Appetence Takes Dating Apps Back Into the Slow Lane
Tinder, and many of its brethren rely on instant, or rapid gratification to some degree. You like them, they like you, you chat for a bit, you meet up, and then nature takes its course. It might not have been the way apps like Tinder or Happn were intended to function, but that's how it's turned out and the developers seem more than happy to lean into it. Others, meanwhile, are taking things back a notch or two.

Appetence is the latest hat to the be thrown into the app dating ring, and it's here to slow everything down. How, you ask? Well if you want to see what your matches actually look like, you're going to have to talk to them for a while first. Ground-breaking, right?

Here's how it works: when you make your profile, you input your interests (TV, music, food, pets, etc.) and the app matches you up with people based solely on those and your searching preferences. So far, so predictable, but here's where things get interesting.

When you first start chatting with a match, your profile image will be obscured by a kind of cubist blur. As you message each other, you're given the option to 'like' their messages. Every time you do this, a small fraction of your image becomes visible, until eventually your mug is fully revealed to them, and hopefully theirs to you. Here's the real kicker - it takes 50 likes to fully unveil a profile image. So that's 100 total.

That means that it takes 100 messages minimum to get a proper look at the person you've been talking to. That's a game changer, not only because it forces users to be patient, but because it requires them to commit to forming a connection with someone long before they ever get to see what they actually look like.

The idea behind this is that you're far more likely to develop a strong connection with someone if you aren't prioritising their looks above all else. There are a few fundamental issues with this idea. First of all, it requires a lot of commitment compared to other dating apps. When you actually meet the person, you're far more inclined to put the time in, but the messaging phase? Not so much. Secondly, it leaves people open for a lot of emotional turmoil. Imagine if you've been really clicking with someone for weeks, only for them to vanish the moment they get a good look at you. That's going to sting.

The third issue is that it's a remarkably easy barrier to negotiate. All you'd have to do is send the other person a link to a photo of you and boom, spell broken. While it's certainly true that app dating has helped perpetuate dating's shallower side, trying to force people out of that cycle is going to carry its own risks. The thinking behind the idea is there, but the execution is somewhat lacking. That being said, many people (myself included) criticised Happn as being a creepy stalker-engine when it first came out, and now it's one of the most popular apps out there, so I guess you never really know.

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