Online Dating Is Stupid

Okay, so what’s so awesome about dating sites? Is it the massive number of questions you have to fill out? The seemingly random matchmaking process? The terrible blow to self-confidence that comes with picking out profile pictures? The struggle over choosing just the right words to express your intelligence and wit?

Bueller? Bueller?


Yeah, let’s be real: dating websites are something we all have turned to because meeting people IRL is terrifying, embarrassing, and hard. They’re a necessary evil in the age of urban living, getting married at a later age, and women having rights outside the kitchen.

Fact: our existing urban social networks are no longer configured to help us find a mate. When I lived in NYC, for example, a constant source of frustration was the fact that there were literally MILLIONS of men around and yet I found myself terribly, terribly lonely.

But when I turned to dating sites, I ran into all of the problems listed above and when I spoke to my other single friends, I found that we were all in kind of the same boat: we were doing it because we felt we had no other options.

Even though I’m not in New York anymore and I’m currently happily coupled, I was very excited to come across The Dating Ring. Created by 24-year-old Lauren Kay, The Dating Ring takes the dating website format and combines it with old-school, in-person matchmaking methods.

better ways

There is still a form, but it’s not too bad.

Sorry darlings, but you can’t escape the trusty demographic info form found on all the other dating sites out there. The Dating Ring asks for your standard info (height, age, blah blah) and then goes on to ask about your education, how you’d describe your personality, and your likes and dislikes.

Don’t fear, though: there’s only one question where you actually have to write stuff out. The rest is multiple choice and the questions are simple enough that it’s a breeze to blow right through them.

And here’s where it gets interesting…

Once you’ve submitted your form, Lauren takes a look at it and then sets potentially compatible people up on a group date, which the site describes as feeling like, “a group of friends hanging out.”

I love this model because THIS is really how our generation meets people, isn’t it? The Dating Ring is replicating what we already do to meet people (hang out with our friends) but has widened the size of the group by hooking you up with people you don’t yet know.

come meet

But it ain’t free.

Submitting your info doesn’t cost anything, but going on a group date will set you back twenty bucks.

Before you freak out about the cost, I want you to consider two things:

  1. It includes a drink.
  2. How has that normal online dating profile been working out for you?

That’s what I thought.

Lauren Kay: The Modern Matchmaker

I expect The Dating Ring to be successful because it’s exactly what’s needed by a generation that’s getting seriously fed up with everything being digital while simultaneously becoming more and more hooked on computers and smartphones. By combining the traditional format of online dating with the traditional format of village matchmaking, Lauren may have solved the perpetual problem of every dating site out there:

Not sucking.

New to the Bay Area

Although they were originally only for folks in NYC, The Dating Ring has recently expanded to San Francisco. They’re looking for 500 signups and are promising a “fancy launch party,” so if you dig what they do, sign up and refer your friends!

Photos by… The Dating RingJo Amelia Finlay


  • Reply February 11, 2014


    It’s an interesting concept… But am curious, how is Lauren able to know who would get along with whom? I guess that’s where the questions come in? 🙂


    • Reply February 11, 2014

      Emma McGowan

      That’s a good question, Sha, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes? You can also tweet at Lauren @thedatingring.

  • Reply February 22, 2014


    If you’re going to go out and hang with friends, why not just go out and hang with friends? Why do we need a website for this (let alone pay $20 for a drink)?

    • Reply February 23, 2014

      Emma McGowan

      The point of Lauren’s service is the same as any other dating site: to introduce you to people outside of your social circle. You’re paying, essentially, for a new kind of matchmaker, same way you’d pay on

      (Or maybe you wouldn’t pay on Sounds like you may fall into that category.)

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