Tinder Select makes swiping super exclusive
For the past six months, while you've been toiling in obscurity, swiping for love (or lust) through piles of profiles of the worst sort of backwards baseball cap wearing bros or heavily made up duck faces of every shade of orange detectable by the human eye, there's been an upper tier, a select, private pool of highly eligible bachelors and bachelorettes just out of swiping distance. You too can join the gods on Olympus, so long as you qualify.
Cue drum roll. Introducing Tinder Select! Kill drumroll. The intro only stands if you can get past the velvet rope. Tinder, Earth's most popular dating app (and there are a few), now offers exclusive membership status to preferred swipers. How are the preferables chosen? It's unclear, but it is a kind of meritocracy. Merit is based on your successes. Be they robust finances, resounding fame, or of course, devastating beauty, they'll all grant you access to the inner chamber of online dating. Long story short, privilege begets more privilege.
Getting in is tough for the average human. You must be swiped into Tinder Select. And Tinder is the only one doing the swiping. If you're invited to the platform you can then "nominate" others. But the nominees must be vetted and they cannot in turn nominate more members. The buck stops there to protect the exclusivity from being eroded away by riff raff. No one wants to be locked out of the citadel. But once they're in, they don't want anybody else to have the key either. Humans are kind of the worst.
According to TechCrunch, the main criteria for receiving the prestigious Tinder Select invite could be your Elo score, which is Tinder's internal, and carefully guarded, rating algorithm comprised of "thousands and thousands" of signals. It's used to qualify your desirability. A high score means you're extremely right-swipeable for a variety of reasons. I'd love to know mine, though some suggest that here, more than anywhere, ignorance may truly be bliss.
Once you're in, you can toggle back and forth between Tinder for plebs and Tinder Select. The latter is apparently superior in design, although oddly corporate sounding. The recognizable orange flame gets replaced with a gradient navy blue "S" when you switch over. Aesthetically, navy takes over in general. The message is clear: orange is for peasants; navy, for blue bloods. I'm guessing.
Exclusive dating apps are not new. There's The Inner Circle, for the wealthy, which still sounds very Skull and Bones to me. There's also Raya, an exclusive dating app for media elite like Cara Delevingne, Ruby Rose and Elijah Wood. So, any famous person with crazy eyes. And there's The League which promises to pair you with Ivy Leaguers or academics who've done well, it seems. Somehow also creepy, in a secret society kind of way.
From an evolutionary perspective, there's a draw to being included. Safety in numbers, more food when you hunt in a group, etc. It's the irresistible herd mentality of affiliation, and it's safer than being on the outskirts, like a desperate Wilding. The lure of exclusivity is its elusiveness too. The grass being greener and all that. Which explains the runaway success of the McRib: which is successful because it has been, in fact, running away, constantly, since 1981. For a limited time. While supplies last. It pops up very rarely, like a unicorn or leprechaun. Or a more realistic fantastical creature like Mariah Carey. Only occasionally, to mixed reviews, but widely embraced as a special event. Scarcity.
Maybe there is some practicality to "velvet rope" dating though that goes beyond exclusivity, at least for the elite. Tinder CEO Sean Rad told The Hollywood Reporter, a lot of celebrity profiles get left-swiped because people think they're fake. Tinder Select serves to verify their authenticity (that they are who they say they are, that is - they might still be decidedly disingenuous creatures).
Tinder, once for the lonely (and frankly, horny) masses, has always been pretty democratic. Everyone was welcome. And that easy access is a crowd pleaser. In point of fact, by the end of the day, 26 million matches will have been made on Tinder. So, a lusty population of say Mozambique, or Texas if you like. Those are just the matches, not the swipes. That's a lot of people hoping they'll "meet" their romantic or erotic equal by plucking them out of the inter-ether. The real numbers put daily swipers at about 10 million and general Tinder users at 50 million. Regular folk need love too.
If you didn't get an invite to the top floor, don't feel bad, neither did I. If you're still feeling left out, stay your jealousy for a spell and keep in mind that many view Tinder as a 'hump and dump' platform. Kind of takes the whimsy out of an even more exclusive membership of 'humpers and dumpers'. Still, tales of Tinder Select are legend. Not a fishing pic, caged tiger hangout or shirtless gym selfie can be found within its hallowed halls. Not a single grainy group shot as far as the eye can swipe. Paradise.
Until the angry rabble get in.
Does the upper crust really need a dating app to begin with? Maybe it really is lonely at the top. Probably not though.
Marc Beaulieu is a writer, producer and host of the live Q&A show guyQ LIVE @AskMen.