Do You Want to Read About Your Dates In Advance? What If They Read About You?

Do You Want to Read About Your Dates In Advance? What If They Read About You?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could read up on the new guy you’ve been writing to online BEFORE you met him? Right now, you can go to Facebook or Google to gather as much information about him as possible, but wouldn’t it be more telling to hear what other women have to say about him?

People have been trying to crack this idea for years. E Jean Carroll and Cande Carroll started for ex-girlfriends to post dating profiles about their nice, but incompatible ex’s. Stephany Alexander started WomanSavers, creating even more paranoia about the perils of cheating men. Don’tDateHimGirl pretty much did what its URL suggested.

I believe in leading with trust instead of fear, and dating the way people dated years ago, with a slower courtship that reveals information organically over time.

While all of these sites served a purpose, none of them caught fire. But then again, none of them came with their own app. Enter Lulu, a new, free, female-friendly social networking app that lets women anonymously review men who are their Facebook friends.

“On Lulu, women can rate men in categories – ex-boyfriend, crush, together, hooked-up, friend or relative – with a multiple-choice quiz. Women, their gender verified by their Facebook logins, add pink hashtags to a man’s profile ranging from the good (#KinkyInTheRightWays) to the bad (#NeverSleepsOver) to the ugly (#PornEducated). The hashtags are used to calculate a score generated by Lulu, ranging from 1 to 10, that appears under the man’s profile picture. (The company’s spokeswoman declined to explain the ratings algorithm.) Men can add hashtags, which appear in blue, but these are not factored into their overall score.”

This is a clever and catchy idea, one that I thought of about 10 years ago. Seriously. It was called the Bachelor Pad, and it rated men on 10 categories (Age, Cute, Funny, Good Kisser, Ego, Loves Mom, Job/McJob, Long-term Earning Potential, Lied About Pix/Age, Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now). Like everything I do, it’s in a Word document, not an app, which is why it never went anywhere. However, my idea was intended for women to keep track of their own online dates with a software that integrated with dating sites. It was not intended for public consumption. That’s what makes me profoundly uncomfortable with Lulu.

It’s hard to argue with anything that is ostensibly about women’s safety. Taking the contrary side can be construed as anti-woman, which, of course, I’m not. But I am a believer in privacy and the act of discovery in dating. I believe in leading with trust instead of fear, and dating the way people dated years ago, with a slower courtship that reveals information organically over time. Want to know a way to kill romance? Read a dossier on a total stranger before you ever go out. Things can be misinterpreted, misconstrued, or blatantly false.

Am I sympathetic to women who waste time dating married men, or socially awkward guys? Sure. Is it possible that having a public reputation to manage will shame these men into improving their behavior? I guess. Do I really want to see a Yelp for single people? Absolutely not. Because while you may be focused entirely on the upside of doing your research on your new crush, you are not considering the downside.

Want to know a way to kill romance? Read a dossier on a total stranger before you ever go out.

The first one is pretty obvious – just because someone writes something on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Perspective is funny like that. Guy goes out with girl for a month. Hooks up, has fun, but realizes that she’s not “the one”. Breaks it off with her. His interpretation: “I don’t see the point in wasting my time with someone who will not be my wife.” Her interpretation: he’s a selfish user, player, and Peter Pan all wrapped in one. Because why would a guy sleep with a woman if he didn’t plan on marrying her? I’m not suggesting that women are the only ones prone to some form of “hell hath no fury”, but that Lulu is an app specifically for women to subjectively rate men. I suppose you can say that if there are enough ratings, the false ones will balance out, but that’s not necessarily true. When people rate dating sites, they usually are two stars out of five. Why? Because happily married people don’t get on the internet to talk about how much they loved Match. But bitter people sure love to complain online.

The second one is more problematic – what if the shoe were on the other foot. What if there were a site rating you on: age, hotness, cool, sweet, secure, gold digger, puts out, ticking clock/wants a rock, lied about pix/age, working girl? What if guys you met for an hour who thought you were cold or stuck up decided to post it online? Would that be fair? Would it change your behavior in the future? Would you want strangers to have to see these subjective (and possibly false) ratings? Would you want to have to worry about your “reputation management” on Facebook?

I think I know the answer.

Like communism and cloning, rating men is much better in theory than in practice. Says one Lulu user, “It’s just this gratifying thing that you know you can do,” she said. “You have no control of whether a guy is great or a jerk and at the end of the experience, even if no one reads it, you feel like you have gotten back at the guy. You have taken a bit of control.”

Your thoughts below are appreciated.

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  1. 1

    I think this is a TERRIBLE idea. POF has a “rate your date” section and I am not real keen on that idea. I think it is asking for trouble. One of the particularly misogynist websites is “report a slut”, which is helping to turn the internet into the world’s largest locker room. I see an uptick in defamation lawsuits eventually.

  2. 2

    Women who use this app shouldn’t ever complain about being objectified, because that is what this app does to men. Men are treated like a product on Amazon. Plus, I’m not sure what benefit it actually derives. There probably aren’t statistics on this, but I’m willing to bet a cute “6” will still do better than an average “8”. Women discuss men enough in their inner circle of friends. This app just takes those conversations and makes them public. I also dislike the fact that men cannot see what people are saying about them unless they have a Facebook account.

    1. 2.1

      “Women who use this app shouldn’t ever complain about being objectified, because that is what this app does to men.”

      Women have safety concerns that men do not. Until those are eradicated, your “assessment” will continue to be a false equivalency.

  3. 3

    Yeah, this is a lousy idea. It can go terribly wrong in so many ways, and there is almost no upside to it.

    Why should I crowd-source my own good judgment to a passel of women I don’t even know, who have different values and experience and standards than my own? I trust the evidence of my own senses, and my interpretation of what I experience, not the result of some arbitrarily-weighted poll created by a for-profit entity.

    Plus, people can and do change, sometimes for the better. A guy who was an insufferable arse years ago might grow up and into a potentially excellent person and partner. That’s one thing I hate about social networking — it gets in the way of happy, healthy personal re-invention.

  4. 4

    The first mention I saw of LuLu was on twitter. It was written by a woman who was quite upset that the app wasn’t allowing her to leaver a nasty review of her ex. Enough said. These apps are not created to “empower” women. They’re created to humiliate men. The quote you included at the end sums it up. Once the lawsuits start rolling in Lulu will change their tune.

  5. 5

    I truly don’t like the idea. If you don’t like someone, it’s obvious that while you should treat that person with courtesy at the very least, the chances of them saying that you were a great girl (or guy) are not that high.

  6. 6

    What a mess. First of all, this is Facebook. There is no “anonymous” reviewing on Facebook. All it takes is one buggy privacy-rule change to expose your anonymous review to the world.

    Second, no one is going to be one hundred percent objective about their exes. I know I’m not. I’ve also heard my past bf’s tell me stories about their same ex, that changed radically over time, as the man got over his ex or went through other personality changes of his own.

    Third, If you’re still FB friends with your exes, good for you! (I only have one of mine in my FB friend list). But then, you two are still friends in some capacity, so what are you doing reviewing a person behind his back who is still your friend?

    Fourth, tastes differ. One woman’s insufferable asshole is another woman’s nice guy. One woman’s boring dork is another woman’s great, fun companion. Why would I listen to random subjective opinions of women I do not know?

    I get how using this app would make the reviewer feel good, but that’s where its benefits pretty much end, in my opinion. Pointless and unusable.

  7. 7
    Jenny Ravelo

    I’m not someone who gets easily offended, but this app is beyong offensive. You’re exposing a person’s private life and probably spreading lies with it. Something like this could ruin a person’s life with no justification.

    I’ve heard people that say it’s for safety pruposes, but I’m sure that if he was a porn star or a suspect, you’d find news on him just by googling. And at the end of the day, if he’s your ex, I’m sure your ex, I’m quite sure you didn’t broke up because you were happy, and if you’re willing to humilliate him, it’s because you’re bitter and aren’t gping to say anything good.  

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