In May, she ran Propel, a weeklong, application-only “boot camp” for 128 people that cost $480 a person, and she is preparing to launch another larger, longer dating class in the fall. Sometimes, she does quicker hits; in 2021, she offered one-on-one, 90-minute “decision-making conversations.” People called her to ask if they should propose, if a boyfriend’s sex drive would ever come back, if there was an acceptable way to end a relationship over a partner’s mental health issues. She also does some pro bono coaching, usually on a weekly basis.
Kimberly Baudhuin, 26, who left a consulting job at Bain to become Ms. Ury’s full-time assistant, said in a phone interview that before she met Ms. Ury, she felt frustrated by the swarm of podcasters and influencers and TikTokers claiming to hold the secret to modern dating. With Ms. Ury, she said, “It’s tactical. It’s step by step.”
Ms. Ury told me about a client who went on a deluge of first dates without making it to a second date. His sense of humor wasn’t coming across to the women he went out with, so she helped him rehearse a story about the summer he spent in college working in a hot dog truck. “It’s not like I’m telling him to lie about his height, lie about his age,” she said.
She consistently refers to her gift for “pattern recognition,” the ability to see and synthesize the ruts in someone’s dating history. To that end, she asks her clients to complete “relationship audits,” itemizing whom they’ve dated, how they met each person and why their relationships ended, for Ms. Ury to assess. One 35-year-old woman who took Ms. Ury’s class last year said that the exercise took her six hours. Ms. Ury’s comments pointed out that she tended to date people with “big personalities.”
“I’m not presenting myself as a guru,” Ms. Ury said. “I tell people: I will create a system that helps you tackle your blind spots and change your decisions.”
We had been talking in the Blueberry, a purple building that houses Radish’s kitchen, and Ms. Ury was getting antsy. We went for a walk; she took me on a loop through Oakland streets studded with crop-share signs, while cradling a mug of black coffee emblazoned with the words “INTENTIONALLY EVER AFTER.” Her Crocs spat out little squelching sounds against the sidewalk.
I asked if she was surprised by how much effort her clients spent shaping their stories and jokes, their jobs and their childhoods and their exes, into palatable packages. She laughed.
“Dating is an acute problem,” she said. “If you’re single and you want to find somebody, you’ll do a lot to fix it.”