Dating App Hopes to Weed out the Creeps by Going Invite-Only for Men


If you’ve spent more than 15 minutes on OK Cupid, you’ve probably got a story about the man who sent unsolicited dick pics, requested foot photos out of nowhere, turned angry when rejected or otherwise behaved like a goblin. And that’s not even accounting for the dudes just looking for NSA action.

Well, techies are at least maybe trying to address these perennial complaints. Tinder doesn’t allow chatting until both parties have expressed interest; Hinge matches friends of Facebook friends. Now, Business Insider reports, an app called Wyldfire is jumping into the fray with a wholly different approach: Only approved dudes are allowed in.

Founders Brian Freeman and Andrew White say they were inspired by their own online dating woes. Basically, they felt tainted by association (#NotAllMen):

“[Women are] anticipating that we’re going to send a creepy message and then we have to work backwards from that,” Freeman told Business Insider. “And we could do better by starting from zero rather than negative.”
Freeman and White started talking to their female friends who told them that dating apps made them feel like “a piece of meat” and that all the guys they met were “a** holes.”

To their credit, rather than whine about being decent dudes, the pair decided to build a dating service that would address these concerns. Women who want to sign up have to invite an eligible, non-shitty guy friend. Men cannot join without an invite from a woman. Dudes don’t have free reign once they make it into the service, either: Flagging a user immediately locks their account, pending further investigation.

Of course, the flip side of more screening is fewer people, and sometimes dating is a numbers game as much as anything else.

But the bigger problem is that one woman’s idea of “dateable” is another’s idea of “can you believe this fucking prick?” I bet that mass-texting Tinder bro has at least one female friend who’d be willing to vouch for him (as long as she doesn’t have to date him herself, or set him up with an IRL friend). Hell, even the guys who send lewd, disgusting shit probably have some unsuspecting woman in their lives who doesn’t know.

It’s just really hard to believe there’s any magic bullet that’ll make women feel totally comfortable online. The Cut ran the idea past the creator of lesbian dating app Dattch, and she doesn’t think there’s one ta-da! factor: “I mean, there’s not just one thing that you can say, That’s the thing! This is what works well for women.” The skittishness isn’t even necessarily about the creepy messages; it’s part and parcel of larger concerns about safety.

Then again: Anything that culls some of creeps and the jerks probably has a shot.

Photo via Bevan Goldswain/Shutterstock.

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