Dating is hard. I may overcomplicate things, but it’s a three-pronged process for me. I have to manage to find someone that wants to go on a date, undergo a beautification process that involves removing every out of place body hair, squeezing into heels, and matching my winged eyeliner. Lastly, after days of anxiety, scrubbing, and plucking, I have to go on the date and manage to attractively eat a taco while pacing my tequila consumption because I am terrible at holding a conversation.
Luckily, step one has been expedited by the invention of online dating apps, at my fastest swiping I can screen twenty potential lovers of the week in sixty seconds, and yes, I timed it.
Featured in Hillary Duff’s music video “Sparks,” Tinder is the most well-known of these applications. The numerous articles and mentions of Tinder-like apps on television shows, support the phenomena’s cultural relevance. It’s safe to say that Tinder has become so mainstream that if you put in the proper parameters, you could probably find your third-grade gym teacher. Initially released in December of 2014, Bumble is Tinder’s lesser known, cooler, and typically hotter younger brother.
Bumble’s format is simple. Your profile is a series of photos and a biography, the Bumbler (in this instance me) is given a pool of people based on location to select from: Swipe right if you are interested, left to pass. Bumble sets itself apart in what happens after a match. The woman is notified and then has 24 hours to send her match a message, or he disappears into the dating pool and is never seen again (unless you manage to have my luck and end up hiding from your Bumble matches in Target).
To fully expose myself to all characters in the hive, I manipulated my profile photos, biographies, and approach tactics. On average stereotypes held true, particular looks attracted certain people, but everyone was relatively attractive.
At one point, I only responded to matches in Taylor Swift and Wu-Tang Clan lyrics. I now know that I cannot seriously date someone that does not recognize the chorus to “Blank Space” or “C.R.E.A.M.”
I enjoyed Bumble; it was fun to match and chat with guys and girls. This does not mean that I was without a few odd interactions. “U want me to eat something off ur body,” was the response to me sharing that I was eating nachos. Be warned, or excited, there are a lot of couples looking for a third.
Of course, you have to be mindful of the catfishes. No matter what I want to be true, there is no pug-owning-vegan-NYU-Professor-Ryan-Gosling-look-a-like that is single in New York City looking for love on Bumble.
When my automatic left-swiping thumb took over, I was able to shake my phone and correct it with a swipe to the right. Bumble provides three “Backtracks” each of which regenerates after three hours, a feature that has helped me fix an accidentally left swipe more than once.
For those of you afraid to swipe right on a Bumble user that you went on a Tinder date with, fear not. Bumble is the college of Tinder. People have Netflixed & Chilled, and are now looking for HBO Go & Commitment.
I tested the theory myself. My Tinder date was something out of a 1980’s Miami Vice night; coke, drinking, and public shame. A Bumble date with the same guy six months later was drinks at a bar, and a 2 AM walk around Brooklyn, stealing kisses under street lamps.
For the app dating skeptics and cautious, Bumble also has a VIBee verified members mode currently available to 5-10% of its users. VIBee users receive a special badge on their profile, and are able to turn on a mode that only presents other VIBee users. Verification is based on a unique algorithm based conversation interaction, spam/abuse reports, and follow up probability. For those really looking for love in the hive, the VIBee mode would bring you closer to the guy that will text you back.
I like Bumble, but I understand that it is not for everyone. I have watched the flirtiest bar-hopper turn into an irritable phone-attached-mess over dating apps. For me, there are those nights that I want to be flirted with, but Club Bed with red wine bottle service and DJ Sheets is bumping One Direction and Taylor Swift. Why not try to get stung by love if all it takes is a swipe, especially if it doesn’t require wearing pants?