On Love

With these smartphone apps, romance is always calling

'LOVETRICITY': The iPhone app gauges whether sparks will fly.
'LOVETRICITY': The iPhone app gauges whether sparks will fly.
  Enlarge Photo    
By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lately our smartphones have taken a lashing for interfering with our most valued personal relationships. Spouses repeat themselves, but still don't feel heard. Girlfriends compete with gadgets for attention in the bedroom. And we're too fixated on our touchscreens to catch the eye of an intriguing stranger.

But don't worry -- the app inventors of the world are ready to turn our phones into little love machines. Most of their creations are widely available and free, though a few will cost you a dollar or two. And you really can't put a price on technologically assisted romance.

Perhaps you're single and looking for love. "101 Pickup Lines" might help you attract the attention of someone special. Just tap that cute brunette on the shoulder, scroll through the choices and lay one on her. Try No. 37: "Do you have a map? 'Cause honey, I keep gettin' lost in your eyes." How could she not fall for you?

Once you've got her number, fire up the "Date Smart" app to figure out what to do on Friday night. Enter your location, price range and the type of excursion you want -- adventurous, maybe, or cultural -- and it'll produce the perfect itinerary for a night of wooing.

If it suggests you go dancing, you might want to download the "Dancing Guide." When your phone hears the music, it'll let you know whether to break into a waltz or a foxtrot and will help you master the moves.

A home-cooked meal might be more your style and "Romantic Dinner Date Recipes" can tell you just what should go on the menu. Once you're seated across from each other, pull up "Getting Flirty" to decode her expressions and figure out if she's having a good time.

If you wind up back at your place, fire up the "Valentine Radio" app to hear love songs from radio stations around the world. When the time is right and you want to tell her how you really feel, the "Love in Multi-Languages" app will help you say it in Japanese or French or 10 other languages. To drive home the point, read aloud from "Love Quotes 500" -- a syrupy new sentiment will appear every time you shake your phone.

Thinking about going in for the kiss, but worried about your technique? Just smooch the screen of your phone and the "Kiss Me" app will rate your style on a scale of 1 to 10 while also offering some helpful pointers. "Careful, don't chip a tooth," it chastises if you led with your pearly whites. (It does not, however, warn you of the possible social or germ-related side effects that come from making out with your phone.)

Let's say you've been with someone for a while but aren't sure the relationship should continue; try "Lovetricity" to see how much chemistry you share. When you both place your thumbs on the phone, it will analyze the heat between you to determine whether you're "burning hot" or "heartbroken." Still torn? Turn to "Date 'Em or Dump 'Em" for guidance. Five cartoon gurus -- a nerd, a jock, a cheerleader, a theater boy and Cupid himself -- are at the ready to decide the fate of your love life.

"Adult Truth or Dare" could spice things up if you decide to keep seeing each other. Or try one of a half-dozen apps designed to help you find new positions between the sheets.

To keep the romance going, send your beloved a (digital) "Candy Valentine Heart." Or Photoshop an image of yourself holding a bunch of (digital) flowers from the "Send-a-Bouquet" app.

And when you're ready, "iWedding" will help you make your way to the altar. Don't forget to update your Facebook relationship status once you're hitched -- you can do it right from your smartphone.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company