If One App Could Solve All Our Modern Dating Problems, Here's What It Would Look Like
Online dating can be hellish, which is something every new dating app claims to address. Whether it's Wyldfire, which only lets guys in if they've been invited, or the highly anticipated Bumble, which is like Tinder but gives women the exclusive power to make a move, each shiny new product promises a feature that will do nothing less than "revolutionize" dating in the 21st century.
Alas, we're left submerged in a sea of dating apps, each one throwing us a lifeline that falls short. (Online dating can make you fairly morbid.) If only we could somehow pool together all the half-hearted solutions and finally save ourselves from drowning in the sea of dating app misery.
We're still waiting on IAC (parent company of Tinder, Match.com and OkCupid) to create it. In the meantime, while you're busy getting sucked into the latest Tinder vortex, we've gone and brainstormed all the features of a perfect Super App, many of which already exist on separate apps. Are you listening, developers?
If one app could solve all the worst parts of online dating, it would need to:
1. Filter out lame opening messages.
The feature: A message rater
How it would make dating better: The one-word opener "Hey" or bland comments about the weather just shouldn't be allowed. A system that rates users' messages might be just the trick to upping everyone's game.
Bristlr, which set out to be social network for hot bearded guys (finally!), is actually planning to test this out, developing a way for users to rate the quality of the messages they receive. Those who are consistently rated highly will get a little star or badge on their profile. People who actually know how to converse will finally get their time to shine.
2. Block those copy-pasted messages.
The feature: The spam detector
How it would make dating better: Who hasn't received a boilerplate message and wondered, "Am I the only one who got this, or am I one of many and this is the result of a copy-and-paste madman?" Maybe you've literally seen a friend receive the same message from the same person.
Bristlr is doing something ingenious on this count too. It automatically sends you a notification when a message you've received has also been sent verbatim to multiple others. In having such a feature, daters can finally know for sure whether they're special or not. And isn't that all we really want to feel?
3. Prevent men from overwhelming women with unwanted advances.
The feature: Messaging stalker blocker
How it would make dating better: Far too many sites, OkCupid included, allow men to message whomever they want to the point of barraging. Needless to say, it's not fun and can turn unnerving. Tinder was one of the game-changing apps that prevents people from messaging just anyone, instead limiting message exchanges to those who've already "liked" each other. It doesn't eliminate all of the threats that women get online, but it certainly helps to keep unwanted advances at bay. Why all apps don't have it, we don't know.
4. Make sure there's something else you get judged on besides looks.
The feature: The photo teaser
How it would make dating better: One big problem with online dating is that an overwhelming emphasis is placed on looks — and let's be honest, not everyone is perfectly photogenic. Dating app Talk or Not allows users to reveal their photos piece by piece (like a puzzle!) as the conversation progresses. It's a great feature for those looking for something besides looks.
With a feature that slowly reveals the photos, how we look is put on the back burner, hopefully placing our staggering wit, charm and humor front and center.
5. Weed out the creepers trolling for sex.
The feature: The "right reasons" filter
How it would make dating better: While "dating" apps like Pure are strictly for those looking to get laid, it doesn't keep them there, locked away in one app. No, those people like to wander. And they'll wander right onto sites meant more for actual dating. A feature that would prominently note that the user in question is looking for a relationship versus strictly hoping to score could prevent misunderstandings early on. (OkCupid sort of does this, but it's far from being the most important category your matches are filtered by.)
Of course, some people are looking for multiple things on one app, which is fine. But if those trolling would-be daters for sex could have, say, a flashing condom in the corner of their profiles, that would be excellent. Then you can move on and find someone who's there for the right reasons, as the Bachelor would say.
6. Send you matches directly so you don't waste hours swiping though terrible profiles.
The feature: The date-a-day
How it would make dating better: Coffee Meets Bagel is getting this done right. Instead of spending every hour that you're not at work or sleeping scanning the millions of people in the online ether, a feature that would send you a match on a daily basis could really give us our lives back.
7. Keep your profile hidden from people you really, really don't want seeing it.
The app feature: The ex/co-worker blocker
How it would make dating better: There you are, phone in hand, looking for love. And then your boss's face pops up.
The League, started by a former Google employee and Stanford grad, allows users to sync LinkedIn with the app so that they don't have to worry about ever seeing a co-worker on there, and vice-versa. If the League can do that for business relations, then a feature that would block exes should be a must too.
8. Zero in on awesome people who share your hyper-specific interests — like binge-watching.
The app feature: The ultimate compatibility matcher
How it makes dating better: Listen, we are living in the age of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and thousands of cable channels. From the Game of Thrones obsessives to the Transparent evangelists, we wear our favorite shows like badges of pride — and there's no such a thing as the "guilty pleasure." The same goes for music (all unapologetic One Direction fans, raise your hands) and food (Taco Bell, anyone?).
An ideal dating app could harness the technology of products like the (very real) Tastebuds, which links people with similar tastes in music, and the (very fake) Watchr, which theoretically matches people based on their TV binge-watching habits. Add art and food preferences to the mix, and we could really have something.
9. Literally arrange your dates for you.
The app feature: A date scheduler
How it makes dating better: You can have all the witty banter and solid opening conversation in the world, but it still doesn't always lead to an actual, in-person date. Finding an open window of time, picking a place and actually getting up the energy to go see this person IRL sometimes seems like an impossible feat.
An app like Dapper saves you the effort by coordinating when you and your "match" are both free, and then it sets up the date for you. If only it could get you out of sweatpants and transport to the actual restaurant too, right?