On-line dating isn’t new to me, I’ve done it before with varying amounts of success (largely failure, but it’s had its moments); but a few things have changed since I last took it on. As smartphones are now ubiquitous, apps seem to be dominating over conventional websites; though many of the websites do have apps of their own. The big daddy of the apps is of course Tinder – the favourite of the media, where everyone is swiping right to jump directly in to bed with a new hottie every night. Of course, the truth is rather more staid with most people just wanting to meet someone who they might bond with for some sort of meaningful relationship. Tinder’s appeal is its ease-of-use and that it’s effectively free. Yes, you can pay for extras, but there’s enough there to contact someone for nothing. For those who having been living on the moon for the last couple of years, Tinder feeds you a series of mugshots you swipe right (hmm, she’s nice) or left (is it even human?) on. If someone else swipes right on you, and there’s a mutual match, you’ll be informed and you can contact them.
There are other well established sites and apps out there. Plenty of Fish (POF for short) is a relatively conventional dating website, with the added bonus that it is mostly free. Everyone writes a profile with some pictures, and you can search through the various attributes you desire (age, body type, race, kids, etc.). Like Tinder it also allows you to contact people you like without payment. There’s a few extras you can pay for, but they aren’t essential. POF has Tinderised (my new word for the day!) somewhat with its ‘Meet Me’ section which provide a yes-maybe-no series of mugshots which can be quite fun to rifle through. Like Tinder, if you get a mutual match on this, it lets you know, so you stand some chance of starting a conversation without being ignored. POF also has an app, so you can carry on your hunting while on the move. So when you’re on a crowded train your fellow passengers can look over your shoulder at your selections.
Another app that’s recently come across my attention is happn (yes, it hasn’t got a capital letter), which is sort of Tinder-like in that it show’s you whose around your area. However, the location aspect is far more revealing than Tinder, in that it tells you where and when the person shown was last near you. So it almost seems like a stalkers paradise. I’ve had it on my phone for a couple of weeks now and there’s a couple of single women who seem to live only a couple of streets away. Sadly they’re not my type, so I won’t be stalking … I mean contacting … them. If I go for a day out in London, the app fills up with lots of new women, often around the route I travelled in and out of the city. I can see its appeal, but it seems like it hasn’t quite yet got the user base to give a enough diversity of potential singles for my liking.
Match.com and OKCupid are a couple of other big hitters, both of which require quite detailed profiles, and as far as I know need payment if you ever want to contact anyone you like of there. I’ve never really bothered with these as I’m vary wary of paying a subscription for something like this only to find it’s impossible to cancel and you end up with a debt that would make Robert Maxwell blush. Plus, I’m don’t like paying for things when there’s no guarantee of success, and the world of on-line dating is a series of constant failures with the occasional success when the planets all align.
So I’ve decided to try both Tinder and POF, with a odd sprinkling of happn, as they are all effectively free and seem to have plenty of people on them. Let’s get swiping!