Canberra man Anthony Symes scores 120 potential dates in 'Buy Swap Sell' group
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Canberra man Anthony Symes scores 120 potential dates in 'Buy Swap Sell' group

He's previously used the 'Buy Swap Sell - Canberra and Queanbeyan' Facebook group to buy bedside tables and stools, but a single post on Tuesday night may have landed Canberra man Anthony Symes the woman of his dreams.

With less a month to go until a double pass to the National Zoo and Aquarium (a gift from friends) expires, Anthony pulled out a selfie from his small pile ("I hate being in front of the camera") and posted a "simple and straight to the point" update in the Buy Swap Sell group on Tuesday night.

Anthony Symes now has 120 potential dates to take to the zoo.

Anthony Symes now has 120 potential dates to take to the zoo.

Photo: Jay Cronan

The post, titled 'Free ticket to the zoo - with a catch', has so far attracted 1800 reactions, and has been shared more than 150 times.

But the best part is Anthony now has 120 direct messages in his Facebook inbox - all women hoping to be potential partners for the zoo date.

Anthony's "simple and straight to the point" post in the Buy Swap Sell group.

Anthony's "simple and straight to the point" post in the Buy Swap Sell group.

Photo: Facebook
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"It's just phenomenal - it blows my mind the amount of interest," Anthony said.

"I've been a member of the group for a little while and in retrospect I'd love to say there was some kind of genius behind it but there really wasn't.

"I knew it was a large group and that's about it. I really didn't expect the kind of reaction that has come about from it.

"At the end of the day, I'm just looking for someone to have a nice day at the zoo with, and you don't need to go into too much detail on Facebook about that."

The 35-year-old communications professional said he had previously tried RSVP.com to find love, but had steered clear of another popular match-making app.

"I've never been on Tinder and it's never appealed to me," he said.

"I've heard stories about it, I don't know how it has changed since its inception but I heard it was good for 'one thing' and I'm really not after that - I'd like to find someone to start sharing my life with.

"It's hit and miss, I find that the hardest part about online dating is actually getting in front of a lady.

"And that's where my strengths lie. I'm old school and I like face-to-face conversations."

The National Zoo and Aquarium is an unusual setting for a first date, and Anthony admits that signing up to spend hours with someone you've never met does have its pros and cons.

"I figure I am looking for someone to start a steady relationship with, and the more time you spend with someone the better," he said.

"If you meet for a coffee - say you've met someone in online dating - you're both really nervous but I think spending a little bit more time together will give us an opportunity to open up and be ourselves and get past those initial nerves."

So how will he cull his list of 120 potentials down to a single woman to laugh at the cheeky meerkats with?

"To be truthful I don't really know how I'll go through them," he said.

"It makes me feel awkward just saying that I have a choice - I wanted a date and now there's potentially choice and it feels strange.

"I'll contact a few individually and ask them if they're interested in coming along and potentially because there's a fair bit of added interest around it if they're comfortable with that.

"Age - has to be in the ballpark, I've always thought it's not about age it's about life experience, but there are limitations with age.

"Also [I'm looking for] someone who is open-minded to go on that initial journey.

"Looks are important - of course they are - but there's only so much you can tell from a Facebook profile.

"Hopefully I've created a sliding doors moment with someone who's going in the same direction as me."

Bree Winchester is the life and entertainment editor at The Canberra Times