In this flooding inferno we call home, we believe in dating apps the way we believe that Mayor Philip Levine’s pumps will keep the sea from swallowing Miami Beach at high tide. Though the Magic City regularly ranks as one of the worst places for singles in the nation, we keep swiping. Even after our knuckles cramp up. Even after all the fedora-wearing Brickell finance bros' faces have blurred together. Even after our Pavlovian response is to twitch our index fingers right at the first photo not cast in that unsettling purple haze of one of those tiki-tiki music South Beach clubs.
Now, a new dating app called the League will descend upon the 305 like Noah’s Ark, ready to pair us into high-functioning, Instagram-ready power couples. Its website promises “no voyeurs, no randoms, no games, no fakes, no noise, and no shame.” It urges us not to lower our standards, to keep our “way-too-restrictive height preferences” set at 6’2”, and wait for the person of our socioeconomic dreams to match with us. Then we’ll all live happily ever after in the Gables.
The catch: You kinda have to be rich, good-looking, and Ivy-educated.
The League, which debuts in Miami June 13, is notoriously the most elite dating app. It has already launched in New York and San Francisco, but this summer it will sprout in other U.S. cities. Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are connected to each account. Photos are suggested to be “tasteful” and “high-quality.” The app stresses info such as education, career, and, of course, height. There are rumored to be more than 100,000 people on its waiting list, but its founder, a Facebook-ranting blonde from Stanford, denies that claim.
“The media has slammed The League for our ‘exclusive’ model and labeled us an elitist app for trust fund kids and ivy league grads,” Amanda Bradford wrote on the League's blog. “These stereotypes make my blood boil and couldn’t be more wrong.”
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In her 1,124-word response to a college student wary of the app’s premise, Bradford argues that the education and career needed for a user to be accepted on the app are not the benefits of privilege, but “100 percent merit-based.” Though the app is technically free and anyone can apply, it’s unknown that someone from Kendall who didn’t rack up $62,000 in debt to go to Columbia would be accepted.
I, however, did rack up $62,000 in debt to go to Columbia, and I must’ve signed up for the League’s waiting list one boozy happy hour after returning to Miami for work two years ago. I was single and considered my acceptance to this elite dating pool a perk of making my minimal monthly student loan payments to the federal government on time. Besides, I’ve had friends in New York swear by the League, and one in particular sends me screenshots of the profiles of the handsome, well-groomed men he’s dating that month. They’re typically captioned “I can’t.”
Fortunately, in the two years that passed before my acceptance into the League, I unglamorously began dating someone I met a police station, someone who definitely would never be accepted by Amanda Bradford’s education-times-career algorithm, which I realize now overlooks the one quality everyone in Miami certainly has: life experience.
If the League’s Miami launch will bait all the fedora-wearing Brickell finance bros, maybe it’s time to activate Tinder again. Or maybe if we stopped swiping long enough to make eye contact with the person elbowing us at the bar at Gramps, we wouldn’t need an artillery of dating apps in the first place.