We mocked the New York Times for proclaiming that courtship is dead because straight millennial men are only interested in hooking up. (And eating mac and cheese. Mmm.) But today, thanks to OKCupid's new standalone "Crazy Blind Date" app, we feel a little differently. Maybe love really is obsolete?
The premise of what the free online dating service refers to as a "Stranger-Arranger App" isn't completely ridiculous. Let's say you're sick of messaging back and forth with prospective dates about Homeland until someone can't think of another witty Claire Danes reference and the conversation peters out. You're a busy woman, and you want to meet in person! Fair enough. According to a press release:
Going on a Crazy Blind Date takes less than a minute of work:
1. Download the Crazy Blind Date app for iPhone or Android.
2. Choose which nights this week you want to go on dates.
3. Pick your favorite bar or coffee shop.
4. Go on with your day; Crazy Blind Date does the rest.
"Crazy Blind Date" (sidenote: this is the lamest name in the history of schlockiness; it should at least be called "CrAaAaAzY Blind Date" so it sounds even more like a MTV reality dating show) will then find you a compatible date, send a confirmation to both parties, and, one hour before the scheduled date, open up an anonymous IM window so you can find each other.
The most unsettling feature of the app happens post-date:
After the date ends, Crazy Blind Date prompts users to give feedback on the date. If the daters had a good time, they are offered the opportunity to vouch for their date's awesomeness by purchasing Crazy Blind Date credits, called "Kudos," on their date's behalf, thus incentivizing everyone to be on his or her best behavior. The more Kudos daters collect from the people they've gone on dates with in the past, the higher priority they have in being assigned to future dates.
"Never before has a dating app allowed singles to pay on a per-date basis, and to vary that payment based on the quality of the date itself," continued [Sam Yagan, Co-Founder of OkCupid,]. "One of the best parts of Crazy Blind Date will be following along with our users' experiences; after all, even a bad date can be a great story."
Gary Shteyngart, are you fucking with us?
What's the point of this app? To forge a connection, or to gamify the dating process? It's not as if everyone has to be on the constant lookout for a soulmate; some people are into dating for dating's sake, to meet and bone new people and that's all fine and good. But "Crazy Blind Date" goes beyond dating for dating's sake; it's dating for the sake of your ego. Call me old fashioned, but when I go on a date, my goal is to actually enjoy the person's company, not use them so strangers on the internet will think I'm a hot commodity. Who has time to go on dates solely so they'll be "ranked" higher so they can go on more dates with people might rank them even higher so they can go on more dates with strangers who... etc.? Sociopaths?
My feelings on blind dates (and most aspects of dating in general) can be summed up by Larry David: "A date is an experience you have with another person that makes you appreciate being alone." Cynical? Perhaps. If this concept doesn't make you depressed/terrified (you've clearly never read Super Sad True Love Story), by all means try it out (on iPhone and Android phones today)...and let us know how it goes.