Are you looking for someone to explore the world with? Do you enjoy sourdough bread and maybe bushwacking through the forest to a private lake? Then Elliot Frantz may be the right man for you.
The 29-year-old from Portland, Oregon, is looking for love and even launched his own website to streamline the process.
Frantz told NBC he created dateelliot.com after his original plan to buy a billboard, an idea he got after reading about a man who purchased the large outdoor advertisements to find a job, proved to be out of his price range.
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Instead, Frantz bought a domain and built a website highlighting his qualities as a potential partner, which includes a "never-ending" curiosity, baking bread and piano playing.
Frantz distributed flyers with QR codes throughout Portland and received some replies, but it wasn't until he was featured in the Oregonian newspaper and became a subthread on Reddit, that his website began to gain traction. Dateelliot.com went from receiving 100 hits a day to getting about 10,000 page views daily.
“I have had a virtual date every lunch and dinner except for this past Wednesday and Thursday night,” Frantz said of his newfound popularity. “There have been conversations which flowed effortlessly and there has been conversations which felt stunted. But either way, everyone who has reached out, they seem like people I want to be friends with.”
Still, Frantz is out to find "the one," not just make new friends.
The platform education specialist was previously engaged but broke things off with his fiancée in 2018. After giving himself a few months to heal, Frantz decided to move from Pasadena, California, to Portland.
During his first year in Oregon, Frantz said he actively did not date and focused his attention on making friends. Earlier this year, he decided he was ready to find love and turned to online dating services to help him find a romantic partner.
"I actually ended up having a dream and someone literally yelling ‘Find someone!’ in my face,” Frantz said. “My subconscious wanted me to date and I started to get back into the dating world and then everything shut down.”
According to a Pew Research Center report on online dating, more than half of Americans (54%) say relationships that begin on a dating website or app are just as successful as ones that begin in person.
Frantz had joined every popular dating app — Bumble, Tinder and Hinge — and also subscribed to traditional online dating services like eharmony and match.com. And while he was meeting people, Franz said he didn't like receiving the constant notifications alerting him to potential matches at odd hours of the day.
Tinder CEO Sean Rad told Tech Crunch in 2016 that when there is a spike in engagement on the platform, users will be alerted to the increased chance of finding a match in order to take advantage of the moment.
But after watching the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” which revealed how social networking platforms use these types of notifications solely to drive user engagement, Frantz began feeling a general distrust of dating apps. By the time he subscribed to the paid services, he was already disenchanted with the process.
Feeling discouraged, Frantz decided to try to mingle in-person and signed up for salsa classes instead. He attended two dance classes in March and then the world shut down, and so did Frantz's social life.
Forced inside by the pandemic, that's when Frantz decided to launch dateelliot.com.
“Once I had the domain name. I just started liking it more and more,” Frantz said. “So, I immediately went into designing the website.”
His homepage greets visitors with a video reel and sections "about Elliot," frequently asked questions and contact information. There is even a references page with blurbs from 14 friends testifying to Frantz's good character.
“Where there is Elliot, there is also adventure," wrote childhood friend Carly Owens. "What I love about him is that you don’t have to do something crazy for it to feel adventurous: hanging out at home and making dinner can be just as much fun as exploring a new location. With Elliot, you’re always learning and never bored.”
Owens told NBC she hopes her friend will find someone adventurous who will be as excited to try a new recipe as they would be exploring a hidden cave.
“Elliot is such a good guy," Owens said. "In this time, I think everyone has different needs and for Elliot it's someone to share and experience things with."
Frantz was already serious about dating before the pandemic and the feeling has only grown in the last several months. Wanting to find love during a pandemic is not unusual, according to experts.
Stacy Hubbard, a marriage and family expert at the Gottman Institute, told NBC the added element of stay-at-home orders fosters a want to have a partner to help you get through rough times.
“For the first time in my life, ever, I literally am living alone," Frantz said. "I moved to Portland into my own apartment, and I have never had zero people in the same place. I think it’s amplified my desire to be seeing someone.”
For now, Frantz said he answers every email and sets up video telephone dates. He has not had an in-person date due to social distancing guidelines. While he has the desire for a partner, he is also very cautious because of the pandemic.
“I really want a partner in life," he said. "I want someone that can go on those journeys with me, and also in the quiet moments, we can just chat or sit together quietly."