A (Misanthropic) Look At The Top Dating Apps

introIllustrated by Ly Ngo.
UPDATE: This post was originally published on December 5, 2013.
There are a lot of bad mobile dating apps out there, especially for women. Carrot Dating, for example, allows socially inept users to bribe “attractive members” into going on dates by buying them gifts from a diverse list of “incentives” including flowers, a boob job, and the ever-seductive tank of gas. On The Rebound alerts you the second your crush changes their Facebook relationship status to single so you can be the first to swoop in and offer a sympathetic groin to cry on, and Flavor Connect makes its matches based on candy preference. The next time you find yourself wrestling with the legal definition of prostitution, check out one of these dating apps instead — if you’re not wishing upon a star that someone out there likes Teaberry gum as much as you.
coffeebagelPhoto: Courtesy of Coffee Meets Bagel.
Coffee Meets Bagel
An even more passive, low-stakes option, Coffee Meets Bagel is the perfect dating app if you don’t want online dating to become a second job. Instead of having to comb through hundreds of online profiles, Coffee Meets Bagel sends you one match everyday at noon, which you either like or pass. If you pass, your “bagel” is none the wiser. If you both like each other, you can chat on a private third party SMS platform that expires in seven days. Users can also earn or purchase “beans” which are used to unlock features like allowing you to see mutual Facebook friends. The app also has a clock that counts down the minutes until you’re sent your next bagel, which is more exciting than it should be.
luluPhoto: Courtesy of Lulu.
Although Lulu isn’t technically a dating app, it is an amazing mobile dating resource, though it's primarily for straight folks. Lulu allows women to anonymously rate their male Facebook friends for the benefit of the greater good, kind of like Yelp for dating. Once you allow Lulu to access your Facebook account, the app confirms that you are indeed a woman of legal age, and you’re free to start writing anonymous reviews. Reviews are written by taking a multiple-choice quiz about how you know the guy you’re rating, and how you’d describe his sense of humor, manners, ambition, level of commitment, and appearance. To avoid Lulu becoming a place where women just publically bash their exes, users pick the guy’s best and worst qualities from a list of hashtags, which are then tallied to give the guy an overall score from 1-10. What this means is that no matter how badly I want to leave a message on my ex’s profile saying, “This guy is a sociopath who stole all my jokes and called Amy Pohler fat — AVOID,” I have to settle for #FartMachine #Can’tBuildIkeaFurnitre and #CrayCray. (These are actual options, so you know your sisters are looking out for you.)
tinderPhoto: Courtesy of Tinder.
Tinder is essentially Grindr’s less adventurous, mostly-straight little sister. Grindr, or why-I-can’t-have-a-conversation-with-my-gay-friends-if-a-smartphone-is-in-the-room, is a massively popular (and addictive) location-based hookup app geared towards gay and bi-sexual men. Like Grindr, Tinder throws compatibility out the window in favor of availability, and shows you the pictures of nearby users. (Though you can set it for same-sex matches, it tends to run out of matches pretty quickly.) If you like what you see, you press the green heart or swipe to the right. If you don’t, you press the red X or swipe to the left. If you both swipe to the right — a match! — you can start instant messaging and see where things go. I was hesitant to put Tinder on this list for fear just typing it would give me scabies, but it’s hard to stay cynical when I know so many people in real-life, successful, adult relationships with people they’ve met on Tinder. I’ve been on Tinder for a day and received one message: “U Wanna?” It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I haven’t shaved my legs since Halloween, so, no. But I did appreciate not having to wade through a 500-word “About Me” about the importance of family and working on one’s delts to get there.
grouperPhoto: Courtesy of Grouper.
Technically a “social club,” the online matchmakers at Grouper pair a group of three single girl friends with a group of three single guy friends, send them on a group date, and hope sparks fly. Although the date costs $20 a person and it can take a while for your membership to be approved, Grouper is a lazy girl’s dream online/mobile dating app. There are no profiles to write or sift through, and there’s no awkward emailing or chatting. You get a text the night before your date telling you where and when to be, and all you have to do is show up. Even if there isn’t any romantic chemistry, at least you get a fun night out with your friends and a good story out of it. Plus, the first round is on Grouper! If they did any more work for you, they’d carry your children to term.
This post was authored by Meghan Rowland.

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