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Please refresh the and retry. D uring the lockdown, more and more of us have turned to dating apps — especially those with video call functions.

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As a single person wandering through the world, it can be difficult to find someone who loves all the right things: parks, subways, bike lanes, human-scale buildings, high-density housing, debates over the ideal length of a city block.

With about 8, members living mostly in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia, NUMTinder is a makeshift dating environment for those who consider liking public transportation to be a core part of their personality, or those for whom a lack of interest in urban planning is a deal breaker. But transit-themed!

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But when she found NUMTinder at the beginning of the pandemic, she switched allegiances. Tinder, she told me, is too cold and uniform—the app pushes everyone to present a bare-bones profile, and makes swiping feel like a chore. By comparison, NUMTinder is colorful and welcoming and full of life.

Also, not every private conversation has to be romantic—plenty are simply about … trains! Still, nobody is completely joking either.

Even the premise of the group is only half-sincere. But some end up finding love anyway.

Murphy shared her first post at the beginning of quarantine, when the group had a huge influx of posts. New members were ing, old members were putting up new profiles, everyone was looking for virtual friends and flirtations. From there, she ended up chatting with someone from Portugal, with whom she was obviously never going to meet up in person, but who served as a fun fantasy during lockdown.

She also learned that several of her Temple classmates were in the group, and ended up dating one of them. Others in the group have given up on dating apps altogether. Godfrey, her friend and co-administrator, agrees.

NUMTinder he off this behavior by cultivating community norms for public conversations and relying on human moderators who are well known and trusted within the group. He says that he started it as a joke, but people took it seriously almost right away. In the past few months, Ong and Godfrey have taken over as the lead moderators and admins.

I recently checked in with a woman I interviewed at the beginning of the pandemic, who had been embarrassed at the time about her choice to start dating a fellow NUMTinder member during lockdown, in spite of stay-at-home orders. The group is for extremely online people, but it also comes off as a reaction against certain elements of online life.

Best for finding love

Tinder feels terrible — everyone knows that. Last year, the Pew Research Center found that 45 percent of Americans who had used a dating site or app in the past year said that the experience had left them feeling frustrated.

Thirty-five percent said it had made them more pessimistic about dating. A group like NUMTinder can solve a lot of those problems. A group built around memes will use that format to communicate its values and mark a boundary around itself.

America killed it in the midth century in favor of suburban sprawl and the personal automobile. This is an even more modern approach to dating than the apps. They were exactly, and happily, and hopelessly, the same amount of online.

They want to date people who think and feel the same way—but they also want to date people who are at home on the internet, and in on the joke. Popular Latest. The Atlantic Crossword. In Subscribe.