Despite our commitment to baseline feminist ideals, most of us don’t like to be relationship aggressors. We prefer to meet someone in person, not just browse pics of his pecs. We respond to emotional cues and pheromones and all sorts of subtle factors. But what if that isn’t entirely true? What if women are just as open to spontaneously meeting a man for a drink—and maybe more? After all, in a survey of a hundred thousand OkCupid users, over half the women said they’ve had casual sex. Women may initiate contact less frequently, but they are comfortable reaching out first if they see a profile that appeals to them. Maybe the real failure is that no one has built an app that women want to use.
But after test-driving Check Him Out, an app designed through female focus groups, she was left cold:
Only women can initiate contact, though men can “favorite” profiles. Rolland says that fifty-nine per cent of their users are women, and I decided to join their ranks to “shop” for myself. The site suggested I check out “products” as far away as Vancouver. (I live in Los Angeles.) Not a sign of a very robust user base. I didn’t see a single man I’d be interested in messaging. Plus the whole shopper-product dynamic made me feel gross.
Friedman also tested a beta version of Three Day Rule. Rebecca Greenfield notes the recent praise of yet another app designed by women for women, Tinder, which tries to nail the balance between verifying authenticity and respecting privacy:
The app only lets people who have mutually liked each other (based mostly on their photo) message each other. Meaning: “No more OkCupid troll sending you message after message promising dick pics if you give him your phone number,” as NYU Local’s Caroline Hayes and Chelsea Beeler put it. In fact, the photos it chooses to show come up in a more controlled way because of its relationship to Facebook. In addition to location, shared interests, friends, and other Facebook things are what determine who you see.