Last summer, I was somehow encouraged (also strong-armed, peer-pressured) to try out dating apps by a good friend of mine in a bid to find “bae”. Now, before I go any further, it’s probably worth telling you a few things about myself that you may not already know, just to illustrate why Jasmine + dating apps = not a good idea:
Do you ever find yourself chatting endlessly with someone you’ve just met who turns out to be really cool, but then the moment that person’s five friends come over you’re suddenly unable to speak or show emotion? And then, catching on to this, the group asks you if you’re okay and you say “I’m fine!” in a really high-pitched voice, only to return to being mute? And then when you get home think “why am I like this?”
Yeah, that’s me.
It hurts my soul to think that one day if I am blessed with children they might ask their father how he and I met, and he will smile at me before turning to his child and saying “well, darling, I came across a photo of your mum on Tinder when I was on the train one day and she was so attractive to me that I just had to swipe right.” I know this is the world we live in now, I really do. But can I not just accidentally drop my copy of War and Peace on the floor on my way to work and have it handed back to me by a tall (6″2 and above) dark and handsome (good teeth please) male human being instead?
I generally don’t go out very often. I won’t go into it as I’ve said this so many times on my blog(!) But yeah, I really like spending time at home. Boring, I know.
So anyway, despite all of the above, I went against my better judgement and joined 2016.
I took my friend’s “you should totally do it” and ran with it!
Okay so I didn’t run. I actually downloaded Tinder before going to bed one night and then got so anxious the next morning that I immediately deleted my account. Since then, I’ve re-downloaded the app a couple of times (usually when I’m out with friends and they all start analysing potential matches and my wine-soaked brain tells me that I’m totally out of the loop) but then I always promptly delete it a few hours/days later.
To be fair, I actually know a few people who met on Tinder and are now in solid relationships, so it’s not all crude messages and creepy guys. But I can’t. I really just cannot. My future children will not receive the “we met on Tinder” explanation from me. They just won’t.
After running into an old school friend randomly at a social event, and then finding out that she and her current boyfriend (whom I also knew from a totally different circle) had been together for almost two years after matching on Happn, I thought that maybe dating apps weren’t as horrendous as I’d thought. But after downloading it and putting in my details, I got really creeped out by the fact that you match with people who are in your vicinity and I freaked out and deleted it a few minutes later. I’m sure it’s great, but I can’t tell you because I don’t know.
This one was brought to my attention at the end of a (very) long night out by a good friend who said her younger sister was having the time of her life with someone she’d met through Ok Cupid. It’s different to the two examples above in that whilst it’s an app, it takes on the form of what I imagine more “serious”, old school online dating services to be. You put in your photos, but entering your details is LONG. You have to specify your physical appearance, write what you’re looking for and answer a ton of questions on your (social/political) beliefs. You match with other people mainly according to similarities in those beliefs, but there was also the option to match purely based on appearance.
I completed some of the necessary info (I repeat, it was LONG), but then I kept getting match notifications to my personal email address, which I found odd. And not unlike Tinder, this dating app did give way to a lot of unsolicited weird messages from other users. I deleted this one less than 24 hours after downloading it.
The Inner Circle
This dating app initially struck me as different because I actually used it on my laptop as opposed to my phone. Same as the rest: you upload photos of yourself and write up a bio, but The Inner Circle offers prompts like “list your top five favourite cities”, “what are your favourite restaurants?” and “where would you like to travel to next?” It all seemed a bit “rah” and pretentious in comparison to the others, and so for that reason I deleted it after a few days of withstanding dry introductions from older men who really weren’t my type in the slightest.
To be fair, Bumble is the only app that I actually gave a chance. No creepy unsolicited Tinder messages, no awkward Happn location stamps, and no long-winded OkCupid application process. If you’ve never used it before, it uses the standard format of most dating apps (you upload up to six photos of yourself, write a brief description, and set up your distance/age/preferences) but includes a twist: once you match with a guy, only you (the woman) can initiate conversation. And if you don’t do this within 24 hours the match disintegrates. Now, for someone who gets nervous just thinking about “sliding into someone’s DMs”, the whole “initiation” thing was a bit of a hurdle at first. But then it becomes funny and super easy. I just managed to mention pizza somehow and life was gucci.
It’s perhaps worth mentioning that when I first started using it I’d just torn my Achilles tendon, so I was on crutches and had my leg in a cast – a pretty funny conversation starter which then became very awkward when people suggested meeting IRL. My favourite date hands down had to be with the Scandinavian guy who became really interested in West African culture and convinced me to take him to a traditional Ghanaian restaurant. Please believe me when I tell you that homeboy ate kelewele, tsofi, and then fufu with palm nut soup with his hands (all before reaching over the table for some of my waakye), and washed the whole thing down with Supermalt. Legend.
(Feel free to Google the foods mentioned above if you don’t know what they are.)
I deleted Bumble during the Christmas period because I felt I didn’t need it anymore, but I haven’t really used it, or any dating app, ever since. But I would definitely say that I found it to be the most effective of the above.
Have you ever used a dating app? Do you totally hate the idea or do you swear by them? I want to know! Share your thoughts and/or experiences in the comments below.