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If you fancy the person, you click on a small red heart (known as a Like).If the feeling’s mutual the app announces “It’s a crush” and you can start messaging each other.“Ten years ago we might have been ashamed about dating apps and websites,” says Nadia Bensalah, a 34-year-old advertising executive.“But now, if you’re not on them, you’re probably out of the game.” So what happens when two people – myself and a friend, James Innes – decide to test out France’s hip new app? Will we find that much desired coup de foudre or will we be wallflowers in our own town?I click on a few red hearts, just for the hell of it, and get an instant response from “Lorenzo, 42”, who apparently passed within range near Boundary Street one hour ago. He’s wearing a blue tailored shirt, very Italian, and there are books behind him.He’s good looking, nothing showy, just very classic, and he’s in international relations, which strikes me as exactly the right sort of job for a man on happn. Casilda Grigg writes a style blog about the French in London called whostolemycroissant.JAMES'S STORY I’m four hours into using happn, I’ve sent several “likes”, and I haven’t received a single “crush” (meaning someone has taken the trouble to fancy me back). My profile photo is of a man in the mid section of life (the flecks of grey don’t lie) whereas my profile says I’m a mere 26. The happn app is linked to Facebook and that’s where the problem lies.There’s Kyle, 26, a computer expert, Kenneth, 37, a chauffeur, and Spiros, 41, a bar manager surely born to mix me margaritas.
She believes that conventional dating filters based on common interests are less likely to throw up eligible males than the newer location-based apps. “I’m not looking for someone who likes the same books and sports as I do.” No-shows are common on internet-triggered dates but Gomes’s belief is that happn, with its narrow 250m radius, encourages good behaviour. You’re far less likely to be rude to someone who lives or works in the same neighbourhood.” For older generations, it’s easy to shudder at a world where love – or at the very least sex – is only a smartphone away. If your friends are married and rarely introduce you, what other option is there but the internet?
In Shoreditch, where happn reports high traffic, my timeline goes into overdrive.
Occasionally I spot a fellow 40-something, but most are so young I feel a motherly urge to tell them off: “For God’s sake get your hair cut! ” Others look wildly attractive, from a service-provider perspective.
French men may lack the height and humour of their British counterparts, but one thing they’re really good at is approaching women.
Which is why “happn”, the newest, hottest dating app, is so surprising.
It has come not out of Silicon Valley, or London’s fast-growing equivalent (the so-called “Silicon Roundabout” on Old Street) but out of Paris.