Using the best dating apps has become second nature to us now, in our increasingly busy, tech-savvy day-to-day. It’s not just about finding true love: swiping left and right or up and down has become a genuine leisure activity – a way to while away a few spare minutes while we wait for the lift at work or avoid talking to our Uber driver.
But do you ever wonder what the dating app you’re on says about you, or the people you meet on them? Some apps are so specialist, so niche, you can almost guess what their devotees will be like before you log in. If your democrat dating dating app was a real person, would you date it? Would you be it? Imagine if you could take a dating app out for a drink – what would it actually be like?
Badoo is the sleeper-hit of dating apps – the Mad Max to Tinder’s Titanic. Statistically, it’s the largest dating app in the world, with over 350 million users, but the kicker is it’s not strictly a dating app – it bills itself as a network for friends you’ve not made yet, connecting you with other users nearby for whatever reason you like. But let’s face it, there’s only ever one reason. Badoo is the nice guy from accounts you could see yourself marrying one day, were it not for the fact that you thought he was married already. He has Pinterest boards, phones his mother at lunchtime and apologises profusely by saying «I apologise profusely». But his bedposts have been whittled away to kindling.
An earnest clean-shirt who lives in a luxury apartment (this means it has a dishwasher) above a Tesco Express and sacrifices a food group – usually protein – to pay for the extortionate rent.
Thinks everyone should be equal but doesn’t understand why women get free drinks in bars in Ibiza and he doesn’t. Will send an email before a date to make sure it’s understood that you’ll go “Dutch” on the meal, which is in a chain restaurant, at the draughtiest table. He will haggle over the tip. She’ll go home with him because she might as well.
Grindr, for the uninitiated, or those at least pretending they’ve never heard of it and don’t watch Drag Race either, is the gay app. It’s numero uno for hookups, the OG for gonzo dick pics and the maestro of monosyllabic conversations with the downstairs neighbour. Grindr lives alone, needs to tidy his bedroom and is trying his best to use his “learn a word a day” app to its full potential. He calls men «bro» and «dude» a lot and women are «babe» and «hun». He catches on to memes and jokes around three weeks after everybody else. He is a little bit Brexit but doesn’t tell anyone.
Zoosk used to eschew double-English to go and do bongs behind the science lab. Now they arrive at work smelling of reefer in yesterday’s shirt. Their plans tonight are Call of Duty and an intimate 23 minutes with their favourite sports sock.
Bumble, of course, is the app where women initiate contact in the hope of avoiding any unsolicited pecker shots or weapons-grade misogyny. Mr Bumble is one of the good guys, he waits to be asked, gets called a cuck on Twitter but doesn’t care because he’s always been the best-dressed man in any room he’s walked into. Has at least two gay male friends who can swim faster than him and beat him at poker but they still dream of one day having a conversation with him where he clears his throat nervously, says he has “something to tell you guys” and puts his hand on their arm. Never gonna happen.
Happn matches you based on people who’ve been to the same places as you. Think boring vegans rebuilding a ukulele from scratch, someone who’s considering opening their own cafe serving cereal – but in a baguette – or those who feel embarrassed getting a bottle of wine all to themselves when alone on a bar, so ask for two glasses anyway.
Once, as the name suggests, proposes simply ONE match for you a day, to avoid all the unnecessary (fun) swiping and judging of strangers’ profile pics. Once is the friend who sits in the bar telling you they know someone who’s perfect for you, that they really want you to “find someone”, and that they “know you can be happy if you’ll just let yourself go a bit more, get out there”. Read more: Tinder alternatives: apps people are sneakily using for dating