Tom Barella: Looking for Love in Unique Places
by Derek Grosso
"He's looked far and wide. He's 'put himself out there.' He's tried all the dating services. And yet, that one special woman, the one who was meant to captivate him, has eluded him. When he meets her, he'll know. When she meets him, she'll know. Do you know that woman? Are you that woman? Help the Captain find his first mate, his soul mate." So says Tom Barella's website, www.see-tom.com, a unique attempt to help search for that special someone, utilizing the world wide web. The 41-year old single man from Massapequa made headlines recently for purchasing a $20,000 billboard just outside of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, advertising his marital status and catchy web address.
Where were you born and where do you currently reside?
I was born in Plainview and currently reside in Massapequa.
Let's get right to it. You purchased a personal ad on a billboard outside the Midtown Tunnel just before the Fourth of July weekend. How much did it cost you and what were you thinking?
The billboard cost $20,000. I was thinking that I needed to do something dramatic to make myself known to women who might never meet me. Many women still don't do Internet dating, and those who do can easily pass by me as I'm amongst a sea of other single guys.
How has the response been so far? Promising?
Thankfully, the response has been very promising. The AP picked up the story, and it ran all over the world, so I've heard from women as far as Argentina, Japan, and New Zealand.. I am concentrating on the women who are closer to home, and have already met several who I simply would not have met if I didn't do this.
What other ideas did you consider, but turn down... newspapers, TV ads, satellite?
I didn't consider anything else. The idea of using a single billboard to interest women in coming to my web site, and then telling my story on the site just seemed simple and manageable. I didn't want to think about the cost of a "multi-media" campaign. I did, however, think about having a plane fly a see-tom.com banner along Jones Beach on the July 4th weekend, but didn't pursue it!
Your hope is to find your soul mate. Please describe for us the perfect woman in five words or less.
Adventurous, passionate, honest, inquisitive, feminine.
Now describe the perfect date.
The perfect date is one where we can communicate and get to know one another while doing something fun. Fun activities can be anything from rollerblading to preparing a meal to taking a boat ride.
Please explain why someone should respond to your ads.
One of the nice things about having my own web site is that women have a chance to really get a feel for what I'm about in an anonymous way. For many, I won't be their cup of tea, and that's fine. It's the women who recognize and value what I have to offer that I'm hearing from. I'm not big on tooting my own horn, so I suggest women visit the site if they're curious.
Tell us about your website, www.see-tom.com.
It's a site that's a mix of entertainment and information. I tried to create aspects of the site that were fun and that would convey my irreverent side. I don't take life or myself too seriously. Hopefully, that comes across. I also have a section on what I'm doing with my life in the way of my career in teaching and my hobbies. Another part of the site is testimonials from family and close friends who talk about me in their words. Of course, there's also a way that women can ask me for a date.
What is your favorite restaurant?
I'm not big on pomp and circumstance, but a few months back I did enjoy a great meal at Piccolos in Huntington.
Favorite vacation spot?
I really like the Club Med concept. I've been to the one in Paradise Island and would like to go to the one on Turks and Caicos. It's great to be seated at dinner with people from other countries and find out how the world's looking from their vantage points. During the day, we can relax, dive, or do any of a host of other water sports.
Favorite pick-up line?
I really don't get into the bar scene. If I did introduce myself, I wouldn't use a line. The funniest line I've heard goes something like this:
Man: "Are you from the South?"
Man: "Cause you’re the only 10 I see!"
Favorite local sports team?
The Rangers, although they don't have the best record. I'm looking forward to watching them win a few more when the strike is over.
Favorite place on Long Island?
Any charming town along 25A.
Best Halloween costume you've seen (or been)?
I've seen people not wearing much of anything except elaborately airbrushed design that incorporates the various parts of their bodies.
Are you an Elvis person or a Beatles person?
Most recent book read or movie seen?
I recently rented Master and Commander. Russell Crowe is a great actor.
I would like a lifetime subscription to _________ magazine?
O (the Oprah) magazine. Just kidding!
Female celebrity you would most like to date?
Do I have to answer that? I can already hear my students offering up their cell phones to me: "So and so is on the phone for you."
Male celebrity you most resemble / identify with?
I've never really had anybody tell me that I resembled certain actor, so I don't have a good answer where looks are concerned. I don't really identify with actors because we don't have a lot in common. Sorry about giving you another non-answer answer.
Most dynamic duo, real or fictional?
Batman and Robin.
Who would you like to see run for President?
Historic figure you would most like to meet, living or dead?
After finding your special someone, where would you like to settle down?
Right here in the home I built. It has plenty of room for the Mrs. and kids.
Tell us about something else that we haven't already talked about?
A lot of people have asked me if I really expect to find the right woman this way. No, I don't expect to. I hope to. It's simply something I'm trying.
What makes Long Island special?
The water, the great villages and towns, the proximity to the city, and having family nearby.
P.S. Don't be too rough on the chicas in bed.