Dating Apps Suck and This App Is Our Last Hope
PAID FOR AND IN COLLABORATION WITH: NINE
Dating Apps Are Wet Trash
Dating apps are wet trash. I know this because I’m an addict.
I’ve deleted and reinstalled Tinder 17 times. Once I had a Tinder date in a hospital. That was after another date, where I went to this girl’s house who said she was dtf. “She” turned out to be six dudes and one pistol.
I said that was the last time. But when I moved to Shanghai, I figured hey, there’s no guns there. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, as it turns out, a lot. First there were the unauthorized credit card charges for the Japanese restaurant on Hankou Lu. Then there was the girl who threatened to jump in front of a car if I stopped talking to her. You’d think that after I woke up in a bush on Chongming Island, with my Alipay account empty, I would stop. But no.
I’ve just accepted that I’m an addict. SmartShanghai knows this about me. So when this company called “nine” approached them for a soft advertisement about their new app, they called me to write it.
The app is called nine because they give you nine matches a day. I mean, at least one of them is going to be a psychopath, right? Let’s give it a try and try to dodge that bullet.
Apparently Getting Rid of Swiping is Healthy
I mean, real talk, I’m also looking for the one. I don’t wanna know her past. And she’s not going to know mine, because I keep two burner phones and I’ve been on Signal since they launched.
You know that marriage corner? There’s an app for that.
So apparently nine is for urban professionals who are too “urban” and “modern” for the marriage corner app but too not-just-dtf for Tinder. Got it. Looking through nine’s brand materials PDF, they say they built nine from the ground up to be healthier and more empathetic. Call it a Dating App 2.0.
Basically that means they got rid of swiping. Man, if I had a look for March 2020, it’s me on the couch in my underwear, listening to System of a Down, compulsively blasting an e-cig, and just swiping right for hours. My record is like 1200 swipes. After a while your phone screen starts to look like one of those Magic Eye pictures. I pretty much only emerged to buy cumin crackers from the import shop with the three-legged cat. Turns out I should have just been buying stocks.
Mental Health is Cool
I don’t really get the whole empathy thing because it’s just like, missing from my code. But apparently old dating apps are “not empathetic”. I guess that while during research for nine, a lot of respondents said that those swipe-based dating apps made them feel lonely and like, bad about themselves. I get it. It’s like trying to maintain a good brand image on Instagram but way worse because it’s directly connected to your actual love unit.
The app has all these hand-drawn characters that is somewhere between Muji-core music festival VI and every mall’s “Let’s Go Glamping In Our Parking Garage” campaign circa 2021. I’ll admit opening the app and seeing some warm colors and cartoon characters instead of psychopaths is pretty calming. I was on the train last night, headed to my Crypto Community Meetup, and I blasted the app open and did not feel guilty or pervey at all (partially because I have a screen protector so you can’t see my shit, but still).
Also, from the PDF! They’re going to introduce relationship coaching and some content related to “getting to know yourself better” (terrifying thought) and “developing greater self-awareness” (yeesh). They’re going to try to make you better at talking to strangers, which, I can go for that. It’s unfortunate that nowadays it’s easier to just approach people online, and when you try to talk to strangers IRL they just spray you in the face with bear mace. Let’s take it back to IRL hollering.
“You’re Still Reading This Trash? Go Download This App”
Or click here for App Store / android if you're on a browser
No But Wait, It’s a “Good Algorithm”
I signed up for nine and immediately the app started trying to like, have a conversation with me. First questions are typical yuppie shit: school, hometown, height. Then they start asking you some Myers Briggs questions. I like Myers Briggs. It’s like horoscopes for people that are too dumb to understand how horoscopes work.
“Do you stay in and chill after a busy week, or do you head to a new bar with friends?” “Do you prefer Legos or watching clouds?” I prefer blasting through the Fuxing Tunnel on my modded Niu scooter while 10x leveraging crypto bets and ripping an uncut ecig, but they don’t have an option for that.
By the time I got to the Pudong side of the tunnel, nine’s algorithm sent me nine matches and, well, none of them looked like psychopaths.
You can click a little plus sign next to someone’s name to add them (the “healthier” way of swiping right). Then you can start talking. nine is all about conversation. For you lames that can’t pass HSK1 but complain on Reddit about how “difficult” your life in China is, the “你呢” in Chinese means “And you?”.
I mean, what is real anyway? I got AI friends. That don’t mean nothing. Right now, all user profiles get verified by nine’s team. That means you gotta take a selfie that they don’t publish. You see the pistol whip scar. You see these nice crowns. You know it’s your boy Glen.
I’m glad they do this. Catfishers are the worst. You can also verify your company by logging in with LinkedIn to “get better matches”, which I’m definitely not doing but I guess is cool if you want to use a dating platform to make professional connections.
Flash Dating Situations
I’ve always liked the concept of speed dating, but I got a bad taste in my mouth because when I went to this Ivy League speed dating event in the parking garage at Found 158, I got kicked out just because I “went to community college” and was “pushing crypto conspiracy theories”. But nine has a “flash dating” feature where you can just start talking to random people after 6pm which is when the “urban professionals” get off work (theoretically).
Talking to people online is hard sometimes, so nine gives prompts like “show your last Meituan receipt.”
“Oh you like ordering Meet Fresh huh? You’re so bad, sweet tooth : p Now come over and fill this sweet pussy up if you got a big, angry-lookin' dick.”
(That didn’t happen and my last Eleme order was Charlie’s.)
No Swiping = More Time & More Mental Energy
Ok we’ve been over this. Also I just reinstalled Tinder again so I’m gonna use both apps.
nine claims to be an inclusive community for everyone. You can pick to only view males or only females or both (where’s the non-binary option?). You can also like, “just be friends” with someone. Not sure how that works. They’re going to start having offline events in the city this year. Hope they’re in a nice parking garage.
Who’s Behind This App Anyway?
Originally from Chicago, the founder is this dude Miao who went to University of Wisconsin (Madison) and moved to Shanghai in 2014 to work as an aerospace engineer. Then, according to his LinkedIn, he became an investor relations manager at that EV company NIO. I guess he did an OK job because in January they almost had a bigger market cap than Ford and GM combined despite only delivering like 4,000 cars per month or something lol. He seems chill. I really want to ask him if I should buy NIO stock on the dip but that feels unprofessional. Also, he played violin in the Shanghai City Symphony while he was living here.
Apparently, he noticed the gap between the hookup apps and the marriage corner apps or just had the intuition that that’s where the market has been heading in the west, so he developed this while attending business school in 2020 (shoutout to INSEAD Singapore!). I asked him for a quote and here’s what he said:
“Dating apps touch the rawest human emotions – the need for connection; wanting to love and be loved. While technology is a critical enabler to any platform, it is not the solution. Having a big heart and a whole lot of empathy is what truly matters when developing a product for humans - tech or not. I look forward to growing the nine community both online and offline.” – nine’s founder, Miao
Don’t Don’t Download This App
This is the conclusion of the second draft of a soft advertisement for a dating app called nine. The first draft was admittedly, quite bad. I’m just gonna be honest here, cause it’s all I know.
nine is super warm and “positive” and kumbaya, but it ain’t for me.
You know what they say: “if no one in the room looks like a psychopath, then you’re probably the psychopath.”
Everyone I met on nine looks pretty normal. Pretty professional. I guess part of why I’m so addicted to dating apps is because I like swiping through and being like “oh, this person looks much crazier than me. I’m not too far gone.” And I just didn’t get that from nine.
What I got was an app that feels like it’s just trying to help normal, busy professional people find love and communication in the big city. I can’t relate. It’s not for your boy Glen. But it might be for you. However, if you need any advice about crypto, or Niu scooter modification, or a referral for dental crowns, holler at me on LinkedIn.
Go download nine in the App Store / android now.
Or click here for App Store / android if you're on a browser