queer

It takes two to Scissr

Originally published in the Technology section of the Uniter (Feb 4, 2015). One week, I tasked myself with exploring how this exciting new app could change the dating scene in Winnipeg. I didn’t get very far.

A new lesbian dating app features mostly tumbleweeds

Anyone who says dating is easy and stress-free is lying to you. If it was a walk in the park, most dating and hookup apps wouldn’t exist.

Many apps are designed for straight people, with same-sex options as an afterthought. A cisgender bias – assuming that sex and gender are the same thing – is pretty clear. Mix in a dash of monosexism, and you’ve got a scene that’s still pretty awkward to navigate for queer, trans, and bi folks.

I’ve spent some time on Tinder, and it wasn’t the worst thing ever. They have a slider you can set for only men, only women or both. Whenever I’d hang out in the women-only side, I got to know the There’s no one new around you screen really well after about 5 minutes.

I was pretty excited to hear that Scissr was available in Winnipeg. It’s billed as “The Bespoken Lesbian App”, so if you’re any other shade of queer, prepare for that oh-so-common mental leap. It’s an app for ladies to meet ladies, hopefully. Let’s leave it at that, and explore the Sapphic potential at our fingertips.

The main screen greets you calmly, in sepia tones. It features the back of a woman’s head, wearing a long braid that ends in a red bow. She has her hands on her hips and is gazing off across a mountain valley, confident that across those rocky peaks, she’ll find a lady lover.

I suppose the Winnipeg equivalent would be standing on top of Garbage Hill, squinting into the wind, then giving up and dashing back into your car. That’s about as long as it’ll take you to try your luck on Scissr here.

Like Tinder, the login is processed through Facebook, with a promise that they won’t post on your behalf and inadvertently broadcast your dating life. My login was rejected due to a lack of information, and I was told I could email tech support for an invitation. When my tour was cut short, I went looking for a guide.

Sally (not her real name) has used OkCupid, Plenty of Fish and Scissr. She found the interface confusing. “It’s definitely not as user friendly as the other apps, or as clear,” Sally says.

“It doesn’t tell you where people are – just how close they are to you. Which I think is the same way Grindr works – but, there’s only 3 or 4 other people in Winnipeg on it right now (and thanks to our small city, basically I just always know how far [my friend] is from me.)”

At press time, I was still unable to log into Scissr, but I’m not sure that I’m missing much. Sally put it best: “I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like to be in a city where you could go on there and see how many people are around you.”

An app can’t expand your local dating pool – all it can do is let you know who’s out there. And any app is only as good as the people using it. So if you want to Scissr, give it a try.

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