Like a lot of Gen Yers, this time last year I had hoped that a potent mixture of cheap alcohol, dingy nightclubs and a lack of lighting would conjure me the perfect partner. And as luck would have it, they did.
A year ago, I met my boyfriend at a bar in Sydney. At the time he was very drunk, but when he sobered up he was actually a pretty decent guy. We had a great year, but broke up quite recently.
Funny how things change in a year. When we first got together, “tinder” was what you misheard a New Zealander attempting to say “tender.” I think if you told me this time last year I would find my next date on a dating app, I would have laughed and said that stuff is for women with too many cats, and men looking for an international bride.
But since the dating game has changed so much, I decided to experience how “the kids these days” are dating. So here are my experiences, as a straight, single, female 20-something.
If you really like exams, OkCupid is for you. There is a lot of writing involved when you first set up your profile, the most annoying being ‘My self summary.’ It just assumes you have your shit together enough to write a self-summary. Protip: 20 year olds don’t.
In addition, you can answer 25 questions to get a percentage rating of how compatible you are with someone. The questions range from the invasive (‘would you sleep with someone on your first date’) to something out of the UMAT test (‘STALE is to STEAL as 89475 is to…’)
Most of the men on this app were older and a little too… intense. This is definitely an app for those looking for more than a one-night commitment.
BEST IF: You like to start planning where you will live, how many kids you will have and whether you will take up lawn bowls or bingo as a couple when you retire before your date.
DID I GET A DATE? Yes, but it won’t work out. He’s a lawn bowls man, I’m more of bingo girl.
DID I GET A 2nd DATE? I think if I had a second date, it would have involved an engagement ring. So no, I avoided.
WILL I USE IT AGAIN? No. The users are a bit too old for me, and I like mystery.
Whoever said romance was dead has never been on HowAboutWe. You post your own date idea, and then are able to peruse others date ideas. Some of my favourites were ‘cruise around on a longboard showing you the hidden gems of the city’ and ‘go abseiling down a waterfall.’
Best part is— you develop a profile with pictures. So you can still select an attractive mate with an attractive date. One drawback is there are definitely not enough men on this app. And anyone can contact you, despite your age restrictions. You don’t have to reply of course, but I would rather not have men messaging me who were around when ‘Living On a Prayer’ was sung seriously.
BEST IF: The romantic in you wants to do something other than drinks/coffee on a first date.
DID I GET A DATE? Yes. Two actually, but neither of them involved the dates proposed.
DID I GET A 2nd DATE? Unfortunately no. But the guy I went out with was seven years older than me, and thought YOLO was a brand of yogurt.
WILL I USE IT AGAIN? Yes. So long as more Bondi babes get on it! (Note for any said babes: My ideal date is grabbing breakfast by the beach and then going for a swim/surf. Love of bingo preferred, but not mandatory.)
With 10 million users worldwide, there is a reason why Tinder is so popular. There are a million sites dedicated to how to set up your Tinder like a boss, so I won’t go into it here.
A lot of people criticise Tinder’s vapidness and vanity, but that is a discussion for the Sunday magazines. Tinder is great because of the wide pool of potential dates, and the ability to restrict the ages of people that can contact you. You have the choice to use it for casual hook ups, or dating. It’s also a great ego boost when you get matched.
One thing to be careful of— it’s addictive. You will end up walking the streets, looking at males and thinking about whether you would swipe them left or right.
BEST IF: You want to meet people you wouldn’t usually meet. Or you need a new addiction to replace Candy Crush Saga.
DID I GET A DATE? Yes. Multiple actually.
DID I GET A 2nd DATE? Yes. Multiple actually.
WILL I USE IT AGAIN? Definitely! I haven’t been able to get off the thing since I started using it.
So all things considered, are dating apps better than awkwardly bumping body parts on the D-floor? Yes and no. Yes, because you can tailor your dates so you’re not incompatible (I like to check that all my dates can impress me with at least one magic trick.) And no, because you miss out on all those exciting “firsts”— first flirt, first kiss, first text message—that give you butterflies and make the whole waiting for Prince Charming thing worthwhile.
My advice is to Tinder during the week, but go out Saturday night and leave your phone in your pocket. No one is going to buy you a drink if your face is stuck to a screen.
(Image: Gary Knight on Flickr)