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Skin deep? Hot dating app lets users connect based solely on looks

Beauty may be only skin deep, but that's enough for one popular new dating app.

Called Tinder, the iPhone application connects people based solely on looks. Users enter their gender, location and whether they like men or women or both, and then the app shows them pictures of fellow users. Then you just swipe left for "nope" or right for "like." There's no profiles from typical dating sites that include information such as what a person enjoys doing, or their favourite books or hobbies.

"Irrespective of preference, Tinder solves a basic human need, which is to meet and connect with people," Sean Rad, 26, one of the app's creators, told The New York Times. "In the real world, you see someone's face and you decide if you have an attraction to them." Since it was launched on college campuses in September, the app has generated 2.4 billion profile ratings and 21 million matches, according to Justin Mateen, who co-created it.

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The app's appeal, some users say, lies in what many would say is its down-to-the-basics superficiality.

"You don't have to fill out a profile, you don't have to put in info. You just have to like the way someone looks," Anne-Ryan, a 23-year-old who lives in New York, told the Times. "Besides, if I don't think someone is hot, or if they don't think I'm pretty, no one ever finds out."

Another user highlighted that it spares you the effort of actually approaching people you're interested in.

"Bars don't attract everyone, and when you're in a bar, all the best looking girls are under a magnifying glass from every guy," Jesse Morris, 25, told the Times. "Because Tinder requires its users to independently indicate interest, you don't need to work through that competition and clutter."

It's been called the "white hot" dating app by Forbes because of its popularity, but not everyone completely buys in. One blogger recently called it "the BEST way to get away with being a shallow asshole without anyone knowing. Or caring for that matter."

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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