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Dan Perino’s epic search for the perfect woman — or something…

BY CLAUDE SOLNIK | Dan Perino recently walked briskly up First Avenue and, as many artists have done throughout history, stood not far from, if he did not pose, near his portrait. But if Michelangelo had frescoes, Andy Warhol had silkscreens and Picasso had Cubism on canvas, Perino’s medium, at least at this moment, was something quite different.

He plastered light poles in the East Village with thousands of fliers, with his photograph, phone number, a QR code to his Web site and the words, “Looking for the perfect woman.” Since then, people have been gathering around the fliers lightly taped to these poles, speculating. Some talk about how desperate this guy must be to forsake dating services for random light posts on the street. Others wonder what’s going on.

Yet, thousands have called and texted him on a phone line he once reserved to get work painting and plastering and now uses for this. Some leave photos, some make prank calls, some are curious, some compassionate and some are, well, anybody’s call.

Perino says he hasn’t gone on any dates from this latest campaign. But then again, as he puts it, the pursuit of happiness is not the fundamental purpose of this posting operation — at least not in the form of a person — or relationship.

A painter, both of houses and fine art, he calls these fliers a form of philosophical performance art, mixing visuals and words, posing a question that has gotten people talking. After all, questions are almost always more interesting than answers, right?

“It’s entertainment,” Perino, an East Village resident, explains near the hall of mirrors of selfies that his fliers created. “It’s entertaining, because perfection is an interesting question. Perfection is going to get people to talk.”

He describes himself as an actor (or someone who would like to be an actor) cast in a few roles who hasn’t acted in a while. A role he relishes, though, is being the catalyst for conversation — as well as harvesting the attention it has generated.

Previously, Perino posted fliers seeking work as a painter and as an actor, generating some business. And then there was the earlier flier looking for a girlfriend that generated buzz and business, even including global attention, undoubtedly prompting this more polished 2.0 sequel.

This latest flier seems to be generating a more massive response — plus proof that posting not on the Internet but on street poles can grab eyeballs and attention.

“I put a couple of things in this flier. In a way, it is a perfect flier,” he says. “Perfection is subjective. The person next to you will think perfect is their way. You’ll think perfection is your way.”

He first spoke with the media a decade ago after posting his initial “looking for a girlfriend” flier. This time around, in talking with reporters, he’s discussing perfection and sometimes talking about the search for the perfect mate.

Most reporters, though, simply mention the search, not asking or giving him the opportunity to indicate that really he’s looking more for work and simply a response than actually for a woman. Few journalists question the possibility that this might not actually be designed to get a date.

“Nobody has really directly asked me, ‘Are you looking for the perfect woman?” he notes. “They say, ‘He’s at it again. The out-of-work-actor is at it again. The lonely guy.’”

“Perfect 4,” by Dan Perino (40” x 20,” pastel on canvas, $42,000)

It is not a prank, he stresses, but an effort in an era dominated by social media to use old-school media to make a mark in a woefully indifferent world.

“We’re actors — we want to get noticed,” he explains, when asked why he uses his real name, if this is meant to be a kind of character. “We’re dying for attention — of course I’m going to use my real name.”

He is aware that the responses he receives could be catfishing or just playing. Yet, he believes, after more than 10,000 responses, that some of them must be real. Some people are curious, while others just want to have some fun and meet whoever did this.

“All the e-mails that I am getting cannot be fake. There is no way,” he says. “Relationships have changed.”

He says that nowadays “women are way more aggressive” than when he first festooned the neighborhood with fliers in search of a girlfriend a decade ago. As for men, he believes they often are more visual, or superficial, than women.

“Men are more confused,” he says. “They’ll look for the hot woman with long legs and perfect makeup and the perfect look. That’s why women are so self-conscious.”

As for the photo of him on the current flier, it was taken a number of years ago. Perino, who is 60 and single, sees the piece as not just being about him, but a campaign to wake up a sleepy world and get people to pay attention.

“That’s the whole idea. It’s supposed to look mysterious,” he says of the photograph. “It looks like this mug shot. It’s supposed to be performance art.”

Perino, dubbed a “singleton” in a past article, sometimes considers answering people who respond to his on-the-streets “personal ad.” So far, though, in a world preoccupied by “likes,” “friends” and “followers,” he is only observing and tabulating responses.

“I have gotten back to a couple of people,” he notes. “One person wants me to do a play, an improv situation. I’m getting calls like that.”

Born Downtown at the former St. Vincent’s, Perino grew up at W. Third and Sullivan Streets. Because he still lives in the area, after he posts the fliers, he is able to observe his work and people’s reaction to it. He believes he is surrounded by beauty, and not just his own artwork, even if he has not replied to those who answered his ad or art.

“The women in New York are probably the most beautiful women in the world,” he says. “A lot of them don’t try.”

He says he got 10,000 phone calls and texts in the first five days of posting his latest fliers. He readily shows his metrics confirming that.

“Two thousands calls a day on a cell phone is ridiculous,” he says, noting his Web site,, also has been deluged.

“I put them there with regular tape. People can take them down if they want,” he says of his efforts to produce art and not annoyance. “I don’t glue them, but I make sure they’re up there, that they don’t fly all over the street.”

He says he doesn’t want anyone else to post his fliers for him, because he views the process of putting them up as part of the art. He has been recognized at times while doing this, but has largely been laboring anonymously.

“You don’t know — that’s what makes it interesting,” he says, regarding the definition of perfection and this campaign. “It makes it entertaining — not only for me, but other people.”

As he currently does his interviews with the media, he is looking at ways to advance himself and his work. He shows examples of art that he says he painted, ranging from realistic portraits to splashed paint on canvas.

“Here’s my theory on perfection,” he offers. “You’re going to say perfection doesn’t exist. That’s kind of true. But perfection does exist. If there’s no perfection, everything is going to be perfect.”

Aristotle and Plato probably couldn’t have said it better.

While many people reply to his fliers, others are taking his work as their own inspiration.

Perino is seeing copycats catch on, including a band telling people they can find the “perfect woman” at their gigs. Then there was someone who posted a flier with a poem about perfection on a pole where Perino’s flier once was.

Others, it seems, are discovering that posting fliers on the street can be even more powerful, or at least as powerful, and certainly more local than posting in the often-illusory, if nearly infinite, world of the Internet.

“I’m going with the flow,” he says, when asked what he will do next, adding he developed a system to plaster poles quickly with the pieces of paper. “I’m working constantly and putting up fliers and getting the fliers and doing all of that.”

As to the pursuit of perfection? Is there such a thing as a perfect relationship, the perfect person, the perfect painting or the perfect flier? Even if it’s ultimately not what he’s looking for, will he reach out to someone who replied to a request for perfection?

Perino muses he “may” meet a woman out of this, but adds that, for the moment, he is getting a crash course in human nature.

“If I found a girlfriend through this,” he says, with perfect deadpan, “I would be amazed.”


  1. Pat Pat May 31, 2024

    Way to go Dan. I’ve gotten a few dates from your idea. Haha

  2. Whatever sjvp won Whatever sjvp won May 31, 2024

    But does he look like the guy behind the cam I see? lol that used to be my background too boo

  3. DL DL May 29, 2024

    DSNY Regulation RE: Posting and Graffiti

    It is illegal for any person to paste, post, paint, print, nail, or attach
    or affix by any means whatsoever any handbill, poster, notice, sign,
    advertisement, sticker, or other printed material upon any curb, gutter,
    flagstone, tree, lamppost, awning post, telegraph pole, telephone pole,
    public utility pole, public garbage bin, bus shelter, bridge, elevated train
    structure, highway fence, barrel, box, parking meter, mailbox, traffic
    control device, traffic stanchion, traffic sign (including pole), tree box,
    tree pit protection device, bench, traffic barrier, city-owned grassy
    area adjacent to a street, hydrant, or other similar public item on any
    street. There is a rebuttable presumption that the person whose name,
    telephone number, or other identifying information appears on any
    handbill, poster, notice, sign, advertisement, sticker, or other printed
    material on any item or structure is in violation. Every handbill, poster,
    notice, sign, advertisement, sticker, or other printed material shall
    be deemed a separate violation. Anyone found to have violated this
    provision, in addition to any penalty imposed, shall also be responsible
    for the cost of the removal of the unauthorized postings.
    §10-119, §10-121(a-e, g

  4. DuchessofNYC DuchessofNYC May 28, 2024

    What an ego. I am just tired of seeing his face everywhere. In marketing there is such a thing as over exposure. Make it go away!

  5. Michael M. Michael M. May 27, 2024

    Art shmart.

    I encourage everyone to remove these on sight.

    And not just because they might put women ill at ease. But that too.

    Same for the dozens of “handyman“ and “need something heavy moved“ and “sheetrock repaired“ and 11×17(!!!) “Want your flyer distributed” flyers.

    Urban blight. Bah.

    • Pat Pat May 31, 2024

      Nah man. It helps the dating scenes. I copied his idea and I already got laid. Lol

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