It’s eight in the evening in New York and, like every Thursday, many singles meet in a bar. tonight the afterparty is celebrated in Jake’s Dilemma, a pub from the Upper West Side, the wealthy neighborhood where Miranda lives, from sex in new yorkand centers the plot of Gossip Girl. It is the place chosen this week by the Internet dating application of the moment, Thursday, which was launched in 2021 in New York and London, proposing a new paradigm in the search for a partner.
Thursday provides an alternative to dating app fatigue, even though it is an app itself. The alternative is to drive meetings off the platform. “I only come to the parties organized by the app”, says James, a 26-year-old investor. “And I always leave at midnight. I like to put a limit on myself to make an effort to meet someone.”
At the beginning there are about 50 people, but an hour later around 200, bordering on the maximum capacity allowed. It is an eclectic, interracial group, ranging in age from 20 to 40 years old. 60% are men. “It’s a meeting of ugly people who die,” says Marina, 42, as soon as she arrives.
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A fun reunion, in any case. It’s easy to start conversations because all of us there are determined to meet new people and have a good time.
The interest in face-to-face meetings is becoming a trend due to the isolation generated by the pandemic and there are already other applications that also organize them, such as Lox Club, Bumble or Inner Circle. But in addition to being characterized by events, Thursday differs from the rest in that it is only available on Thursdays, which is statistically the ideal day to have a date, especially if you do not want to risk the weekend.
Focusing on one day creates more interest and anticipation. Participants have only 24 hours — from 12:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday — to get to know each other, because by midnight on Thursday, messages and contacts disappear. Next Thursday, everything starts again.
With this dynamic, the waste of time caused by endless conversations on the mobile phone and that sometimes do not manage to go from virtual to reality is eliminated. According to the Center for Human Technology, the more time we spend on an app or digital platform, the less happy it makes us. And in the list of those that produce the most unhappiness, Tinder and Grinder appear in the top 10.
On Thursday, on the other hand, immediacy prevails. There is no conversation inside the app, since after the match there is an immediate exchange of phones. “You have to exit the application as soon as possible; seeing a person face to face is something else entirely. You look at the energy, the voice, the way he moves,” 33-year-old Jeremy explains to me.
Thursday not only helps to take action, but also forces the user to be more selective and bet on someone who really interests him. In this way, it manages to return the value to an encounter that the rest of the applications had frivolized/distanced.
The time is gold
New York was one of the first cities where dating apps became a social phenomenon. When Europeans still despised them, as if they were only useful for people with relationship problems, in the US they celebrated them as the great solution to avoid wasting time.
It seemed like you were more likely to find a match on a dating app than in a bar, where you relied on luck. And in a society where productivity and efficiency have become the top priority, leaving something as valuable as love in the hands of chance can be considered fanciful and risky behavior.
The first application to find a partner was Match.com, which was launched in 1995. Okcupid, in 2004. Tinder would not arrive until 2012 and that is when a new sexual revolution began to develop. The apps dating began to proliferate (Bumble, Hinge, Happn, Inner Circle, Raya…) and once their use was normalized, a new challenge arose: overcoming the addiction they generate. It is common to meet people who confess to dating compulsively, several times a week or even on the same day.
But the story seems to want to reverse itself with Thursday.