Attention Googlers: This woman would like to date you.
"My company is all women. When we flew out to Y Combinator, we were all riding CalTrain, and this beautiful guy on the top row leans over and starts talking to us. That would never happen in New York City. We knew something was different here."
That's Lauren Kay, the 24-year old CEO of New York City matchmaking service the Dating Ring, on the inspiration for her recently-launched crowd-funding campaign to fly single New York women to San Francisco to date local men. This morning alone, the service's Crowdtilt page has raised $800 from contributors who want to buy plane tickets for the bachelorettes to fly out over Memorial Day weekend.
So what's behind this Blue Jasmine goes Picture Bride scheme? "We kept joking about doing something like this," Kay told us over the phone from NYC. "But people didn't realize it wasn't serious. When you're running a startup, if people say they want to buy something, you should listen."
Kay hasn't slept at all since yesterday, when two teams in New York City and San Francisco filmed a fundraising video appeal that posits a long-distance solution to New York's oversupply of datable women (100,00 more of them than there are men) and undersupply of datable men ("all men in New York are gay or awful" says a woman in the video, presumably having never seen Looking or heard of Greg Gopman). It turns out that San Francisco has a reverse demographic problem—40,000 more single guys than women. As one of the East Coast women in the video asks, "Would you please pay me to fly across the country to meet boys?" Well, would you?
Kay insists that there's a logic behind this Sleepless in Seattle-esque proposal, which she admits can seem like a joke. "I don't think people are taking dating seriously enough," she says. "Getting to know someone—even your soulmate—can be boring. We're trying to find a way for people to give each other more than a five second chance on OKCupid or Tinder." Besides, she says, "it's not like you're going to walk out on a first date that you flew across the country for."
She doesn't discount the question of quality, either. "New York men are often great, but they all know about the gender imbalance," she says, "and often use it in their favor." In contrast to the finance bros who dominate the New York dating scene, Kay has nothing but praise for the tech workers she's met on this coast. "Tech guys are ambitious and charming and young and attractive," she says. Not to mention, she says, the women in New York are "willing to try crazy new things—like this campaign."
So how much of the project is drawn from Kay's own bi-coastal dating life? She laughs. "I've been at Y Combinator for the last two weeks working hundreds of hours. So I haven't been dating. But I've met better men in two weeks here than ever in New York."
Also: New York women are only eligible if they are under 40. Because, ew, old maids. Gross.