Some people say “love doesn’t cost a thing.” But for one Alabama man, love has a specific price: $10,000. Ren Lu You is taking an unconventional route in his search for true love by offering a cash payout to someone who can find him a girlfriend.
The 29-year-old, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, works 12 hours a day as an associate at a private equity firm, so time for dating is in short supply. He’s tried more conventional routes to meet his match, including going on blind dates set up by friends and using dating apps such as Tinder, but he hasn’t found the special lady he’s looking for yet. After a year looking for love in Birmingham, during which he went on “some interesting, some dull and a few utterly bizarre” dates, he decided to step up his search for love.
So he opened his own dating website. The homepage says “I’m single. Let’s change that.”
Play Matchmaker for This Guy
The premise is simple: Find You a woman he dates for six months and he’ll pay you a $10,000 finder’s fee. The one stipulation is you can’t nominate yourself. (Wouldn’t that be an awkward conversation? “Honey, it’s our six-month anniversary. Where’s my ten grand?”)
You grew up in the suburbs of D.C. and moved to Birmingham after he graduated from Harvard Business School. His website says that he’s looking for an active, intellectually curious woman who loves the idea of takeout and a movie for a date night. She should be interested in learning new board games and like learning random things on Wikipedia. He also wants a woman who will enjoy thinking about “ridiculous hypotheticals.”
You lists his vitals on the site; he stands 5’9”, weighs 155 pounds, and is a Myers-Briggs ENTJ. He doesn’t have any kids or pets, doesn’t smoke and isn’t religious. But he is a big movie fan and says he enjoys “going on strange new adventures” in addition to playing tennis and board games and going for hikes. Some of his favorite TV shows and movies include Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Silicon Valley, Memento, Wedding Crashers and Wall-E.
His site also includes a few “obligatory photos of me to reassure you that I’m not a Nigerian prince, strong AI or two midgets in a trenchcoat.” The photos depict him playing cornhole shirtless next to a white car, standing on a lake trampoline shirtless, and a few snaps with friends (wearing a shirt).
How It’s Working for Him
While You originally started the website to save him time and help him streamline the process of finding true love, the deluge of responses he’s received so far will no doubt take up quite a bit of his time. He’s already received thousands of submissions, some coming from as far away as Indonesia and Singapore, reports The Washington Post. He even stayed up one night until 4 a.m. sorting through submissions.
Half the replies are from women nominating themselves, so they can’t even cash in on the $10,000 prize. This means You might find true love without paying a penny.
However, even if he doesn’t end up paying out a finder’s fee, You will likely have to pay for a few dates with his potential sweethearts. And anyone who is planning on going on lots of dates can certainly benefit from a few creative ideas for romantic but affordable date nights.
Nominate You’s Next Girlfriend
If you know the perfect girl for You, just go to his website and fill out the form with some information about the potentially lucky lady as well as a photo or two of her. Presumably, if You is interested, he’ll be in touch to set up a rendezvous — though with the thousands of entries he’s received, it may be a while before she hears from him.
Then, six months down the road, if your matchmaking skills are up to par, you can cash in and collect your $10,000. That’s assuming you haven’t nominated yourself, of course, but if you find the man of your dreams, isn’t that prize enough?
Your Turn: What do you think of this strategy? Would you play matchmaker for a friend — or try this method yourself?
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.