A friend and I sit on a badly made bench outside of a closed Italian restaurant, windows looking onto laminated gingham tablecloths and napkins folded like teepees. We’ve segued from my boy problems to those of two other friends who, incidentally, have recently slept together. Gina knows both of them, and has heard their respective sides of their brief story. And the story goes something like this: After two rounds in the sack, the boy wants out and the girl, dumb and clueless as we often are, still thinks she’s in. The boy’s solution to this problem, as is the solution for many dudes, is to fade out, simply stop calling. Anyone who has ever been a girl and who has ever been single has been subjected to this horrible, vague fall-off, a cutting of ties that feels as though it’s been done with the rounded edge of a dull knife, as opposed to something swift and painless, clear as glass. But boys are cowards; they favor opacity.
“Should I tell her?” Gina asked, torn on intervening herself, if for no other reason than to save her female friend the time her male friend was sure to rob her of. “Absolutely,” I said. “I’d want to know.”
When it comes to boys, especially in New York, the girls have to band together. A friend recently asked me about a boy she met recently, someone she knew I dated for about five minutes. I quickly told her, “Don’t bother. Seriously. Don’t bother.” The advice was not delivered out of anything but sisterly altruism, an acute remembrance of his (very modern) lack of chivalry and a moment we had on a street corner, when he said something to the effect of “I’m going to go home” and then stopped calling me. Wanting to spare my friend something similar, and having (as objectively as I could) weighed his positive attributes with the negative ones, I steered her clear of a few wasted weeks and a proverbial notch on the belt.
Lulu, an app that makes Tinder look like child’s play, attempts to be one more girl in the room looking out for her fellow ladies, at the expensive of, well, men. For those of you who know nothing about the service, it is a forum where the dejected and the scorned can air a host of grievances using hashtags like #StillLovesHisEx, #NoGoals, #DeathBreath, #StripClubVIP, #ShouldComeWithAWarning, #LiarLiarPantsOnFire, #ProcreatedThenEvaporated, and (the slightly obtuse) #CantBuildIkeaFurniture. Of course there are the positive traits, things like #SexMoves, #CaptainFun, #SnuggleMachine, and #CanBuildFires, but let’s be real here – girls are on Lulu for the dirt. Niceness is surface, something you can practically lick off a person after one drink in a dark room. It takes familiarity to learn the bad, and the familiarity takes time. Like most apps, Lulu is a time saver. Dating for dummies before the dating even starts.
Naturally, Lulu has men everywhere crying foul. Because no one has yet developed a service for men to rate women (emphasis on “yet”), men feel victimized, overexposed, virtually raped in the information age. As one writer (and defender of his own Lulu honor) Bryce Rudow said: This is another example of us trying to compress an entire, complicated, complex, inconsistent, maturing (and immaturing), beautiful human being into a definitive set of data that can be compartmentalized, filed, and searched. True. But, speaking for myself, I can think of plenty of times that this complicated, complex, inconsistent, beautiful human being was compressed into, for lack of a better phrase, a hole for a guy to put something into.
Could Lulu have prevented the self-loathing ego crush that resulted? Maybe. But it also would have robbed me of about three books worth of material.