The Inner Circle is one of those “elite” dating apps that promises to connect its users with a better pool of potential dates than the regular Joes overrunning Tinder and OKCupid. So naturally its terms of service include a lengthy section about polo, the horseback sport favored by British aristocrats. Wired writer Graham Starr pointed out the oddity on Twitter:
this "exclusive" dating app for "ambitious [straight] single people" has an entire section in their terms of service about polo. Polo! pic.twitter.com/ivMWKYAGXv— graham starr (@GrahamStarr) September 20, 2017
Can we really blame the app for taking polo so seriously? Clearly its founders have cracked the key to dating success, and polo is it. Well, Polo and LinkedIn profiles, which is how the Inner Circle vets potential members. Launched in Europe (ooh la la) in 2013, the app came to New York last year and in 2017 has set its sights on expanding across the U.S. And to do that, it’s got to expand membership, which it can’t do unless it makes sure everyone is on the same page about its annual polo event.
The terms and conditions start off seeming pretty standard: your usual sections like Definitions, Conflict and Modifications, Eligibility, Registration, etc.—all the stuff you probably skip over because no one really reads terms and conditions. But then, after the Third Parties heading comes Events, and under that, the all-important Summer Polo Festival. How did people even meet and fall in love before dating apps threw polo festivals to facilitate it?
The rules boil down to the following: 1) You attend at your own risk; 2) the app “will not accept responsibility or liability whatsoever for any kind of injury, loss or damage” that occurs at the polo festival; 3) by attending you agree that the app can do whatever it wants with photos and recordings of you “for worldwide exploitation, in perpetuity in any and all media”; and 4) “Drinks and food are not included in the ticket price. It’s not permitted to bring your own drinks and food to the event.” Glad we’re clearing this up first!
First of all, I had no idea it was so dangerous to attend polo events. Maybe that’s just the risk you take when you want to meet people these days? Like, if you’re looking for love, you better reckon with the fact that you may have to get kicked in the face by a horse in order to find it. I’m imagining myself attending this event, and instead of meeting an elite fellow heterosexual to date, I get a dire injury, and the Inner Circle not only refuses to help me but films the incident and uses the footage for nefarious exploitation purposes in perpetuity. I don’t fall in love, but somehow other people fall in love over my injury. Also, I am very hungry the whole time because I am not allowed to have my own food and drinks. And according to the terms of service that I agreed to, this is all completely legal. Damn. The things we do for love.