Tinder is a popular way to meet new people, go on dates, and perhaps enjoy some late nights with a friendly soul. You’ll hear many folks singing the praises of the “dating” app, swiping incessantly, throwing out awful pickup lines, and generally having a great time. It’s become so huge in the last few months, the Atlanta Hawks even hosted a “Swipe right for Tinder” night, featuring suites to meet in at halftime with roses and mints. I’ve been Tindering for a few months now, so when the opportunity came up to find some alternatives to the app, I thought it would be a great way to go on a few dates, makes some friends, and get some work done all at once.
Maybe I was a little optimistic, but I figured I would get at least a couple replies, maybe a few nice conversations, and if I met someone for drinks? That’s just gravy. A few days later, armed with a slew of awkward selfies and broken dreams, I came to the realization that, while these apps work as advertised, maybe I’m the problem. I think I need to reevaluate some of my life decisions.
Anyway, here’s the list, hopefully your luck will be better than mine. I’m gonna go hit the gym.
Coffee Meets Bagel
I was used to the endless stream of faces provided by Tinder, so I want to start somewhere that emphasizes quality over quantity. Coffee Meets Bagel provides you with only one curated match, or bagel, every day at noon. You can view that matches photos, interests, a few personal details, and any mutual friends before deciding whether to like them or not. If you both like each other, you’ll receive a text from a disposable cell number where you can text each other for up to a week without sharing your real phone number.
If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay, there will be another bagel tomorrow, and hopefully the day after that too, until you’re so sick of looking at bagels who don’t want to hang out with you that you swear off breakfast for a week.
I am one app in, and no messages, but that’s alright. There are still plenty of options and potential matches.
Sometimes you don’t want to spend hours messaging, then texting, then debating where and when, or even if, you should meet up; You just want to “get to know” someone right away. Pure is on-demand dating, only used when you’re ready to drop what (or who) you’re doing and meet up with someone right now, like in the next hour, to hook up. There’s no chat system, no awkward pickup lines, just photos, and a button for requesting more photos. Feedback is critical to making sure that this kind of open and responsive system works to the climax of its efficiency, so those who don’t show up to play are quickly thrown out of the game, and off the app entirely.
It’s like walking into a bar, sitting down at a table, planting a flag that says “I’ll go home with you – no talking,” and then throwing a cold stare at everyone you don’t want to sleep with. That’s never worked for me before, and it isn’t working now, but a friend told me they had a successful “date” through it, so I’ll chalk this one up to bad timing. The next app is another I have some experience with, which may help the process along.
Available on iOS
OkCupid is definitely more of a dating site than a Tinder alternative, but it’s made strides lately to be everything for everyone, and it shows. The new Quickmatch system operates almost exactly like Tinder, giving you the opportunity to swipe left or right, while also providing a match percentage based on questions answered by both of you and details of your profiles. If he/she likes you too, you can view their full profile, send a message, and plan a meetup.
At least that’s how I assume it works, I wouldn’t really know. I’ve had an OkCupid account for a few months now, and although the app claims there are a number (not a particularly big number either) of potential matches for me, none of them are actively looking for me, or even looking for me at all. I think it’s time to try something different.
My words are a bit sharper than my looks, so the idea behind Loveflutter really appeals to me. Rather than swiping left or right based entirely on a few pictures, Loveflutter asks you to provide a quirky fact about yourself, and then obscures your picture behind it. To see someone else’s photo, you’ll have to decide whether you like their fact or not. It’s still easy enough to be superficial, but it gives you the chance to put your sense of humor and (hopefully interesting) personality right out front.
It only took me two days to come up with my interesting fact, which is “One time I got my hand stuck in a jar of organic peanut butter.” Pretty great, right? I didn’t hear anything back on Loveflutter, I assume because of the meteoric rise of peanut allergies? There’s got to be a way to find women who share interests with me. With the next app, I will try to avoid another peanut misstep.
Available on iOS
Bristlr isn’t as much about dating or hooking up as it is about connecting people. It won’t ask too many questions when you first sign up, but it is the first time I’ve had the privilege of checking a box titled “I have a beard.” If you have facial hair, sign up to find people nearby looking to tenderly stroke it; if you don’t have a beard, use it to find the nearest one.
If you’re hirsute, or you’re into that, look no further. The feed is populated with a nigh-endless selection of those with an active interest in facial hair, often a sticking point in early relationships, especially with a guy like me, where the beard comes as part of the package. I guess there’s nothing to be done if your beard isn’t up to snuff these days, but I have other interests, so I’ll leave my Bristlr profile to steep for a bit, keep the old face forest oiled, and see what comes of it.
Available on the Web
Next page: 3 more dating services (and one is for Juggalos)