There’s a new app for South Africa’s digitally-savvy dater. Called Lulu, the free app lets women rate the men they date using a selection of pre-defined terms that cover things like sense of humour, personal hygiene, demeanour, spending habits, manners and, umm, sexual prowess. In order to be rated men have to sign up for the app themselves.
Requiring opt-in from men and the multiple-choice style rating system for woman goes a long way to reducing the odds of vengeful ex-girlfriends slandering or defaming their former partners, but we have to wonder how big an uproar there’d be if there was a Lulu for men to rate women? (We’re guessing pretty big.)
Also, because of the multiple-choice review format that doesn’t allow for custom comments there’s a limit to how much useful information a woman can share about her dashing (or disastrous) dates. He may be funny and well-scrubbed, but is he domineering or overly familiar or casually racist?
Ladies can also add hashtags to their reviews, including a selection of localised ones like #HartKlopTjoklits (“heart beats crazy”), #ShisaNyamaGuy (“braai guy”), #IntliziyoEntle (“beautiful heart”) #RokJagter (“skirt chaser”) and #ZenzaIsibhanxa (“plays dumb”). It’s worth signing up for these alone, some of them are downright hilarious, like #WantsBebes and every lady’s worst nightmare, #BitchyExes.
Men who sign up can see their average score and the hashtags women they know have used to describe them. There’s also chat functionality and the ability for admirers to contact men. Chaps who don’t want to be on Lulu can use the service’s self-removal tool that permanently deletes their profile and any reviews.Lulu is the brainchild of Alexandra Chong, the former head of marketing for mobile marketing company Upstream. “We’re thrilled to bring Lulu to South Africa,” Chong says. “The Lulu app is an essential resource for anyone who’s dating today. We provide unique insight into who the good guys are and what all guys should know about themselves and what women want.”
The app has been subject to its fair share of controversy in the US and UK, including accusations of flouting Facebook’s platform policies, being too reductionist in its methodology, entrenching gender stereotypes in the process and plain and simple sexism. Your mileage may vary.