Bumble is opening an Italian restaurant in NYC this month – see inside what the dating app is billing as a ‘safe space’ for relationships

A rendering of the exterior of Bumble Brew with tables and chairs both outside and inside the yellow storefront
A rendering of Bumble Brew.

  • Dating app Bumble has teamed up with a New York City restaurant to create the Bumble Brew Cafe and Wine Bar.
  • Bumble Brew will serve an “Italian-inspired” breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • The restaurant was designed for patrons to connect with “friends, a potential partner, or a new business connection.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Dating app Bumble – the one where women must message first – is teaming up with Pasquale Jones, a New York City restaurant, to create the Bumble Brew Cafe and Wine Bar.

A rendering of the Bumble Brew's bar with coffee, drinks, and seating
A rendering of Bumble Brew’s bar with the Bumble logo.

By day, it’ll be a cafe and breakfast spot. But by night, the space will transform into a wine bar and restaurant with offerings like dry-aged beef tartare, octopus, and cacio e pepe raviolo.

Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice on a plate with other plates of food in the background.
Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice.

The cafe, restaurant, and wine bar combo will open July 24 in the Nolita neighborhood of New York City, right next to Pasqaule Jones, an Italian hotspot overseen by Delicious Hospitality Group.

A rendering of the exterior of Bumble Brew with tables and chairs both outside and inside the yellow storefront
A rendering of Bumble Brew.

“We’ve always designed our restaurants so that people can connect over delicious food and drinks in a fun and energetic environment, so our mission aligned perfectly with Bumble,” Ryan Hardy, Delicious Hospitality Group’s CEO and executive chef, said in the press release.

Chef Hardy in the kitchen with another person.
Chef Hardy.

Bumble Brew was inspired by the company’s Hive pop-ups, which bring the app and its dating, friend-making, and networking options to life. But unlike the pop-ups, this will be Bumble’s first storefront.

A hand holding a pastry with a newspaper, book, and iPhone showing the Bumble app off to the side.
A pastry and the Bumble app.

The 3,760-square-foot establishment will have room for 80 people in its dining room, bar, patio, and private dining section, all of which were designed by New York-based Float Design Studio.

A rendering of the interior Bumble Brew lounge with more tables and chairs and a view of the street outside
A rendering of the Bumble Brew lounge.

The space can even be used to house events.

A person eating a plate of chitarra nero, crab, and Japanese mint with a glass of white wine next to them.
Chitarra nero, crab, and Japanese mint.

The Bumble Brew space is striving for a “fun, upbeat” environment …

A rendering of the exterior of Bumble Brew with tables and chairs both outside and inside the yellow storefront
A rendering of Bumble Brew.

… and most of the music will be from women artists in different genres (it is Bumble, after all).

Various plates of food from an overhead view.
A collection of the food.

And what better way to create a jovial environment than with wine.

A rendering of the Bumble Brew's bar with coffee, drinks, and seating
A rendering of Bumble Brew’s bar.

“We hope that people can gather at Bumble Brew and connect over an espresso or delicious meal, whether it’s with friends, a potential partner, or a new business connection,” Julia Smith, Bumble’s head of brand partnerships, said in the press release.

A person eating a plate of charcoal grilled steak, spring onions, and romesco verde.
Charcoal grilled steak, spring onions, and romesco verde.

Similar to its neighbor, Bumble Brew’s menu – created by Hardy and the Pasquale Jones crew – will be “Italian-inspired,” according to the press release.

A plate of mushrooms, charred green tomatoes, chile, and lime.
Mushrooms, charred green tomatoes, chile, and lime.

This translates to pastas, vegetables, a bar-specific menu, and food to share.

Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice.
Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice.

The breakfast menu includes items like croissants and ricotta with bee pollen, plums, and hazelnuts.

A hand holding a baked good over a plate next to coffee and sugar.
The breakfast pastries.

Meanwhile, lunch (which will be available beginning July 31) has options like beef tartare with black garlic and crispies, brown butter asparagus with black truffle and Parmigiano …

Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice on a plate.
Dry-aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice.

… and smoked eggplant with hot chile, yogurt, and mint.

a bowl with smoked eggplant, hot chile, yogurt, and mint with a slice of toast
Smoked eggplant, hot chile, yogurt, and mint with a slice of toast.

Several of the lunch and dinner items overlap, including the asparagus, beef tartare, and eggplant. Along with this, the dinner menu will also have hits like pastas, steak, and octopus. However, it should be noted that dinner service won’t begin until August 7.

Someone plating casoncelli stuffed with mortadela, parmigiano, and pancetta.
Casoncelli stuffed with mortadella, parmigiano, and pancetta.

All of these plates will cost, on average, $20, Kate Krader reported for Bloomberg.

Various plates of food from an overhead view.
A collection of the food.

Source: Bloomberg

Food pickup will also be available through Caviar, a food ordering and delivery platform.

Someone plating casoncelli stuffed with mortadela, parmigiano, and pancetta.
Casoncelli stuffed with mortadella, parmigiano, and pancetta.

At first, the Bumble Brew concept had planned to serve “date-friendly” meals that wouldn’t have foods “that would be awkward on a first date,” Caroline Ellis Roche, Bumble’s chief of staff, said in 2019.

A plate of cucumbers, dill, and smoked wild trout
Cucumbers, dill, and smoked wild trout.

Source: Bloomberg

But that approach has since shifted. And now, the eatery will be a “safe space for healthy and equitable relationships and connection,” Smith told Bloomberg.

A close up of Chef Hardy in the kitchen.
Chef Hardy.

Source: Bloomberg

Read the original article on Business Insider

Founders of Canadian relationship app Couply talk gaining traction after winning Collision 2021 pitch competition

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Couply founders Denesh Raymond (left) and Tim Johnson (right).

  • The Canadian relationship app Couply won the 2021 pitch competition hosted by Collision, a Toronto-based technology conference attended by thousands of industry giants.
  • Insider spoke to its founders, Tim Johnson and Denesh Raymond, to learn more about their vision for Couply and the events leading up to its inception.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Imagine this. You finally met that special someone-whether it be on a dating app or in real life-and everything is going great until you hit that post-honeymoon-phase slump. Naturally, you turn to the app store for some guidance, only to find that the selection of relationship apps is rather slim in comparison to dating apps.

That was the ideation process behind Canadian startup Couply, founded by Tim Johnson and Denesh Raymond. It’s a free relationship app designed to inspire couples to deepen their connection with fun features like personality quizzes, which then help aid the process of planning dates that are mutually enjoyable.

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An example of a date idea proposed by Couply.

Couply’s vision was so successful that it won Collision 2021’s startup competition, PITCH, this past April. The bootstrapped company was one of 50 up-and-coming startups to pitch in front of a panel of judges, consisting of venture capitalists from B Capital Group, Salesforce Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners, to name a few.

The two founders crossed paths when they both worked at Wattpad, an online storytelling platform for writers. Johnson stills works on the business development side of Wattpad and is a published author with a strong background in the nonprofit sector. Raymond was a software engineer at Wattpad, where he specialized in iOS and Android development and was a member of the Wattpad Monetization team.

When Johnson came to Raymond with the idea for the app, Raymond was working as a tech lead at a product development company, building apps for companies like Bose and Peloton.

At first, Raymond had his doubts.

“I’m sort of taking it with a grain of salt because, being in the tech space, I’ve worked with different apps like this before,” Raymond told Insider.

Once Raymond came home that day and did his research, he realized that there weren’t any big players to compete with, aside from the Bumbles and Tinders in the dating space. From that point on, the duo “just got into a room and started cracking at it,” Raymond said.

Since its launch in December of 2020, Couply has grown from a few downloads a day to 1,000 downloads a week, with its daily download rate doubling each month as a result of word of mouth, Johnson told Insider. He and Raymond hope to grow their user base from their current total of 10,000+ to an audience of one million in a year from now.

Despite being developed in Canada, the app sees its biggest opportunity in the U.S. market, and this is where Johnson and Raymond plan to focus their efforts. Couply is also available for download globally and will eventually be accessible in different languages.

The foundation of Couply is rooted in its creators’ belief in the power of technology when used for good. Through research-based quizzes that are linked across both partners’ accounts, couples can better understand each other’s similarities and differences, as well as their own way of looking at the world.

IMG_9820.PNG
Couply’s in-app personality quizzes.

This information guides Couply in providing personalized date ideas, gift suggestions, and relationship advice. In addition, the app’s integrated calendar allows users to set reminders for important relationship milestones and book thoughtful dates, which is Couply’s ultimate end goal for its users.

“This kind of drills into that core sentiment of Couply, which is to get out there and do things with your partner in the real world,” Johnson told Insider.

Even in the heat of the pandemic, Couply has fared well among its users with the help of the in-app feedback system. Through this feature, the creators are able to directly communicate with their audience and gauge the kinds of dates they’re interested in at a given time-not surprisingly, innovative ideas for a romantic night in have been highly requested.

The app also boasts a daily conversation starter tool, which is designed to help the flow of meaningful interaction beyond simple check-ins.

“You can use it as a fun thing at lunch or dinner,” Johnson said. “Or even just text it to your partner during the day to keep that journey going, so that you’re not only doing transactional conversations, you’re actually learning about each other and your internal maps of the world.”

Johnson added that he and Raymond were lucky to be able to tap into a diverse set of perspectives in Toronto’s tech community for feedback on their user experience and its accessibility for all members.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘Vamp Me Via Zoom’: How personal ads at The New York Review of Books embraced the language of the pandemic

New York Skyline with Purple Sunset
New York, New York.

  • At The New York Review of Books, COVID-19, Zoom, and vaccines made their way into the personal ads.
  • Sharmaine Ong, who manages the ads, gave Insider a look at her favorites from the last year.
  • One began: “Tony Fauci Seeks Deborah Birx.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A few days ago, Sharmaine Ong, who manages the personal ads at The New York Review of Books, said she’d be happy to choose a few of her favorite listings from the last year or so, since COVID-19 first brought New York City to a standstill.

Moments later, an email arrived listing her top four.

Tony Fauci Seeks Deborah Birx – public health wonk seeks earthy Jewish woman for sniggering about the boss after work with our masks off,” read one of Ong’s favorites, from July 2020, when the real Fauci and Birx were often seen standing behind President Donald Trump at the White House.

Ong, who was promoted to advertising associate in January 2020, told Insider that as the pandemic picked up, she noticed a few interesting changes in the literary publication’s personals. These have long had a reputation as a mating ground for educated, sometimes wealthy, playful-with-words types.

Mentions of COVID, Zoom, and other pandemic-related topics spiked last year, as might be expected. (One from last July began with “In the time of Corona …”) Some ad-buyers said they were lonely during lockdowns. Others were looking for pen pals, since face-to-face meetings were difficult.

Ong, who started at the NYRB as an intern about three years ago, also said more young people began buying print ads as the pandemic worsened.

“When I started, I noticed a lot of ads run by 40 to 80-year-olds, but now I’m seeing some ads from 20 to 30 year olds, which is quite different,” she said.

Insider reached out to the email address attached to the Fauci/Birx ad. The ad-buyer introduced himself via email as Dr. Gabriel Ethan Feldman, who in 2011 was awarded $14.7 million as a federal whistleblower.

Feldman said via email that he’d mostly given up on internet dating, turning instead to print ads. The NYRB ad brought in a few replies. He’d gotten one date from it. They both wore masks. Nothing came of it.

“I thought it was a clever take as I am actually a real-life public health physician,” he said via email.

After a few back-and-forth emails, Feldman added,:”You can use my name, I don’t mind. Everyone knows I can’t find someone in NYC despite being a multimillionaire, nice Jewish doctor, federal whistleblower.”

Another of Ong’s favorites was published last summer: “Vamp Me Via Zoom or FaceTime. Set my soul afire. Instagram my eager ego. Hashtag my desire. Though our lips may never meet. Tweet me, baby, tout de suite!”

The NYRB usually increases its classified-ad rates each year but the company decided not to raise them last year during the pandemic, Ong said. The uptick in personal ad sales last summer outpaced growth in other ad categories at the NYRB, she said.

Rates for print ads ranged from $4.40 to $5.85 per word, depending on the number of issues the listing ran in. Emails counted as two words, phone numbers as one.

By this spring, the Zoom references had started being phased out, replaced instead by vaccine references.

In March, the publication printed the most recent of Ong’s favorites: “Pair of Unrepentant Queers (one pansexual Asian punk femme & one curly-haired nonbinary flâneur) found love in these pages. Seeking COVID-negative company to complete the hat trick; be enlightening, generous, flexible, spirited.”

The final of Ong’s favorite ads from the last year wasn’t pandemic related. It was more in the spirit of the playful ads that have been running since 1968, when the NYRB published its first personal ad.

It read: “Ancient Bay Area live oak, still acorning, seeks fertile soil for sweet kindness. All species welcome.”

That one was written by Daniel Raskin, 77, a retired preschool teacher, widower, and grandfather living in San Francisco. He wrote it for the magazine’s personals contest, which it won. He said via email that he’d run a few other personal ads in the magazine in past. They had led to coffee dates. But he only got two replies this time.

“It was too quirky to expect responses,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’m a dating coach whose inbox is flooded with requests from newly vaccinated singles. Here’s what I predict will be popular on dating apps post-pandemic.

Meredith Golden photo credit Sam Khan
Meredith Golden launched her dating app ghostwriting service in 2015.

  • Meredith Golden is a professional dating coach and dating profile ghostwriter.
  • Recently, she says her inbox has been flooded with inquiries from the newly vaccinated.
  • Darma, her new app, provides post-date feedback and includes a ‘closure’ button to prevent ghosting.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A few weeks ago, my inbox suddenly started filling up with inquiries about my dating profile and coaching services, prompted by the combination of warmer weather and the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.

While everyone who’s spent the past year at home alone is eager to make up for lost time, those on the vaccination priority list – the 65+ age group and those with pre-existing medical conditions – are like bulls rushing out of the gate ready to get back into the dating arena.

These days, ‘vaccinated’ is the hottest detail you can add to your dating app bio.

Now I see vaccine status updates on every three to four profiles out there. It’s become a badge of honor as well as a great conversation starter.

People are not only mentioning they’ve been vaccinated, they’re also going into detail as to which vaccine they got and whether they’re half or fully vaccinated. Some even include an eye-catching 💉 emoji.

Sharing these types of details has become an easy way to convert a conversation to the next stage of the dating process. It’s truly become the ultimate pre-pandemic icebreaker to say, “Oh, look at us, we’re both vaccinated, we should go out and celebrate.”

As research continues to emerge regarding whether or not the vaccines fully prevent transmission of the virus, many singles still view someone who’s been vaccinated as a safer option.

The bottom line is if they’ve got two choices to date – between the unvaccinated, meaning a date who can pass on COVID-19, and the vaccinated, someone who likely won’t – it’s pretty obvious who looks like a more attractive candidate.

People are eager to date again without the fear they might wind up on a ventilator.

Safety isn’t the only factor though. People also want to make the best use of their time.

I’ve long considered video chats a smart screening tool, as they can help determine whether the person you’re talking to is worth meeting in person. It’s an easy and efficient way to advance a relationship, especially now that work has been reimagined and geography is no longer restrictive for most people.

This flexibility has made people more open to searching in different markets because they no longer have to board a flight and “meet” for the first time blindly. Technology is evolving the long-distance dating process in that respect.

One of my clients was initially very skeptical about using video chat. She was excited to advance with someone and meet him in person, saying “I think I like this one. He looks great.” However, I told her she couldn’t like him because she didn’t even know him, and encouraged her to have a video chat first. A few days later, I got a text saying, “Dodged a bullet with that one. Thank you!”

While video chat features were available long before the pandemic, they were often underutilized. Since COVID-19, more people have come to understand their value, and I believe video chats are now here to stay.

At the end of the day, singles invest a lot of time, effort, emotions, and resources when it comes to dating, so when they aren’t successful in terms of finding a match, it can leave them feeling frustrated and defeated.

After being isolated the past year, some singles are throwing their pre-COVID-19 requirements out the window.

People are ready to get back out there with a more open mind. Many didn’t miss the pain points that come along with dating, but know they can’t completely take themselves out of the market because they still want to meet someone. These types are re-entering the dating world with the mindset that dating is less of a priority than before.

One of my clients who had a lot of pre-COVID requirements clearly reconsidered as she wound up telling me, “If he’s over six feet and vaccinated, count me in!”

The pre-COVID-19 style of dating is still kind of a novelty at the moment. These early days and attitudes around dating will most likely be different six months from now or even by Labor Day, as people begin to make adjustments to their lifestyle and mindset.

Based on my work, while rejection may sting, the consensus is that singles would rather know a connection isn’t moving forward than be ghosted.

It’s typically the ambiguity and precariousness of dating that takes up a lot of brain space and creates anxiety. If you know the door is shut, your brain stops ruminating, the loop is closed, and you can move on. There’s a lot to be said for closure.

The fact is, while many dating apps do their best to match people, they don’t address common dating pain points, such as helping to provide appropriate feedback, a lack of manners, and a desire for closure.

After being a dating coach for more than five years, I decided to create a dating app called Darma that allows people to connect while also offering users the opportunity to receive confidential feedback and closure, something no other app does. Dating feedback can often reveal blind spots in dating or validate that you’re doing everything right. Either way, it’s helpful for a person to know.

If a single provides a cell number for their date, Darma follows up and asks for feedback from a series of pre-selected options ranging from your date’s table manners and punctuality to their attire and personal hygiene. There’s even a handy ‘closure’ button that allows you to fire off a preselected note rather than ghost someone.

Everyone wants more matches on a dating app because matches create opportunities.

The dating industry will still evolve post-COVID-19, and while not everyone can afford to hire me or another dating coach, not everyone needs to. I’ve learned through my work that many of the problems with dating can be easily solved with the assistance of technology.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I tried Hinge’s virtual date night kit that’s supposed to make socially distanced dating more fun – here’s how it went

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Hinge_x_Uncommon_Goods_Virtual_Date_Night_Kit_4x3_2
  • Dating online can be awkward even in the best of times, but especially while social distancing.
  • Online dating platform Hinge paired with Uncommon Goods to create a virtual date kit to enhance connections.
  • Inside, you’ll find cocktail ingredients and conversation starters to enjoy while on video chat.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyVirtual Dating Kit (small)

Online dating can be a learning curve even in the best of times, but during social distancing that long list of date ideas can slowly dwindle down into video chats and walks outside. Luckily, online dating platform Hinge recently partnered with Uncommon Goods to create a Virtual Date Night Kit that helps singles swipe, share, and say goodbye to their profiles that much quicker.

For $30, you and your date will receive a box filled with conversation starters and a make-your-own cocktail kit that includes mixology tools and three recipes to follow. It’s a unique activity for two that you can enjoy while on FaceTime or Zoom.

“Throughout the pandemic, our goal has been to help our community continue their dating life in safe and fun ways,” said Logan Ury, Hinge’s director of relationship science. “Two out of three users have felt a growing connection with someone they met over video chat, and partnering with Uncommon Goods to help singles have a shared experience over video was the perfect collaboration.”

The pandemic and all its associated awkwardness hasn’t stopped folks from dating, in fact, Hinge has experienced recent growth, which is in part what led to the inspiration for this kit. According to Ury, Hinge saw a 63% increase in downloads globally and a 14% increase in dates compared to 2019.

As someone who met their boyfriend on Hinge amid the pandemic (we’ve now been dating for nine months), I was instantly curious about the Hinge x Uncommon Goods collaboration. My boyfriend and I wanted to take note of how the kit measured up to our on-app experience. Though we’ve already covered most of the first, second, and third date topics, the Virtual Date Night Kit let us mix things up, literally, with a build-your-own mixology kit and activity. We assessed the quality of the cocktail ingredients, the conversation starters, and pretended how it would be to experience as a first date if we took a time machine back to June 2020.

Whether it’s your first time communicating without message bubbles or you’ve been in a year-long relationship, the Hinge x Uncommon Goods Date Night Kit is a fun and fresh way to connect.

How it works

Let’s start with the basics. The kit includes the following:

You can purchase the kit here. They are buy-one, get-one, exclusive of shipping for each order. Alcohol is not included.

Once the “date planner” orders their kit, Uncommon Goods will e-mail them a unique redemption code to share with their date. This means no mailing addresses have to be exchanged between the two singles.

The second person on the date will then order their kit by entering their redemption code at checkout, where it says “Uncommon Credits.” Within a week, both singles will receive their kit.

Our review of the Hinge x Uncommon Goods Virtual Date Night Kit

Hinge Dating Kit

Even though I just turned 21, my boyfriend and I opted for the mocktail version (that is, omitting either rum, tequila, or vodka from our mixed drinks). I appreciated that the included recipe pamphlet – which also has the nine conversation starters on the flipside – labels alcohol as “optional” and outlines steps to skip if a mocktail is desired. Hinge x Uncommon Goods definitely gets brownie points for being inclusive of singles’ diverse preferences, whether they don’t drink alcohol or are a social drinker.

The kit categorizes three different cocktails for the type of date night ambiance you want to create with your new connection:

My boyfriend and I have since advanced from the virtual-only dating scene, but we thought it best to try the “More Than a Mule” drink because it sounded like something many folks would prefer for a first date.

The mini potion-like bottles of ginger-lime simple syrup and lime bitters made me feel like a bartending pro, and I liked how the kit amped up the typical crack-open-a-bottle experience. The opportunity to virtually create and mix a drink with your date makes for an easy way to beat the awkward silences that typically accompany Zoom dates.

Hinge virtual date night kit

Though the kit was a throwback to mine and my boyfriend’s first few days on the app, I was a bit disappointed with the lack of instruction on the kit’s outside label. To make testing it as realistic as possible, we opened the box virtually on the night we wanted to try the activity. As we were concocting and mixing, we realized that we both didn’t have lime juice on hand. I recently ran out of orange juice in my refrigerator as well – an ingredient to make the other two drinks in the recipe pamphlet – so I had no other choice but to make the “More Than a Mule” drink. And, even for that recipe, I substituted the lime juice for lemon juice, which turned out to be pretty delicious. Thankfully, I was fully stocked on club soda.

My boyfriend and I didn’t use the stainless steel jiggers because we mixed up a mocktail, but they would be useful if creating a cocktail. The included drink stirrers were a nice touch as well.

To top it all off, we appreciated the dried lime slices to feel like we were at a tiki bar. They made our small glasses look dynamite and, if you’re a lover of all things citrus, you can munch on them, too.

An overview of the conversation starters

As someone who loves finding getting-to-know-you questions online and playing them with my friends and family, the fact that this kit only includes nine conversation starters was kind of a letdown. Sure, if you’re getting to know someone, one question can slowly turn into a half-hour discussion on your cherished memories and favorite sitcoms. But, because my boyfriend and I adored The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D., on our video chats sprinkled throughout the week, we weren’t huge fans of the handful included with the kit.

Even though the $30 cost covers you and your date, it would have been nice to see more questions for the price. Regardless, it’s still a great concept and it was a great way to lead the discussion throughout the evening.

Should you buy it?

Buying the kit depends much on preference, how long you anticipate the video chat being, and most importantly – planning ahead. Since it takes about a week to ship, you’re going to have to keep the conversation going, whether it be on-app messaging, social media communication, or personal phone number exchanges.

It was nice to see a dating app go above and beyond the typical video chat or on-app prompts. However, opening your favorite bottle of wine and perhaps purchasing The Book of Questions makes for a similar experience.

I recommend this kit solely for privacy reasons. If you want to treat a potential suitor to an enjoyable, lighthearted date but aren’t up for meeting in person just yet, this is a great option. No shared addresses means you have more flexibility when it comes to establishing boundaries in the early stages of getting to know each other.

The bottom line

Hinge virtual date night kit 2021

While it was exciting to receive my Hinge Virtual Dating Kit in the mail, the $30 price point for nine questions and no alcohol included doesn’t give me a strong push to recommend it. Again, if keeping personal information, like your address, private is of high priority, definitely go for it. It’s a great business model to help aid online daters, but it’s not all that necessary – unless you’re really wanting to do a hands-on activity, like mixing drinks, virtually.

Pros: Amplifies the online dating experience, includes conversation starters to get to know your date, no sharing of addresses required

Cons: Doesn’t include alcohol and some other ingredients for cocktails, not many conversation starters

Virtual Dating Kit (button)

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Bernie Sanders urged the Senate to pass COVID-relief measures so young people can date and socialize again

Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks during an interview with MSNBC in the Russell Rotunda in Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders has for months pushed various COVID relief measures to aid Americans.
  • On Friday, he said the Senate should pass the $1.9 trillion relief package so young people can resume socializing.
  • “You’ve got young people who want to go to school, who want to socialize, want to date,” Sanders said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday urged the Senate to pass the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, arguing that various COVID-19 relief measures are needed to ensure that young people are able to date again.

Addressing his colleagues on the Senate floor, Sanders discussed how social isolation brought on by the coronavirus has affected young Americans.

“You’ve got young people who want to go to school, who want to socialize, want to date, want to do things that young people do,” Sanders said. “They can’t do it and have been unable to do that for the last year, and that has resulted in a very sharp increase in mental illness in this country, something, by the way, that this legislation also deals with.” 

It’s been almost a year since the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic. Since then, more than 28 million people in the United States have contracted the virus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that, more than 500,000 Americans have died

Sanders in his address also sympathized with elderly people who have spent nearly a year in isolation, staying away from their grandchildren and other family members to minimize the risk of contracting the coronavirus. 

These issues reflect a pressing need to pass various COVID relief measures, Sanders argued. 

The Vermont senator has for weeks pushed lawmakers to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The Senate, however, struck down his proposal Friday

The Senate could vote on the $1.9 trillion stimulus package as early as Saturday.

In addition to concerns over the economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, questions over Americans’ mental health are also on the rise. 

According to a national study conducted by nonprofit FAIR Health, mental health-related insurance claims among US teenagers between 13 and 18 years of age have skyrocketed during the pandemic. 

The report, released last Tuesday, said self-harm and overdose claims have been among the issues most frequently reported since March 2020. 

Young, single people fighting social isolation have generally found it hard to date during the pandemic, Vox previously reported

Despite polls released during the height of the pandemic last year that show online dating gained popularity among millennials and other groups of younger people, dating apps and websites make it hard to form solid relationships, Vox reported, citing interviews with more than a dozen single people. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Why getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the hottest trend on dating apps

business woman looking at phone in office
Tinder said it has seen a 258% increase in profile mentions of vaccines between September and December.

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is now a dating app “deal breaker.”
  • Forty per cent of OKCupid users would cancel a date with someone who wouldn’t get a shot.
  • Dating apps do not routinely verify whether someone has been immunized or not.

Getting a coronavirus vaccine is the hottest thing right now. At least, that’s the impression you might get from dating apps, where people are mentioning they’ve got their shot as a way to meet likeminded people. 

“We have seen a 137% increase in mentions of “vaccine” on our profiles [globally] between November and January,” Michael Kaye, a spokesperson from dating app OKCupid, told Insider. 

Tinder said it has seen a 258% increase in profile mentions of vaccines between September and December, Tyla reported. 

Bumble, another dating app, told Insider it had seen an increase in the number of people with the word “vaccine” or “vaccinated” in their Bumble profiles but did not elaborate. Grindr, an online dating app for gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, told Insider it did not collect data about COVID-19 vaccines. 

“Not only is the vaccine becoming the biggest talking point on dating apps, it’s actually becoming a huge deal-breaker,” Kaye added.

Sarah Kelly, a journalist who hadn’t had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, tweeted January 31 that a man wrote to her on a dating app: “Ur real cool however I found someone who is also Vaccinated!!”

 

OKCupid includes a set of “matching questions” that users can voluntarily answer. The questions ask whether they would get vaccinated and whether they would cancel a date if a match wouldn’t get a shot. This then appears on their profile for potential suitors to see. The questions have been answered more than 17 millions times.

OkCupid Cancel Date
OKCupid “matching questions”

Kaye said people who answered that they would get a COVID-19 shot got more “likes” than those who said no. He said 40% of Millennial and Gen Z-aged OKCupid users would cancel a date with someone who wouldn’t take a vaccine. The figure was 18% higher for women compared with men. Most OKCupid daters are straight, but LGBTQ + people use the platform too. 

So far, more than 212 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across 90 countries, according to Johns Hopkins University. Most countries have prioritized those at highest risk of severe COVID-19 disease, namely older people who are less likely to be using OKCupid, Tinder, or Bumble. But key workers like health professionals and those with certain medical conditions have also been top of the priority list in some countries. 

Some younger people in the US have been able to get a shot by queuing up outside pharmacies for leftover doses. Vaccine trial participants are another group of younger people who have been able to get a shot before others.

‘Fraught with dangers’

Dr. Nilufar Ahmed, a lecturer in Social Sciences at the University of Bristol, told Insider in a statement that the area was “fraught with dangers.” Meeting someone who was vaccinated does not reduce the risk of catching coronavirus or stop you from passing it on, she said.  

Dr. Veronica Lamarche, a relationships expert from the Department of Psychology at the University of Exeter, didn’t think that it would necessarily open the “floodgates” for risky behavior, because often people who were conscientious enough to engage in protective health practices, were also more likely to be conscientious in other ways too.

“It will probably increase the likelihood that people feel safe to interact with other people because they’ve been vaccinated,” she said. “And then it’s really a question of vaccine efficacy at that point, whether or not it’s increasing their risks.”

‘Health disclosure nightmare’

Dating apps do not routinely verify whether someone has been immunized or not. In the US, dating apps would not be HIPAA-compliant if they shared health information. 

Lamarche said daters could lie about their immunization status, and people might engage in dates that aren’t as safe as they expected. But she said that if health-based questions were compulsory and apps had to verify the details, you would get into a “health disclosure nightmare”.

“I think that is something that goes beyond just the simple question of the pandemic and something that needs to be considered in terms of the morality behind being forced to disclose these different types of health information,” she said.

Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor at Warwick University, told Insider that what it means to be “vaccinated” was unclear, and including all the relevant information in a short bio on a dating profile could be a challenge.

“There’s a whole issue about how many doses of the vaccine you get, because you do need two doses for most of these vaccines,” he said. 

Young said that for him it was “a slippery slope.”

“Clearly people are at liberty to declare anything they wish to declare. But I do wonder about where you draw the line,” he said.  “Do they say actually I’ve had a papilloma virus vaccine for instance, because that’s linked with cervical cancer and head and neck cancer.”

“Are you going to start mentioning other aspects of your health?” Young added. “Do you need to start doing DNA tests to see if you’re at increased susceptibility to various diseases?

‘Winning the war on the virus’

“I guess from a public health perspective, dating apps could help win the war on the virus, because people will go: if I want to date somebody, then I better be vaccinated,” Ivo Vlaev, professor of behavioural science at Warwick Business School, told Insider. 

Young said most young people usually don’t get severe disease, but could end up with long-term complications of COVID-19 if they catch coronavirus, so it was important to protect as many people as possible with vaccinations.

Vlaev said all policy decisions impact our private lives. “The more governments and other organizations require vaccination status, the more we are going to require from each other,” he said. 

“There aren’t any hard or written rules about how to date. So I think it’s interesting that we’re seeing that people put this information on their profile and that’s a way of signaling what the social norm is,” Lamarche said.  

Kaye said a really positive impact of the pandemic was that people are talking more about important sexual health issues on their dating profiles, for example, whether they had been tested for sexually transmitted infections.

Lamarche said it could backfire, though, if some people say publicly that they haven’t been vaccinated or won’t get immunized. 

“This could start to set a different set of norms and expectations, and disagreement on what is typical or what you should be doing if you want to get a partner,” Larmarche said. “You might see a counter-movement emerge.”

Lamarche said she generally thought it was probably a positive trend, especially to motivate younger groups who might feel disincentivized to get vaccines if they feel that COVID-19 is less of a factor in their lives.

“By and large, the benefits probably outweigh the negatives,” she said.

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