Disrupter new dating app? Bar

After writing a book about the demise of dating at the hands of technology, I never would have dreamed that I would see the singles bar return. They had their heyday in the 1970s as the setting for the sexual revolution, attracting a female clientele with piña coladas, Bahama Mamas and wine. It wasn’t the internet, or even the dreaded pick-up lines, that led to their decline; They were plagued by a bad reputation with the rise of cocaine use in the 1980s, before being crushed by the fear of Aids. (Gay bars continue to play an important role in the LGBTQ community, though many have sadly closed in the last decade.)

Today, most single intercourse is not so much a union. The craziest event I’ve attended (and with stiff competition for that title) was silent speed dating, touted as making eye contact as a quick way to achieve success. intimate. I can’t say which is more awkward, a gazing contest with strangers or an icebreaker (living room games like musical chairs), but when the MC of our evening shouted, “Let’s ice across the room if you’re wearing your favorite panties!” I should have retreated in a hurry.

But it looks like the singles bar is back up and running: from Brixton to Brooklyn, twenties and thirties are lining up around the block to attend weekly singles events at the venues. cocktail bar. Meetings aimed at people fed up of fruitless scrolling through dating apps and going nowhere; but, perhaps inevitably, they were organized through a dating app that, Thursday, promotes face-to-face meetings. After making “match, chat and meet” on the app more efficient by limiting user access to one day a week, it launched real-life events in several cities. streets of Great Britain and New York; The company plans to expand to 20 US cities.

The Thursday greeting is old fashioned: “Just a bar. Like any other bar,” said one person reading an invitation to a drink party in Notting Hill. What’s remarkable about its popularity (the app had almost 86,000 downloads last month) is that the bars have been there all along; All that singles lack is the courage to talk.

After starting dating in London, it didn’t take long to learn that Britons require large amounts of alcohol to make it happen. In our continuing quest for frictionless existence, dating apps have evolved in part to minimize the risk of rejection: Tinder’s paradigm-shifting feature is “double opt-in” “, which only allows users to message when both parties have shown their interest by swiping right.

But while technologies appear to solve a problem (i.e. find people so far), they always create new ones one after another (having to get out of the chair to meet them). Thanks to the dark art of addictive design, with a dopamine hit of a ding when you match, the majority of matches remain fruitless, with a little less than half “this” trade-in. A study by the Center for Humane Technology showed that Tinder and Grindr both are in the top 10 apps that make people upset, with more than half of the users being unsatisfied by swiping.

Like so many aspects of our lives, the pandemic has only pushed data workers deeper into dependence on technology. Dating app traffic skyrocketed during the lockdown, ushering in a new era of video dating as opportunities to meet people offline dwindle. While many users say they will continue to use video as a way to check people out, in my humble opinion, sharing a glass of wine online really does little to recommend it.

Despite having a good mathematical mind at mining user data, the algorithms were unable to crack the compatible code. Dating apps exaggerate the importance of looks, which turns out to be less important than we thought. If you put the people I have the best relationships with in one app, I’ll probably swipe left on most of them. Face-to-face flirting offers a much deeper arsenal of tools than texting, including that elusive body language, tone of voice, and chemistry. In a study of singles pulling in a bar, researchers observed 109 distinct “attraction tactics” – from tossing hair and puffing up breasts to “sexily sucking on a straw.” .

There is a certain irony that the return to the same format of catching the eye through a bar, fueled by alcohol to courageously start a conversation, is gaining through. . . an application. Do we need more technology to solve the problems caused by technology? And why not just hit the local pub any old night of the week?

For an unadvertised cohort at risk of rejection and interested in consent after #MeToo, the big advantage of singles-only events is knowing that people are available and open-minded. open to be accessed. Part of Thursday’s appeal could also be for safety: membership relies on uploading proof of identity, to reduce fishing.

We may think that smartphones simplify our lives, but for many people, apps don’t optimize the path to intimacy. As some companies ramp up their multiverse scaling, combining TikTok-like clips and “shared digital experiences,” there’s something exciting about the idea that Gens Y and Z can find their way to each other. And for that, a tip from Jean Smith, a social anthropologist with whom I was fortunate enough to take a “fearless flirting” course before she turned professional. Smith warns you not to waste time considering the pick-up line: if someone is interested, they’ll never remember how you started the conversation. After all, a simple “Hi, how’s it going” has spread the species through the ages.

Mia Levitin is a literary and cultural critic. She is the author of ‘Future of Seduction’

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