Swiping: A modern love story

Between the long nights of studying, recuperative naps in the science center and the wild nightlife our school is famous for, most Swarthmore students don’t have a lot of time to devote to finding love. Thankfully, this trend is not Swarthmore-specific, and computer people outside of the bubble have responded with the invention of dating apps (and websites) that allow the user to sort through potential matches with just the swipe of a finger. Although most people are familiar with Tinder, the original swipe-right-for-love style app, many may not know the plethora of other apps that have popped up in response to Tinder’s incredible success. Although each of the three apps I review below has the same basic swiping format, each one takes a slightly different angle to help you connect with the person of your dreams (whether those dreams are of marriage, casual sex or just strange, somewhat awkward conversation like mine).

 

J-Swipe

J-Swipe is an app for Jews who want to date other Jews, with a format exactly like that of Tinder, except that you must be Jewish (or willing to convert, at the very least) to use it. Unfortunately, the app I was most excited about trying was by far the biggest disappointment. The main issue was that nobody on the app was actually active, which made it difficult to match with and chat with people, especially since I changed locations a lot over break. This was probably due to the significantly smaller user base, and the fact that this app is particularly marketed to young professional Jews, most of whom are looking for an actual relationship, and are not interested in chatting with a 19 year old undergrad. The only part of this app I really enjoyed was that every time you swiped left or right, it showed you a sad or happy Jewish star, which was pretty cool and made up for the fact that I didn’t talk to a single person for the entire week I was using it.

Overall: This is definitely not for Jews seeking immediate gratification. If you have a lot of patience and a strong desire to find someone who won’t embarrass you at your Seder, this might be the app for you.

 

Bumble

Bumble is a relatively new app created by one of the makers of Tinder. Its premise is the same — swipe left, swipe right, you have to match to talk — but for Bumble, if you are looking for a male/female pairing, then the girl must be the first to initiate the chat. (For girls who match with girls and guys who match with guys, anyone can chat first. The app has only two options for gender — male and female.) If the girl has not messaged within 24 hours, the match disappears forever. What struck me about Bumble was how unbelievably attractive all the men were. (If you’re into the tall, white, pastel-shorts-on-a-boat type.) As I continuously swiped right through seemingly identical but very handsome dudes, I realized that not only were they attractive, they were all also either enrolled in great schools nearby (I was in Boston at this point) or employed with interesting-sounding jobs. After racking up a set of matches with pretty impressive guys, I realized that now I actually had to message them, or I would have nothing to talk about in my article. As someone who is rarely the first to message on Tinder, this was no small task. But I went through them all, messaging almost every single guy with whom I had matched, whether with just a simple “Hey” or a slightly more assertive “Wow, your face is really symmetrical.” Unfortunately, not many of the conversations actually went anywhere interesting, and overall these guys were a lot less interested (and aggressive!) than guys on Tinder. This could be due to a number of things — one, that they were all gorgeous and had too many girls messaging them to be bothered with my comments on their cool pets and facial symmetry; two, that this set tended to be slightly older than people on Tinder; or three, that, like those on J-swipe, Bumble users were much less active than those on Tinder generally are.

Overall: This app seemed more like a way to look at a lot of sexy guys without the sometimes-engaging conversations and invitations to a “threesome with the cute girl in the second picture” that Tinder often offers. There are also fewer Swarthmore students, because not as many people use it. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that’s a good or bad thing. This app was definitely more fun to use in Boston than here in Swarthmore — I have a few tentative meet-ups planned when I’m back home in the winter, although none I am particularly excited about or any that will actually happen.

 

OKCupid

I got really into this website and its accompanying app last year, mainly because your profile includes a never-ending series of questions that you can answer about yourself. These questions allow you to gauge how well you match with a person based more on personal values — the website includes questions about religion, politics, morals and more — things that apps like Tinder don’t take into account. Every time you have the option to match with somebody, you can see what percent match and what percent enemy you would be, in addition to their picture, age, and other basic information that they have chosen to share. Because this website was around before Tinder, it has more of a formal format. People can message you without matching, you can browse other people without having to swipe, and you can keep track of everyone who views your profile. The website and app also have a “quick-match” section, which is the same as Tinder. However if you upgrade (for a price!) you can see who has liked you before making a choice about which way to swipe. I had a great time with OKCupid — it was definitely my favorite of the apps I’ve tried. The people are generally nice and definitely less aggressive than those on Tinder, the options are endless, and a lot of the guys I met were cute and surprisingly interesting. Highlights of my OKCupid experience include a sexy glass blower who invited me to visit his studio, an anonymous Swattie secret admirer, and an endless stream of questions that distracted me from midterms.

Overall: A fun and great way to procrastinate by talking to people and working on your own profile. Highly recommend!

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