Sure, Evan Marc Katz could claim that his online-dating business will find you a partner in only three short months (for a limited time only, while supplies last). No big marketing surprises there; you receive similar disingenuous promises in your inbox and on late-night TV every day.
But Katz knows better than to push instant gratification upon the overly willing. Katz knows because, even though he now has a growing business and a shiny new book on the shelves, much of his life has been a study in delayed or (downright cancelled) fulfillment.
He's pushed a mail cart around William Morris, gotten axed from a gig selling hair products for Kevis Hair Rejuvenation, and most crushingly, failed to get a single Hollywood suit to return his calls after finishing among the three finalists on HBO's Project Greenlight. Skipping law school to pursue more creative ends wasn't unfolding as he'd envisioned.
Come 2002, he decided it was time to help others out in an area where he had enjoyed a little more success: the Internet dating scene. Katz hopped on board well before all you hipsters in the East Village, so he had time to practice his craft while you were going home empty-handed after another night of booty-shake at the club.
He took that extra practice and parlayed it into his own business, E-Cyrano, which tries to help you find love a little more easily on the Internet. Besides dishing out some basic advice, Katz helps you write your profiles--your likes, your dislikes, who you think you are, who you're looking for--the stuff that'll differentiate you from the 44.9999-million others who also Internet date. He's so good at it, a publishing house paid him to fill a book with his expertise, and, some six months after I Can't Believe I'm Buying this Book--A Common Sense Guide To Internet Dating came out in January 2004, it was already in its second printing.
"If everybody writes, 'I'm handsome, athletic, charming,' how do you know who really has those characteristics?" Katz asks. "What you've got to do is turn adjectives into nouns. Turn 'I'm active' into 'I take spinning classes every day,' because active can mean just about anything."
Katz's process is deceptively simple. You shell out a couple hundred dollars, you fill out a questionnaire, you talk to him on the phone for an hour, and then he writes up a profile that has a lot more character than you could give it but is still true to who you are.
And egotists and skeptics take note--a well-written profile is essential no matter how divine one's proportions may be. Consider a Katz example: You're staring at identical twins on your dating site. One of them has the standard "active, charming" profile, and the other gets personal, referencing Radiohead and Richard Pryor. Who would you rather date?
Mary Riley, like someone who has seen the light at the traveling tent show, believes in the Katz method. He nailed the fifty-three-year-old divorc?e so squarely that she consults his write-up for what she's looking for in a man--to remember what she's looking for in a man when it slips her mind.
"If I'm lucky, I'll have forty more Christmases, forty more springs," she says. "Evan's helping me find someone to share them with."
Mary acknowledges that, even with Katz's profile, she probably won't meet that someone in the next three months. But, as Katz has learned, for what really matters, instant gratification is nothing but a myth peddled on late-night TV.
Evan Marc Katz '94
January 31, 2005