I’m asked about my app dating experiences so often that I’ve decided to write about it. Let me take you back to the beginning when I embarked on app dating adventures. I remember vividly. I did my research like I was shopping for the best water bottle on Amazon.com. I did my due diligence by reading all of the reviews, weighed the pros and cons, then I committed. I decided on Bumble, The League, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Hinge. I was like a fresh doe eyed little bunny, eager to immerse myself into a box full of charms. Like I suddenly was in possession of the golden box where all the high quality bachelors dwelled. I committed to said apps above-not all at the same time. I set up my profile(s), added some photos, word content, and my preferences— 28-39 years old 5’10” and up with a distance range I was willing to potentially drive if things actually worked out with an individual, about 13 miles. Yeah, LA traffic is no joke!
How do I define a “high quality man?” in no particular order
Passionate about what he does
It’s free but exclusive. There’s some sort of mystical vetting acceptance algorithm system that allows some in and some not. Currently there’s about a 20,000 person waiting list and I got in in a few days. For some it takes days, for others it takes months even years. Once you get in, the profile set up is easy. It links to your LinkedIn and populates your education and work history onto your profile. This information can be edited if you remove it from your LinkedIn (then the changes are reflected on your “The League” profile after you refresh. The preferences it allows are vast— distance, height, age, religion, and race can all be specified. The League presents you with somewhere between 3-4 men in your queue each night at “Happy hour”, 5PM. You “X” or “<3.” The idea is that you spend the time to actually look at the photos and read the profiles. Everything on this app goes at a much slower pace than any other app I have been on. What likely happens is that you will “<3” someone and if they “<3” you back you will get a match days, sometimes months later. I didn’t “<3” often, but when I did, I believe my success rate was about 80%. However, the men almost never initiated contact…and neither did I. Don’t worry, if you have any questions, problems, or concerns, you can always reach out to your concierge. He’s likely the only one you’ll have a conversation with anyway.
What’s the selection like?
Busy young professionals who are working and traveling, a lot. Sometimes I wonder why most of these people are on the app at all. There are lots of high quality matches but hardly any interaction with each other.
Would I recommend?
Well…yes, maybe? In theory The League is great, but in terms of interactions and dates, I would not recommend it. The group chats can be fun to lurk in, but most of the group chats are of other Leagers complaining that their matches don’t initiate contact or reply. There’s also some chatrooms with about 10,000 people, but only 20 active members, complaining and being catty, usually.
Coffee Meets Bagel
I haven’t been on this app in about 3 years now. I don’t really have much to say. I didn’t really like it. The selection of men was just not what I was looking for. I wouldn’t recommend it. Profile set up is super easy. It’s free. You can restrict your preference to—height, distance, race, age. You get a batch of bagels (men) each day which you select from. I will need to sign onto this app and will revisit this review.
What’s the selection like?
I don’t know. Basic.
Would I recommend?
This is a bittersweet review to write because when Hinge first came out, I really liked it! Then they started to mess with the layout of the platform time and time again. Each time I would delete the app and take a break, I would revisit to another change to the platform…and not for the better. There was a time where I was confused, “Wait-if I write this here, will the guy see it?” “What does it mean to “like” a photo?” “Are they in my queue or will this match disappear?” I was really confused! I mean if it wasn’t broken why keep tweaking it?! Today, I wouldn’t recommend Hinge. I haven’t been on in 3 years, but I can imagine things on that app are still complicated. I’ll revisit this review as well!
What’s the selection like?
3 years ago, the selection was exactly like Bumble, but since all of the changes, all of the Hinge people have jumped ship and joined Bumble, so I am not sure what the quality on Hinge is currently like.
Would I recommend it?
No. It’s too complicated with things changing constantly. I couldn’t keep up with the updates. Besides, all the people that were on it, are on Bumble. Just join Bumble.
It’s free, and super easy to set up. Age and distance are the only preferences that Bumble allows. You swipe left or right to get matches. Once you match, the ladies have 24-hours to initiate contact. If you don’t initiate within 24-hours, the match will disappear. The fellas has the opportunity to extend that 24 hours to 48 hours with their “1-per-day, super power 48-hour extension,” button. But if the woman still doesn’t initiate contact within those hours, the match disappears. If the woman initiates, the guy has 24 hours to reply, otherwise the match/conversation will disappear. At any point, both parties can abort the whole situation by unmatching each other at any stage in this exchange. Get it?
What’s the selection like?
High quality men and women who generally are pursuing some sort of interesting profession and generally lead interesting lives. Anytime I would date a guy from Bumble, my friends would say, “Where do you find these guys? I never see these guys!” Bumble has those desirable guys.
Do I recommend?
Yes! It’s personally my favorite.
Back to the story!
So, I jumped in fingers first and started swiping like a ninja. The first few swipes were what appeared to be handsome high quality men that met all of my criteria. It was a nice neat catalog of men that seemed to be a good fit. We matched, exchanged witty flirtatious banter, made a date, and met within about 5 days of matching. Most of this activity was from Bumble for sure. Bumble kept me busy and booked! Ha! I went on some of the most memorable and exciting dates via Bumble. Traveled together, concerts, really interesting eateries-All from Bumble. Easy peasy. I was having fun meeting new people. I was learning something new about myself and fine-tuning what exactly I was looking for in a potential mate from each new experience. I guess you can say by all accounts, from the outside, I had success. But as the months went by, the witty banter and fun dates weren’t all that much fun anymore. I wanted something more meaningful.
The novelty wore off…and all that was left was endless left swiping. So much left swiping that I was numb to it all. Numb to the faces I saw, the profiles I read, and I found myself judging them on superficial things, like their hairline and if they wore khaki pants. I wasn’t paying attention to whom I was swiping left on anymore. I was just on autopilot with the presumption that it wouldn’t work out anyway…just a new face and same ole waste of time. I mean really…your first photo is of you and all 6 of your buddies, and I’m left to scavenger hunt which one is you?! In my best Queen of Hearts, “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS” voice. Swipe to the left! Your first photo is of you and all three of your children? Swipe to the left! Blurry photos that are so old they were scanned on a printer? Swipe to the left! Profiles with sentences in emojis? Swipe to the left! You list your age as 36 years old but say in your profile you are really 45 and you blame it on Facebook or that you are young at heart? Swipe to the left! Bathroom selfies? Who, by the way, are guaranteed time wasters. Swipe to the left! Gym selfie? Yep, he’ll waste your time too. Swipe to the left! Photos with other women in the photos with blurred faces? I mean, you couldn’t find a photo that didn’t have your ex-wife or ex-girlfriend? Swipe to the left! Men still wearing their wedding ring? I won’t even assume that you are actually still married and on the app, I will assume you are still going through the divorce and the situation is so fresh you haven’t left your house to take a photo without your ring on. Swipe to the left! Selfies at all, especially a car selfie. Swipe to the left! You get it. Maybe I swiped too quickly hoping there was something better on the next swipe? I was seeing so much of what I didn’t want, it had me thinking what I was looking for, didn’t exist. Like I was looking for a unicorn.
I would take a 6-month break here, and a 1-year break there from all of the apps. I was all done with Hinge (didn’t like the platform anymore after all of the changes) and Coffee Meets Bagel (just a whole bunch of what I wasn’t looking for). Bumble, I still liked. So, after my break I started my Bumble profile. I would swipe for about 10-minutes. 10- whole minutes. Ladies…you know 10-minutes is a long time when you are tired of all the noise a dating app provides! I would talk to a several men then delete my profile, again. I was all done, or so I thought. About a year ago I started The League. Each night I would have 3-4 men in my queue to choose from. It wasn’t overwhelming, and I mostly “X’d” them anyway. It was a nice slow passive dating app experience but as of 3 months ago, I paid $.99 to take a The League “break”. If you just delete the app, you could be removed altogether due to inactivity and have to wait in line again, so when you need a break, you have to pay $.99 to take a proper break.
Given my experiences, it became implicitly clear that I wouldn’t meet my “The one” on a dating app. Although, I had fun times, there were demoralizing experience that at times, made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Some would say, “But Ciji, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your match.” But I don’t agree with that. I don’t think you need to put yourself out there so much that you are dating hundreds of men, in vain. Why do we need to go out with so many frogs to find the right mate?” I found that going out with too many of the wrong men was draining on my will, it became ego reducing, and gave me this sense of “Am I looking for something too specific?” Maybe having access to millions of men at my fingertips was too much option for one little lady to handle? It was becoming stifling to make a decision and I even though I had millions of men at my fingertips it wasn’t satisfying. Having more options doesn’t equate to…more, happiness, or satisfaction. PsychologyToday.com, has a great article called, “Burden of Choice.” It outlines the burdens we face when too many choices are presented to us. We start having worries and regrets which ultimately leads to disappointment in the choice you have made. We become paralyzed with having to make a decision which stifles us with all the pros and cons that have to be weighed with each decision. Essentially, the more choices we have, the more unhappy we are when we finally make a choice because we are told there’s a better choice, just one swipe away. Or there is a more simple explanation as to why dating apps aren’t leading the ladies to success. It’s because dating apps were designed to put men in contact with high quality lady bits, not with women in contact with high quality men.
Today, I am dating app free and I am happy with my decision. What’s your experience with dating apps? Please comment and let me know what you think!