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Photo via Talk or Not
Photo via Talk or Not

If you’ve dipped your toes into the hell that is online dating recently, you will discover that it can be a very dark place indeed. A place filled with headless men taking shots of themselves shirtless in badly lit bathroom mirrors, late-night messages like “Yo, want to hook up?” And probably the worst: the endless Tinder swiping that leads absolutely nowhere.

If it seems our online dating attention span is that of a teenager during the last hour of their last class on a Friday afternoon, it is because, well, it is.

One Seattle-based startup wants to bring conversation and privacy back into the forefront. Talk or Not allows users more control by “revealing user photos piece by piece only when a conversation is mutually exchanged,” according to their release. So, yes, that person you messaged kind of has to like you for you before you start revealing hot pictures of yourself.

The dating app was developed by graphic designer Britney Bachmann and content specialist Garrett Shawstad. The pair has been dating for three years and met through mutual friends. However, they’d both used online dating services and wanted to change the experience.

“It’s an odd thing to put yourself out there for the world to see,” said Shawstad, co-founder and CEO. “Anyone who has a couple of minutes and the ability to search can come across you and your information, but with Talk or Not everything is private and no one knows who the other is.”

The free Talk or Not app uses GPS and search to let users find potential mates based on age, gender and location. Photos are hidden until a conversation is sparked, and if it goes well, reveals more photos as users communicate.

Mmm, a dating app that makes you put a little effort into it. Kind of like dating in the real world before all this nonsense, no?

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