Defunct dating sites
The question is, given that heterosexual dating sites require an equal number of male and female users to work, is it even possible to create a site that will be appealing to both? Jess, Meet Ken is designed to redistribute power in online dating by requiring women to initiate contact: Men are not allowed to send unsolicited messages to women. It’s not the first site to put women in the driver’s seat.A popular French site called Adopte Un Mec casts women as shoppers and men as products, but the U. version called Check Him Out has not done well for reasons that are not entirely clear.“It’s about what he thinks a woman wants to see.”“That’s why so many men post pictures of themselves shirtless, next to their car holding an enormous fish they caught,” Ken chimes in.“But often,” Jess continues, “the things we love about the men in our lives are not necessarily the things they would tell us about themselves: that they have a good relationship with their mother or that they are color-blind and need help dressing themselves.A female friend is more likely to represent those things about her guy friend.”The Deckingers believe so fervently in this platform because it is, in fact, how they met.“I don’t trust any of these matching algorithms,” he says, referring to the technologies deployed to pair couples, epitomized by sites like e Harmony and Ok Cupid. We’re adults; we can decide for ourselves if we’re a good fit,” he says.Stephen says that he’s been more likely to use Tinder, since it is so straightforward: If you like someone’s picture, you let them know and quickly try to meet them in person.This mimics offline dating scenarios where a couple are introduced by a mutual friend.
And yet, the next morning at Mass Challenge, a Boston startup accelerator, the Deckingers are glowing like newlyweds, sneaking flirtatious glances at each other across the table, completing each others’ sentences, giggling at each others’ jokes.“After responding to one guy’s message, he sent me a list of all the things he wanted to do with me in bed–and it was truly disgusting,” Kate tells me.“I immediately blocked him, but for days, I walked around with the fear that I might bump into him in real life and he would recognize me from my picture and personal details.” Many women told me how common it was for men to send unsolicited pictures of their genitals.A decade ago, a now-defunct message board along the same lines existed: Ken’s friend Adele posted his profile on the site.Jess reached out to Adele to inquire about Ken–and the rest is sleepless history.
And in my conversations with male online daters across the country, a theme that kept emerging is that looks are non-negotiable for them, while personality is something they can work with.