CHICAGO — How much would Chicago singles pay not to be alone on Valentine's Day?
About $131.70, based on data collected by WhatsYourPrice.com, a website that plays Cupid by setting up prospective lovers as long as one is willing to pay for the first date.
The site set up 370,000 first dates in the four weeks leading up to Valentine's Day nationwide. More than 13,000 were for Chicago singles looking for a companion ahead of Thursday's holiday, according to Leroy Velasquez, the site's spokesman and a Chicago native.
"Who wants to be single on Valentine's Day, honestly?" Velasquez said.
Chicago ranks fourth among all cities in using the service, he said, in which users looking for romance can scan profiles of possible dates online, then make a monetary offer to get together. The other person may either accept, reject or make a counter offer.
The payments usually are made when the two people meet in person for their first date, the site says, but the site says no escorts are allowed to post on it.
Chicagoans also are willing to shell out more than the average customer on the site, where dates go on average for $80, Velasquez said.
"Chicago singles are open-minded into trying this way of trying a first date," Velasquez said. "It says people there are open-minded and sentimental about Valentine's Day. It's not just a day for couples."