If Someone Put Me in Charge of Yenta-ing You All…

If Someone Put Me in Charge of Yenta-ing You All… September 23, 2014


Prompted by our discussion of modern dating, PEG has offered his thoughts on how to build a better model for dating and discerning marriage:

Frankly, what is needed is a way to connect people with similar goals. I did the hedonic thing in college and law school, and at the ripe old age of 21 found out that it was wrecking my soul, and desperately wanted to settle down, but there were no takers for that. It was only sheer random luck (a.k.a. the mighty grace of the Holy Spirit) that threw the woman who would become my wife in my face and gave her the utter recklessness to do the utter folly of saying yes to marry a bum like me three weeks after we met.

We should kill the date and replace it with activities where two people do things together rather than sit across from each other and project fake versions of themselves. (Rock climbing! Parachuting! Paintball!)

We need yentas (algorithmic yentas?) and other cultural institutions (dances?), but we need to be careful to strike the right balance between anarchy and destructive social pressure.

Reading his post gave me an idea for a solution I could try if I ever decide that I hate having both an income and free time.  I could imagine using a dating website that used a little information about you (dealbreakers, hoped for traits, age, etc) to send you out on group date where at least one person (and possibly more) was rated as plausibly compatible with you, but you wouldn’t know which one.

But you and the ~3-5 other people wouldn’t be out for a dinner or coffee together — you’d all be doing a service project at one of a number of participating non-profits/advocacy groups that you indicated that you support.  That way, you have one thing that you know you agree with everyone on the date on — that this cause is worth supporting.  You’d have something to do besides ask what kinds of jobs everyone has, and, if the outing felt like it had fizzled, you still would have stuffed envelopes/painted unpainted things/packed lunches, etc, so the time wouldn’t be a bust.

I imagine the pairing would happen after the group date, when you could pick an option for everyone you met:

  • Do not send me out with again
  • Put me in contact (dating)
  • Put me in contact (platonic)
  • Indifferent

If you didn’t want to see someone again, you could keep picking projects, without worrying about a run in, but, if you affirmatively wanted to chat with someone (and they did, too), you’d both be able to message each other through the site.  Without double opt-in after working on a project, there would be no messaging at all on the site, and there would be no public profiles to browse.  When you went on the site, you’d be looking for projects, not vetting people.

There’d be plenty of pitfalls (are people actually being useful to the partnering non-profits, etc), but I think this is way closer to the kind of dating site/experience I’d like to have.


So, anyone want to give me a lot of money, time, and coding-fu?



Today, I’m beginning a novena to St. Therese of Lisieux, timed to end on her feast day (Oct 1), which is also the One Rose Invitation Day, sponsored by Imagine Sisters

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