There’s a new dating app in the Twin Cities.
It’s called the Lodge Social Club, a recently launched private, membership-based dating app with pop-up events. Created by Kailen Rosenberg, an elite matchmaker and founder of the Love Architects in Minneapolis, the app aims to address the rampant inauthenticity in dating apps and sites. It does that through layers of vetting processes that examine everything from the psychological to the criminal.
“My goal is to literally clean up the dating world, both on and offline,” Rosenberg says, “to create a community that is online of singles where single people no longer have to say, ‘All the good ones are taken.’”
The app, which had been in beta since March, has over 1,000 vetted members nationwide with 6,000 more currently in the vetting process.
The first vetting procedure is called "The Real Reveal," an 86-question survey that tells you what kind of mate you are: an Ego Mate (sociopathic narcissists, raise your hands), a Soul Mate (that passionate person with whom you have crazy good sex and feel drunk-in-love but who also triggers you), or a Life Mate (that rare, unconditionally loving partner). An algorithm uses your Real Reveal results to match you with your healthiest mate who is at your same level of relationship readiness.
The next stage of vetting checks members’ backgrounds for criminal activity and identity theft. Rosenberg recently put two male applicants through the vetting process with surprising results. Both were handsome, successful, and seemingly legit on paper, but were found to be a three-time convicted felon and a fraud who bilked women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, respectively.
Vetting certainly has value in the online dating world, which is known to be polluted with real douchebags and duds, not to mention fake ones (Quartz recently reported on the phenomenon of Virtual Dating Assistants). But that sense of security is going to cost you.
The Lodge Social Club offers four membership levels. The bronze level, for $35 monthly, includes the Real Reveal but your profile will show that you’re unvetted. The gold level, at $100 annually plus $60 monthly, includes psychological and criminal vetting as well as pop-up experiences (more on that later). The platinum and black are VIP levels which will set you back over $10K and $25K annually, but they come with your own “personal love designer” who will interview you via Facetime or Skype, go over your Real Reveal results with you, provide coaching and feedback, and select matches for you. The VIP levels also include excursions.
You might get a more pristine dating pool at the Lodge Social Club, but as anyone who’s online dated knows, just because someone is verifiably unmarried, has a clean record, answers a personality quiz appropriately, and has a solid financial background doesn’t mean they aren’t an asshole, insufferably boring, or lack the pheromones to drive you wild.
Perhaps that’s where the pop-up events and excursions come in. The Lodge Social Club’s space at the Calhoun Beach Club seats about 45 people; by the end of June they’ll be able to accommodate up to 100. Gold-, platinum-, and black-level members can partake in the live version of Rosenberg’s podcast, The Love Happy Hour, with a cocktail hour; a monthly boot camp hosted by her son; and to-be-determined activities like wine and tequila tastings.
VIP members can partake in excursions like a Broadway-themed trip to New York City or an annual gala that donates proceeds to charity.
“It’s not just providing a space that’s safe and nurturing – although that’s what it is – and it’s not just providing a space that’s fun and where they can meet each other face to face. It’s really creating a movement of awakening and awareness so that we can have the love we deserve as individuals and eventually as a society,” Rosenberg says.
Both the app and the pop-ups are LGBTQ+ friendly, but if you’re of the non-monogamous or polyamorous ilk, you’re out of luck. There isn’t a drop-down box for “in an open relationship” in the Lodge Social Club’s profile settings.
Speaking of that profile, it’s lengthy. Like many dating sites, it requires information on your faith, income, occupation, pet-owning status, and political affiliation as well as your requirements for your potential mate’s height, body shape, hair color, ethnicity, marital status, and parental situation. The Real Reveal takes about 20 minutes to complete, and ranges from kooky to superficial to occasionally insightful:
Do you fly coach, first class, or private?
What kind of car would you most like to drive?
If you had to choose between opera or country music, which would you choose?
What drug do you use to cope with stress?
Have you ever been abused?
What was your parent’s relationship like?
How have you left previous relationships?
If you’re not a fan of the “this feels like a chore” online dating format, the Lodge Social Club might drive you to drown your frustration at the nearest singles bar. There, at least, you’ll know immediately if you have chemistry with someone.
But you don’t necessarily know with whom you’re flirting. “You only know what they look like and what they tell you and what they want you to know,” Rosenberg says. “It’s scary.”
The Lodge Social Club app does suffer from a technical glitch or two, but Rosenberg says those will be worked out. The main complaint of beta testers is that there aren’t enough members yet. To that, Rosenberg says, “We are only populating with real people. We’re doing it organically. It’s taking time to populate.”
She compares the app to an amazing party and the beta testers as the first people to arrive. “If you leave, it’s like the second you leave, your person could’ve walked through that door – and eventually will. So hang tight,” she says. “Everything we’re doing is about a love movement. It really is. It’s like, enough with the pain and the crap.”
There’s an online dater or two out there who’d say “amen” to that.