The Dating Ring Will Ship You Across the Country for One Date, So That's Not a Lot of Pressure Or Anything

Would you apply to be a part of a service that literally ships single, dateable women from New York all the way across the country to go out for the night with single men from San Francisco? I wouldn’t — because to me, that sounds like the WORST IDEA EVER.

The service in question is called The Dating Ring. It launched in New York last year, recently opened up shop in San Francisco, and does all the hard work of online dating for you. If you’re accepted into their pool of daters (and yes, that’s an “if”), they’ll meet with you in person, learn who you are, and find matches for you based on what they’ve learned. I can see how this would be a good idea for someone who doesn’t think they have the time to date or who might be wary of vetting someone for themselves… but somehow, I can’t help but think that it kind of takes the personal element out of dating. Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, or something.

After the New York branch started up, the creators of The Dating Ring found that they got almost twice as many signups from women as from men. When they opened the San Francisco branch, they found the opposite to be true. So even though initially it began as a joke, they thought: Gee, why not bring the women of New York to the men of San Francisco to even out the numbers?

To be fair, they’ve just launched a companion program that flies SF dudes to NY (“We were going to launch it a week later but we’re going to launch it today because there’s been a lot of demand for it,” CEO Lauren Kay told Salon – I’m assuming “demand” means “backlash”). Additionally, I know that dating of any sort, online or off, tends to treat people as commodities anyway. But there’s something about literally shipping a person across the country for the purposes of dating that makes my Ick Alarm go off like whoa. I won’t go so far as to compare it to Imperial Japan, but still.

Wrote Kay recently in an article for the Huffington Post, “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.” That may be true… but to have a first date have that much riding on it doesn’t sound like a fun time to me. It sounds like a stupidly large amount of stress that most people could probably live without.

I’m not currently playing the field, but if I were, I think I’d stick to something a little less freak out-inducing.