How we communicate has been radically transformed by the availability of social media sites and apps; of all latest trends, the LuLu app has impacted how we date in a big way. Can we find a mindful balance with this dating technology?
I had been on OkCupid for over a year when I said to my friend—who I had actually met from the website—that it would be fantastic if I could rate my dates, like a yelp for dating.
I wanted it so I could tell people what a great guy he was, even though we weren’t boyfriend/girlfriend material for each other. I also wanted it because a girl I knew who was also on OkCupid had sent me a message specifically telling me to stay away from a certain person who turned out to be incredibly sketchy; if she hadn’t, I may have gone on a date with that guy and at best had a terrible time and at the worst, been murdered—who knows for sure.
My hesitation in creating that kind of platform was that for one, it didn’t seem very nice and for another, people connect with each other in different ways; so one person’s experience on a date is not necessarily indicative of how all dates with the other person would go.
So I pushed the idea aside and moved on.
But, someone else had the same thought and instead of pushing the idea aside, went through with it—all the way.
Women, meet Lulu. Lulu is an app created by Alexandra Chong, who, according to the New York Times, has a law degree from the London School of Economics.
It’s a pretty simple concept. Women join through their Facebook accounts (to confirm they are indeed of the female gender) and are able to rate men who also have Facebook accounts and have downloaded the app.
So men are only rated and reviewed if they purposely choose to be.
The rating system is also simple (which lends itself to not being taken so, so seriously).
First they ask how you know the person, is he an ex? a hook-up? A friend? Etc.
Then there are a series of seven questions where you rate the person based on qualities such as humor, appearance, sex, etc.
Finally the hashtags. Women are given the option to select as many positive hashtags as they like. I reviewed a couple of past hook-ups and some of the hashtags I chose included #giving, #AinAnatomy, #doesdishes, #charmedmypantsoff, #opensdoors, the list goes on and on.
After the positive hashtags come the not-so-positive. This is an opportunity to air grievances. Some included on the list (that I did not use in my own reviews) are #stage5clinger, #doesn’tknowiexist, #forgothiswallet, #hititandquitit, #EDMgroupie, #perfectformysister
My guy friends, who I convinced to get on Lulu, seemed to have the biggest issue not knowing what was said, the good and the bad and the ugly, because they felt that if they were given negative comments then they would want the opportunity to improve and become better based off of the ratings.
Now, that’s a very mature response.
Perhaps not everyone feels that way.
Many people fear that certain women will use it to “destroy” men’s reputations by being over-exaggerative (or perhaps too honest) with the reviews; others claim it is a space for “online empowerment”—what with “revenge” porn and creepy online dudes trolling everywhere, it gives women a space to share any warnings they may think another woman would want to know.
For example, I would want to know if I was going out with a guy was super self-absorbed or a mega chimney smoker. I’d like to know these things, but I could also figure them out on my own.
Because personal discovery will always come first, this app and apps like this will be trendy for a few years and then fade away. Sure, having a warning is nice, but it doesn’t matter in the long run; if there is chemistry between two people they’re going to get together regardless of what someone else thinks.
In the mean time, a mindful approach to apps like LuLu will make it a better experience for everyone involved. The golden rule with sites such as these: take the more positive route while rating, and if that is impossible, perhaps don’t rate the guy at all.
If things turned sour and the two of you broke up, wait several months before rating so as to have a clearer understanding of who he was, instead of being clouded by the bad stuff from the end. Also, even though men often put forth a thick skin, they do have feelings and want to be loved and accepted, just like every body else. Even if they were slimy or selfish or smelled bad, there are reasons and experiences behind those behaviors. Just because they didn’t work out doesn’t mean they can’t improve or behave differently with other people.
Sure, LuLu is kind of cutesy and fun, but in the end, real people are involved. We have to remember that in our current timescape online and reality are actually the same thing; a review online is directly related to a person walking and breathing on this planet.
So, forgive this cliché, but take the app with a grain of salt.
It’s better to communicate all of these things—the good, the bad, the ugly—about a person, with the person, face to face; when it’s done passively through an app that they will never see (unless someone screen shots it and sends it to them), they will miss an important opportunity to grow and become a better person, which sort of misses the whole mindful mark entirely.
Whereas honesty is almost always the best policy, so is choosing good over evil; LuLu can be good, but it doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. As long as we go about doing it for the right reasons, as long as we take the mindful approach, and we’re honest in a healthy way, it could be of great service; but we should all be thoughtful and considerate in how we approach using it in an attempt to keep it that way.[image: screenshot via LuLu’s website]