A few days ago while chatting with one of my friends, I learned of a relatively new app called: Bumble. It’s a dating app very similar to my ex Tinder, who I decided to leave behind after my 30 dates in 30 nights adventure last fall. I left Tinder because you end up matching with dudes who don’t care about having any type of conversation, their main interest is to– for lack of a better term– Get Some. “DTF” is a popular acronym used by some of the guys that messaged me during my amazing experience last year. I didn’t even know what it meant until I Googled it… It means “down to…” And I’ll leave the rest to your imagination!
But I digress… So Friday night, I’m at this cookout and my friend and I decide I must try this fancy new app, that according to some people “is more female-friendly”. The app is Android and iOS compatible so I download it immediately and get to work on my profile, while trying to hold a conversation with the 3D people in front of me. Note: probably best to set up your dating profile while you’re sober and without distractions.
It takes me almost an hour to get up and running, but only because I was being social while I picked out photos and thought of something smart to write. For the regular user it will probably only take five minutes. Bumble syncs to your facebook account, the same way Tinder does, and pulls your pictures, age, name, the last school you attended, and your job title. Which is very complicated when you’re a multiple-source-of-income type person like myself. If you’re a marketing professional/entrepreneur who’s also a writer and producer then you’re SOL because there’s no category for you. So I weigh my options against the application’s categories and decide Marketing is the easiest selection and go with that.
“Look it shows what school you attended last,” I say while I show someone my phone. Because this ties directly into our earlier conversation about dating, or not dating, people without a college degree. Some people don’t care, others do, and well… apparently on Bumble you can figure that out right off the bat and decide whether or not to swipe right.
I select a few pictures for my profile, you get a choice of six, while I take a sip of the beer I’v been nursing. “What do you think of this picture?” I ask my friend Katie, “That’s good, it makes you look very athletic. Even though you’re not.” “Um hold up! I’m sort of athletic! Plus I have great reflexes,” I reply. She doesn’t know that earlier today I tripped walking up the stairs, and dropped my coffee… but that’s beside the point. “Fuck it, I’m going with the picture of you and I so they know I have friends,” I say firmly.
Six pictures and one room temperature beer later, I’ve almost completed my Bumble profile! Now comes the hardest part, writing something about myself. “Ugh, I don’t know what else to write besides: I’m allergic to pretentious assholes who are intimidated by strong-willed women,” I say frustrated. Okay, I’m projecting my bad experiences on every man out there and thats’s not fair so I write this instead: I love spending time around funny, intelligent, genuine people. Love to dance, golf, eat & cook. “What else should I write?” I ask Katie, handing her my phone. She writes: I love Columbus & am interested in meeting new people. And in the interest of being honest I close with: “P.S. my best friend wrote that last part…”
(Note, I yellowed out some of my pictures with friends, including my connections’ pictures to protect their privacy.)
Alright! Let the swiping commence! I’m pumped, ready to make dating decisions based on superficial evidence, while drinking with my friends… Not too different from what we do every weekend. Five minutes later I wonder if all the men in my Bumble vicinity work at the same company, yes it appears they do. “It’s like they all decided to join during their morning meeting,” says one of my friends. In the interest of skipping the drama I swipe left. Alright never mind that setback, I move forward. Left, left, left. Too many selfies, LEFT! Ok, now we’re talking! Right, right. Those eyes! RIGHT! The pool of men on Bumble is kind of young, at least younger than I am. “I’m kicking my way through lunchboxes here!” I say to the person sitting next to me. That’s a saying my cousin uses in Mexico whenever we’re surrounded by early twenty-somethings at a bar. My friends and I have now adopted this phrase here.
It happens a lot, for some reason the younger guys are a little gutsier when it comes to approaching women in public. Or maybe they’re just a little drunker than the thirty-something guys, who by now are better at handling their liquor. Either way, I don’t see a whole lot of guys over 30. Twenty minutes into the swiping… “Looks like you’re out of people…” reads the screen, after my last swipe. WHAT?!
“What the hell? I just ran out of guys,” I say interrupting the convo around the patio table, “this app is killing my ego right now!” I put the phone down. Another ego-killer on Bumble is that there’s no instant match gratification, like there is on Tinder. Clearly due to the fact that there aren’t enough guys using the app yet because I just ran out of them! Shit, why is Columbus always so late to catch up on trends?! Every time I tell my friends on the east coast about something “new and cool” I discovered here they go: “Oh yeah, there’s one on U street that opened two years ago!”
I wake up Saturday morning to several Bumble alerts on my phone. “You have a new connection!” Says the busy bee. Well that tells me a lot about my connection’s swiping habits…Don’t drink and swipe boys! So now the ball is in my court, I have to initiate the conversation within 24 hours (and the clock is ticking!), or the connection completely disappears into a black hole. So we’ve arrived at the biggest difference between Tinder and Bumble, women have to initiate the conversation. “Wait!” you say, “how does it work if I’m a woman wanting to meet women? Who would initiate the conversation then?” According to the Bumble website: “For same sex connections, or friendship, either person has 24 hours to make the first move.”
I initiate a few convos with my connections using the all-time winning ice-breaker: “Hi! How are you? :-)” That’s right, I’m a black belt MASTA at this! I get some replies, while I go to brunch with my sister. It’s going pretty smoothly by now. But still no new options to chose from. “I literally ran out of men to date,” I tell my sis, while I stuff a Nutella pancake ball in my mouth.
A day later I decide to switch up my search settings by increasing the mile radius to 60 and selecting: “everyone” instead of just men. I mean, why not? I might as well check out the competition right? A few gals pop up, “Hey I know her!” Swipe right. The friendship aspect of opening your settings to “everyone” is actually useful if you’re looking to make new friends when you’re traveling or are new in town.
“What’s this? My connection is expiring?” The app warns me that one of my connections with a guy will go away if I don’t message him within the next hour. That’s fine, I don’t even remember swiping right for him anyway. Be gone connection with guy I’ve never heard of until now. Off you go into dating oblivion! Later I find out that you get one shot per day at extending the connection for another 24 hours if you want. Apparently this is something a guy can also use, in hopes that you haven’t messaged him because perhaps your dog ate your phone, or you dropped it in the toilet– the latter is actually common among my crew.
Three days after I started using the app, the selection is still pretty slim. A guy pops up here and there, but two swipes later I’m “out of people” again. 😦 This is probably best for my productivity on a Monday morning. Another thing I notice is that no women have really popped up, just maybe ten since I expanded my search criteria. It’s not like I’m in the middle of nowhere, I’m in the 15th largest city in the U.S. come on! I selflessly send my facebook single (male and female) friends an invitation to join. Maybe that will perk up the experience a bit for everyone else on the app.
Still, Bumble is working for me. I’m not worried about meeting any deadlines this time around, it feels more organic than Tinder. No one is blowing up my phone at weird hours of the night. These features all make sense since Bumble is an app envisioned by a woman who co-founded and then left Tinder, (for reasons you can explore further here). Whitney Wolfe decided to create a dating app that would empower women. And as evidenced by most of my posts, I’m all for making women feel comfortable and in control of their dating life! So I say give Bumble a try! Just make sure you follow one of mine and Bumble’s most important guidelines: “Don’t pretend you’re someone you’re not.”
For more info on the bumble app, check out my short email Q&A with Bumble Director of Operations Caroline Ellis below.
My most pressing questions about Bumble