The write way to a marriage mate

Line Date is the first Web site to use graphology to make matches among people who don't even know each other yet.

wedding rings (photo credit:)
wedding rings
(photo credit: )
Why is it so hard to find a husband/wife? That's the lament on the lips of many singles, and there are lots of theories on the matter. But the single man or woman looking for a life partner isn't interested in theories; s/he needs a practical way to find Mr. or Ms. Right. There are many "systems" out there for singles who are "looking," from computer dating to mega-singles events to matchmakers. Each have their fans, as well as their foes - and there are many who are dissatisfied with all of them. For those on the lookout for a mate, Meni Elbaum has a suggestion: "Don't just go on a blind date with someone you don't really know. Go on a 'line date,' and find out key information about the person before even the first date." And just what is a "line date?" It's a date that you go on after checking out information about your match, determined by a professional graphologist. And, it also happens to be the name of Elbaum's company, which does just that kind of analysis. When they join Line Date (http://www.linedate.co.il/), members are required to upload or fax samples of their writing to the site. When they do, Elbaum and his partners, who are are all professional graphologists, will examine that member's handwriting and produce a list of personality traits, which are then added to their online profile. Now, others "shopping" for a mate can easily find people who match their personalities, without having to wonder whether an overeager aunt was painting a "too good to be true" picture when she suggested going out with the person. The use of graphology to determine compatible relationship partners makes sense, if you believe in the efficacy of graphology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphology). Not everyone does, but there are many who will testify to the graphologist's ability to "read" a person's character traits, exposing vital information that some people try to keep hidden - often with good reason. Many employers use graphology to screen potential workers, at least to some extent, seeking to avoid hiring employees who will steal from them. And most couples who visit graphologists do so only after they're already engaged or married, either to learn to communicate better with each other or to resolve conflicts. Elbaum says Line Date is the first Web site to use graphology to make matches among people who don't even know each other yet. He and his two partners, Isser Shulman and Yaliv Bukovza, check out each applicant personally. "Line Date is only a couple of months old, and we already have 500 registered members - with more joining every day," he says. Elbaum prefers to do an old-fashioned analysis of members' handwriting samples, rather than rely on a computer program, because computers are unable to understand many of the personality nuances a human graphologist does. "Analyzing a person's character traits to get an overall picture of who they are requires understanding how traits work with and play against each other, something that is beyond the capability of any graphology computer program," he says. Because of this commitment, Elbaum says, growth of Line Date will be slow but steady. He's already in the market for good graphologists to work with him as the concept spreads and more people use Line Date's services - or those provided by possible future franchisees. Line Date is free for now, but at some point the site will start charging members for services, he says. That refusal to rely on a computer analysis is also why Line Date turns down few applicants. "Don't get me wrong," Elbaum says. "If our study indicated that the applicant was a complete antisocial, viscous criminal type who would be likely to abuse a mate, we would reject his or her application." It wouldn't be the first time, he says. But what looks like a nasty trait on paper is often tempered by other traits, making the apparently offending traits more positive overall, Elbaum says, adding: "We have found that the best policy is to put all the information on the table, by attaching our findings to their profile and letting other members decide for themselves if this is the personality type they're interested in." Line Date members span the range "from 19 to 90" (74 is the oldest, actually) and hail from all parts of Israel, where the company is concentrating its efforts for now. Elbaum has plans for a version of the site, currently in Hebrew, in other languages, including English and French. And although most people will upload a sample of their writing in Hebrew, Line Date will accept writing in any language. "The principles of graphology are the same regardless of the language, so it would be easy for us to cater to people of any background," he says. So, just how successful has Line Date been so far? "It's too soon to tell," but successful nuptials among members are just a matter of time, Elbaum says, adding: "Why go on a blind date, when you can go on a Line Date, armed with information about the person you're going out with? It's like holding up a candle to dispel the darkness you're in when it comes to potential mates. "Anyone willing to expose his or her personal information and character traits and have them listed on their profile is clearly serious about getting married. And with the extra help we give them through graphology, I have no doubt we'll start to hear some good news in the very near future." startup@newzgeek.com