We have to admit, when The Lek first contacted us to let us know about their new online dating networking website, we thought – "The LEK ? Is there a new STD making the rounds?" It certainly made us go right to their website to answer the question "WTF is a Lek?!" A Lek is "a place where animals gather for courtship behavior." So…it’s like Hinano ?
All sarcasm aside, it’s actually a really cool idea and it’s not just for singles. "The LEK is a Los Angeles dating site that connects you with other singles in LA based on the places you like to go and the things you like to do. List your favorite restaurants, bars, clubs, events and activities in LA and find other singles who like to do the same things and go to the same places." So, no silly personality questionnaires or photos from the "skinny years" of long ago. And you can easily find people who like to stay west of the 405 (or Lincoln for some people who shall remain nameless).
We met with co-founder Chandos Erwin at their office on Abbot Kinney, and we found the whole concept to be really interesting. It’s so simple: You list your favorite "Leks". (Hal’s , Lilly’s , The Otheroom ) Then you get to see who else likes your Leks, read & submit reviews of Leks, sign up for events at the Leks, etc. "A user-generated city guide to dating" as Chandos explained. We lek it already.
In addition to single people looking for dates – anyone can join and create a "tribe" of friends. You can let your tribe know if you are going to enjoy a happy hour at Canal Club , going rollerblading, grabbing a coffee at Abbot’s Habit – whatever you’re up to. Contacting your tribe is free. To contact a member you don’t know, it’s 99cents. And a percentage gets donated to a charity. Heal the Bay and Wheels for Humanity are two of the charities they are working with. Another important thing to note: if you sign up and choose "nested" instead of "looking", your profile will not come up in searches. So if you’re not single, you won’t get bombarded with messages from strangers. (Unless you want to.)
They host events to bring together people who like the same Leks. These events are limited to a small group – more intimate than a large crowd but less awkward than a 1-on-1 date. Their next event, btw: On September 17th, they are doing a breakfast cereal blind taste-test at Flake on Rose. They have plans to arrange surfing lessons, bring groups to plays, wine tastings and other fun Lekky get-togethers.