While many young people who are seeking a relationship turn to online dating apps, Alex Wong decided he would try an unusual approach.
Wong, a broadcast and electronic communication arts graduate student, posted flyers in the Humanities, Health and Social Sciences and Business buildings seeking responses from women who are willing to engage in a committed long-term open relationship that could turn into a monogamous one. He thought that putting up flyers would be a unique approach.
“My biggest expectation in dating is meeting a cool out-of-town girl and showing her how great SF is, but that never really panned out,” Wong said about his dating expectations when he first started at SF State.
He started his first and only relationship through OkCupid, a free online dating website. He believes online dating has made it easier for people to meet someone, especially for those who are shy but that it also has a downside.
“The thing about online dating is that traffic increases when you get to your twenties as opposed to when you’re younger, where the stigma against using them is still there because it seems uncool,” Wong said. “It’s also super easy to be superficial online.”
Wong made sure to print his personal interests, hobbies and political views because he thinks finding someone he shares similar interests with is important.
The 25-year-old posted the flyers on Sept. 30, and so far, has gotten responses ranging from curiosity to trolling.
“Somebody asked if the ad was fake or not,” Wong said. “Somebody asked for pictures and somebody also asked what my gender was, then started asking stupid questions so I felt like they were trolling me.”
Angelica Terrel, a junior psychology major, first saw the flyer on Snapchat. She thought it was a joke.
“It’s kind of weird, but then I thought ‘you gotta do what you gotta do,’” Terrel said with a shrug.
Sophomore Claudia Aguilar thought the flyer was funny.
“If he wants to find a relationship, he should find another way,” she said.
Wong got his first response from a potential date just days after he posted the flyer. Lauren Talbert saw Wong’s flyer in the Humanities building on her way to class the following Monday.
“It was posted on every floor so I saw it a bunch of times before I stopped and actually read it,” Talbert said. “I thought we had a lot of things in common so I decided to email him. I told him I was also up for open relationships and polyamory.”
On their first meeting, they spent two hours talking about their similar interests such as writing, video games and pop culture. For their second date, he is planning on playing a card game called Magic.
“I haven’t been a master dater so I don’t know any romantic spots. I want to tailor it to her personality,” Wong said.
Wong used the word “monogamish” in his flyer to describe what kind of relationship he is looking for at the moment.
“What I want right now is a long-term committed open relationship and I’ve said it could turn monogamous too because I want it to grow organically. Maybe if we’re with each other long enough while also being with other people, then eventually the urge to be with other people will die down,” Wong said. “I want somebody who’s up for that adventure.”
Wong thinks as long as there is a certain level of trust between him and his partners, then an open relationship could have the potential to work and grow with at least one of them.
Like Wong, Rico Lara, a sophomore child and adolescent development major, also thinks open relationships could work as long as there’s a mutual understanding.
“I think that if both parties agree to it then it should be fine,” said Lara, who also admitted to being on Tinder, an online dating app, to meet new people for casual dating. “I don’t really want a relationship right now.”
Terrel, however, thought a long-term committed open relationship is not feasible.
“That’s just silly,” she said, “That’s not going to work out.”
Talbert, who is currently in an open relationship, thought that as long as everyone involved was aware of the situation then it shouldn’t be a problem.
“I believe that people will end up loving more than one person in their lifetime and that’s necessarily not a bad thing, especially if you love all of them at the same time,” Talbert said. “As long as everybody’s okay with it, then it’s great.”
Wong hasn’t gotten any responses from potential dates since the first one.