-- Ren You is a 29-year-old with a Harvard MBA and a job at a private equity firm. He is also someone who does not like to be inefficient and does not want to miss out on opportunities. Those two character traits led You to develop a novel way to find love.
The Birmingham, Alabama, resident is offering $10,000 to anyone who can find him a girlfriend of six months or more. He is accepting applications now on his website, DateRen.com.
“I’ve done dating websites and I’ve met people through friends,” You told ABC News. “I’m sure if I stuck with those ways that, down the road a few years, maybe I’d find someone, but that seems very time consuming and not efficient.”
“I don’t know if this is an improvement,” he said of DateRen.com. “But it’s something new so I thought I’d give it a shot.”
Ren says he is consumed by 12-hour days at work, leaving little time for dating and even less time for fun and relaxation, “the bottom tier items” that “usually get cut.”
“Look at it this way: if you work 12 hours/day, how would you want to spend the few waking hours you have left?,” You explains on DateRen.com. “Probably not standing around in a bar with your fingers crossed. This is way more fun for me.”
You says his own mom is supportive of his unique approach to love, as is his dad.
“They’re’ a little bit a-typical as far as Chinese parents go,” he said. "They’re relatively hands-off and no pressure to get married. Whatever I’m doing is of my own volition.”
You also ran the idea by his coworkers and his bosses before putting himself in the spotlight.
“They’re pretty open-minded and they thought it was hilarious and a creative idea,” he said. “So when this surprisingly got picked up and got back to them, it wasn’t a shock.”
You had been replying to each submission individually because he knows, “how crappy it feels to not get a reply on a dating website,” but now is weeding through to reply yes or no to the most thoughtfully-written messages, and may hire an intern to sort through them all.
The replies so far are about half from women nominating themselves, and half from friends, or moms, recommending someone. To You’s surprise, many of the entries have said they would not take the $10,000 should their nominee find love with You.
“They’ll say, ‘I just want this person to meet a good guy…I don’t care about the reward,’” You said. “I’m happy to pay if it works out because it’s a small amount of money for a big reward, but if someone preemptively says no, then it gives me some comfort that they just think I’m a pretty good dude.”
“The $10,000 offer made me come off rich but my family is very middle-class,” he added. “I did a lot of stuff for my parents after I graduated, of transferring their credit card debt, helping pay off loans, buying them a house…they know I have things under control. “
Instead of listing his most desirable qualities or what he wants in a woman, You says he just wants everyone to know he is a very normal guy who has taken an abnormal approach to hopefully finding love.
You also has an answer for those wondering if he could be defrauded by a girl who breaks up with him the day after their six-month anniversary.
“I think given the six months, I’ll be able to tell if you’re a fraud because that’s a long time to be my girlfriend and spend time with me,” You said. "If two people are going to split the $10,000 and one work basically to spend time with me, it’s a lot of time over six months.”