I tried out for The Bachelor a few years ago. I didn't actually want to get married -- and was in fact quite positive I'd hate whoever's attention I was vying for -- but I love a good competition and am constantly looking for outside forces to validate my self-worth. I know, #daddyissues.
I didn’t make it onto the show. I got to the third round, before they lock you up in a hotel and waterboard you. But, I never got a callback. Over it.
Three years and one long-term relationship later, I caught wind of The League, a still-in-beta dating app whose tagline is Date. Intelligently. Alluring, and controversial due to its elitism, the app is currently only available in New York and San Francisco with a waitlist sitting around 130,000.
Applying was as easy as making a profile
Intrigued and seeking validation, I "apply." Despite New York’s plethora of models, I still think I’m a pretty good catch. Sure, my nose is a little crooked, but I fit the rest of Western society’s standards for beauty and success. I have a graduate degree. I have a solid career. My hand-eye coordination is on point. And, like anyone in the virtual world, I can come up with a damn witty "about me" section.
After a day or so on the waiting list as number 124,431, I'm bumped to the front of the line and "accepted!" Holy shit! Victory! I AM good enough! Not sure what's happened with the rest of the 124,430 others who were in front of me, I permit myself to indulge in memories of my bouncer-schmoozing glory days.
The League has (a shitload of) rules
I set my parameters, from which I can select for sex, distance, age, height, ethnicity, religion, and education. I’m definitely heightist but the rest doesn’t really matter to me.
I then get an emoticon-littered message from my "concierge" with the “rules”, which include (but are not limited) to the following, which I've paraphrased:
You'll get a (ridiculously small) batch of people per day sent to you at Happy Hour (5pm). If both people "heart" the other, you'll have a match; but people aren't necessarily revealed to each other on the same day so don't expect anything immediate. Matches should be exciting! And special (star emoticon)! And these will be infrequent. The flakier you are (not responding, not logging in), the fewer matches you'll get.
League members who don't login for more two weeks will be kicked out. So will users who consistently don't respond, behave offensively, suggest casual encounters, wear anything other than white, or ask questions (OK, two of those aren't true). League members removed from the community for flakiness or inactivity will have to pay a $25 "re-admit fee."
The pickier you are, the lower your odds of matching. So be patient, or be less picky. Users who log in daily have a higher match rate, even after normalizing for popularity. Thus, it’s always better to keep hearting.
What is this fucking militant dating app? I haven’t even gone on a date yet and I’m already anxious and confused by your games.
After a series of unsuccessful equations to untangle these rules and determine my best course of action (my masters is in the arts, OK?), I stare at my first five prospects. The concierge's words are in my head the entire time: league members who don't consistently respond will be removed...
So I’m picky AF, fearful my “rating” is plummeting. After a day or two, I get my first “match.” Then another, and another.