One of my personal nightmares regarding online dating is probably finding out the level of desirability I am rated on the dating apps I use. On Pairs, you can see the number of people that “liked” a person and the number is placed boldly in the corner of a user’s profile. And on Omiai and With, you can filter profiles based on the level of their popularity.
They are, and some have even leveraged their internal rating systems to either lure more users or more revenue. Tinder has Tinder Select, a members-only version of the platform that serves users deemed good-looking or a catch according to the Tinder Elo score, the app’s algorithmic rating system. OKCupid A-List subscription, which seems to charge users differently according to multiple criteria – attractiveness included – allows its users to search through profiles by body type and degree of attractiveness.
What sets Japanese dating apps apart, however, is how accessible this information is to regular users. On With, for instance, you can filter profiles by several different criteria, two of which are the number of likes a profile has received and the amount of Facebook friends a person has. Despite the fact that this feature gave me pause, I can understand the ease and convenience it proffers users who don’t have time to scroll through multiple profiles every day and who prefer seeing the profiles the app or other users recognize as the most “desirable.”
When it comes to using Japanese and American dating apps, there’s no clear victor for me as both have their merits and drawbacks. Having never used services such as OKCupid’s A-List subscription, I’m not that comfortable with the search functions on some of the Japanese apps that allow users to online dating ratings filter profiles by their popularity. Not only does it make me feel bad for users that may be considered less attractive by conventional standards, but in some ways, knowledge of another user’s ostensible popularity may also serve as a deterrent. If I see a profile that has already amassed a high number of likes, I might refrain from liking or messaging that person because of my awareness of the level of competition I would be facing. Knowing how popular a certain user is would most likely fuel my sense of inadequacy and hamstring me, rather than help me, in my usage of the app.
But that’s just me. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would appreciate the usefulness of such functions. One of the components, however, that I enjoyed the most out of my experience with Japanese dating apps was the diary feature available on PCMax and YouBride. Different from most American dating apps, the “diaries” or status updates allow users, in my opinion, to gain a fuller and more rounded picture of the disposition of other users. While most profiles, barring changes you make to them, display a static version of a person’s personality that’s seemingly frozen at the time of writing, diary entries offer a more multifaceted and dynamic view into who that person might be like in real life. Even if it’s just a gripe about how hot the weather is these days or a post that’s waxing poetic about the trials of finding a partner in this grand cesspool that is online dating, I’m sure I would appreciate it greatly. I might still have a hard time finding that Mr. Right or that Mr. OK-He’ll-Do on these apps, but hey, at least with features like that, I know that I’m far from alone.