I tried Fourplay… and liked it
Like all dating apps in New York City, the women are hot and the men are — well, men.
October 20, 2021
As I sat swiping through the Fourplay app for the first time on a Saturday night, the only thing that ran through my head was Jordan Scott’s infamous “I ain’t ever seen two pretty best friends” TikTok sound.
I would normally never call myself a connoisseur of anything. I am an iced coffee enthusiast. An indie music fan. But dating apps — more specifically, dating apps in New York City — have left such an irreversible imprint on my psyche that not even Trader Joe’s Vanilla Coffee Creamer can wash away the bitter aftertaste.
Nevertheless, I was strangely eager to try out Fourplay. Only available in New York City, Fourplay is a double dating app that eliminates the habitually awkward, emergency bathroom phone call to your roommate by forcing members to join forces with another single friend and play as teammates.
The aim is to provide a safer, more genuine dating experience. There are certainly fewer pictures of men holding up fish on boats; however, as with all dating apps, swiping through Fourplay inevitably leads to an abundance of eye rolls, an equally copious amount of pitiful laughter and the occasional, but always valid, “I hate men” remark.
On Saturday night, fueled by an inexplicable curiosity and an episode of “Sex and The City,” my friend Sky and I decided to team up.
The process of creating our individual profiles was simple. There are a few prompts to answer — not nearly as tedious as Hinge — and members are only able to select one photo of themselves to display, which would explain the lack of fish photos. After asking you for your age, gender identity, height and city, you’re ready — additional options include sexual orientation or political beliefs. However, unlike Hinge and Tinder, they don’t provide the option to choose who you’re interested in or your preferred age range.
You aren’t actually given the ability to swipe through members until you pair up with a teammate and create a group profile — there are no restrictions on who you team up with. This group profile will be tossed into the deck for other teams to view and swipe on.
You can join as many groups as you want — you don’t have to stick with one friend on the app. Neither Sky nor I understood that concept until we kept seeing the same three people pop up, all in different teams.
“I thought we said no to him already,” Sky said.
The term “we” in Fourplay is loaded. My thumb would hover over the dislike button just as Sky would tell me to give them a chance. It is unreasonable to expect friends to have the same taste in clothes, much less men, and what was originally framed as a double dating experience quickly shifted to acting as wingwomen for each other.
In order to get a match, there must be unanimous interest among all four members. Therefore, if Sky thought someone was cute, I’d begrudgingly agree to take on his best friend in order to send a valid swipe, and vice versa.
What remains unclear through this swiping process, though, is how anyone is supposed to figure out who is into who.
You are only notified of the pair of teammates your partner has swiped right on and not the one teammate that they are interested in. Now, I can give each team the benefit of the doubt by assuming that before any potential match, they are in cahoots as to who is swiping for whom. But taking into consideration the fact that each of us swipes through profiles separately, and at different times, it is difficult to see how this wouldn’t lead to a miscommunication.
If you have somehow managed to navigate through all of this, you are now out of the woods. Once a match is made, a group chat will be made. Here, you can switch back and forth between the Fourplay Chat, where all four members can communicate with one another, and a Team Chat for you and your teammate to communicate.
The date itself ended up being one of the most enjoyable ones I have ever been on. Not because of the men — never because of the men — but because I had Sky with me. I didn’t need to call her the next morning and go into substantial detail about the way he struggled to pronounce my name the entire night or about the chain necklace that he proudly wore. I just gave her glances from across the table.
Fourplay definitely feels more comfortable than other dating apps. It doesn’t have Tinder’s pressure of a one-night stand, Hinge’s starving photographer community or even Bumble’s plethora of Nice Guy complexes.
It is less flirty, but more fun. And it embodies the most important mantra that I’ve internalized in the past year: staying playful.
“I wouldn’t usually go on a Tinder date, or anything like that, by myself,” Sky said. “It’s just too risky for that in a place like New York. It’s good to have a teammate. You’re in the same boat. And unlike Tinder, where you don’t know who’s actually who they say they are, the guys on Fourplay seem like actual normal people with friends.”
More than anything else, swiping through Fourplay felt like flipping through a yearbook. Whether it’s because Fourplay is currently only available in the New York region, or because the dating scene has been oligopolized by more established apps, it took about thirty minutes for Sky and I to swipe through all potential matches.
All things considered, it is a cool concept. Unfortunately, using Fourplay will more than likely lead you into a buddy system rather than a double date. But maybe that’s what young college women need in the big city, especially NYU students, who can’t be expected to date within the confines of your campus when said campus extends to the entire lower side of Manhattan.
Lastly, make sure to pair up with someone who will be a real team player. The last thing you want is to get into a fight with your friend over a man.
Contact Anyu Ching at [email protected]