People say that dating apps are a lazy way to find love, that they suck out the spontaneity. I think those people are just scared. What could be more spontaneous than thumbing your phone like it’s a genie’s lamp and summoning a stranger right out of the screen?
I’ve used dating apps fairly constantly since 2012 and it’s brought a carousel of characters into my life; some have become boyfriends, others are now friends and many are just fodder for my cannon of disastrous date stories. Ever since my first date with a Latvian ballet dancer, who taught me plies in the park, I have regretted none of it.
I’m 26 and many of my friends are in happy relationships thanks to swiping right. The invention of these apps has enabled us to compartmentalise our social lives; a night out with friends is usually just that and people don’t pull then peel off into a cab. Instead, we find a suitor while sat on a sofa hungover the next morning. Here are my thoughts on the apps you can use to do it…
If you’re looking for something serious
Hinge is the app that all the eternally single girls I know, who are desperate for a boyfriend, swear by. It markets itself as ‘an app to be deleted’ – more about relationships than hook-ups.
You have to answer different questions and provide information about yourself so as to show off your personality. Examples of these include ‘I’ll fall for you if…’, ‘Best travel story…’ and ‘What I wanted to be when I grow up..’
You can also enter your requirements when looking for a partner, specifying ethnicity, height and religion, as well as children and family plans. For me, I think this ruins the roulette-style fun of dating apps. But then again, I’m not looking for a Hispanic, 5 foot 10 Christian with three kids, who is finally ready to have a fourth. Each to their own…
If you like your independence
Bumble is the feminist dating app where woman lead the way. After Whitney Wolf, one of Tinder’s founders, filed a highly controversial lawsuit against her company for sexual harassment she then went one step further and started one of its biggest competitors.
The great thing about Bumble is once two potential partners have matched only the woman can make the first move. Gone are the chat up lines that make many apps unpalatable.
Bumble provides the option for users to stop messaging and actually ring matches through the app with a voice or video call. This is important because it helps to screen potential dates and check they are who they say they are. It also means you don’t have to give out your phone number.
Women only have 24 hours to communicate with their match or it disappears from the app. This is a great feature in principle for it promotes proactiveness, but for the more dissorganised amoung us, blink and you’ve missed him.
If you want to leave it to chance
For me Happn isn’t the one; it actually sort of gives me the creeps. The premise of the app is that it takes chance, real-life encounters into the online world. Essentially they have created an algorithm for fate.
How it works is the app uses gps to track your movements then enables you to match with people you’ve crossed paths with during the day. While this idea slightly unsettles me, I suppose it does serve to eliminate small talk. You could start a chat with “Wow, wasn’t St Pancras station busy today?” and love might blossom.
I just don’t like the idea that someone could potentially stalk their way into my phone. But then perhaps for some people it’s exciting to know that their tube crush could later pop up. Happn will only happen for you in populated areas. If you live surrounded by fields you won’t be able to play the field with this one.
If you hate dating apps
If your phone battery is always half empty, Hater is the dating app for you. It connects matches on things they mutually loathe, instead of bonding over long walks on sandy beaches. After all, walking is boring and sand gets everywhere…
This sarcastic search for a suitor is fun, almost like a game, as users rank the sexual positions, political opinions and foods that make them feel most ill. Looking for a fellow guacamole hater, that despises socialism and finds missionary too much of a mission? Hater is the best place to look.
It also includes a Cards Against Humanity style game where users can complete humorous sentences with a final word; great for starting conversations, or feigning wit. Some say it’s too easy to get caught up in the ‘game’ of the app, but then again if you’re not ready to play some games modern dating probably isn’t for you.
If you’re looking for a third
This app used to be called 3ndr but was sued by Tinder and had to change its name. If you haven’t already guessed, it is a dating app for the sexually open-minded. From couples that might want to add a third to singletons with kinks, Feeld is a whole world of opportunity a your fingertips.
The app caters to all genders and sexualities, and you can select from a long list how best to identify yourself. It also gives you a fake name, so as to protect the identity of its users. Why it’s brilliant is because it removes the seediness. If you are looking for specifics you can dive right in knowing you won’t be ridiculed or left red-faced. Feeld is a non-judgmental platform where you can communicate your desires with people who are on the same page.
You have to pay to block your Facebook friends from being able to see your profile on the app, which I would recommend because chances are at least some of them are on it. While there is nothing embarrassing about a ménage à trois, you probably don’t want Derek from accounts knowing you’re open to it.
If you’re keen to keep it casual
I like Tinder the best, it’s the Nando’s of the dating app world. As one of the first of the popularised apps, it’s hit ironic and iconic status. It is celebrated for its simplicity and effectiveness. We all have our guard up dating, and I’d find it mortifying to be perceived as ‘looking for love’ but Tinder seems like a private joke all the users are in on… even if they don’t actually find it funny.
Tinder doesn’t make you fill out extensive forms of what music you like or your ideal date. You have the option to write a short bio then add a few pictures and your good to go, swiping right or left through as sea of men holding puppies or stroking tranquilised tigers in Thailand.
As I write this article my eyes are slightly swollen from my latest meteoric relationship burn out. I met a wonderful guy on Tinder. He played rugby and was a weekend warrior in west London pubs that you couldn’t pay me to party in.
But despite this he was diamond in the rough, one I would never have otherwise found. Although it did not work out that is the beauty of apps, you can collide with people not on the same life path, but ones going higgledy-piggledy in the other direction. Even if, in the end, it doesn’t have legs, it makes the journey more interesting.