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Inventing a Dating App That Women Will Actually Use (newyorker.com)
51 points by asperry 1549 days ago | hide | past | web | 92 comments | favorite

“On one hand, women are extremely powerful and we’re leading the workforce and climbing to jobs that are simply amazing. But, on the same note, we want to be feminine, we may not necessarily want to be the ones approaching the guys. How does that work? You still want to be the girl at the bar where the guy is the one who comes up to you.”

Well... tough! If you want to be leaders, you have to take responsibility. It's hard to take initiative, it's scary to risk rejection, but someone has to. And if you want equality, that means you gotta step up and do your share of "approaching".

As a woman who is willing to initiate, I find it rarely works. It mostly backfires. Men typically react one of two ways: "Cool! Slut throwing herself at me!" or "OMFG! Stalker!" It almost always goes disastrously. I have been working on figuring out how it works to attract a man and let him initiate. I find it to be rather tricky to navigate.

What natrius said. Not meaning to sound mean here, I applaud your initiative. Really wish more girls had the balls to do the same. And there's probably a difference regarding how forward women and men are perceived (especially in the US, I don't get the same impression in Norway). But do you have any idea how many girls an average guy approaches for every one he actually has a mutual connection and attraction with?

In online dating, where I put in some effort (sending a serious, thought-out message and not just boilerplate) I get a reply to about one out of every five messages I send. The total track record after about a year of effort is one date per 20 women messaged, or something like that. The picture is better when you're meeting people at parties where you already have something in common (one in ten, maybe?) but I'm assuming the bar scene would be somewhere around 1/20 or worse. I'm in my mid twenties.

Let me try to put that another way: I get the distinct impression that many men find it threatening to have the tables turned and struggle to remain in control of a process where they are used to initiating. I have put a lot of thought into how it works to signal receptivity selectively because it really has gone extremely poorly for me to initiate, even though I have a long track record of being heavily sought after by men. I have trouble reconciling the two sets of experiences without viewing it as mostly rooted in biased social expectations about who is allowed to do the asking.

a) Are the men who are "soughing after you" as desirable to you as the ones you are after when you take the initiative?

b) Are you more nervous when you take the initiative yourself?

In most cases, I was pretty sure they were interested before I decided to bring it up. Me initiating caused back pedaling. So the groups have substantial overlap. The problem seems to very much be that I am not supposed to be proactive, etc.

I don't know how to answer that second question. I initiated with my ex husband. We were married more than two decades. But he very likely qualifies for a diagnosis of Asperger's and was often clueless when women flirted with him. More "normal" men seem to be shocked and appalled that I would take an interest in them and express it. As best I can tell, it has nothing to do with me being nervous. As best I can tell, it has to do with being perceived as a dragon lady.

It rarely works for many men, too.

My impression is men get told "no" a lot, not "sure, honey, I would be happy to use you like a kleenex and discard you" or "Stalker!"

But have an upvote, because you are essentially correct.

men have to deal with women who never call back after sex or a lesser hookup either. it happens a lot, men just don't talk about it because it's:

1. seen as unmanly to not have a women want to sleep with you again

2. seen as manly to not want to sleep with her again anyway

for the two somewhat paradoxical reasons above, men just don't talk about it in open conversation very much.

either way though, outside of serious relationships i'd say that 20% of the men are having 80% of the sex. the rest are either pretending or just don't participate in dating/hooking up. this is the cruel reality of modern dating. nobody feels sorry for guys, either, especially not women.

Not entirely true. The tactfulness of response given is really a function of how much of an asshole someone is, rather than their gender.

Both men and women get rejected in polite, and awful ways. It's just life.

I've entered a budding relationship with a pretty neat woman just last week because of her initiative, so I'm glad to report it can happen.

The good news: that approach filters out the men with gender-relations issues sooner rather than later, leaving more time for those few that make it through.

I married a man I initiated a relationship with. But we were good friends in high school and married young. I am curious how old you and your lady are and how you met, if you don't mind sharing.

I'm 29 and she's around 33.

We've worked in the same building for a few years (different employers) but only small-talked on rare occasions until lately.

If I recall correctly, she mentioned taking in a kitten that had wandered into the lobby of our tiny building. I explained that I had let him in, and out of the cold, before that. She suggested drink and we eventually hit the bar and it escalated from there.

Moral of the story: help save every lost kitten that you find.

Thanks. That's helpful information.

Men have a hunting instinct that must be engaged, and if it's not engaged, the courtship software routine just doens't run. Men need to bat their claws at a string.

Have an upvote, if only for being giggle-worthy. I have been trying to mentally model this as "no one should be treated as an object, men don't like it anymore than I do" and looking for a path forward that allows for meaningful negotiation of terms which satisfy both parties. It's been challenging but interesting.

I think that's a laudable goal, but I think the reality is that humans are objects with human firmware. Activate the firmware routines as they were meant to be activated and you're in business. Humans have all kinds of customs modeled to the firmware, (for example, smiling and hugging and tickling) and just because you take advantage of those doesn't necessarily mean you're objectifying.

Women seem to routinely get shorted by the model we have in place currently. I am in search of a path which gives me some means to get my needs adequately met. I am clear I would rather be alone than be in a situation again which benefits a man far more than it does me and at undue expense to me. I don't think you will understand that issue, but that is the issue I am trying to sort out.

Yes, it seems men are so easy nowadays, that women have totally forgotten the ancient arts of seduction.

As far as I know, women seem to simply give up at the first obstacle. However, the numbers game is on women's favor, so it still works very well for them.

Funny, not promptly giving up seems to be the basis of some men viewing me as a stalker. (A reaction I also sometimes get merely for talking to a man, so, no, I don't think I am behaving pathologically.)

I am not convinced it does work well for women, but I imagine this is not the place for a meaningful discussion about that given the amount of dismissal and negativity I am being met with for commenting on my firsthand experiences. (Edit: I don't think it works well for either gender and I don't like the implied framing that this is a men against women thing. It is a situation where "winning" requires cooperation and doesn't really occur unless both a man and a woman "win.")

Thanks, that's a good insight of the other point of view of the issue for me.

Playing the passive role is actually a form of power. Women get to decide who gets to play the dating game and who sits on the sidelines based on whose advances they accept and reject.

I understand that, and it's part of my point. The passive party has much less at risk than the approacher. It's hypocritical to tell men that women are equals and at the same time demand that they consistently take the riskier role.

Perhaps, but this is something that is driven organically by behaviour rather than consciously out of any sense of fairness.

If men simply stopped approaching women, then eventually women would be forced to start taking the initiative (or all die single). At that point roles would be reversed and the expectation would become the other way around.

> If men simply stopped approaching women, then eventually women would be forced to start taking the initiative (or all die single).

True. I feel like this is gradually happening, I know in the US and Japan but probably other developed countries as well. Women predictably are irritated by this trend and you often hear them complaining nastily that men need to do things like "get off the computer", "put down the video games", and "step up their games" (dating wise).

Women do share risk but in a different way -- a woman risks emotional attachment and pregnancy with the guy moving on to another partner

Did you know that men are capable of emotional attachment as well?

As well as being thought of as a slut if she's seen meeting a lot guys (whether concurrently or in a row), like she would need to do to screen who's dating material and who's not.

You can't give your full attention to a man when you're being courted by 20 men every 5 minutes. It's like sending a resume: there's a ton of applicants and you can't interview them all.

This suggests to me that a sensible business model would be for the man to pay to have his profile pitched to a given woman. This would reflect the IRL risk of asking for a date.

Not necessarily. I think there's a better solution for that. You just have to consider what it's like to be the typical woman on a dating website and try to mitigate the problem.

So... my take on this:

How about a group dating website? When you and friends get a date, there's a notification prompting you to set a group date. I think women would be far more likely to meet strangers if they can bring friends along. As a bonus, you'd see what he's like around his friends. And if it turns out he's not exactly your type, maybe one of his friends seems a better fit.

Because she can bring her friends along, she'd be much less hesitant to initiate contact with a stranger and much more likely to meet in person.

And because she won't go alone, she doesn't have to worry that others will think of her as a slut when they see her meeting a lot of men. It will look to others as just a bunch of friends hanging out.

She'll probably still get a ton of messages in her mailbox, but this wouldn't be much of an issue anymore since she's more likely to initiate contact with who she wants.

Would be lots more fun than a plain old date too :)

What do you think? Seems like a win-win to both men and women, regardless of sexual orientation!

Honestly, I can see this making women initiate contact even more than I initially thought when you consider that if a friend got a date, WHOA!, now she wants to find a date too so she can go with her friend! And I can definitely see girlfriends bugging each other to find a date so they don't have to go alone.

Start-up idea, anyone? Do I get a free membership?

That sounds to me like a great idea and an effective way of managing risk. I notice that online speed dating services are available also, which might work as a way of reducing risk further

Though I agree with you that women should take initiative a lot more than they do, I disagree with you that it's because they fear rejection that they currently don't. I'm pretty sure nearly every guy would say "yes" to meeting up, even if she's not the hottest or most awesome woman. Since women rarely reply to messages and even more rarely take the first step, I can see men meeting women who DO message them.

About equality: equalty doesn't mean "all things being the same for both genders". Equality needs be based on each gender's needs. Just like you wouldn't require the same from as a child as you do from an adult (because they are different and have other needs and abilities), there are some things that differ between men and women. Equality should respect that. Equality means being respected by who you are, not by being "the same as a man". Equality doesn't mean "being the same as a man", it means being respected for being a woman.

Take this example: breasts are for feeding children; men don't have breasts; so having "equal rights" in that case doesn't make sense. Rights must be based on each gender's needs, just like disability rights must be based on their needs and abilities, not on "being the same as a able person".

Hope this makes sense, having a difficult time explaining it properly.

That's a neoclassical conception of feminism. The second wave of feminism was all about achieving literal equality - changing society so that women could take on the exact same roles and challenges as men.

I wouldn't say such a conception is inherently problematic, but it certainly raises difficult questions. How can we frame an equality that is based on each gender's needs without importing all the old baggage of gender stereotyping? Who defines each gender's needs -- do we care only about those that are purely biologically, or also those that are deeply embedded in the culture? How do we account for those who don't fit -- either physically or culturally -- into the dominant gender categories? And so on.

Make laws for people. All people. You're making this more complicated than it needs to be :) Take parental leave for example, why must a woman get more time off than a man? They might prefer if the father got the parental leave, or they might want to split the time, or they might both want to do part time. And if a single man has a child? Why shouldn't he get parental leave? There you are, make a law that applies to people, not to genders, but regardless, the law is there for women, who just for being female (generally) are the ones who need this law. And that's what matters. The law is there for them, yet also extends to other people.

But not having parental leave at all would be harmful mostly to the female gender. So because people (excuse me, men) don't need it, a country might not see the need for this law at all, making the situation difficult (primarily) for women.

Frankly, a lot of people see laws as "I don't need it", or "my group doesn't need it", so "I don't want this law to pass". They don't think past that so they don't realize other people might have certain needs.

This seems a bit different than what you posted before. The grandparent post talked about equality meaning different things for different groups based on their needs, now you are saying that the rules should be the same thing for everyone.

Which is it?

No, it's not different.

The issue primarily affects a certain group: women. It became a major issue because women joined the workforce without having their different needs met. Having daddy go to work and having both mommy and daddy go to work are two completely different things.

If women were solely homemakers like the old days, I doubt the issue would ever come up at all. Perhaps if women were still homemakers, but single dads and gay couples became a huge chunk of the workforce.

It doesn't mean that particular law can't benefit other groups too, but it's practically only a issue because women stopped being "just homemakers" (or if you're from my country, "domestic women").

So the group we are talking about here doesn't necessarily have to be women, but historically, that's who it was.

Why must it be "feminism"? Why can't it just be "I'm a person too, so I have rights just like other people do"

I wasn't speaking from a feminist prespective at all, just like advocating for disability laws wouldn't make you a "disabitaist". It would just make you a person who realizes people have different needs.

Equal rights usually means equality under law. For example there not being any laws (such as you might find in strongly muslim countries) which apply to women but not to men.

You're saying that we shouldn't have different laws based on gender so that there is no oppression or disadvantage to one group. But what if by being the same for both genders (or ability, age, etc), the law, or lack of law, is opressive or disadvanteous to some group?

I'm not explicitly saying that, but yes that sounds reasonable.

I can't really think of an example of where it might be oppressive to give both genders the same rights under law.

I can think of an example: Currently, abusive husbands who finally beat their long suffering wife to death do less time on average than abused wives who defend themselves with lethal force. Part of why: He probably killed her in a fit of rage with his bare hands. She typically has to use a weapon and premeditated plan to save her life.

Assuming you have a (equal) right to reasonable self defense under law, you would expect a judge to take into account circumstances which would include things like relative strength of those involved.

For example it would not be seen as reasonable for me to use a brick in self defense against a small unarmed child but it might be if I was attacked by a heavyweight boxer.

It's not something that is limited to gender either, as you could in theory have a weaker man fighting a stronger woman.

The statistics strongly indicate that the outcome is biased in favor of men, against women. The laws and judicial process don't currently do a good job of accounting for very real differences between the sexes here.

I'm not sure that is argument for less equality per se, rather that you think the court should have ruled differently in some cases. Unless you would advocate laws that give women additional rights to use stronger force than men by definition, in which case I would disagree.

As a flipside example everyone has an obligation to pay whatever taxes they owe, that obligation is the same for everyone, in other words it is a criminal offence to avoid paying taxes regardless of whether you are poor or rich. However the amount of tax you have to pay will depend on your income level, as you would not expect a millionaire to pay the same amount of tax as somebody on minimum wage.

I am not arguing anything. Merely supplying an example that fit the parameters you provided. That's all. I am baffled as to why you are trying to turn it into an argument.

Your example doesn't fit the parameters discussed.

I think it does. If you don't think so, move on.

This is the problem I have with feminists, all opinion but not argument. But ok, this topic is dead.

For the record: I do not view myself as a feminist. Nor do I know why you feel some need to label me and clearly hang your personal baggage and judgement on me over this brief exchange.

For some reason "retirement" comes to mind as having a disadvantage when it comes to women who chose to start a family (compared to men who chose to start a family) but I'm young and planning a offbeat retirement plan for myself, so I don't know much on common retirement to elaborate on it.

Women have the flexibility of being shy or proactive. Do men? Not really. Men are the ones pressured to be self-confident, extroverted, and to take risks. Thus, it doesn't seem equal because men have far less choice.

Men have far less choice? Why, because women can do whatever they want and only men are pressured to be a certain way? I think you have a bit of an odd view of the world.

Can you explain a little more why this "odd view of the world" is false?

These things have nothing to do with each other. Women approaching guys or being approached, romantically, has nothing to do with their ability to be leaders in the workforce. Zero. And to take the attitude that they need to "step up" in order to earn equality, is totally wrong. Equality is a legal and ethical thing, it doesn't mean you have to do anything.

The fact is, women like to be approached, much more than they like approaching. It's not even very much a cultural thing as far as I can tell, since it's like that in pretty much every country (there are plenty of exceptions, of course, but I'm talking about in general, overall). It's just how people are.

On the other hand, it can be unfortunate. Take OkCupid -- guys will generally message lots of girls. They have to, because the girls aren't sending many messages. There's no kind of inherent problem there, most girls just want to browse their inbox and occasionally write back to a guy that seems all right.

But when girls complain about how OkCupid "doesn't work", I tell them that's also because they're not being proactive. A guy might browse through 200 profiles in an hour; a girl might get messages from 200 guys over the course of a couple of months (it varies a lot). It's going to take her a lot longer to find the "right" guy. So while there's nothing inherently wrong with women wanting to be approached, at the same time they have to realize that if they want to find the right guy, they're going to have a lot more success if they learn to approach, too. But it's their choice. And it's never something for guys to judge.

"These things have nothing to do with each other."

The entire article is about women getting more control over the dating process. Valerie Brennan was the one who made the link to leadership in the workplace, not me.

I wasn't really making a moral point. Just practically speaking, if women want to expand their pool of potential dates, they have to proactively take control of the process of meeting guys.

Maybe someone should create a dating app where only the women can message the men. Then you would get rid of the deluge of male -> female messages. Wonder how well that would work out in practice.

Apps like this don't have enough engagement. Women, in general, don't actively search & message men on dating sites. Online dating behavior isn't so different from offline courtship, where men tend to be the pursuers.

The article mentions one such app...

Yes, "Check Him Out." The article also mentioned that the app didn't have much of a user base, at least in the author's location (LA.) I'd really love to see women taking the initiative in online dating, but I believe this will require a sociological shift (in how women relate to men online and potentially offline as well.)

Yes sociological changes are probably necessary. I think it's a bit disingenious to discuss the "deluge of messages problem" without taking this into consideration. The "deluge" problem is more or less inherent in the current dating paradigm.

The biggest issue with dating applications/services today is that they are focusing entirely on the wrong thing: matchmaking.

No online service or the algorithms behind it is going to be sufficiently advanced and AI-ified enough to be able to determine whether or not person A and person B would be a good match.

There are too many variables. What even is a good match? Hell, MOST of the time humans get it wrong. How many times have you met someone who fits about 80% of the bill... but you don't find each other funny enough, or attractive enough, or the sex isn't so good. You can't determine ANY of that via an online service.

The real magic is going to happen in the real world. You put people together and see what happens, plain and simple. Dating sites need to stop focusing on match percentages, political affiliation, BMI, hair color, how many keywords match in your bio, etc...

I am an economically conservative person. I did not vote for Obama and do not want him to be our president. On the other hand, I could easily date and get along with a woman who disagrees with me. (most do actually) I tend to prefer brunettes, but I don't really care what color your hair is. If I was locked into some kind of algorithm or search query in a dating app, I might never meet a blonde girl who shared a lot of my common interests. Maybe you're great at writing a witty/funny bio but you're incredibly shy / dry in person. Maybe you look like you're killer in bed, but in actuality you don't even enjoy sex. None of this will come from a dating service. It all comes from meeting people and getting to know them through real life events.

I'd continue and explain what I think is a good solution to this problem but it will be easier for me to just link to the app when it hits the app store in the next week or two :)

> But those same women might tell me of a night they just "went crazy" and slept with some guy they just met. And you know what, everyone does this.

That second sentence is very false, even if you replace "everyone" with "almost everyone". Just 52% of people surveyed by a Durham University study had had a one-night stand (1,743/3300). Furthermore, this sort of behavior is often regretted; of the women who had reported a one-night stand, only 54% said they had positive feeling about the experience.

> Women predominantly reported "regret at being used," with additional comments including: "I felt cheap," "horrified afterward," and "I felt degraded. Made myself look cheap and easy. Total regret."

Popular summary: http://www.livescience.com/2678-realities-night-stands-revea...

Paywalled academic article: http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12110-008-9036-2?L...

(I predict the results will only change moderately if you restrict the sample pool to whatever particular age range you're interested in.)

I think you're incorrectly generalizing from a very non-representative social circle. I know you're just writing off the cuff, but you don't do anyone any favors when you downplay the very real emotional risks people (especially women) take when behaving promiscuously.

I understand what you're saying but at a basic and common human level: we all make choices that we occasionally regret. Sometimes that leads to change, "I'll never do that again", while other times it just makes you look out for that particular scenario while continuing in the same behavior. I've had one night stands I regret purely because of the social stigma against it. Other times I've had mutually good one night stand experiences with people.

In relationships such as these, one person will be coming from a place of higher value and another will be coming from a place of lower value. That isn't to say the woman is always the one coming from a place of lower value.

Thanks for linking to the articles, adding them to my reading list.

> You put people together and see what happens, plain and simple.

IMHO, the whole point of online dating is to be able to avoid having to be put together with someone you know you won't like. We all know what our deal breakers are and all those matchmaking algo's are great at letting us filter out people we aren't going to get along with.

You say you don't care about their politics, so don't filter on that or rate it as important to you; for those who do, they do filter on that and rate it important to them. It's not the algo that determines your match, it's you setting up your preferences and saying what you like and don't like that determine what the aglo says matches.

It honestly sounds to me like you've not actually sufficiently used a dating site well enough to have such a strong opinion given that your complaints seem rather made up. I could be wrong, but that's my impression. I met my current girlfriend on a dating site and all those things are exactly what made it work so well and contributed to finding what is IMHO my perfect match.

Spot on! Computer matching is fundamentally flawed. That's why we are building ElimiDate... Key is to throw people into a pressure-free environment so that they can know each other.

No long-winded profiles,

No browsing through countless fake photos

and no computer "matchin algorithms".

Just fun and chance to be creative :-) If you are interested, take a look and sign up here for beta: http://www.ElimiDateapp.com

There's also the issue that how well you come off on an online dating site is going to be very skewed by 1) How good you are at written english and 2) How good your pictures are.

Agreed. It's always amusing to see those photos where there "trying hard" not to look like they're trying hard to look good.

Without the matchmaking part, and just meeting people through real life events... isn't that the same as regular dating?

As a project last year I wrote a locally-focused dating site with a friend. It has a similar premise to "Check Him Out", mentioned in the article, but we didn't use a shopper/product metaphor, opting instead to be straightforward in emphasizing discreetness for women and ease of use (laziness, effectively) for men.

You can see it at http://www.ladieschoicevictoria.com/

It's been very interesting so far. We've had a strong positive response from two groups of women: young women who have had bad experiences with more open dating sites, and older women who, speaking generally, aren't totally comfortable with online dating and prefer the privacy of having a profile only visible to people you select. We've got a similar ratio to "Check Him Out", about 60% women, and about 1600 users overall.

We haven't made any effort to monetize yet, but it seems clear that the relative success we have had (including being covered in a local paper) is thanks to both the privacy features and the local aspects.

I don't think we've solved the problem, but I do say that the experiment suggests to me that some combination of safe and local is the essential ingredient that the author is looking for.

I've always been interested in those first few days/weeks/months for dating applications. What's it like running a dating site with 30 members?

Obviously locality makes it a lot easier but even then, there had to be a point where you had 5 users and nobody else. How do you get past that?

Building the prototype took two noon-midnight Sundays, and we started promoting it after the second one.

First, I posted the site on a local subreddit, which got us up to about 20 users. We started telling friends and friends-of-friends, and my partner ponied up about $800 to run some radio ads. Fun fact: radio stations will whip up an ad for you as part of their fee. It was pretty fun hearing that on the radio.

After that first hundred users or so, we started sending press releases out to anyone we thought might care. This was much easier being local, and easier still because my wife is a writer with some experience being on the receiving end of PR press releases, and she wrote it up for us.

We were lucky enough to be featured in the local paper of note, got an interview on local radio, and a week later we were up to about 1000 users. The rest we've picked up more or less organically through word-of-mouth and/or google.

Edit: This was back in October. I wrote this mostly about the technical details, but it has some experiential stuff too: http://adambard.com/blog/my-experiences-deploying-a-small-cl...

This can be solved by pre-registrations. I've done this before for two sites - Member of the Tribe and JSpot (both Jewish dating apps - http://JoinJspot.com ) This lets you wait until you have a certain threshold of users before you launch.

Pre-registrations for online dating are different than with other kind of consumer apps. Daters eventually stop being single. So pre-registrations are most useful if they are for a short period of time - no more than, say, eight weeks. This ensures that your profiles are accurate (single people are actually single and will become active users once you launch.)


I think in many cases the women who go for casual hookups with attractive guys are not necessarily looking for casual hookups, what they really want to do is get the guy to date them longer term. It's just that more attractive guys who are used to female attention find it easier to brush women off after they have got what they are after.

Girls who are promiscuous often seem to have an attitude of "If I fuck enough guys, eventually one will marry me".

i'm not really sure the last sentence of yours is correct, and is kind of misogynistic.

the price of admission to be 'considered' by an attractive man is to grab drinks and sleep with him.

the price of admission to be 'considered' by a slightly less attractive but still-qualified man is to go out with him and let him buy you dinner.

women won't even talk to men they don't find attractive, either physically or mentally. it would be like talking to a beggar, or a person who doesn't speak the same language.

very simple really.

Of course women pay attention to looks to, and like you rightly observed, more than men.

Because at the end of the day only UGLY people say

"Beauty is on the Inside."

No one is saying that women don't pay attention to looks. I'm just annoyed at write-ups that make it out like men only judge women by their looks whereas women look for substantial qualities within a man. If anything, women are far more discriminatory on race and physical attributes.

one huge problem (which the article does allude to) is that women simply do not feel as safe as men when interacting and meeting up with a stranger. it has little to do with attitudes to casual sex and everything to do with the relative perceptions of safety.

Agreed. I can't even think of a male-targeting pejorative term that carries anything like the emotional weight of certain words that a disinterested man could wield against a woman when rejecting her advances. That says a lot about the actual differences in power between the sexes.

Not quite sure what you mean. I think the GP is talking about people who meet in real life after connecting through an online dating site.

In such a case there are obvious risks that one takes when meeting someone who is a) a stranger b) very likely significantly physically stronger c) already expressed some level of sexual interest.

yes, that was what i was talking about (phaedra starling's "schrodinger's rapist"[0] is a good if dramatic look at how the landscape is different for women in a way i will probably never fully realise). though the parent has a point too - there is an entire catalogue of abusive terms a man can apply to a woman who has rejected his advances, and the accumulated weight of social convention has given those utterances the power to hurt.

[0] http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-sch...

Creepy = the thought of being associated with this person fills me with disgust.

I understand wanting to bring up that word. Even then, that particular word implies that the person so labeled poses some degree of danger to the labeler.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. When I was going to an Asperger support group a minority of the attendants were creepy; I certainly never felt in any danger from any of them. I imagine the overlap between finding someone creepy and finding them threatening is a lot larger for women.

Creepy is about the danger of a hit in social status from being associated with someone with low status, whether that low status be because of poor social sklills, being ugly or anything else. It's about the possibility of contamination.

> Creepy is about the danger of a hit in social status from being associated with someone with low status, whether that low status be because of poor social sklills, being ugly or anything else. It's about the possibility of contamination.

For men, yes. Dr. NerdLove offers more information on the female experience (http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2012/05/labeling-men-creepy/). To summarize: "78% of the victims of sexual assault or sexual violence are women", so it comes down to perception validated by the statistics.

Even with the above, "creepy" remains a gender-neutral label

Tinder is blowing up right now, and they cornered the coveted attractive 18-29 year old female demographic.

Why are these girls using it? Because other attractive girls are using it. IMO, they used the growth model for social networks (the same that Facebook used:

Get sorority girls as users. In the case of Tinder, some top-tier sororities had rushees use the app and the number & quality of guys who 'liked' you influenced if you got in. Once sorority girls use it, then other high-status girls will use it. Then the guys start using it because the girls are there. Then it's a chain reaction until it circles back to the tech crowd who aren't a part of that culture, at which point tech journalists try and pinpoint why the app was successful and get it wrong because the original users are bored & gone by then.

Rather interesting to me that IAC acquired Tinder.

Author Ann Friedman has a useful insight: "From the Web-based heavy hitters like OkCupid, eHarmony, and Plenty of Fish on down to newer apps like Skout, How About We, and MeetMoi, they’re all developed by men."

The CEOs of every major online dating site are men, with the exclusion of newcomer Coffee Meets Bagel. OkCupid, for example, has about 30 people, and fewer than five team members are women. These women have relatively minor roles in product development.

Women don't like using online dating sites. Female users are harder to sign up, much less engaged than men, quit sites faster, and are less likely to convert to paid memberships. It's worth considering whether this has anything to do with online dating sites being designed primarily by men. Online dating sites monetize via their male users, which perpetuates designing for the male experience.

Here's my stab at designing an online dating app.

People input basic information. Age, sex, location. How far you're willing to travel for a date, how many dates a month you want to go on. That's it. You pay $20 a month for the service and the software pairs you with someone else for a date randomly. No suffering through poorly-written and dishonest profiles and pics. If you don't like the person you're paired with, oh well, you'll have another date next week.

The idea is we are our own worst enemy when it comes to finding mates and to let nature take its course as much as possible.

Works fine for men. I don't know more than one woman who would try this. A woman may not be able to pick the eventual winner, but they have a better chance of avoiding Mr. Creepy. It might work if people are personally interviewed beforehand and weeded out, but I still don't think it has much chance to get traction.

Ask 50 women before you launch. :)

I think it would be very simple to solve the problems indicated in the article. Just charge some amount of money to send a message on the dating site. It would cut down on the total number of messages and people(men) will start self-regulating who they send messages to. If it is free it incentivizes every 'creep' on the planet to spam every remotely attractive woman.

no mention of tinder?

That's a tough one, you can't make the internet not creepy. Facebook is actually the best dating site because it disguises it's purpose (and that was it's original purpose) and even then you'll have better luck standing on a street corner talking to strangers.

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