I’ve never really got on board with the online dating hype. The closest I’ve got to Plentyoffish.com is the month I spent obsessing over Lady Gaga’s Telephone video and the one time I downloaded Tinder the first message I got (20 minutes after downloading the app) was so sexually explicit I prompted deleted the app in shock and have never gone back, despite my friends swiping like their lives depend on it and heading off on Tinder dates left, right and center.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against online dating. If it works for you, awesome. But for me, everytime I start to consider it I flashback to an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Willow meets a boy online, he turns out to be a centuries old demon bent on world destruction. As Buffy says in the episode “This guy could be anyone. He could be weird, or crazy, or old….or he could be a circus freak!” And that pretty much summarises my fear around online dating.Those fears, combined with the uncomfortable feeling of sexual harassment I felt as soon as Tinder was done downloading, is what has put me off so far. Enter Bumble, which I read about in an awesome Guardian piece. Bumble is a dating app where women are in control, there is the standard swiping yes or no to people but that’s the only similarity to the illustrious Tinder. Women have to message the guy first, eliminating the creepy unsolicited ‘Hey baby wanna see my dick and then sext ;) :p’ messages that dog Tinder, and the woman also has to send the first message within 24 hours of the connection, with the idea that you have less connections because of the time pressure, but better ones. Ergo, no guys leaving you hanging around as an option till they’re bored and horny.
Your Bumble profile is created from your Facebook, which goes a way to eliminating the ‘Omg, he could be a circus freak’ worry. It doesn’t totally eliminate it of course cause I mean hey, it’s 2015, circus freaks probably have Facebook too. And Instagram, but that’s me digressing.All of these cool features, coupled with my crippling FOMO on the newest, coolest app around, convinced me to hit download on Bumble. It’s also free, so no reason not to give it a try really! While it downloaded, which took a while due to woeful wifi, I set my Bumble experiment the following parameters; I’d give it at least five days of Bumbling and I would only swipe yes to people who fulfilled my ‘criteria’. No swiping just to try, there had to be a chance.
What was my criteria? I’m glad you asked!
- No gym obsessives/health freaks. It’s great that you have a twice daily gym commitment and a loyalty card for the health shop but me, my couch and carbs are in a good three way relationship, and we’re happy. We don’t need some random interfering in our happiness, thanks.
- No one who has a posed topless selfie as a profile picture. That kind of narcissism is best saved for Narcissa Malfoy.
- No one with anything prejudice/misogynistic/ignorant in their bio. Because obviously no one wants to date assholes.
- No one with a Snapchat screenshot as a profile picture. THERE IS A SAVE BUTTON, PLEASE USE IT.
- No bearded men. I know they’re trendy as hell, but they make men look like lumberjacks and I just don’t have that lumberjack kink. #sorrynotsorry.
- No man buns. Unless you’re Harry Styles.
With my app downloaded and criteria established, I set up my profile, which was really easy to do. I stole my Twitter bio, uploaded a few favoured selfies and was ready to roll. The ease of setting up, and using the interface in general, was something that really impressed me about Bumble. I also really liked that it encouraged you to include links and usernames for other social media channels in your profile – lets you snoop more on people to see if you’d actually like them, which can only be good for encouraging for more meaningful connections. As an added bonus I got 10 extra Instagram followers in the five days I had Bumble, all men, which I attribute to the app.
After my profile was ready it was time to start swiping, so off I went. And not many guys were getting a yes, I’ll be honest, but there really were some memorable left swipes. Like the guy who’s profile picture was him beaming ear to ear outside Auschwitz (these two things do not go together), the guy with the emoji tattoos, the guys who’s profile picture was him licking his mates arse in Malia (Bleurgggggh) and the guy who wrote in his bio ‘I promise to lie to my parents about how we met’.
A hard day of swiping later, aided and abetted by my friend Jess I had seven connections. That is, I said yes to ten guys (out of over a hundred…picky? Me? Never!), and seven of them had said yes to me. The other three hadn’t been on their phones yet (I said confidently to my faintly injured pride), but now the issue was speaking to the seven. This was not something I’d considered…having never been on a proper date (I’m not a total saddo, I’ve just only ever gone out with people I’ve been really good friends with first), this was very difficult. How on earth do you start a conversation with someone you don’t know at all? And while sober?! Like, is ASL still a thing? Is ‘Hey, how you doin’?’ a cool Friends reference start, or is it boring and try hard? Should I go with something more interesting? But then I don’t want to be one of those people who seem like a freak, or who make you basically write a UCAS statement in response to their first message. I considered starting with a current affairs reference but what current affairs? David Cameron is bound to spoil the mood, the situation with Palmyra in Syria seems dark for a first conversation topic and quite frankly I’m still too upset about Zayn leaving to discuss that in a rational manner, so what the bloody hell was I going to talk about?
Enter online dating aficionado Jess to the rescue (again). On her guidance I sent an emoji supported first message to all of them. (Hiya *blushing soft smiley face* how are you?) and then I realised something weird. Of my seven candidates – the other three never did swipe me back, arseholes – five had a very specific set of names…Peter, Mark, Mathew, Luke and John….since when did the Apostles join a dating app? Only slightly freaked out by that (Was it a sign from God to just stop? Or a good sign?) I preserved with the conversations.
The first to answer was Luke who sent winky face suggestive messages with his Snapchat username as a response, asking me whether I’d be up for ‘sending sum pics and havin sum naughty fun ;P’ First of all sunshine, its ‘some’, and second of all, NO. UNMATCH. Unmatch, incidentally, is a cool function of Bumble where if you start to talk to something and realise it’s a terrible life choice, you can end the match and they can’t message you again.
The next conversation was with Peter, who asked me to call him PP and wanted to know if I’d be down for cuddles. That seemed like a pretty serious commitment two messages into our Bumble relationship, so I swung the conversation around by asking him which starter Pokemon he would have chosen. He said he’d never seen Pokemon. UNMATCH.
Kevin and Alecc, the two non-apostles, never answered me. Arseholes. They don’t know what they’re missing out on!
Enter Mark. We had a nice conversation over a day or so. Talked about our jobs, our pets and all was going well. Till he politely dropped into conversation ‘So I know you like music, I’m more into BDSM, how do you feel about that?’ UNMATCH. Christian Grey might be goals for half the female population of the Western hemisphere now, but I couldn’t be less into it. Mathew, while not offensive in anyway, was also boring, so I let that conversation die a natural death. John answered my first message enthusiastically enough, but then nothing in response to my answer.
Safe to say the first seven were not an outstanding success. I continued swiping over the next five days, saying yes to maybe one guy out of every 20/25, but only two of them swiped a yes to me, and both of them while nice….were pretty much sparkless. Absent of spark. Non foot popping and such.
When I reached the end of day 5 of having Bumble, I sat down to review my experience, and make notes for this blog. First and foremost Bumble is a great app, well created and awesome to use, and I love the fact that its whole structure tackles some of the most horrid problems with existing dating apps. Bumbles approach to dating apps is definitely the way forward. However, the standard of men on the app, for me, wasn’t really great. Or good. Or even acceptable, to be totally honest, but that isn’t something you can hold the developers to account for. As it gets more popular and more people sign up, there will be an increase in the standard of guys. Hopefully. And while I didn’t make a match, I didn’t hate my experience on Bumble – I definitely liked it more than that 20 minutes on Tinder, it did confirm for me that online dating just isn’t for me. I’ve watched way too much crime TV to be trusting of people behind screens (I’m watching a Criminal Minds episode about an online predator like right now) and for me, a connection online just doesn’t give me the butterflies, or sparks that I think I need to date.
– I downloaded Bumble for free from the App Store on iPhone.