Thursday Dating App Hosts Singles Mixers

Last Thursday night, 10 people lined up to enter the Hair of the Dog, a sports bar on the Lower East Side that usually draws crowds to watch Sunday football and drink during the day. When they arrived at the bouncer, everyone was asked to provide documents for admission: government-issued ID, proof of vaccination and dating application profile, not that any of them were there to swipe.

Instead, a company called Thursday was hosting a singles mixer – the antidote to online dating fatigue. Attendees expressed all sorts of frustrations with modern romance: matches that rarely lead to more than small talk; Time to dissect profiles to redeem points and red flags; Documented patterns of racial discrimination on dating applications; And a general sense of despair.

“There’s no match for me,” Harrison Gottfried, 27, said shortly after entering the bar. When a person comes out of wood work on a tinder or hinge, he said, it is often not legal.

Thursday tries to differentiate itself by artificial scarcity: the app is only accessible one day a week. (Bet what you can’t guess!) When the clock strikes midnight, users toggle the icon to indicate that they are ready to date that day. Then, for 24 hours, they can swipe and chat just like any other dating site. When Thursday becomes Friday, however, their matches are cleared and the app is locked. The implication is that there is no time to waste with chitchat; Creating a date now or never.

It organizes events in London and New York, two cities where it is ongoing and ongoing, on Thursday to promote IRL meetings; The mixer at Hair of the Dog was the eighth in the city and drew a crowd of about 450 people.

Anthony Fulmes, 24, heard about the event via promotional email. Asked about his attitude towards online dating, he said: “I don’t want to meet the love of my life through the hookup app.” He added: “No one wants to talk about apps. Maybe it’s personal. Maybe I’m ugly. “

Even those who were getting more luck seemed to panic over the apps. “You don’t have to swipe a lot to get a date,” said Andrew Chekalenkov, 31, a drug rehab therapist who has attended three mixers. “It sounds good, but it’s not a substance.”

Matthew McNeil Love, 31-year-old co-founder and Thursday’s chief operating officer, wanted to create a product that would help people move beyond the initial “ego boost” of the match and move toward real engagement. “Getting likes on Hinge is like getting likes on Instagram,” he said in a phone interview in mid-January.

“We realized that by limiting it to one day a week, people are being forced to make decisions,” he said.

Mr. Love said that since its release in July 2021, Thursday’s app had been downloaded 340,000 times before the company released its offline event series called Afterparty. The first mixer happened three months ago in a London bar.

Mr. Said Prem. “We haven’t announced it, there’s no branding, no representatives in pink shirts, no icebreaker activities. It’s just a normal bar.

Other dating apps have also turned to analog. Bumble, for example, opened a cafe and wine bar in Nolita this winter. Bumble Brew, as the foundation is known, is “designed not only to build new connections, but also to gather and communicate with anyone,” Julia Smith-Calfield, head of the brand partnership company, wrote in an email, adding that “Real-life events have long been a focus for us.”

Despite their growing dislike for digital dating, most participants seemed to be using the same handful of apps. They described Tinder as a more casual hookup app and Hinge as a marketplace for relationship seekers. Hannah Choi, 28, said she uses the bumblebee to “talk to handsome men.”

Some guests said they now make special use of Thursdays, primarily for single events. Moses McFly, 39, is involved in three incidents. “Every other app is available seven days a week,” he said, which can be overwhelming.

So how well do these mixers work for singles? “I’m not impressed yet, but it’s a good idea,” said Becky Caplon, 24, an event planner who, when asked what dating apps she uses, said, “That’s all.” She was posted on the table with a friend, waiting for her to get in touch with someone who was interested. “This is usually the closest thing to meeting someone in real life,” Ms. Said Kapalon.

The mixer seems to be doing well for Mr. Fulms, who at one point yelled at his roommate: “I’ve talked to six girls already! You have to catch up. “Nearby, a man pointed to a woman in the crowd dancing to Sean Kingston’s” Beautiful Girls “and shouted:” Let’s go to the corner. That’s where I can talk to you. “

Celeste Ortega, a 26-year-old industrial designer who met Ms. Choi said “zero people” approached him. “I’m between disappointed and ‘meh,'” she said of the crowd, whom she described as “disappointed.”

When asked if he would attend another event, Ms. Ortega did not hesitate. “Oh my God,” she said. “Probably every Thursday for the rest of my life.”

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