“So wait, you’re on a dating app? You don’t seem like the dating-app type.”
This iconic line was first uttered by Rihanna in her June 2018 interview with Vogue Magazine, but was also the first thing that popped into my head in early October as I waited for the Bumble app to download onto my iPhone.
Bumble is a location-based dating app that shows users the profiles of other people in their area. The app is lauded because it requires that, in the heterosexual setting, women initiate the conversation with their male matches.
I’d never used Bumble before, and I don’t really see myself as a “small-talk-with-strangers-from-apps” kind of person, but nevertheless, there I was, wading hesitantly into the world of online dating.
As a student at Queen’s, I’m always on the go. I don’t have a ton of time to invest in dating, and as such, it’s never really been a priority in my day-to-day life. Joining Bumble felt like I was flipping that ethos on its head—for the first time ever, I was directly focusing on my dating life.
When the app finished installing, I launched my profile and started swiping.
From a practical standpoint, swiping through profiles is a solid form of entertainment after a long day of running between lectures and meetings, but that was just the beginning of the fun.
I quickly learned that surviving on a dating app requires that you have a sense of humour about yourself—I have never laughed at myself more than whilst maneuvering conversations on Bumble.
For example, I have successfully lived on this planet for nineteen years, and yet, I have literally no idea how to start a conversation with someone. I canvassed my housemate, my housemate’s boyfriend, and my mother before taking my quest online.
The internet convinced me that this was both a socially acceptable and clever way to interact with someone, but judging by his lack of response, I’m going to say that it was not. Thanks, Internet.
My friends found this encounter hilarious, but it made me realize that cheesy pick-up lines are not my style, so I brushed myself off, went with my gut—and a very helpful article from Man Repeller — and started opening conversations with a classic, “Hey! How’s it going?”
Word of advice: this approach actually works.
If I wasn’t able to laugh at myself, I would have deleted my profile immediately following that cringe-worthy attempt at starting a conversation, and never would have met the other interesting people that I matched with.
Overall, the greatest drawback was simply the lack of selection, as the limited number of profiles was a testament to the fact that Bumble is not yet widely popular in Kingston.
After a handful of matches that didn’t pan out, I was bored of it. However, my dating app adventure wasn’t a total flop.
Being a woman-with-a-Bumble-profile for a hot minute forced me to acknowledge the stigma associated with heterosexual women that use dating apps.
Although dating apps are commonplace and everyone has that one friend who met their significant other on Tinder, there is still a lingering stereotype that suggests a woman who takes active control of her romantic life is desperate. The use of a dating app is often conflated with her inability to get a date in “real life”.
When I mentioned that I was joining Bumble for a MUSE assignment, I had family and friends immediately offer reassurance that I didn’t need to use a dating app, that I had plenty of time to find love, and that I was perfectly fine without a boyfriend.
They had the best intentions, and everything they said was true, but their comments immediately made me hesitate on my decision to download Bumble. I didn’t want people to think less of me for being on a dating app.
With their words in my head, I was embarrassed when I launched my profile.
But, I’ve never been one to let the opinions of others hold me back.
I would like to take this opportunity to explicitly say that, for the amazing women out there who are too dang busy to wait around on a tall, dark, handsome, emotionally secure, ambitious and kind-hearted stranger to wander by, Bumble is a useful tool in the construction of their kick-ass lives.