Rejection 2.0 By Daniel Terdiman If someone you recently tried to pick up at a bar told you to e-mail them at a papernapkin.net address, don't get too excited about your forthcoming romantic prospects. That's because any e-mail sent to any papernapkin.net address returns the following bad news: "Nice to hear from you. Ha ha, just kidding. Actually, this is a rejection letter. The person who gave you this email address does not want to have anything to do with you." Paper Napkin is the newest in a line of services designed to help people on the receiving end of unwanted advances get rid of their would-be suitors. "Most people seem to think it's funny," said Josh Santangelo, who runs Paper Napkin. "Some think it's terribly rude, and of course they're right. Many have asked, 'Why can't you just tell people no?'" The problem is that a lot of people can't say "no" and stick to their guns. Services like Paper Napkin and a host of others give them an easy way out, though Santangelo cautions that proffering a papernapkin.net address shouldn't automatically be the first course of action. "I wouldn't suggest using it on just any random person that approaches you," he said. "The current rejection is pretty harsh, so it should really only be reserved for those that just can't take a hint." Other services, like The Rejection Hotline and Cingular Wireless' Escape-A-Date, offer different approaches to the same thing: giving people a way out of uncomfortable encounters. The Rejection Hotline works much the same way as Paper Napkin, except with phone numbers instead of e-mail addresses. The service has local phone numbers in 30 American cities, each of which, when dialed, informs the caller that, "This is not the person you were trying to call.... The person who gave you this number did not want you to have their real number." Cingular's service allows people with blind dates to schedule calls to their mobile phones, timed so that they will interrupt the encounters. The Escape-A-Date call then provides a script they can speak out loud if things aren't going well. "Hey, this is your Escape-A-Date call. If you're looking for an excuse, I got it. Just repeat after me, and you'll be on your way," the recorded voice begins. "'Not again! Why does that always happen to you? Alright, I'll be right there.' Now tell 'em that your roommate got locked out, and you have to go let them in. Good luck." To Rejection Hotline developer Jeff Goldblatt, such services are good for everyone involved. "We'd like to think about it as a public service both to the rejecter and the rejectee," Goldblatt said. "The person giving out the number can escape a potentially uncomfortable or awkward situation if they're just not interested in the person, and the rejectee is spared the humiliation of a public rejection and can find out about the other person's non-interest from the privacy of their own home." The Rejection Hotline even sells business cards that the uninterested can hand over when pressed for contact information. The cards include a name, identify the person as working for The Noitcejer Group and have a noitcejer.com e-mail address and a phone number that turns out to be for the local Rejection Hotline. The kicker? "Noitcejer" is "rejection" spelled backward.