Flat White

Fifty shades of old school tie?

17 April 2018

5:41 PM

17 April 2018

5:41 PM

When you use your old school tie to bind your significant other to the bed:

The world’s first dating app for the privately-educated has launched — but its founder insists it has nothing to do with snobbery or social division.

The app, Toffee, launched earlier this week and is the brainchild of Londoner Lydia Davis.

It is strictly off-limits to anyone who attended a state school thanks to a “hybrid checking process” that uses “automated social media cross checks” and a “manual screening process” to make sure the great unwashed don’t slip through the cracks.

But despite restricting membership to those from privileged backgrounds only, Ms Davis, 36, told The Mirror it was designed purely to help people find their soulmates.

“Toffee is just about helping people meet and fall in love. It’s not supposed to be snobby or divisive. I just want to help people do their thing,” she said.

“It’s just another niche dating app — there are lots of other dating apps for normal people.

The phenomenon of like attracting like in love and relationship is well known in sociology and even given its own name: assertive mating. This is especially the case where the socio-economic characteristics are concerned – those with high school education tend to end up with others with high school education and tertiary educated professionals with other tertiary educated professionals.

Such unions produce children who in turn will likely join the same social strata. Thus social mobility through bedroom is reasonably rare in our society; certainly less common than social mobility through education, such as where a child of two high schoolers becomes the first one in the family to go to university.


The assertive mating is not merely or primarily a matter of snobbery but the simple fact that people who share similar backgrounds and education levels have more in common to form the basis of a successful relationship (interests, attitudes, lifestyles, expectations).

There is nothing wrong or unusual with a private school-only dating app any more than there would be with a redneck-only version or, for that matter, any other currently existing selective dating sites that cater to specific groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, political beliefs or other interests. That won’t stop the critics, however:

But despite Ms Davis’ assurances, Toffee has been slammed as “elitist”, “classist” and “totally ridiculous” online, with one reviewer even labelling it a “classist hate crime”.

Of course, I’m willing to bet good money that those accusing Toffee of being “elitist”, “classist” and a “hate crime” are themselves dating or in relationships with people who are of very similar socio-economic backgrounds, most likely tertiary educated and professional.

Assertive mating for me but not for thee. Or, to paraphrase “Yes Minister”, this is one of these irregular verbs: I date my comrade, you restrict your options, he commits a classist hate crime.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk where this piece also appears.

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