Are you a Bumble bro or a Happn hottie? A dozen dating apps reviewed

Love: it’s all in the e-mails. via Ayi

There are some of us still roaming this borough, the grayer, wizened, toothless ones, who remember the dark days, nights when you would actually have to pry open your creaky laptop and see if your future spouse had been kind enough to send you a message on match.com, inquiring about similar interests or life experiences.

Thank god that all ended! Now everyone has a smartphone in hand and is only one eggplant emoji away from finding true love! Our descendants will be proud, though they will wonder what we did technologically in the intervening 43 years between landing on the moon and inventing Tinder.

But is mobile location-based dating really all that simple? Well, not exactly, since there are so many apps you can choose from in order to help you find your soulmate or your Mr. Right Now. Fortunately for you, I’ve tested out over a dozen dating apps and am happy to let you know what I’ve found on them, from the vast ocean of OkCupid to the wild jungles of kink-focused Whiplr.

via OkCupid

via OkCupid

OkCupid

This is the granddaddy of all millennial dating apps, though at this point if you met someone the day OkCupid launched and conceived a child on your first date, that broken condom miracle would now be 11 years old. How time flies!

OKC was pretty much the only game in town a few years ago, but now its NYC dominance has been ruthlessly challenged by countless swipe based competitors. In turn, OKC has evolved, so that now instead of getting maybe one fleeting like a week you can now swipe up a storm and have about 60 likes a day not to talk to, just like on Tinder.

OKC messaging still retains its pre-social media roots, namely the sort of giant emails you would send to your best friend back during the Bush presidency. You also have to answer several hundred questions to get decent matches, which is where OKC splits opinions these days. You’ll have to consider questions like “Would you find nuclear war exciting?” or “If you came home to find your lover having red wine licked off their naked body by a stranger, what would you do?” to find your 99% love match. If that sounds like too much work, there’s always the basic hoards of the following apps.

OKC chose a middle ground on their app so it includes swiping profiles like Tinder, a scrollable list of nearby daters like Grindr, and advanced search functionality that lets you search by everything down to keywords. That way you never get stuck looking at the same Murray Hill randos for a whole week, like on some apps that have strict limits on have many profiles you can see a day.

Pros: App is very stable, easy to use, good user interface. The filtering is the best of any of these apps, so if you know what you’re looking for, this is where to start. If you’re looking for kink folks, Sikh elephant conservationists, tarantula fighters in your zip code, or even just run-of-the-mill basic weirdos, there’s no better place. The filtering and search functionality is amazing, and every single person on earth has a profile, so you’re destined to meet some amazing people, and you’ll even know if they like putting stuff in their butt (standard question) way before you meet!

OKC is where you’ll get the clearest view of your partner before you meet them, which can be fun, depending on how seriously you take things.

Also, nobody besides Pornhub (NSFW but good lord do they have a great stats department) collects data like OKC. Please check out their data blog and perfect man/founder Christian Rudder’s book Dataclysm if you want to learn all about your fellow man and get super bummed about racism.

Cons: Hard to tell if push notification is a real, heartfelt message, or just a simple profile like. Big difference, people! Also, OKC is the most labor intensive of the apps by far, between filling out the profile, answering questions, and typing up messages. You’ll pretty much need a laptop for all that.

If you’re a straight male, you’ll get a message every week or two, and usually these messages will be one sentence commenting on your eyebrows or the extreme tightness of your pants. If you are a straight female, you will be exposed to the absolute darkest corners of humanity, corners that should never been seen by the likes of anyone, a corner that is alternately wounded, insolent, petulant, misogynistic, and racist. Please see examples here.

Who You’ll Meet: That 99% match is literally you, in the form of whichever gender gets your rocks off. This is good and bad for many, many reasons, depending on how tolerable of a person you are. Also, poly folks, kinksters, and 420 friendly blazers. Filter by keyword and have a blast!

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via Coffee Meets Bagel

via Coffee Meets Bagel

 

Coffee Meets Bagel

CMB is perfection! Don’t want to create a giant profile? Do want to get an incredibly well-educated, usually very attractive Manhattanite delivered to your old iPhone 4 every day at noon? Want your phone to call them a bagel and make you feel a little weird? CMB is for you!

While CMB is genius for introducing artificial scarcity to the dating scene mix, the downside is that sometimes you’ll hit a whole week of finance people and there’s nothing you can do. Even if their hearts are pure they’ll still be able to run you over with their Ferrari one day and pay off the cops. Not a chance you want to take.

Pros: Good lord is this app easy to use. Write a 50 word profile if you’re feeling ambitious, chose four pictures and boom! Every day at noon you get a new person to like/dislike. If they also like you then you have ten days to talk and exchange numbers before the app closes your line.

Cons: The aforementioned week of finance bros. Let’s be real though, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. CMB has been wonderful for some people I know while others have deleted the app after a full month of 31 people they were never all that interested in. On Tinder you can swipe 31 people in fewer seconds, but where’s the romantic sense of fate and destiny in that? Still, 31 basic bros can overwhelm even the most romantic among us.

CMB also lets you select the race and religion of your bagels which can either be creepy or lead to better matches, depending on how you play it.

Who You’ll Meet: Ivy Leaguers, A Disproportionate Number of Asians, Gorgeous Nerds, People With Way Cooler Jobs Than You.

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Hey girl. via

Hey girl. via Her Campus

 

Tinder

Ah, Tinder. Even your grandparents know about Tinder. Maybe they met on it. Tinder is so ubiquitous that it’s become a full blown moral panic/dating apocalypse. Youngsters are just a-hooking up left and right! Finance bros are banging girls using their cell phones then high fiving each other! What happened to the innocent days of pre-Tinder, back in 2012, when ISIS was still part of Al-Qaeda and the Syrian Civil War was only one year old? You can get a more nuanced take on Tinder and online dating, in Aziz Ansari’s wonderful and surprisingly data-driven book, Modern Romance.

The truth is that Tinder is like any other dating app, just with a wider range of humans to choose from, which obviously entails the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Pros: Everyone has Tinder because it takes a few minutes to set up. Chose a few pictures including your face and write a profile made out of emojis. You may now chose a mate from one of seven billion users.

Cons: Let me say this, Tinder is way more fun than it used to be. Launched amongst the greek life of Southern California universities, it had a deservedly douchey reputation until pretty recently. But now everyone, everywhere is on it, so you’ll meet some great people eventually if you wade through all of the dickpics.

The DOWN side is that if you want to find your elephant conservationist who is also into BDSM and food play in 11216, tough luck. Profiles are sparse and the lack of detailed search functionality is the whole point. Your Tinder match could be pretty much anyone, though the chances are lower that they be your 99% shared-interest-lovebird from OKC.

Who You’ll Meet: Someone exactly one-tenth more basic than you.

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via Bumble

via Bumble

 

Bumble

Bumble is every other swiping app, except with more finance people (do they launch new dating apps at Wolf of Wall Street orgies?), and the woman has 24 hours to start the conversation when there’s a match, or the line closes. If heteronormativity is your thing, then so is Bumble.

This is a brilliant way to reduce harassment for women, but also a brilliant way to make you feel like you’re hanging out on the bench in middle school while the rest of the gym class is picked before you. Except in this case, you’ll never get picked, but you will learn a valuable lesson about male privilege.

Pros: A fantastic idea that creates less harassment for women. Once Bumble gets a larger user base it will be interesting to see how it evolves.

Cons: It’s easy to forget to talk to someone for 24 hours and then poof! They’re gone forever! I could’ve been the one…

Who You’ll Meet: A finance/advertising exec with feminist sensibilities, if you’re lucky.

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via Happn

via Happn

 

Happn

Happn (like most things that are extremely fun and don’t work very well) is from France. I have never met someone off of Happn and yet I will never delete it from my phone.

The premise behind Happn is brilliant: it only shows you people you ‘run into’ i.e. when your phones come within about 100 meters of each other. The idea is that in all of the hustle and bustle of somewhere like NYC or Paris you could walk right by your future soulmate, lock eyes for a second, and then find them in your phone instead of never seeing them again.

Pros: You can see who’s around, all the time. Don’t be a creep but do have a perpetual sociological adventure! If you’re in a small town or suburb prepare to meet your missed connection sweetheart.

Cons: Ironically, Happn works way better in areas of low population density. I work in the city by a huge subway station, so every person who gets service for a moment on the train pops up on Happn as long as they’re running it in the background. I’ll just end up being one of the hundreds of people they’ll ‘run into’ that day, so our chances of liking and messaging each other become very small.

Compare that to when I’m home in the suburbs. I’ll ‘run into’ maybe one person, one day, and they, like a castaway on a desert island, will be ecstatic that a Happner has finally dropped out of the skies to rescue them and maybe romantically catch some fish like Tom Hanks.

“Lo siento,” you’ll say, “but I need to visit my parents for one night then head back to the big city, where Happn doesn’t work very well.”

You can figure out pretty quickly exactly who lives in your building and on your block. Sadly these people will not like you, because you’ll see each other all the freaking time when you break up. Also, good for stalking exes.

Who You’ll Meet: French people in all their glory, young professionals, suburban Happn castaways.

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via Hinge

via Hinge

 

Hinge

Hinge is essentially Coffee Meets Bagel, but you get five people a day instead of one, and they theoretically have to be more closely linked to you on Facebook, as in friends of friends. The filtering isn’t quite as thorough, so your matches aren’t quite as good. Careers are primarily highlighted so it’s clear that lots of people are making way more money than you. If you’re over 30 and wear a suit on dates (not to hate, these people are wonderful in their own ways!) you should download Hinge. Otherwise, stick with CMB.

Pros: Hinge is pretty well known and getting a decent user base.

Cons: Bad if you don’t wear a suit on dates. App stability and messaging known to be pretty bad. Is a worse version of Coffee Meets Bagel.

Who You’ll Meet: A besuited young professional, who is turning into an older professional before your very eyes.

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4-20 friendly, with benefits. via High There

4-20 friendly, with benefits. via High There

 

High There

Denver based (obvs) High There solves what I assume is a widespread problem: to have large amounts of marijuana in an apartment, and yet to also lack basic human companionship. Get ready because the internet has figured out (that specific) problem!

High There is theoretically great because you can be an active or passive stoner, you can prefer edibles or vaping, and you can indicate if you want to chill on the couch for eternity or go paragliding or something. After that, it’s a Tinder-like system of selecting either “Bye There” on the left or “High There” on the right.

Pros: This Pastrami deli sandwich is INCREDIBLE!!!! Also, another good excuse to get high.

Cons: Not clear whether this is for dating or hanging out. If like 99% of potheads you don’t blaze with total strangers on the reg, the transition to smoking with romantically inclined strangers might be a little awkward. Also, not many users yet.

Also, it can be a little tough to tell what your meetup is all about. Are we blazing, watching True Detective, and peacing, or are we going to go have stoned sex? The fact you usually would have to meet up in a private location also complicates things. But still, godspeed High There!!

Who You’ll Meet: Sexually adventurous stoners, if you’re lucky.

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via Tripr

via Tripr

Tripr

Hooking up while you’re traveling can be tricky. You lack the presumption of looking for anything besides a quick swing by the bone zone before you escape Prague, along with a fixed address. Finally, Tripr is here to solve this basic affliction of the affluent!

Born in London, Tripr has a brilliantly simple setup. Let’s say I’m going to San Francisco next week. I can create a trip, specifying the city and the dates I’ll be there, then I’ll be able to swipe locals and travelers. Of course, looking to hit it and quit it up front can be tough. This is why Tripr has retooled itself to be more about ‘meeting up’ than dating, which is still a nice concept (sort of like a non-committal Couchsurfing), but a boner killer if you’re just looking for an exotic roll in the hay (during your two day business trip to Iowa City, of course.)

Tripr is also a young app, so maybe they’ll re-introduce easier filtering once they get a bigger user base. Don’t “make” me crash for a week with an OkCupid date again, internet!

Pros: This is really a brilliant way to solve a common problem, also has a sense of adventure and cultural exchange. Swiping potential friends with benefits all around the world is a very exhilarating sensation.

Cons: Terrible app stability, not clear if this is for dating or hanging out.

Who You’ll Meet: Beautiful Brazilians who just want a Brooklyn dude to show them some Bushwick street art before they reconnect with their LDR boyfriend in New Jersey.

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via Whiplr

via Whiplr

Whiplr

Tinder too vanilla? OkCupid too much work? FetLife too hellishly terrifying? Here comes Whiplr, you picky GGG BDSM bruised 24/7 sub!

Once you turn 22 in San Francisco, 30 in New York, and 40 in the rest of the country and get into hardcore kink, it can be tricky to find someone who’s into exactly what you’re into.

Pros: So, so much less scary than FetLife. Extremely easy to locate area kinksters with similar fetishes.

Cons: Small user population, fear of putting your real picture on. Come on, your boss is ready for a little rope play!

Who You’ll Meet: Listen, all I want is for you to facefuck me with this spidergag, then flog me until I beg to Hitachi myself to orgasm, all while you call me The Gipper. Is that too much to ask?

Reader, it is not too much to ask! Stick it on your Whiplr profile! However, like Tripr, Whiplr is a young app and the user base still isn’t very large. Please email me when your Reaganite fantasies come to life!

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But who will impress your mother? via JSwipe

But who will impress your mother? via JSwipe

 

JSwipe

JSwipe is fun even if you’re not trying to bang members of the tribe. When you match some smokin’ non-goyim, a happy little Star of David pops up and some physically powerful bar mitzvah attendees toss you up and down in the chair like we’re at 2003 B’nai Brith! Maybe Emma Applebaum will slow dance with you afterwards, if you’re lucky. Watch those hands mister! Oddly, JDate is suing JSwipe over their use of the letter J. Apparently the JDate guys have been suing other dating apps for years, over much the same thing. We admire the chutzpah, but lighten up, you freakin’ meshugganah! It’s a mitzvah to have so many ways to find some grade-A circumcised schvantz! Mazel Tov, l’chaim!

All shtick aside, it’s a fun way to meet some Jews. There doesn’t seem to be much of a stigma for non-Jews to use the app either, so enjoy!

Pros: Gentiles gain access to a curiously sexually liberated, neurotic, hairy people. Also, I personally receive by far the largest swipe-to-match ratio on JSwipe, which may be because I forgot to take off the age restrictions.

Cons: If you’re Jewish, hard to shake the fact you’re definitely related to some of these people.

Who You’ll Meet: People who equate erotic exploration with summer camp.

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via Down

via Down

Down

You may not expect an app initially named “Bang With Friends” to be the classiest place, but it’s not so bad. There’s just an endless list of Facebook friends who fall into your preferred dating gender and age range here for you to swipe. If you both chose to “get down” with each other, you both get a message indicating your bangability.

More to the point, before they reset the security settings you could see everyone on fb using the app. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pros: You remember that Canadian lady you smooched on New Years’ Eve in Greenpoint, all those years ago? She still has the hots for you!

Cons: She also still lives in Toronto. Down isn’t really location based, so get ready for a hodgepodge of Facebook friends who are potentially several hundred miles away. Right now all of my top picks are in Cleveland for some reason.

Who You’ll Meet: The people you already know.

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via Grindr

via Grindr

Grindr

How could we possibly not cover Grindr? Before mobile dating was even a thing, Grindr was providing joy to the gay world through bathroom quickies and a choice selection of rock-hard abs, and this was back during two thousand frickin’ nine!! One cool new feature is the ability to search by tribe (Bear, Clean-Cut, Daddy, Discreet, Geek, Jock, Leather, Otter, Poz, Rugged, Trans, and Twink.)

Grindr is still not swipe based, rather you see a table of profile pics in descending order, depending on how nearby they are, sort of like the Nearby display on OkCupid.

Pros: Hard dick 587 feet away can become hard dick one foot away from your mouth just like that. Also man are these guys in good shape.

The world, gay, straight, bi, pan, etc, owes an immense debt to Grindr. We wouldn’t be here without you buddy!

Cons: Risk of anti-gay violence, which is also also a risk in all of the world, though mercifully at a 2,000 year low point. Also sometimes I wish Grindr had swiping.

Who You’ll Meet: Bears, Clean-Cuts, Daddies, Discreets, Geeks, Jocks, Leathermen, Otters, Pozes, Rugged, Trans, and Twinks. Enjoy!

 

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