1986: In traffic or on VHS tape, singles went great distances to find love

Posted at 5:30 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 05:30:09-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Finding that special someone to spend the rest of your life with can be a daunting task. Fortunately, technology has made dating as simple as opening an app.

However, in order to compete in the dating scene of the 1980s, you had to be willing to put in a little more effort.

Singles in Indy had several dating services to choose from, and in 1986, former WRTV reporter Mindy Mintz explored the options.

Rush Hour Romance

"Rush Hour Romance" was a dating service geared to those who liked to drive in the fast lane, or just drive in general. Members of this service had to own a car to participate.

Here’s how it worked.

For $30, members filled out a personality profile with basic information including tastes and interests. Members were also given a decal with a number to place on their car.

When an interested party spotted the decal of another user, they could request more information on the other driver. It was up to the other driver as to whether or not they wanted to respond to the inquiry.

Co-founder Kathy Labatte told WRTV there were about 300 members in Indianapolis.

“We’re making it easier to meet people,” said LaBatte who co-founded Rush Hour Romance with Roxanne Coats. “It’s a different way other than going to a bar. It’s hard to meet people these days.”

Video Dating

Video dating was exactly what it sounded like. Members were recorded on videotapes answering questions about hobbies and interests.

A member could view the tapes of other members and in turn have their own tape viewed.

“I figured if I could see the guy I was going to pick, and then he could see me, it would be better than going to a bar or something like that,” said video dater Monica Wallace.

“I was able to read a little bit about their profile,” said Christian Tombers.

“I was able to see their tape. I listened to them, I saw them on the video, and there weren’t any disappointments because it was my choice.”

A guarantee of three introductions cost $75, and a total membership with Video Dating was around $150.

Matchmaker International

Another dating option in 1986 was Matchmaker International which was the most expensive dating service featured in the original WRTV report.

A yearlong membership was the shortest available, but singles were guaranteed one introduction a month from a pool of about 1,300 members.

The pairings were based on age, looks, background, likes and interests.

“It’s not an escort service in that someone comes in and says, ‘this is what I want in a person’ because I have to make two people happy,” said Chief Matchmaker Peggy.

“If someone is unrealistic about what they have to offer, then it’s very difficult because he may be very happy, but the person I set him up with is not going to be very happy. I just can’t do that.”