New apps for the well-off could remove the element of chance that makes dating so brilliant in the first placeby Jessica Brown / April 20, 2018 / Leave a comment
Earlier this month, the announcement of a new dating app had the internet outraged. Toffee Dating’s users can only join if they went to private school, like its founder, Lydia Davis. The app helps bring together people who are accustomed to a certain lifestyle—not like the rest of us.
But Toffee isn’t the only dating app matching people on such terms; the industry is starting to rely less on algorithms to matchmake, and turning to other ways to attract similar-minded people into a smaller dating pool. For apps like Toffee Dating, this apparently means sorting the wheat from the chaff and, in practice, the low-income and less-educated from the more privileged. But while apps that accept people based on their jobs and education might sound harmless enough, they’ve been criticised for being elitist.
These apps include Luxy, where two fifths of the dating pool are millionaires, and The League, where hopeful members are screened on their job title and education, and are kicked back onto the waiting list if they consistently don’t message their matches.
If they sound like exclusive nightclubs, that’s no coincidence. The man behind The Inner Circle app, which accepts or declines people based on the quality of their profile, wanted just that when he set up his app five years ago from the Netherlands.
David Vermeulen was single and looking on dating apps for a serious relationship when he had his brainwave. He didn’t like how many people were on these apps, or the level of attention he received from them.
“If you go out, there are places where everyone can go in, and there are also more high-end clubs where you have someone at the door,” he says. But if that makes the app sound elitist, Vermeulen argues it’s far from it.
“The moment you don’t let everyone in, you’re elitist—this is a typical English thing. If the definition of elitist is that not everyone can join, then yes, we are elitist, but really, we just focus more on quality,” Vermeulen says. “People are tired of Tinder and Bumble, where users will hardly have any description.”
He says the app aims to gather “like-minded” people who are serious about dating, but he doesn’t like the app to be full of rich people straight from Oxbridge, and disapproves of new app Toffee for this reason. However, around…