Have you ever peered through a crowd of potential mates and wondered which would go camping with you?
Which would tolerate cold, heat, mosquitoes, and bagels for lunch every day long enough to trek through the backcountry for a week with you? Which would still think that you’re beautiful with greasy hair, hairy legs, and last night’s risotto still stuck to your face? The often grueling search for this type of potential mate/potential date may soon become easier, with the help of Colorado-based dating website and soon-to-be app LuvByrd.
LuvByrd is specifically for outdoorsy people. It lets you search matches based on specific outdoor interests (a long list that ranges from skiing, to road cycling, to beach volleyball, to birding) and skill level, because merely recognizing a painted bunting is a world away from having two day’s worth of bird call recordings stored in your music collection. Though LuvByrd is available to everyone, for now, the expectation is that you’ll meet with your match in Colorado. Plans are in the works to expand to other western states as well.
The creator is Mike Keshian, 29-year-old of Denver, Colorado. He drives for Lyft and Uber at night. He worked as a commercial fisherman on ocean-faring boats in Alaska for 6 years. He met his current girlfriend, Kelly, through the site. He thinks she looks her very best with dirt all over her face.
I talked with Keshian recently about dating through the internet and dating outdoors. Keshian said that since asking all of his friends to sign up for LuvByrd, he’s realized that there’s still a lot of hesitation surrounding internet dating.
“No one wants to look like they’re actively searching for someone,” Keshian, said. Even friends who he knew were single and lonely declined using LuvByrd, because “there’s a lot of vulnerability that goes into posting a profile on a dating site.”
But if you ever wanted to find a potential love interest via the internet, and then drop the computer, the phone, and the awkward initial flirtatious messages as soon as possible, then LuvByrd might just be for you. The assumption behind LuvByrd, Keshian explained to me, is that even if the initial date happens at a city cafe, eventually, if all goes well, the two of you will end up outside, enjoying an outdoor sport that you both love, together.
Just to be clear — neither LuvByrd nor Keshian encourages or condones weeklong backpacking trips as first dates. You want to trust your match enough to know that they’re not a serial killer and then some, Keshian said.