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New dating app makes things safer

If you’re single and trying to date during a pandemic, you likely have the sympathy and admiration of most of the nondating world.

Many of us can recall how hard it was to date in pre-pandemic days. Even with apps like Match and Tinder, dating was still weird — or at least it seems weird to those of us who stopped dating before dating apps were the norm.

But now, in a pandemic, the strangeness of dating seems to have reached new levels.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how dating during the pandemic requires ingenuity. If you’re going to meet someone now, it’s going to require the use of video calling apps like Zoom or Skype.

As we explored in that column, we still have to do the extra work to make meaningful connections on video apps, to make it feel genuine and special.

During that series on pandemic dating, I met Sacha Nasan, co-founder of Blindlee, a new dating app with a unique feature.

This female-friendly app matches strangers. After they’re matched, they meet on a three-minute blurred video call, during which they can interact and ask each other questions. If both liked the call, they’re matched.

Did you catch that first part? Yes, it’s a blurred video call.

“Most apps today are based on the swiping mechanism, which Tinder popularized,” Nasan explained. “Blindlee is a very different concept than that of a typical dating app. You have a video call with a stranger, but it’s blurred and adjustable.”

This makes the experience both fun and safe at the same time.

During that first video call, each person starts at 100-percent blurred, but this is where it becomes a kind of female-controlled app. Women control the blurring percentage.

“This means you get to see the other person only vaguely without details,” Nasan said. “Think of it like seeing someone naked behind the shower door but you can’t really see the details.”

In this case though, blurring allows users to judge the personality rather than the profile.

Blindlee is coming along at the right time, too, when the world is seeing a shift to video dating during the pandemic as many people are just not ready to go on physical dates yet.

When I asked Nasan if he used the app to find love, he said he answers calls from users who call randomly.

“They tell us on these calls and in emails that they love Blindlee’s blur aspect,” Nasan said. “But just to be clear, I didn’t use it for dating because I have a girlfriend who, by the way, I met on another dating app.”

This last part is important because even Nasan admits Blindlee should be one of several apps in your dating app arsenal. In fact, successful online daters admit to using more than one app at a time.

If all of this doesn’t make you want to try Blindlee, maybe the start-up story behind the app genesis will.

“Glenn (Keller) and I are cousins,” Nasan said. “We’re two young entrepreneurs in our early 20s. We developed Blindlee in our spare time. Essentially this garage-style side project took importance quicker than we thought, which is a good problem to have.”

You’ll find Blindlee in the Google Play or Apple App store.

Dr. Adam Earnheardt is chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and on his blog at www.adamearn.com.

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