Fondle my slab, baby: Inside the tactile world of Apple-fan iDating
'There are more boys than girls, but it's not a problem'
Even in the hearts of Apple fanbois, there's room to love another human being as well as machinery. But it's better if the human receiving that love also has an iPad, say those who are presumably experts in the matter.
Working on the basis that Apple fanbois/girls will be happier if they date other lovers of fruitchomp-branded hardware - rather than, say, the owners of a Dell Inspiron - the website Cupidtino has been helping Apple fans hook up with one another since 2010. The San Fran-based developers behind the dating site set it up as a semi-joke after one of the guys' girlfriends accused him of spending too much time with his iPad. But it has found its market and is still going 2 years later.
It's an Apple-only dating site and yes, of course, there's an iPhone and iPad app and you have to be using Safari on a Mac to register. If you only have a PC don't even bother.
With about 30,000 users, Cupidtino remains a niche interest: more mainstream dating sites such as OkayCupid post member figures of 3.5 million active users, and eHarmony claims to have about 33 million. It's free to sign up, but costs $4.79 a month to receive messages. But the users come back because they know what they're getting.
Assuming that you, gentle reader, aren't already a member of Cupidtino, let's pull aside the (smart) cover and stare deep into the dark yet shiny world of fanboi lusts and loves. It's that bloody time of year after all.
First things first, fandom is about much more than a preference for very expensive unibody hardware. It's a lifestyle choice. If you don't get that then go back to your soulless Dell box, kick open Windows and run down to Wetherspoons at closing time if you want some hope of physical interaction with the opposite sex. (Only joking.) But as the Cupidtino people put it, your computer choice defines who you are, and having a Mac says certain things about you.
These things specifically:
Diehard Mac & Apple fans often have a lot in common — personalities, creative professions, a similar sense of style and aesthetics, taste, and a love for technology.
And Cupidtino is where you can hang out with these slab-fondling innovators:
As Apple fans we love to hang out in cafés with our Macbooks and iPhones. Part of what we pay for is a chance to run into another geek who’s just as much into photography, design, Netflix, hybrids, the BBC, HTML5, polar bears, Wired, Whole Foods, Coldplay and Angry Birds as we are. Cupidtino is like that neighborhood café where the people are hip, decor is classy, conversation is intelligent and prices are reasonable.
There you go. You love that hip neighbourhood cafe don't you. Taking for granted that you already work in graphic design and have a giant cuddly polar bear in your sitting room, one way to help yourself stand out as a real fan on the site is to get an Apple tattoo.
As far as fanboy stereotypes go, berets don't seem to be in evidence, I haven't seen any turtle-necks on the site and there are no Steve Jobs quotes ... But there are tattoos of the Apple logo. And well, what better way of showing your dedication to the the brand and flashing a tantalising bit of skin. Cupidtino advisor Kintan Brahmbhatt says:
There are a lot of people with tattoos of apple gadgets, or apple logos or with Apple scarves or Apple logos on their cars.
Kintan was at pains to stress to the Reg that these tattooed creative types are not weirdos, they're regular types.
"Most of the people are regular people with a very defined taste. A lot of them are eco friendly, very liberal - these are the main stereotypes that we see coming up on the site. They live their lives normally."
Not enough girls? 'Well, there are more than there would be on a Linux dating site'
Thirdly, it will help to be a heterosexual woman. Though Apple may be the most female-friendly of all tech brands ever, the male-female balance tips clearly towards men.
But, as Kintan says, the women who ARE on there are really great.
"Yes we have more men than women, but there are thousands of females on the site, and they're designers and creatives."
And have Apple tattoos and like polar bears - you know the drill.
Still, not everyone is a hipster: these are geeks (of a sort) after all. A (male) user called AppleBoySteve lists out the specifications for his ideal partner in an almost Microsoft-like way:
"You like Apple products and know a bit about their history, have at least a college education, at least 5'6", not on drugs, and are physically healthy."
That drugs and college ed policy would cut no ice with the original Steve who famously had a great time on one and didn't do enough of the other.
A more typical profile entry - from a female user - reads:
There is probably never a moment when I'm without an Apple product. I build websites on two MacBooks, I sleep with my iPhone, and I'm having a menage [à] trois (non-sexual) with my iPad and Jon Stewart (The Daily Show). Help. ;)
Other users just like to list their most important credentials:
In my house, we have 1 MacBook Pro, 1 PowerBook, 3 iMacs (of various generations and shapes), 1 iBook, 3 iPod Touches, 2 iPod videos, 1 Apple TV, 4 iPhones, and a G4 Tower (I'm probably missing something).
It's no Shakespeare sonnet, but let's face it - could you see a dating site based around any other operating system or hardware brand working? We asked Kintan whether he thought there could be a dating site for Dell – or Linux, say:
No, we don't see that. Apple is more than a product, it's about celebrating an approach to a lifestyle. It's much more than a product… I don't see that happening with another brand.
Android definitely wouldn't work. Android users aren't really a thing, Kintan explained.
An Android user cannot be described… whereas an Apple user can be described, in many ways.
He added a final jibe:
If it were a Linux fan dating site I could swear there would be many more males than females.
And let's face it, the statistics are in the fanboi's favour: iPhone users are famously more generous with their sexual favours. A survey proved it.
Even if February doesn't bring a partner you can share your fondleslab with, at least there will be an iPad 3 in March (probably) so there's still some reason to live. ®