Safe Spaces for online daters

Indigo Halverson

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? Is it you? Could be, or at least this is what you will be asked to prove if you try to enter dating website BeautifulPeople’s new LA nightclub. 

The dating site has a very selective screening process, and only lets the most attractive individuals access to the site. Applicants have to pass a rating test given by existing members over a 48-hour period, and have rejected approximately 11 million people since the site’s launch in 2002, according to The Sun. While this flagship club will continue to uphold the site’s selective process in order to let people in, members of the site will already have complete and full access to the club. Though their ideals are a little pretentious, it is actually a really great idea that a dating site can have a safe space for its clients to meet up. 

According to Pew Research, “One-third of people who have used online dating have never actually gone on a date with someone they met on these sites.” Which means, that they either haven’t met someone they wanted to meet in person, or that they have but haven’t found a safe space to meet. If more dating sites had clubs or places for their clients to meet, not only would their users feel safer, but it would probably boost the sites’ overall rating and increase their clientele. Dating site compiled data from users to determine the top U.S cities that are the most online dating compatible. Houston came in at #10, Boston at #9, Phoenix at #8, San Diego #7, Dallas #6, Washington D.C. at #5, Chicago #4, L.A #3, New York #2, and the city that came in first was Miami.     

Just imagine how many members in these areas would be able to meet someone in a safe space if even just the top five dating sites opened a space in these ten cities. What dating sites fail to realize is that while certain stigmas about online dating have left the game, it is still dangerous to meet people online. When you use dating sites, you trust not only the person you connect with to be who they say they are, but also the dating site’s ability to screen people. 

While BeautfulPeople is using the club as a way to bring their dating site into the real world, it has also inadvertently made it so that its users can meet similar people in an almost exclusive members-only area. Having a members-only bar or club is a safe and smart way to guarantee that their clients are meeting people they may have already connected with on their site. This could also eliminate safety uncertainties when users meet strangers in other bars, without any assistance from their dating sites. If more sites were to adopt this approach and broaden their horizons to the online dating world, it could safely and effectively change the game of hookup culture. 

Although I personally do not see the appeal of online dating, nor do I understand the need to judge people’s appearances prior to being allowed to enter a dating site, I do understand the need for safety and finding a better way to navigate the world of stranger interactions. I would love to see more spaces for daters to meet, it gives clients a safe atmosphere to meet people and it is probably more exciting and much more romantic than subtly suggesting “your place or mine?”