I’m really not a dating app kind of girl. Not (I hope!) in an obnoxious superiority complex way. Not even because I’m holding on to dwindling childhood fantasies of a meet-cute, secretly longing for a whirlwind romance with a rugged stranger. Okay, maybe still nursing that dream slightly. But realistically, I’m not a good texter (3-minute or 3-week replies), I hate the talking stage, and un-ironic flirting makes me nauseous. Not exactly Tinder’s target market.
So when I initially heard about the hottest new dating app, Thursday, I was characteristically uninterested. Until that is I had it explained to me…
The premise of Thursday is to bridge the gap between online dating and offline experience. Here’s a neat little summary of what exactly that means:
- It only works on…yes, you guessed it – Thursday! All you have to do is flick the toggle, and just like that your profile becomes active “for one night, and one night only.” Goodbye eternal pinning and compulsively checking your phone. Get on with life 86% of the time and commit to one concentrated day of dating. Fantastic.
- Matching – the app retains some elements of its more conventional counterparts namely in that you create your own profile/glorified match attax card. However, you’re limited to 12 matches every week and all conversations and connections are wiped once the bell tolls midnight.
- The exciting bit – date night! Each week a new location is released and you buy tickets on the app. It’s just like a normal night out, except that everyone in there is single and overtly aware of it.
As I’d like to think I’m #BetterInPerson (the app’s tagline, not mine), I grabbed one of my sexy single friends – who happens to be much more competent when it comes to both dating and dating apps than I am. After sharing some of Sainsbury’s finest Sauvignon Blanc we headed on over to the appointed bar, Spinningfields’s The Alchemist, to try our luck with love.
You’ve all been to bars before. You know the drill. As much as the English Literature student inside me would delight in detailing a full description of the night I’ll cut straight to it.
The turnout was impressive. It was no Friendship on a Sunday night but the bar was happily populated. Within moments of walking in my friend and I found ourselves sat and squared away with two men who, like us, had come together. After eventually disentangling ourselves from them we were in conversation with another group in under a minute. However, surprisingly no part of the event felt like the hectic, scrambling frenzy I imagine organised speed-dating to be. Unlike one friend who cautioned me it was neither a “sausage party” nor “fish market” (direct quote, I’m so sorry), and it didn’t feel like there was an onus or expectation on men to make the first move.
Honestly, it really did just feel like I’d gone out for drinks with my mate.
It’s very straight. I’m not exactly Zoella, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Adidas Superstars looking, but if I’m being told I’m one of the most alternative-looking people in there. I don’t think we’re in Gay Village anymore. Both from pursuing profiles on the app and the conversations I had with other singletons it was pretty evident that most people there were on the hunt for a heterosexual relationship.
It’s an older crowd. Living in the depths of Fallowfield it can be pretty easy to forget about anyone and everyone outside of the 18-25 focus group. While there were a few standard student types it was primarily populated by ‘young professionals’. From a completely cursory, aesthetic glance I reckon the average age range was about 23-32, with a sweet spot at 26.
Safety is where Thursday is really onto something. Thursday has independent bouncers/ticket checkers on the door who seemed friendly and professional. The bartenders were particularly charming and they operated the ‘Ask For Angela’ practice. Although I was with a friend, I genuinely would have felt comfortable entering, leaving and existing there on my own. Thursday really does address the understandable anxieties that can surround the choice to move online to in-person. If you normally feel hesitant about meeting up with an online match it offers you a safe, central, neutral environment. Also I imagine the novelty of the situation makes for a pretty good conversation starter.
It forces genuine engagement. If you’re not interested in someone you can’t simply swipe left or resort to the faithful, “Sorry! I have a girl/boyfriend”, line. Yes, occasionally you might be subjected to yet another mansplaining of the stock market, but giving people a chance lead to some unexpectedly entertaining chats. Strangers are full of surprises.
A lot of the people I spoke to said that they normally struggle to make the first move but Thursday pushed them to act confident even when they weren’t feeling it. Whether or not you find your future wife, gaining the self-belief to shoot your shot is a massive win.
Unfortunately, this didn’t include the bartender.
So, did I find the man of my dreams? Absolutely not. Was I really looking for him? Nahhh. Overall however I think Thursday has a lot to offer.
If you’re more mature than me (not hard) and looking for something a bit more serious then I would heartily recommend it. All the conversations I had were amicable, entertaining and engaging. Everyone that approached us was polite and respectful. The lucky few whom I did deign with my number all texted to make sure I got home safe and continued conversations the following days. They seemed genuinely interested in pursuing something serious (ew!).
Even if you’re not after a long-term lover I still think it’s worth a shot. Provided you don’t have a 9am on Friday it’s a worthwhile experience. Grab a friend or fly solo – you’ll meet a new crowd of people and trust me, your ego will experience a tremendous boost thanks to all the attention.
So whether you’re disillusioned with the commodification and cheapening of romance, hunting for someone to cuff now that the Christmas market season is well and truly upon as, or just looking for a laugh and a good anecdote…get downloading and starting making Thursday sexy.