O nce, when I was traveling abroad, I ate a truffle so delicious that I was inspired to create an account on TripAdvisor just to write about it. In my review, I gushed about the flavor of the truffle and recommended the restaurant, Josephine Cafe, to anyone in the area.
If I’d had that truffle on a date, and the date had gone particularly well, would I have written a review of that, too? It’s totally possible, with the app Lulu.
Launched in 2013 by women searching for some kind of cyber-sisterhood, Lulu allows women (sorry, gay men) to rate their dates through a series of blatantly honest hashtags — everything from #FlowersJustBecause, #ObsessedWithHisMom and #SleepsInTheWetSpot.
Did a former flame cheat? Call him #WanderingEye. Was he a true gentleman? Lulu tells you who puts #LadiesFirst.
Basically, it’s like Yelp for men.
Is this kind of unabashed reviewing fair to men? Unsurprisingly, lots of dudes don’t think so. There’s been huge resistance to the app and the whole rating schema altogether, including a full-on Change.org petition to shut down Lulu on the basis that “men have no say in what content is posted about them, and also have no way to view content posted about them.”
So just this month, Lulu (quietly) changed its policy: Instead of requiring disgruntled men to request that Lulu take their profiles down, it now requires men to sign up to be rated. Changing from an opt-out to an opt-in model, thousands of profiles disappeared overnight.
Is this a big move for the app? Absolutely. But should men take this opportunity to stay away from Lulu? No, I don’t think so.
According to the company’s stats, one in four college women has Lulu downloaded on her phone. And here’s the thing: The girls are actually really nice. The majority of scores on my feed are above a 7.0, with more than a handful of ratings above 9.0.
Take my friend Ken Schindler, a junior in the College. Before his Lulu profile disappeared last month with the app’s new policy, he boasted a near-perfect score of 9.8, described by hashtags like #OneoftheGoodOnes, #4.0GPA and #TallDarkAndHandsome. As for the negatives? His Lulu crushes said #NothingBadAboutHim.
But now, his perfect profile is gone. Should he opt back in? I think so. For the record, when I asked Schindler about his profile, he had no idea it even existed — but I don’t think there’s any reason he shouldn’t want prospective girlfriends to know that he #BelievesInLove.
There are plenty of other Penn men who can benefit from being “vouched” by Lulu. Consider College sophomore Jacob Wallenberg, who boasts a score of 9.0. Reviews from two crushes reveal that he is #AlmostTooPerfect. Or take College senior Andrew Levin, who has also been reviewed twice and boasts a whopping 9.6 for his #KissableLips, #SkinLikeButta and the fact that he #LovesHisFamily.
Even the negative ratings are charitable (it’s rumored that the Lulu scoring algorithm bottoms out at a rating of 4). The worst score on my Lulu feed belonged to a College senior, who I’ll leave unnamed for his proclivity to give the #World’sWorstMassages. He wound up with a total score of 6.7 — even with hashtags like #ManChild.
So if women are generally pretty generous with their ratings and they’re using the app to recommend their guy friends, crushes and ex-boyfriends to other women rather than to bash them for past experiences, why are men so afraid of it? Rather than being full of the vindictive reviews that men seem wary of, most Lulu scores are actually full of praise.
Lulu can be just as helpful for men as it is for women. The system of “vouching” men through former flames can only benefit a guy who treats women the right way by rewarding him with future dates from girls who check his Lulu score.
That said, the only way to really know if a man really #RespectsWomen or is a #GreatListener is to put down the phone and give him a chance.
Arielle Pardes is a College senior from San Diego. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @pardesoteric. “The Screwtinizer” appears every other Friday.
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