’re shared on Facebook, after all).
Dan Perino accepts and cracks a smile. He seems used to notoriety, at least in the East Village. At least in his favourite bar. Any person who’s walked the streets of this neighbourhood has seen his face once.
He is at the bus stop, at the pole next to the deli, on the free newspaper bins. And under his picture is a message for the entire (female) population of New York: “Looking for a Girlfriend.”
“Actually, in my experience, foreign women are the best”, points out Perino.
“I received many calls from women that are in New York just for visiting”.
When he began posting flyers, a year ago, he was fearless and used to put his personal phone number on the pull tabs. The first day, he remembers, he posted about 400 flyers and got more than 500 calls. An unexpected success that now, he says, is leading to the production of a movie about him.
But it wasn’t always that easy. “Some of them called just to make phone jokes”, he recalls. This is the reason why he now asks to be contacted through his official website
“Over the past year, I posted over 80,000 flyers and got about 9,000 phone calls”, he continues, sipping his pint of cold beer. Altogether, he says, he had 179 hook-ups and a couple of hundreds of dates that didn’t workout.
“But I’m still looking for a girlfriend”, he reassures. “The dating scene in New York is not as it used to be”, he admits, looking back at the time when he was a kid.
And when asked why use the pull tab flyers instead of an account on Tinder or Match.com, he says that he is not interested in a virtual relationship, and that he wants to be contacted just by real people that are looking for real dates.
Well, of course lies can’t be avoided even during a real phone call; one night Perino had to face a 65 years old woman with a cane who had told him she was 45 on the phone. “To me each and every person is beautiful”, he makes clear, but that was not the case with her because “she lied to me right off the bat”.
When asked about his ideal woman, Perino looks confused. At the peak of his success he could afford being picky: he would only hang out with models. “I’m not interested in models anymore”, he says today.
His dream is to find a blond woman, but small.
His Italian origins come out when he tries to describe another ideal quality. He starts talking with his hands, making the shape of big boobs.
OK, I know that I’m safe.