Dating is hard. But that’s what apps like Bumble and Tinder are for, right? Well, apparently for our supposedly loveless city, it’s not quite enough. That’s according to Ben Mussi, creator of Seattle Dating App, which launches today.
Mussi wasn’t even thinking about dating apps until an article in The Seattle Times reported that a popular podcast, The Great Love Debate, voted Seattle the worst city in which to date. For the second year in a row.
“Everyone blames it on the Seattle Freeze, but there's other reasons as well,” Mussi says. It’s not just that Seattleites have a reputation for aloofness. “We also have a lot of new people showing up in the city that just don't know what [Seattle] has to offer.” Like the wonder that is Belltown’s new bar scene, or our teeming climbing gyms.
But, of course, Seattle also has its challenges.
Which is to say, Mussi has factored our unique geography into his app. Just because you live 10 miles away from someone, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to reach them. Other apps don’t really take this into account and that can make finding realistic matches difficult.
Seattle Dating App also takes features from major ones (your Grindrs and Coffee Meets Bagels) and tweaks them ever so slightly to make finding a connection just a little easier. Instead of searching for matches by location, Mussi’s app searches by neighborhood. So, maybe you work downtown, but you live—and date—in West Seattle. No problem, set your neighborhood to West Seattle and only singles available in that neighborhood pop up.
And if you’re casually swiping and a match pops up, you have to decide immediately if it’s worth starting a conversation. No wasted matches here. “People's hearts when they're swiping aren’t in the same place as when they're messaging,” says Mussi. “This is going to prevent people from getting messages when the other person doesn't really care.”
Jenna Bean Veatch, founder and host of the Not Creepy Gathering For People Who Are Single and Want to Fall in Love—an event centered around fostering in-person connections—feels that we’re already more disconnected from each other than other cities, and having our own dating app will only exacerbate that.
“There’s an ever-growing tech culture here. So many people work in that industry, and even those who don't are influenced by it,” she says. “There has always been less saying hello to strangers on the street [in Seattle] than there necessarily has been in other places.”
Still, Mussi believes his app will change the game for finding relationships in Seattle. “I want this version of the dating app to be better than all the other ones,” Mussi says. “Better and cheaper and the best it can be.”
Editor's Note: Early Thursday morning, Seattle Dating App was live for Androids but still in review for iOS users.