Have you been Cheek’d? The dating service with “business cards”

Did a sexy siren or awkward gent just drop a black business card in your plate of fries? If so, you may have just been Cheek’d. Cheek’d, a NYC based dating network, bridges the gap between online dating and real-world romance by providing members with physical cards that they can use to entice people from the real world to flirt with them in the virtual world. It’s the 2.0 version of “Call Me.”

The company was founded last year and took off in popularity during New York City’s fall fashion week when The New York Times called it the “next generation of online dating.” During Fashion Week, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons got Cheek’d, and commented: “What the hell is that?”

It does sound a little funny. But the cards offer a real purpose and advantage to other online dating sites. Cheek’d intends to expand a subscriber’s dating opportunities beyond the pool of people registered with an online dating service.

“It’s almost like you’re shopping online,” said founder Ms. Lori Cheek (pictured below), “but you’re shopping in real life.”

Each member receives a deck of calling cards including short, ‘cheeky’ statements such as: “act natural, we can get awkward later” “don’t overthink this” and “emotionally available”, as well as a link and code id. The recipient of the card logs onto the Cheek’d website, enters the code, reviews the card-giver’s profile and then can send the card-giver a message for free. You can even customize your own deck to say whatever you’d like and the cards are available to give as a gift to your single friends and family. In April 2011, Cheek’d won the inaugural TechStars Startup Madness tournament.

What do you think? If you’re an online dater, would you be up to shake things up by handing out business cards to prospective gents or ladies?