If you're a single woman in NYC, you might want to consider flying across the country for a first date. I know what you're thinking: Who would do that? Why would anyone willingly want to start a long-distance relationship?
Well, let me try to explain.
As many people are well aware, the odds aren't too favorable for single women in New York. There are around 150,000 more single women than men in New York. Meanwhile, in the Bay Area, there are around 50,000 more single men than women.
And now, with the ability to view thousands of single people at our fingertips, this imbalance has become a tangible reality, making it harder for people to start long-term relationships.
When I first joined OkCupid shortly after moving to New York in 2011, I fell for a guy who I thought I had immediate chemistry with. After dating for a month, he faded me out [translation for my mom: stopped responding to my texts and cut me out of his life without an explanation].
When I ran into him two years later, he confessed that he had been keeping tabs on me -- where I lived, how my company was doing, the name of my new cat. Partially flattered, partially creeped out, I asked him why he had cut me out so suddenly. "It was because I seemed completely crazy, right?"
"Nope, that's what I liked about you," he told me. His excuse was that in his first week on OkCupid, he had found amazing chemistry with the first three women he went out with, and after a month, he picked the one who lived the closest and who had the most compatible schedule. "But when I'm single again, I'll totally date you," he told me, in consolation.
Now that I run a dating company, I have a more macro view of the New York dating scene, and it's pretty disheartening. After launching The Dating Ring in New York, we got almost twice as many signups from women as from men. We kept asking ourselves what we were doing wrong -- why couldn't we find more single men to sign up?
Last month, we moved out to the Bay Area for Y Combinator and launched The Dating Ring out here -- and began immediately seeing the problem in reverse: Twice as many men were signing up as women.
And then one day, the obvious solution dawned on me: If my co-founders and I could move across the country for our company, surely there had to be other single, mobile people willing to do the same for love?
So, I began joking around that we could fix this problem pretty easily: by flying single women in NY to SF, and single men in SF to NY. But you know what they say -- make a joke 10 times and it becomes a Crowdtilt.
While this may seem like a pretty impractical and far-fetched solution to a much more complex problem (it is), a big reason we decided to launch this campaign is that impractical and far-fetched situations provide great breeding grounds for love -- but they've become all too hard to come by.
A bunch of right swipes and run-of-the-mill first dates have removed most of the initial excitement from dating -- the excitement that keeps us around long enough to assess long-term compatibility. People who might have eventually fallen in love often end flings before getting to know one another's last names. Having invested no effort to get the date in the first place, no effort is extended to continue dating. The easier route is just to swipe right and drink left again, and again, hoping to find love at first sight.
Meanwhile -- if you have to film a video, crowdfund a campaign, wait two months and fly across the country for a date, you might take that date a little more seriously. And in the Internet-addicted world we live in, where another choice always seems to be ready and waiting on the horizon... it may not be that crazy to go to such great heights to get people to take a first date more seriously. If this plan actually works, I'm hoping the happy couples throw me a bone and name their firstborn Lauren, or Larry, or something. Or at least adopt a cat and name it Lauren.
Most people don't like to mix hard statistics and love -- one is dry and mathematical and the other is supposedly serendipitous and magical. But when it comes down to it, dating is, in large part, a numbers game.
If someone had tried to convince me to move to the Bay Area to improve my dating odds a few months ago, I probably would've balked at the idea. But after meeting hundreds of single people in both cities, skipping the unending winter 2014 blizzard for weeks of 70 degree weather and experiencing firsthand the effect of the gender imbalance in both cities, I don't think it's that far-fetched of an idea. There are great career opportunities and restaurants and people in both cities. If your job is mobile, and you've lived in one city for a while with no dating success... well, it can't hurt to try a new city out. So why not let fate in a city with better odds have another go around at this crazy thing called love? Also, btw, the weather is way nicer out here in SF.