Ms. Sakallah started Hot Singles, a Substack newsletter, when she moved to New York City from San Francisco last October. At the time, many singles, hot or otherwise, were despairing about the pandemic and the ways it had complicated the dating equation. Finding a potential partner was hard enough in the era of apps.
“The existing ways of meeting people had been getting old,” she said.
Back in the Bay Area, Ms. Sakallah had dabbled in the matchmaking game: She ran an event where participants asked each other the 36 Questions That Lead to Love, developed by a psychologist to help pairs assess their potential for intimacy. She’d also taken note of an Instagram account called Personals, which borrowed from text-based methods of yore to help strangers connect in ways that felt novel. (The account later gave way to an app called Lex.)
“I was thinking it would be cool to do a dating profile that focuses on the whole person,” Ms. Sakallah said, “rather than ‘why you should date them.’” She added that the Q. and A. format “gives you a sense of the person’s voice.”
Avery Bedows, 24, a subscriber who reached out to one featured single, said: “The personality screams through Hot Singles, and it’s very muddled through something like Hinge.” It wasn’t a match, but he’s still reading.
Spenser Mestel (“32M Prince of Polls Seeks Active Voter With Kindred Soul”) described the newsletter as a “single person’s dream.” He’d met Ms. Sakallah in a group for Substack writers and was intrigued by the alternative she’d cooked up to the “stilted, corny prompts” common to dating apps, like Hinge’s “Two truths and a lie.”