With the endless string of Facebook relationships and engagement announcements, you may find yourself sitting alone in front of your mac, wondering, what went wrong for me? Valentines day is on the horizon, and having missed the Christmas boyfriend saga, this could be your last chance for a gimmicky 2016 love affair. Your dad can’t send you cards forever. However the slight issue is that the concept of approaching random people in public spaces is now viewed as intrusive and perhaps even dangerous. Your only hope, in this bleak winter, is to turn to to the mobile love Gods.
2015 saw the rise of mobile dating applications, in some sort of attempt to provide a solution to short term loneliness. I say “short term” as I have come across few instances where a mobile induced date has led to more than a couple of drunken dinners and pub fondles, perhaps even a Thursday night sleepover, perhaps even a sober lunch the following day. This does not rule out the possibility that a social media powered swiping cannot lead to a long lasting marriage, 4 kids and Range Rover, however such charms are rare to find.
It all began with Tinder back in 2012, the location based social media matching app, that puts a premium on apparent natural beauty but realistically good Instagram picture editing. With an approximate one billion swipes a day, that means 1 in 7 of us are stroking our screens, day in and day out. This years latest feature, the “super like globally,” now allows us singletons to “super like” someone special, in hopes they heart us back. Controversy struck in March when the allusive “Tinder Plus” came into play, allowing Tinder cheaters to pay a monthly fee, to allow an unlimited amount of super likes. Scandal. However the problem with Tinder, is that it is now socially recognised as a time passer, a boredom filler, a mere mindless game.
In many senses Tinder is like Candy Crush, can you complete all the levels in your selected distance? Unfortunately with the rise of Grindr, the gay alternative to Tinder, followed by the rise of Blendr, the straight alternative to Tinder, much of the UK population has begun to realise it is a narcissistic game of screen shots. When your dropping first lines such as “I want to paint u green and spank u like a disobedient avocado,” are you really looking for true love?
A key insight for myself is that I would never swipe right on someone that I did not have a mutual friend with, as that would require meeting a complete stranger. With a lack of shared experiences and mutual grounding, the conversation MAY have to diverge to the weather. I do not have time to meet and greet with unknown men at an overpriced Soho bar and discuss their gap yah in South East Asia. Yes, you went to full moon party. Yes, you had shrooms. Yes, you got the t-shirt. Well done.
This requirement of mutual friends leads me onto the next latest and greatest of online romances, Hinge. This app only allows you to match with Facebook mutuals. Although very new to the scene, Hinge has caught a great deal of social media attention as it involves meeting up with someone you can be 80% sure is not a serial killer. Having at least one common connection, is equally as important as being within an attainable distance from the other person. So you can A) meet them without having to get 5 tube lines to the pub and B) run away from the bar when they go to the toilet because you realise they have BO and they have mentioned their ex-girlfriend 7 times.
This second condition of distance leads me into my next analysis: the over hyped Happn. Firstly, I would like to clarify that that people in the advert for Happn are hired models. Have you ever seen ANY of them on your screen? Secondly, the app is essentially exactly the same as Tinder being location based, but pushes for the concept that you may have actually “walked past the love of your life” whilst you were squished under an armpit on the 7am northern line from Clapham Common last Tuesday. A third quality that I admire about the app is the focus upon profession, and individual exaggerations about their corporate success. No Rajeed, you do not own your own PE firm, you are 19. But I appreciate, you’re trying to impress me, despite the fact that we clearly rammed past each other last week in the Infernos toilet queue, circa 2am.
One thing I have come to realise with this app, is that height is like gold dust. Some of the most successful bios I have seen are as simple as “6 ft 4.” These 2 numbers are a certification of manliness, and a stamp of normality. You will not be smaller than me. I will not bend down to kiss you. Those who are under the 5 ft 10 benchmark of the female perception of a hunk, can easily sidetrack this issue by being creative with your bio. For example: “Married. Couple of Kids. Looking for some side action.” Or perhaps: “I am banking on your standards being a lot lower than mines.” Although a smile may not convert into the height gold dust, it does often lead the female finger to wonder to the holy charm. The concept of “charming” someone to get their attention is very Harry Potter-esk. When you cast a “charm,” there is a 9 and three quarters chance the other muggle will look at your profile and consider the quality of your top 6 Instagram pictures.
And finally to wrap up this realm of computer aided love affairs, we come to Bumble. The feminist answer to modern day courtship. People often say the hardest part about dating applications is breaking the ice, or the avocado. Bumble however has a strict policy stating that only a girl can initiate the conversation. This role reversal girl power version of tinder is not compatible for same sex relationships, and in my eyes rules out all the creativity and imagination that boys put into their well drafted opening lines. Although not for my liking, the app itself would attract a certain type of guy, who is willing to wait for a girl’s greeting, and perhaps produces more compatible couples. The additional 24 hour time constraint puts more pressure to decide if it truly is “love at first sight,” enticing you in to hit that little yellow heart icon, fast.
With valentines day on the horizon and the death of traditional dating, its time to get your best summer pics under a little Instagram filter and uploaded onto the likes of Tinder, Hinge, Happn, Bumble. Whether your a feminist, a Candy Crusher, or a Harry Potter fiend, there is a solution to short term loneliness that’s only an Apple App store download away.