Say you’ve been casually seeing someone for a few weeks. He’s cute, he’s an ass man, and you’re into it. Then one morning you’re assigned to write an article about Lulu, the app where women can anonymously “review” men they know, and you ever so casually see if he’s on there. The next thing you know, a profile he has no idea exists is staring back at you with a 5.8 score (out of 10), peppered with hashtags from past hookups who describe him as #fartmachine, #manchild, and #hititandquitit. You start to re-evaluate your non-relationship with him before you snap out of it and realize: you’re not a tween, and Lulu is fucking stupid.
It used to be considered prudent to Google someone before a first date. Knowledge is power, you know? But now, with the advent of apps like Lulu, ladies can read unlimited “reviews” of potential dates written by other, anonymous ladies these dates may or may not have left jilted in the past. The hashtags range from the positive — #WillHelpYouMove, #OneOfTheGoodOnes, #OneWomanMan — to the not-so-positive — #fixerupper, #TotalF**kingDickhead, #sketchycalllog.
Beyond providing invasive, questionable information (do you really need to know your 17 year-old cousin #procreatedandevaporated?), Lulu reviews are often contradictory — how can someone be a #stage5clinger while also being listed as a #hititandquitit who #neversleepsover? (That sound like a #stage1clinger at best.)
Many people have called out Lulu’s particular brand of grapevine gossip, calling it defamatory and an invasion of privacy. In January, a Brazilian man successfully sued Lulu, and the app was subsequently blocked in the country. Last week, Lulu quietly switched to an opt-in policy, so rather than allowing women to review any man, whether he wants to be on Lulu or not, men now have to actively sign up in order to be rated on the site. Lulu’s official statement on the matter: “We’ve decided to be the better woman and only have guys on Lulu who are open to feedback.”
But here’s the thing: none of our dating histories are spotless. We’ve all had drunken nights and treated people badly at times, but that isn’t necessarily a predictor of our future exploits. What’s more, apps like Lulu are often skewed because of voluntary response bias — meaning people who’ve had either very positive or very negative experiences with a particular person would be more likely to dish about them on Lulu. Also, if you can sum up all of your romantic experiences with another person in three overly-long hashtags, I probably don’t want to hear your opinion anyway.
One last thing: If there was a Lulu equivalent for guys to review girls — let’s call it “Chad” or something — with hashtag options like #TotalF**kingBitch, #daddysgirl, or #wouldntswallow, people would lose their shit. So why is it okay for Lulu to encourage women to reduce and defame guys? (Spoiler alert: it’s not.)
As the Daily Beast‘s Emily Shire writes, “There’s no good reason to encourage men and women to scrutinize their ability to love and be loved based on the guidance of nameless commentators. ” So let’s all slowly step away from the apps for a minute and base our feelings for our dates off of actual experiences we have with them, shall we?
[h/t The Daily Beast]