Feel like you're the only one on Facebook who didn't get engaged (or a selfie stick) this month? You're not alone. At least 2,500 New Yorkers are signed up for Dapper, a new dating app, that curates matches and sets singles up on actual dates in the city.
"Dating apps have become chat rooms," explained co-founder Josh Wittman, who launched dapper with partner Alexandra Partow last month. Dapper eliminates the messaging function of popular apps like Tinder and uses profile information and user preferances to set users up on dates, via a secret matchmaking algorithm.
"I wanted to start this app after hearing complaints about messaging from my friends. Guys can be so inappropriate!" said Partow.
Dapper caters to those looking for dates, not just crude chats or random hook-ups, from a virtual acquaintance you may or may not ever meet in real life. "These are people looking for relationships," said Partow.
Users select their sexual orientation and age preferences and then are required to share at least four photos, a 100 character "about me" description, five personality traits, five interests and share details about their favorite things and free time in order to be set up with a potential match. Users will choose when they are free for a date and can be matched with up to three prospects per day, heart-ing or x-ing them out.
By picking the person and planning the time and place, Dapper assures busy New Yorkers that they will actually go on dates, and maybe meet that special someone.
Dapper, which has set up around 80 dates to date, usually charges $14/date, which includes a cocktail at a partner venue, including the East Village's Barramundi and Gramercy's VinoTapa. A host seats the date together and everything is seamless (Partow compares the experience to Uber), so there's no awkward splitting the check. "If the evening continues, you can decide what to do and how to pay, otherwise, you can say you have something else to do, thank you, and leave seamlessly," Partow said.
Partow admits that the app favor's a woman's dating experience, letting her choose which neighborhood she wants to be in, helping add a safe feeling. The Dapper team also looks at every profile, which is initiated through Facebook and confirmed with LinkedIn, to make sure daters say they are who they say they are, and aren't lying about their age or posting fake photos.
Men must also sign a "Gentleman's Pledge" which includes wanting "to meet someone for a real romantic connection" and "not push[ing] for sex on the first date." The chivalrous statement may read as a bit arbitrary, if not misogynistic, but the sentiment of protecting women stands.
In order to help soothe those lonely winter blues, Dapper is giving users unlimited free dates through January 15, 2015. That gives you at least a month to get to know someone before Valentine's Day. Sorry, you know it's coming up.
Dapper brings online dating offline and into NYC, because after all, you can't cuddle through a smartphone.