The Web service that points you towards the ladies

Wheretheladies.at, an iPhone compatible service that uses Foursquare to calculate how many women have checked in to a given place, began as a joke. And now it's for real.

Men are misunderstood.

The media, Hollywood, and various other pressure groups have painted them as feral beasts, moved to action and emotion only by the prospect of their target gender's proximity.

Two enterprising tech beings--men, as it happens-- decided at South by Southwest Interactive to further this perception of male neanderthalia. Jeff Hodsdon and Danny Trinh, then both at Digg, created a service that collated all those useful Foursquare check-ins in order to inform those who might be interested of the volume of women in any one place.

They did it as a joke. They were mocking all the geotagging obsession. But, as with many of the world's finest jokes, reality was lurking in its bowels.

So please bid a warm and loving welcome to Wheretheladies.at.

You see, for some strange reason, this joke might just catch on. The truth is that men are actually moved by artistic forms and fragrances. And the knowledge of a significant female presence in a location will, to many men, indicate an environment in which they can show the best of themselves.

It's like your own personal butler, seeking to help you. Screenshot: CNET

Trinh was quoted by TechCrunch as explaining: "The few chicks that check-in are a decent sample of where more might be."

Well, that is a left-brained way of looking at it. And this service is, indeed, a little more scattershot than, for example, the gay community's app, Grindr.

However, my more righteous brain believes that this service, which is highly iPhone compatible, will help avoid those troubling concentrations of testosterone which can turn a bar into sad, forlorn frat house. It will also offer men a greater chance of at least having some visual sense of the women who might be in certain bars and clubs.

I know that sounds awfully superficial. But, as I may have already mentioned, men are, at heart, highly sophisticated and sensitive art critics.

The service is already reportedly gaining traction in San Francisco, where men could surely use any help they can get. There are also plans to allow the men of New York, Los Angeles, and the enlightened center of the midwest, Minneapolis, to gravitate towards the light.

Some might be concerned that if Wheretheladies.at is too successful, it might cause difficult situations in which hundreds of men simultaneously descend on locations that might not be prepared for such volume.

However, it is surely women who have the fate of this most imaginative service in their hands.

If they find their social life is improved by the caliber of males who suddenly appear in their presence, they will surely increase their Foursquare check-in frequency. However, if they discover that, at every check-in, they are surrounded by beasts, ghouls, and college dropouts, this might have a devastating effect on Foursquare activity and on the gender balance of that fine and helpful service.

A word of caution, also, to those who might be trying this service in the days to come. It uses first names to assess the gender of the check-in. So people whose first name is Leslie, Meredith, Madison, Brooke, Evan, Casey, Dallas, and Alex (to name a mere few) might be in for a few surprises over the coming weeks.

 

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