How much are you willing to pay for a first date?

(Chicago Tribune file photo )
May 16, 2013|By Riley Blevins @Riley_Blevins | RedEye

It certainly isn’t conventional. Eyebrows will be raised. You may even cringe.   

Dates are now going to the highest bidder. "Going once, going twice, sold!"

And statistics show Chicago is interested.

WhatsYourPrice.com, what claims to be the world’s only dating-auction website, reported a growth of 93 percent in new female signups from June 2012 to May 2013 in Illinois.

Chicago has 8,380 members to date, the most in the state. Aurora and Naperville are second and third. Each has a little more than 350 members.

But don’t be mistaken--the price for a shot at romance is steep.

Sure, you don’t have to scrounge the bar scene. There’s no need to call a friend to set you up. In that sense, it’s a dating short cut. In fact, “Take The Dating Shortcut” sits in bold font at the bottom of the website’s homepage.

So, how much would you be willing to pay for a first-date?

According to the website, Illinois men are willing to fork over more than $100 to take a woman out.

The average accepted first-date offer in Chicago is $131.91, which is much higher than the site’s overall average price of $80.

But Chicago wasn’t the most generous city in Illinois. That title belongs to Naperville.

The giving male members in the western suburb purchased first dates for an average of $139.67.

“WhatsYourPrice.com’s recent female growth in Illinois proves that women are willing to invest into a first-date if the opportunity gives a worthwhile incentive,” said Brandon Wade, the CEO and founder of WhatsYourPrice.com., in a press release. “With the average first-date offer of $131.73, women clearly value every worthy chance at falling in love.”

The site isn’t about finding your perfect match. It disregards the sciences of dating. In short, it doesn’t matter if you enjoy long walks on the beach.

This is about dollar signs. Supply and demand. It’s economics.

Through this model, the website has accumulated more than 650,000 members worldwide.

Signing up is free. Upon doing so, new participants are immediately identified in one of two categories: Generous (or the men) and Attractive (women). The next step is simple--bid away.

So, what’s your price?

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