Once Is A Dating App With Real Matchmakers, And Here's What It's Like

The new matchmaking dating app Once is making quite a stir, with its more old-fashioned take on romance. By giving you only one match a day and having actual human matchmakers doing to matchmaking, we're moving away from the lightening-fast, algorithm-laden dating that has become so ubiquitous in the 21st century. And it's definitely piqued a lot of interested. I've seen ads for it everywhere, and when I mentioned to my roommate I was getting it, she immediately said she's been meaning to download it.

Before I even opened it I knew that, as with other dating apps with limited matches, one match a day has it's pros and cons. The good thing is that you're more likely to pay attention, and actually act on it, if you have a match, rather than endlessly swiping and getting such a big pile of matches you get a sort of overwhelmed inertia. The bad news is, if you're picky, you're only getting one option a day it can be a long time before you see anyone you even might be interested, which can lead to getting discouraged or just bored.

But would it be different with the real matchmakers? How would it work? Well, I downloaded it last week and here's what happened, it wasn't quite what I expected:

There's A Frog And A Crown

So, it's a pretty straightforward app and I like the cute little frog and crown logo, until I realized there was more to it. More on that later.

My Standby Photo

I was making the profile quickly so went and found my go-to photo, because I don't think anything represents me better than a stack of Oreos held together with icing out of the can. I was going to find more, but I got distracted, which is important later.

The Basic Info

All of the signup was pretty standard, you just need a photo and some basic info. There's a place where you can put in job, religion, etc and a little description, but like most other dating apps these are all optional.

WTF Are Crowns

Basically, I stumbled across a screen where you can get more crowns, as you can see either by buying or by inciting people. But what is a crown? I was confused, I assume it's a match? I looked around a bit to try to figure it out but got frustrated so put down my phone before I finished my profile.

That Was Fast...?

Oh crap! One thing Once is good at, it's notifications. Before I even had finished my profile I had a match and he was checking me out. But wait— how can these 'real-life matchmakers' match me with just one photo and the fact that I'm a 28 year old bisexual female? It's literally all the info they have. Hmmm....

You Snooze, You... Give To A Friend?

I didn't look at my match within the 24 hour window, so by the time I opened the app I could only look at his profile and then "Give To A Friend"— what does that mean!? Is it the same as crowns? I'm so confused. But ever the inquisitive mind, I gave it a click.

Huh...?

Suddenly my phone opened up a message window with a pre-written cheesy message. What? Apparently I'm supposed to send it to a friend, complete with the not-so-subtle link encouraging them to "get Once". I didn't really like this bit, it just seemed like a massive ploy and sort of takes away from the whole real matchmaker idea, right?

More Notifications

Like I said, they're good at notifications. I got messages, by phone and email, when someone matched with me, when they were looking at my profile, reminding me to look at my match. It was a lot. I guess that's good if you're really serious about meeting someone, but I thought the email was a little over the top.

Overall?

So here's what the average profile looked like. There's just not much information, there's the standard amount of photos. It's like every other dating app— and I just don't get how the real matchmakers come in. I guess they're bound to play a limited role because it's over an app, but I feel like if that's the whole draw then there should be some proof of it, or at least a mention. It's obviously going to be a bit gimmicky, but I want some more appearances of that gimmick, dammit!

My guess is that because of the limited matches there's a higher interaction level generally, but it's still decidedly the exact same app experience that they claim to be moving away from. But if you need a little nudge to get you to talk to someone, the notifications will probably push you in the right direction.

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Images: Author's own