Could a New App Take the Mystery Out of Dating?

By Emma Martin, Student at Ithaca College

Image from Lulu

Honestly, we’ve probably all been guilty of "stalking" a potential love interest’s social media website. Far too much time can be spent scanning through Facebook photo albums, statuses, Tweets and comments in an attempt to get a better sense of one’s prospect. Are they funny? Who do they hang out with? What did their senior year prom date look like?

At first glance, it seems social media can answer nearly all of the most pressing questions. I can quickly deduce that he talks “lyk3 diiS” and takes far too many selfies to ever be my type. Or that he still has far too many photographs of his last girlfriend and posts sad lyrics on the daily (potential stage five clinger who’s not over his ex). Right?

A new smartphone application, Lulu, offers to make relationship background checks even simpler for curious females. Lulu is a gender-selective application. To access the site, users must first log in via their Facebook account and only those whose settings say “female” are allowed to view the contents. Upon opening Lulu, girls find their male Facebook friends listed. Girls are then able to rate past hookups, ex-boyfriends and crushes on several factors and select hashtags they feel represent the individual. Some are positive and others negative, with choices like “#GreatHair” and “#TeddyBear”, or “#LeftInTheMorning” and “#ManChild”. If the user doesn’t feel like leaving a evaluation, she can instead scan through other girls' reviews of the male of their choice.

The application has proved to be a bit controversial. Some have even mentioned the issue of libel, finding the intrusive manner of the application disrespectful and harmful toward the reviewed males' reputations.

After learning the app's details, one guy I talked to said, “Thank God they don't have this app for guys because that would get out of control and most likely be full of lies.”

But it’s not like lies are out of the question on Lulu. Girls are able to smack talk any guy with complete anonymity, as the poster's identity is never revealed. Users can say anything they want to about any male Facebook friend of their choice, even if they’ve never hooked up or dated. She can ward off future lovers without having to take any responsibility for her words. So perhaps, these males have reason for concern.

Still, several of the guys I talked to were apathetic of its existence. They doubted it would be of much impact, and one explained, “I don't really think it's intrusive at all, guys are going to do the same thing anyway, just through different venues. I think this just organizes it for women.”

Still, the application seems to instead represent a much larger issue. Why are we wasting our time on these applications and delving through Facebook posts and not working to get to know each other?

And I think, in all honesty, I am just as guilty as the Lulu users. I, like many others, depend far too much upon false impressions via social media postings. Maybe the poor guy just doesn’t use Facebook well. Maybe he never learned how to tweet. Maybe I should just give him a chance. Maybe we should all stop thinking that a Facebook picture or an anonymous review should deter us from getting to know someone.

So, put down Lulu and go on a coffee date, for the sake of us all!

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