App dating is the new normal. In 2019 it seems like everyone and their mother is on some dating site or another; it’s convenient, fast, the new streamlined way to meet someone. Does anyone actually like online dating? I doubt it. After the initial fun of swiping on strangers wears off you get bored and would rather go to the pub instead. As a relative newbie to online dating, I decided to throw myself into the deep end and just try everything so that I can give you an honest opinion on which app is most likely to get you a date, and which one is most likely to end in your untimely death.
Type of Guys: 1 photo with a dog, 1 photo with a child, 1 photo on holiday. All fully-clothed but look like their mum probably still does their washing.
Creep Factor: 1/5
Success Rate: 4/5
Bumble is my first love when it comes to dating apps. After creating a profile for my friend as a test run — always sacrifice a friend before yourself — I got to London and made myself a profile. The concept of Bumble is that its a ‘female-friendly’ type of dating app, any creeps are swiftly reported and women have to message first to prevent a tidal wave of unsolicited dick pics. This has the advantage of being a deterrent to high-level misogynists, but also the disadvantage of being so much work. You have 24 hours to message a new match before they disappear from your ‘hive’ altogether. When boys have a bio that consists entirely of “6’1. Loughborough. Don’t just say ‘Hey’” it’s hard to come up with any sort of meaningful opening line. I will say that Bumble is the only site I’ve actually had any dates out of, and I wasn’t murdered by any of them. I also haven’t gone on to marry any of them, but I’ll take being alive as a win. I also went on a date with a Team GB swimmer, so that’s a Bumble success story. The only creep I encountered was a man who turned a conversation about star signs into an offer to be my sugar daddy if I’d send him nudes. Other than that, it does well on the creep front and generally feels like a very safe and positive app.
Type of Guys: All seem to work in finance and take part in winter sports.
Creep Factor: 0/5
Success Rate: 1/5 (Unless you’re over 35, my mum is having an absolutely lit time)
If you’re trying to get into the sugar baby lifestyle, Hinge has got to be the way to go. On each of these apps I fiddled around with my settings to get a sense of the age demographics, typical type of man etcetera, and Hinge definitely ticks the “Cute professionals in their 30s and 40s’ box. I’ve converted my mum from Match to Hinge and she messages me “These men are so much more attractive!”. It’s also the only dating app of the 3 that lets you see the people who have liked your profile for free. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of pressure to ‘go premium’, the app functions great without having to pay. It generally seems to have less of a ‘hook up app’ vibe than Tinder, I’d say it’s broadly comparable to Bumble in its level of thirsty-ness. The big issue I have with Hinge is that the guys in my age bracket don’t seem to be very active on the app. Matches rarely turned into conversations, and even when they did they fizzled off quickly. The big plus is that people like specific aspects of your profile rather than the whole thing, which gives you great intel on which are your best photos.
Type of Guys: Total mix. High prevalence of fuckbois who pose shirtless clutching a beer with a bandana tied around their head.
Creep Factor: 4/5
Success Rate: 3/5
My God, does Tinder deserve its thirsty reputation Some of the profiles are comedic masterpieces without ever intending to be. Take one man who said he has nicknamed his penis “Ben & Jerry’s” because “girls love getting their mouth round that”. This has to be one of the most bizarre analogies I’ve ever heard — he could just as accurately have called it “Almond Milk Pumpkin Spice Latte” or “Pret New Yorker on Rye” and the same logic would have applied.
Even if you manage to avoid the thirsty men, you can’t escape the thirsty couples. Every thirsty couple seems to thinks they’re original with lines such as “Who said three’s company”, but they’re all just equally creepy. Please go check out Chris Fleming’s song, especially the line “It’s never who you want to be polyamorous who’s polyamorous. It’s never like, Oh, Sweet! It’s normally the guy at the Verizon store who wears vests to parties” and you’ll understand the exact vibe of these poly couples. The woman is always a bleach blonde inexplicably more attractive than her boyfriend, and every photo screams “We’ll PDA anywhere, including a funeral or a children’s birthday party.”. If you manage to successfully navigate this thirsty, thirsty wasteland then Tinder is the place to be. It’s got the advantage of being the most well-known dating app, so when you combine that with living in a huge city, you have a seemingly infinite number of people to swipe through. If you live outside of a city Tinder is the way to go because you don’t want to be limiting your numbers even more by choosing a lesser known app. The other downside of Tinder is they try to get you to pay for everything. Click on the wrong part of the screen and suddenly you’re attacked by a pop-up for one of their premium plans. It’s not cheap either, with Tinder Plus costing £13.49 a month, and Tinder Gold setting you back a whopping £22.49 a month. You do save if you pay annually, but it’s still a quick way to lighten your wallet.
In terms of success, I’ve not had any. A lot of conversations either consist of a “Heyyy” or quickly devolve into a weird, doesn’t-quite-make-sense sex reference. If you’re looking to find a hook-up, this is definitely going to be the app for you, a lot of opening messages are just “What are you doing tonight?”. At least it’s a cheap hook-up, buying someone a drink at a bar in London will set you back about a tenner, and who has the student loan for that?
Type of Guys: They’re all old enough to be your dad or your granddad, but are happy to hit you up anyway.
Creep Factor: 3/5
Success Rate: 0/5
I decided to go for a more niche site to try and find something outside of your ordinary online dating experience. Did it work? Absolutely not. I averaged the ages of the guys who “liked” my profile, and the mean age is 38. Not even a Hinge “Hot Snowboarder Investment Banker” 38, just a “Probably your Mate’s Dad” 38. The oldest? 54. 54! That’s older than both of my parents. Not quite sure why I’m being shown all of these men when my age range is set from 19–25, but Guardian seems to think my “Soulmate” is a 54-year-old Aussie. Anyone paying £32 for a month of this site is a schmuck. I wish them the best in their quest for love, but really don’t rate their chances. Guardian Soulmates is creepy, not in Tinder’s explicit sexual way, but just in the fact that you can’t escape the tidal wave of dads just waiting to pounce. There’s also an obvious difference between dating apps and dating websites; these people are looking to get into serious business. Want to get married and whip out a few kids ASAP? Now’s your chance. I really don’t have much to say about this site, it was such a disaster that I logged into my profile about twice and then gave up on it.
Type of Guys: Just looking to settle down, adopt a labrador, and have 2.4 kids. All need to be Queer Eye-d.
Creep Factor: 3/5
Success Rate: 0/5
If I had to sum Match up in one word it would be “Confusing”. People have the option to “view”, “favourite”, “message” or “wink” at your profile and I have absolutely no idea what the distinction between them means. You can easily get lost in the website, somehow ending up on Match Affinity (Is this the same site, a different site, who knows? Please send help.) There’s also the Guardian Soulmates issue of being shown old men regardless of how you set your age preferences. I have to give credit to 50-year-old “Someone” who has more confidence than I could ever even hope to gain, messaging an 18-year-old “hi” and then writing a self-pitying bio about women ignoring him. Rather than consider options such as writing a more exciting message or approaching women his own age, “Someone” has instead resorted to a sad face emoji.
Match seems to be in denial about their target audience; their advertising all features quirky cute 20-somethings and yet the site is predominately people in their 30s/40s looking for a serious relationship. I don’t know why they seem determined to ignore their actual clientele, instead trying to lure young people to a site where there’s no-one their own age to match with. This is also the most ridiculous sight for forcing you to pay up. You can’t even see people’s photos without paying the extortionate £30 a month. The whole site is just a jumble sale of features, each of which would probably be fine on its own but are a disaster when all is combined. The Match “dating coach” chooses profiles for you using some sort of AI and actually does a decent enough job. There’s also a completely unnecessary “shuffle” mode (Read: “Let’s Rip Off Tinder” Mode) where profiles are presented one by one with a swipe system. If you’re looking for someone to get married to and want to be bled dry just to see someone’s face, hit up Match.
Now that this little experiment is over, I will be immediately running to delete my Match and Soulmates profiles. People I know in real life probably think I’m experiencing a mental breakdown or extreme desperation, my profile appearing on every possible dating app. In reality, I’m more than happy with my own company, so being single is just fine by me.
Originally published at assortedramblingsblog.wordpress.com on April 3, 2019.