This may just be me, but when I’m dating, I’m only interested in open-minded people. I know what I like and what I’m looking for but really, what I want is a person, not a paper-thin ideal of all of my requirements. That is to say: I don’t love beards, but they aren’t a deal-breaker for me. So perhaps I’d do well on Bare, a dating app that advertises itself as perfect for the open-minded.
There are a few interesting features of Bare to intrigue prospective users, but first I think it’s worth clarifying something. ‘Bare’ is English slang for ‘a lot’, which means if someone says they’re dating ‘bare women’ they could mean one of three things:
1) I’m dating women who don’t wear any clothes
2) I’m dating women from the app ‘Bare’
3) I’m dating a lot of women
And yes, I do know that typically ‘bare’ means ‘none’. Don’t ask me, I didn’t come up with it.
The first thing that you should be aware of with Bare is that at the moment, there are bare (none or few) women on it. Or anyone else, really. If you want to get ahead of the trend – sign up, but if you’re the kind of person who likes to arrive at a party when it’s in full swing, Bare may not be right for you. Despite launching in 2019, the app has only been downloaded 1000 times. Now, some businesses take a long time to build up a user base but, for comparison, Tinder started in 2012 and by 2014 users were swiping 1 billion times per day.
Bare can, of course, also refer to nudity. The app’s creators have come up with a new idea that they believe will help empower people to share nudes but only with people they feel comfortable around. They have two ways of achieving this: firstly, there is a secure part of the app dedicated to sending intimate photos, and secondly, users can crop and adjust their pictures however they feel comfortable. If you only want to show your eyes, that’s completely permissible, or you can show your full face and body – it’s up to you. Which makes me wonder – if you’re allowed to crop your photographs however you choose, then what stops you from showing your genitals to strangers and removing your face? I suppose that the crop function inside the app is technically innovative, but most people already know how to edit their pictures and this really doesn’t seem like it’ll prevent anyone from sending unsolicited photographs of their junk.
Bare is also very proud of the fact that they’re working to get rid of bots. Now, anyone who’s used a dating app, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, will inevitably match with someone who’s clearly a bot, but most of us just block them and move on. Some people will get scammed. To try and stop this, Bare can find users they think might be bots and ask them to show some government approved ID. Which…. Feels a little weird, to be honest. I’ve never been mistaken for a bot, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing my passport with a random dating website. I don’t know what they’re planning on doing with my documents and if they are sold – or if Bare gets hacked – presumably that could put me at risk of identity theft. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know enough about computers to suggest ways to target bots, but possibly a Captcha test where you click on pictures of motorbikes or unscramble some letters might be more secure. There’s also a real concern that if (or when) Bare gets hacked, people will be able to match users’ ID to their nudes which is a really, really bad situation. I’m sure Bare would strongly argue that their servers are secure, but given the number of dating sites that have been hacked, it seems very, very difficult to make that promise.
So, what do we think of Bare? Honestly, I’m not sold yet. The premise isn’t anything especially interesting and I don’t think that it will attract many people. If Bare was going to be successful, that would have already happened, or at least they would have grown more than they have. Bare launched in London, a city of eight million people, right before a time when everyone was locked in their houses and desperately signed up for every dating app they could find. But it seems like Bare isn’t one of them, and with a small group of users, and no obvious new innovations since the launch, it seems likely that this will dwindle further until we all, what, put our clothes on, close our minds and go back to Tinder. At least no-one there will see my terrible passport photo.