If there's one thing we've learned from this whole #StarbucksDrakeHands ordeal, it's that people on the search for love respond very positively to selfie videos. From such sentiments was birthed Charm, the mutant offspring of the dating app Tinder and the video-sharing app Vine. I know, I know; we are all thinking it: thank goddess someone has FINALLY thought to combine the stressful and awkward prospect of making an online dating profile with the potentially humiliating narcissism inherent in videotaping one's own face!
Here's how Charm works: like Tinder, it syncs with your Facebook (side note: mine just ASSUMED that I'm heterosexual — my Facebook doesn't specify that — which is fucked up. People of all sexual orientations should be free to humiliate themselves on the unending quest for love). Like Vine, it allows you to upload short video clips — on Charm, the clips can be anywhere from 3 to 10 seconds. Like Tinder, you judge your potential lovers based on a small amount of information provided, and, if you both choose each other, you'll be matched up. Unlike Tinder, going through the small amount of information provided is abjectly cringe-worthy.
Geoff Cook, the CEO of the company responsible for this abomination, says that the intent is to "encourage authentic exchanges between people." Says Catherine Cook, the vice president of brand strategy, "People have shown some real talent. One girl in D.C. posted a video of herself playing the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ soundtrack. There were definitely some funnier ones too, like a guy pretending to be smooth then falling over."
If those videos sound terrible, that's because they are. Trying to make yourself seem charming and appealing in a very self-conscious 3 - 10 second long short film is a daunting task. Is it possible? Maybe. Have I seen it done? No, I have not. I downloaded the app myself, and this is what I encountered:
- A shirtless man reclining while kind of half-heartedly waving and being unsure of when, exactly, he should stop recording his face and torso.
- A vast pink abyss (the inside of a Charm user's rectum??).
- Three separate men requesting that the viewer "Hit them up."
- An affable guy in a polo shirt looking serious, then smiling suddenly. It made a loud saliva-sound when he smiled.
- Someone who looked EXACTLY like a young Ross Geller StarbucksDrakeHands'ing.
- A horrible person making a joke about "Jamie Lee Coitus" and then letting out a low, self-satisfied chuckle.
- Someone very seductively intoning, "I'm sleepy" while gazing into the distance.
People mostly like Vine because it allows them to watch videos of people Twerking into swimming pools or of babies/dogs or of Riff Raff the rapper. It doesn't map well onto online dating because it doesn't do enough to camouflage all the effort that goes into crafting one's Online Dating Image. Shooting a Charm profile video seems even scarier and harder and more vulnerable than recording one's own voicemail message (IT TAKES ME AT LEAST 15 TRIES EACH TIME).
But I guess some people are into it — according to ABC News, tens of thousands of people have downloaded it since it came out on Tuesday.