When my friend Marne told me she was getting married and expecting a baby and that this had all happened via a dating site, I decided to get serious about online dating. I signed up for a few dating apps and had a lot of fun talking to and meeting with guys, until another friend Claire told me about Bumble. “It works the same way as Tinder — you swipe right for the guys you like and if you’re a match, you start a conversation,” Claire told me.
Bumble differs from Tinder and all the other dating sites out there because it only permits women to start the conversation. Founded by Whitney Wolfe, Bumble has been referred to as the “feminist app.” It’s easy to set up — all you have to do is download the app, write a short blurb about yourself and upload your pictures and you’re good to go. Another unique feature about Bumble is that matches expire after 24 hours so it forces you to start a conversation sooner rather than later.
I took a stab at it. The first 20 or so guys that popped up on my screen were really attractive. They were nicely dressed, had chiseled faces and sculpted hair. Another absolute plus is that they were all mostly well-educated. There were quite a few doctors on my Bumble account, as well as founders and CEO’s of startups. A lot of them tended to be active adventurers that were into bike riding, surfing and traveling. And like Tinder the whole selection process was effortless.
However, the app had its downside. There were only so many characters you can use to describe yourself, which leads to the whole concept being kind of superficial. There really wasn’t much ethnic diversity on the app either — most of the guys seemed to look the same and were into the same three activities I mentioned previously. And like Tinder, men seemingly swipe right out of laziness to get as many matches as possible and when a girl matches up with them that they don’t like they wont respond to her message — ouch. That lack of response didn’t feel very empowering.
There also wasn’t a great selection filter, so it meant all of the guys were not properly matched to me and it became clear we just didn’t have enough in common to connect us. When I complained about this to Claire she asked me what my problem was and did I not want a great guy. My answer was of course I want and know I deserve a handsome well put together, educated man, but how likely is a doctor who graduated from Harvard going to find me, a part-time waitress, part-time performing arts dancer and freelance writer, a “suitable” match? That mentality wasn’t being produced by not valuing myself — but it came from the way society operates.
I love feeling empowered but for me, Bumble was only great in theory. As a BAUCE woman, or someone who wanted to take control of her dating life, I felt that it leaves us responsible for the most awkward part of dating, which is making the first move. I have asked out guys in the past, but online dating is a different arena where you can’t read someone’s body language or intentions for you. We all know that the online dating world is a game of chances — there are a handful of normal guys out there who are who they say they are and then there and a lot of dishonest guys out there who have lied in one way or another on their profile or their only intention with a woman is a casual encounter.
Bumble is a great idea for women that want to take the initiative and have thick skin. But for the rest of us rising ladies who are still coming into our own, stick with the lakes that you’re used to. Conversations should go both ways and in my perspective a feeling of empowerment does exist in a man’s pursuit and “the chase.”