Verona is an iPhone and Android app that lets users on either side of an issue chat with each other. The app currently supports three different issues, which range from the basic (Democrats and Republicans) to the ambitious (Israel and Palestine) to the downright odd (Latinos and Trump supporters).
Since I'd recently been on a date with a Republican who didn’t completely suck, I decided to try my luck with the Democrats and Republicans chat.
Verona isn't necessarily a dating app — all it purports to do is introduce you to "people on the other side of the divide." However, the app is set up like a less-aesthetically-pleasing version of Tinder. For instance, you can browse through people’s profiles, swipe right to "like," and message the people you match with, so it's natural to browse for hotties.
Since Tinder is kinda the inspiration, I ran into the usual host of — for lack of a better term — fuckboys, who are probably on the app for an ego boost and can't write a sentence without the words "haha."
I also got asked a million times, "So how did you hear bout this app?" which I have now determined is the millennial version of, "So what’s a pretty girl like you doing in a lousy place like this?"
I was not impressed with the standard small talk happening on Verona, and the user pool is disappointingly smaller than on other dating apps. Oh, and there are a few bugs that still need to be worked out (i.e. the same profiles keep popping up after you’ve already swiped left on them multiple times). This was almost enough to make me ditch the app for good.
But I couldn’t give it up completely without exploring the unique opportunity the app presents: trolling Republicans.
Instead of going with the usual "Hey, how are you?" opener, I went straight in with a hard line of questioning: Who are you voting for? Do you support a woman’s right to choose? How do you feel about Planned Parenthood?
Unsurprisingly, getting straight to the point proved much more entertaining than the usual banalities of online dating.
I received, for instance, some surprisingly astute answers, such as this one:
More amusing, however, were the truly horrific replies:
It took everything I had not to go off on this guy, who somehow believed that an informed, progressive woman such as myself would automatically support the nearest vagina for president:
And then somehow, through the madness, came my knight in shining armor: a socially-liberal-but-fiscally conservative politics major who wore an "Idk not Trump tho" t-shirt in his profile picture. He even asked me questions about my beliefs:
Could it be love?
I fantasized briefly about meeting up with him and sparring over current issues while we sipped locally-brewed, small-business-made beer that suited both of our values. But I never followed through, perhaps because of the inherently non-committal nature of online dating, or maybe because the idea of going on two not-horrible dates with Republicans made me briefly question my identity.
I actually stopped using Verona a few days into my trial period — there just weren't enough people using the app to make it worthwhile.
But I did learn a valuable lesson for dating apps in general: Skip the polite, getting-to-know-you crap and go straight for what you want.
We all have questions we need answered before we'll consider going out with someone, whether that's "Do you believe in God?" or "Would you still date me if I told you I was vegan?" So ask them. And then enjoy all the free time you've just saved yourself.