For the last few years my area of dating and relationships that I have been most intrigued by is mobile dating applications. They just seem to fascinate me. Online dating is a fascination of mine too. One that I’ve spent extensive time researching but once there was the ability to do it on your phone; I knew that it had the ability to become addictive. When I was approached to test a beta version of the MELD dating app, I was kind of excited to see what they had to offer.

I said, kind of.

Let me explain. The app was marketed as an application for meeting prospective dates that were mutual black professionals like myself. This is concerting because this means that I’m going into the situation looking for someone who is educated and in a professional setting as if that is an indication on whether my heart will find a connection with this person. I’ve also long thought that this is where a lot of African-Americans go awry when they look for potential mates. They don’t necessarily seek out a good fit or attraction as the most important indicator; they want someone who has a mutual lifestyle as them.

At first glance, the application seems cool and has a nice layout. It’s a beta version; I know there will be glitches. I had to expand my search criteria to 500 miles in order to begin seeing matches. I also had to switch a few of the profile settings around since it is connected through my LinkedIn first and then Facebook. After the profile and the distance criteria was set, I start to sift through the prospects.

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Immediate first impression is that it allows you to see a professional summary; that can be helpful. The downside was the lack of equity in those professional summaries. I guess, what’s the point in posting my summary if you’ll pair anyone with a professional LinkedIn profile to other users? This isn’t really a big deal for me but I could see it being a really big deal for women.

My second impression was that it seems as though this app is really geared towards an older crowd. At 30, I felt like I was maybe too young to be a member. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. Maybe that’s not a bad thing after all. It’s clear that this isn’t Tinder which is akin to a modern day version of Hot or Not. This is a much more targeted and mature dating app. Maybe what I was seeing is that people start getting much more serious about dating as they get older. Looks matter less and compatibility of lifestyles matter more.

At this point, I decided to try something. I wanted to ask a female friend to try the app and see her reaction. As a man, I felt the app didn’t offer me much that I couldn’t already find in my daily travels. (Full disclosure: I’m a young black professional male living in Washington, DC.) What I found was interesting, every women LOVED this app. They couldn’t stop once they started. That’s when I realized the MELD app had a competitive advantage and a demographic that would greatly benefit from something of its kind. African American women tell me every chance they get that finding men is not hard but finding men they want to date is extremely challenging. While MELD isn’t an text-by-order boyfriend service it does provide a step in the right direction. You should definitely try it out for yourself (you can download it here).

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I can’t wait for the full version of MELD to be released. I am sure that it will be a hit in the urban professional market. I think that it does check the boxes for many of us. I think it takes a demographic that is commonly sought after but overlooked and it simplifies the dating search. If anything, I can’t wait for these sisters to lose their minds when it comes out. My only question is how will it affect the streets once we don’t have to spend enormous amounts of time at “professional” happy hours?

Dr. J

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