Platonic dating service

The mechanics are simple: Sign in with Facebook (no need to invent a witty username), upload some cute pictures and choose your location settings – just as those spammy banner ads promise, you’ll be greeted with an endless array of sexy singles in your area.

If you like the look of someone, all you need to do is swipe right on your smartphone (or left if you’re not interested) to get matching.

Dating is, perhaps, the only activity you get a reputation for being good at by being bad at it.

(Paradoxically, someone who was great at dating would not need to go on many first dates.) Fortunately for the rest of us, a new generation of Internet entrepreneurs has arisen to make finding love – or at least, finding someone to make out with – as easy as firing off a Snapchat.

Now, what if you don’t want to spend hours painstakingly customizing a profile? Inspired by the tech industry’s continued failure to invent “the straight Grindr,” in 2011 the writer Anne Friedman came up with a list of suggestions for making a hookup app that would be popular with women. Allow only ladies to search, which would supposedly eliminate the flood of messages that awaits any woman who signals she’s interested in casual sex.

While a recent article detailed all the ways people are using the app for casual sex, the first Tinder date this reporter went on was a perfectly G-rated evening with hot chocolate in a park.

The lack of profiles on Tinder turns out to be its most salient feature.

Hinge, which borrows most of its interface from Tinder, takes this one step further – you can see people with whom you share a mutual friend.

Another difference: Instead of an infinite stream of users, you only get a certain number per day. If someone is theoretically close to you in a network of friends and you haven’t met them yet, there might be a good reason why.

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