Dating for haters: The latest in the rise of the super-specific dating apps
I hate dating. And I suspect, dear reader, I'm not alone. Swiping, on the other hand, I love. Here again, my swipe greed is not singular. The rampantly popular gamification of finding love (or lust) has made the prospect of casual or committed coupling tolerable and occasionally fun, if not addictive. Even if we rarely leave the couch to pursue it.
Ever exploiting societal pressures to couple (I get it FB, everyone's going Lady and the Tramp on a coconut bevie in Bali), and our own basic human need to find a viable mate, tech companies and startups have been offering an infinite conveyer belt of increasingly niche dating apps. The latest one, mind you, promises to celebrate our disdain for dating (and anything else) to help us find love.
Hater wants to help you "Meet someone who hates the same stuff". Dating apps are usually predicated on helping you find someone with mutual interests. Hater prefers matches based on disinterest or contempt. The app lets you rate things like "Build The Wall" or "Guacamole" one of four ways: Love, Hate, Like or Dislike. Just swipe up, down, right or left accordingly. Their romantic algorithm then matches you with potential hater daters in your vicinity. I joined up. It was wonderful to openly express my hostility for able-bodied slow walkers. Or people who walk in Rockette formation blocking the entire sidewalk. Makes me wish wedgies were legal.
I do offer a caveat. You can see how unpopular each object of displeasure is in percentage points. As I slide my thumb around on, say, "BREAD" (yes, bread is being rated) I see that only 4% are bread haters and 59% are devout bread lovers. I suspect people skew their dislikes on minor stuff to conform and increase their marketability. Be warned pumpernickel lover, you may match with a pumpernickel hater. And then how will you raise your kids?
Still, Hater CEO, Brendan Alper, thinks we should champion our dark sentiments. He says "what we hate is an important part of who we are, but it's often swept under the rug in our public persona." I'll say. It can be social suicide to openly hate a well-liked movie, food or band. I hung out with a guy who hated The Beatles once. Once.
Hater isn't easing anyone into their matchmaking style either. Donald Trump's image is the first you'll see on their home page. The enemy of mine enemy is my friend. Or potential lover in this case. Psychologist, Jennifer Bosson agrees. "There's something really powerful about the discovery of shared negative attitudes," she says. People bond over mutual dislike. The creators of the app are careful to point out that this isn't about hate with a capital H. Bigots and bullies are not the intended demo. But a bit of good-natured scorn could be the harbinger of passion. The folks at Hater just "want people to express themselves more honestly. Plus, it's easy to start a conversation with someone if you know you both hate pickles." Ultimately, they think suitors bonding over a mutual hatred of pickling won't just be playful. It'll be romantic.
But should your soul mate hate all the same stuff you do? From an evolutionary point of view, I'm not sure I'm on board. If my future partner and I both hate spiders, who's going to manage spider patrol? Still me, I'm guessing. But if two parents hate seafood, their children might never try a shrimp. Pickle haters may never set foot in a deli. Also, growing up in our house, if we vocalized hatred for something (mushrooms) or heaven forbid, someone (Jeffrey, who killed my pet caterpillar) we were quickly corrected with "we don't hate, we dislike". I still harbour some fervent 'dislike' for Jeffrey. Mushrooms and I are now on better terms. Maybe that's a Canadian politeness thing. I dunno.
Regardless, the dawn of hyper-specific online dating breached the horizon years ago. We now have dating apps for all manner of romantic or pragmatic predilections. Brace yourself. There is Bristlr for those who love the hirsute faces of lumbersexuals. There's WooPlus for BBW and those who love their curves. There's Hinge which only lets you match with friends of friends, if social circles or word of mouth is your thing. There's DOWN if small talk is not your forte and you just want to, you know, get down. I thought we had Tinder for that? There's Whiplr for those who like it rough. And Bumble too, which lets women reach out first and meet their "honey"; code for nice guy. Raya for those in creative fields who are exclusively star, erm, lovers (Cara Delevingne, Ruby Rose and Elijah Wood are reportedly all members). If financial exclusivity puts the wind in your sails, there's The Inner Circle (which sounds very Skull and Bones to me). Stitch if you're looking for love over 50 (sounds a bit "my procedure went fine") and Tastebuds if you're a hipster type with exacting musical tastes.
Back in 2015, processed meats mogul Oscar Mayer even created Sizzl, a bonafide (and genius) marketing tool/dating app that promised to match bacon maniacs with bacon loving lovers. And though these are pretty heteronormative, there's also Grindr (for men who like men) and Her (for women who like women). Most recently, Glimmer even offered a safe social network for people with disabilities. I have a close family member who was elated when I shared it with her.
So selection is a good thing for those with specific appetites and needs. And there's no shortage of it. You're officially out of excuses. Sorry.
It's only been a few hours and I have no matches on Hater yet. The app, though, is really fun and I've learned a lot about my allegiance to various condiments and luncheon meats. I still 'dislike' dating. But can't seem to find it in the selections so I can rate it…