Are you black, not very tech-savvy, want to cheat on your significant other and need for your future side piece to pass the paper-bag test? You’re in luck, because there’s a dating “app” out there just for you!
Welcome to Smoochr, the newest experiment in online dating. “App” is in quotes because unlike Tinder or OKCupid, Smoochr is accessible by browser only – no swiping here, you plebes. And in the vein of BlackPeopleMeet, Smoochr is just for us, y’all! You can tell this not only by the overly filtered “Jason’s Lyric “-inspired photo on the homepage, but also because one of the taglines clearly states “Discover Black Singles by complexion, hair type and more!”
Yes, complexion and hair type are filters for finding your perfect match. Oh, there’s more – we’ll get to it in just a sec. But yes, that’s one of many issues we have with Smoochr, which was developed by Larry Kennebrew Jr., an Atlanta resident from Flint (there’s always a Michigan connection. Always.) who wrote this on his Facebook page:
This year I had a goal to create an online business, so I decided to go with a black dating site. I really wanted to capture the black dating experience in an online app like no other site has done. Check it out, your feedback is appreciated. If you notice a problem don't hesitate to let me know.
Far be it for us at BLAC to piss on the parade of a black-owned startup, but let’s detail one by one why Smoochr might crash and burn.
Gays need not apply. If you’re a gay man or a lesbian, you’re already left out since the second dating filter asks if you’re a “man seeking a woman” or a “woman seeking a man.” One would think since we’ve so many strides in equality – hell, even Tinder lets you filter by sexual preference – the gays could at least be included in this. Apparently not.
Are you a Becky with good hair? The first dating filter is hilarious. After years of women hearing from men on how they like their ladies’ mane – “I don’t like a weave but I don’t like it short but can you keep your hair long but sometimes short is sexy tho but I like my girls natural but not too natural because naturals are too militant but can I still use your natural products for my beard tho” – Smoochr makes it easier to narrow down exactly where your fingers will run during those tender moments. Your choices are natural hair, locks, weave, extension, short hair, big hair, clean cut and beard. Oh, you can only choose one (as if none of these overlap), and fellas, it’s not as detailed for you guys – baldies, fade, twists, dreads and so forth aren’t options. We’re off to a great start!
The color complex. Obviously the biggest issue, considering we’ll all get shot during a traffic stop whether you’re the reddest of the redbones or the darkest of chocolate, Smoochr will let you filter by – these are real descriptions – mocha, pecan, almond, vanilla, chocolate, latte and caramel. So many issues here. Aside from the fact that I’ve never heard anyone describe their skin tone as “latte” (especially with so many latte combinations out there…Starbucks’ green tea latte was my first thought, to be honest), the fact that we’re still dealing in complexion preferences in 2016 and now have the ability to weed people out easier shows just how far we have to go. It’s known that dating apps (and even non-dating apps — hello, AirBNB) are notorious for exposing our cultural biases and prejudices, so why make it worse – especially in a black-focused site?
All the other little things. In the relationship filter, “seperated” is misspelled. There’s also a “rather not say” descriptor for describing your relationship, which might as well say “infidelity? Fuck it, let’s go with it.” Wait, “rather not say” is a descriptor for a lot of filters here, including children – because I know you ladies on Smoochr would love nothing more than to match with a dude who is cloudy about acknowledging their children. “European” and “Caucasian” are two of the ethnicity choices (LOL). There’s an option to match (or not) with single parents, just in case you wanted to stigmatize single parenthood even more than society does already. The "safety tips" page, a crucial part of online dating, is a broken link. Oh, but the greatest gift on Smoochr is the characteristics menu. Are you a hotep? Not only can you choose “hotep,” you can potentially match with one as well! Are you a sapiosexual? Go ahead and be fake-deep with the sapiosexual soulmate of your dreams!
Who did I match with? Even though I technically can’t sign up for Smoochr, I decided to create a profile anyway strictly for the jokes (and fodder for this post). I matched with someone with a clearly fake profile (as Smoochr caught wind on Black Twitter late Sunday night, the jokes were flying), but here’s the thing: That profile has an age listed as 17. Either there’s a glitch in the system (probably), or this site is probably going to run into some issues really quickly if under-18 users can sneak in this easily.
Then again, maybe this is all one big troll. Maybe Smoochr was actually designed to get us talking about hair and colorism, and the real goal is to expose your shallow friends. Either way, go ahead and see for yourself. And FYI, if you match with me, I’m “forresearchonly” and we’re 100% not going to hook up.