By David E. Early
San Jose Mercury News.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your lovelorn (767) engines!
An online dating service plans to fly single men from the Bay Area to New York City, while transporting a load of single women in the opposite direction.
Based on the notion that there are too many males populating Silicon Valley and much of the region and too many females crowding Gotham, The Dating Ring plans to tamper with the love odds just a little bit.
What started recently as a joke at the dating firm quickly evolved into a video that’s now exploding over social media about singles of the species being dropped 3,000 miles from their natural habitats.
Lauren Kay, CEO of the dating service with offices in New York and San Francisco, is seeking between $10,000 and $50,000 from Crowdtilt funding to buy plane tickets for some lucky single people on Memorial Day weekend.
If enough dough doesn’t rise, people who make donations to fund the off-beat cause will get their money back. But if all works as planned, both burgs will be the scene of “matchmaker-curated dates” and at least one big smoochie party.
“Think of it as us sponsoring a fun vacation,” said Kay, a new San Franciscan (by way of New York City), trying to dial down the snarkiness that has accompanied the widely seen video. It portrays attractive young people, supposedly from each city, pooh-poohing their hometown choices, while cooing over the huggable joys of what they might find in the “other” place.
“It’s a crazy idea that started out in jest,” said Kay, an Ivy League graduate who speaks about dating with the seriousness of a scientist. “But it is not that crazy to go to another city with better odds to look for someone special. If you happen to make a spark with someone, that’s great. It’s sure better than not being in a relationship.”
2010 Census data by this newspaper does indeed show that there are 21,086 more Bay Area men ages 20 to 34 than women in the same age group. And in New York City there were 69,869 more women than men in that age range.
And if you slice the data down to include just unmarried people in that age group, there are 77,227 more single men than women ages 20 to 34 in the Bay Area. There’s one glitch in the notion, however: There are actually also slightly more single men (7,215) ages 20 to 34 in New York City.
But hey, in a city as huge as New York, that’s a rounding error. And we certainly don’t want any facts to get in the way of a cool idea.
In any case, denizens of both cities are up against serio-comic reputations.
Will the tough-as-nails New Yawk women go ga-ga over the Bay Area’s gentle, well-paid nerds? Or will those no-nonsense women be disappointed with the infamous Peter Pan-like men-children who are more dedicated to video games than grown-up romance?
On the flip side: Will the ‘Cisco Cats descend on the Big Apple and be lustily mobbed by ladies who appreciate them as easygoing, mellow fellows? Or will their apparent softness get them socially chopped into chicklet-size pieces and dumped into the Hudson River?
Richard Lane, a Bay Area dating expert with Events & Adventures, backs up the notion that the Bay Area has flocks of extra single men. He points out that the high-tech industry is a super-magnet for gents who tend to be smart, highly skilled and outdoor active.
Lane predicts that the locals who will head east will be looking for female brainiacs. “They will want ladies at the same level of intelligence as them,” said Lane, who interviews both sexes seeking membership in E&A, an outfit that links singles by way of their mutual interests.
“Bay Area men will want someone who wants to get up and go. A woman who will hang with him at the sports arena in sweats, with her hair pulled back, by day — but that night, can dress up, go dancing and knows how to pick the right wine to go with a great meal.”
And what will the NYC ladies find here?
“A nice variety,” Lane said. “They can get the computer geeks in glasses, which today is kind of cool. And they can get the active guys who are into sports. If they are looking for guys making a hundred grand plus? We’ve got lots of those. And we have variety — the body building, hot-bod type? The surfer dude? The laid-back guys? We’ve got all those too.”
Still, of all the prickly problems with the criss-cross plan, nothing outweighs real love blossoming between two people separated by a giant slab of fly-over country.
“This is basically asking the New York women and San Francisco men to plan on starting a long-distance relationship right after meeting,” scoffed Jeremy Bollinger, president of DateSwitch, a San Francisco speed-dating firm. “The ultimate result, if there is love, would have to be to uproot and move across the country or convince the other person to do just the same. … Why do this, when there are actually San Francisco women looking for San Francisco men?”
When asked her opinion, a lass with a lilting brogue who answered the phone at Danny Coyle’s, a famed Irish bar in San Francisco, put the whole bi-coastal relationship problem another way.
“Silliest thing I ever heard,” she said sourly. “I’m here? The lad is in New York? What’s the point?”
And then, without another word, she hung up.