Contrary to what we will tell you, gay men are obsessed with the idea of finding a sense of normalcy. This implies that gay men are obsessed with the idea of finding companionship.
But what does that mean?
We are obsessed with dating apps. We live them. We breathe them. We devour them. We can’t have enough of them. If you’ve been an avid reader of this column, you’ve probably read all ten of the brutally honest dating app reviews I covered last year. But it’s 2019, and I’ve got more ground to cover.
Without further ado, make a beeline for a fresh new beginning to last year’s hit series, and come say hi to Bumble.
What it is: Bumble may have started in 2014 as a safe space for women to ‘date, meet and network better’ by sending the first message (and making the first move), but when have gay men ever let a good thing go to waste?
We came for your fashion. We came for your sleepovers. And now, we come for your dating apps. ‘Why do the gays need to infringe on our space?’ the vilest of bigots would ask, ‘Won’t they think about the children?’ they’ll yell.
As a self-aware, self-loving gay man, let me tell you something.
If our next big love isn’t hidden behind a mesh of profiles on the dating app of our choice, there’s a very big chance he’s not waiting for us at the bar with free drinks (and if he is, there’s a chance he might give us chlamydia). He’s not waiting at the bookstore. And contrary to most rom-coms, he’s not waiting for us at the airport. Conventional ways of finding love are nonexistent for the quintessential gay man of today, so we look for every opportunity that comes our way, hungry for love — including dating apps that aren’t meant for us, in the conventional sense.
Also, we’re really bored of talking to the same people on Grindr.
How it works: Like most dating apps in the market, Bumble is a clearance sale of Facebook/Instagram profile pictures. You can swipe right to ‘Like’, or turn left to ‘Oh-I-don’t-think-so’. You collect the ones you love, and ignore the ones you don’t.
Before you start swiping, you do need to fill out your profile – a few pictures, a well-worded bio, some personal questions (but not like the ones you get asked by your nagging aunt), and a quick verification later, you are ready to start looking.
However, in this case, the app comes with three different modes to look in – date eligible men with Bumble Date, meet new people with Bumble BFF, and network with aspiring entrepreneurs with Bumble Bizz. That’s three different apps for the price of one (or if like me, you chose to go for the free version, the price of none).
But there’s a catch (if there wasn’t, would this even be a dating app?). Once you’ve matched, you only have 24 hours to strike up a conversation before your prospective partner disappears into the dregs of deleted chats and long-forgotten matches. This is a problem, yes, because sometimes it takes me longer to decide what I want to have for dinner.
Which is funny, because all I am looking for on Bumble is some dessert.
What I like about it: Bumble is the wingman you secretly pine to have in your corner. It nudges you to meet the cute guy over at the bar (with Bumble Date), pulls you into its huddle of really cool friends while asking you to join their squad (Bumble BFF), and also gets you to hustle for that perfect job you’ve been dreaming about ever since you left college (Bumble Bizz). It’s the best friend you need, but honestly, judging by your track record, don’t deserve.
When has a relationship app gone beyond the portals of romance?
Before Bumble, never.
What I don’t like about it: Bumble was first founded to challenge the antiquated rules of dating – by letting women make the first move, it literally puts them in the driver’s seat when it comes to navigating the datingscape. So what happens when the gays take over?
A lot of confusion. Who makes the first move? Is there a first move? Do we stop and ask each other ‘who’s the man and who’s the woman in the relationship’? Is the app sensitive to not stereotyping gay men? Is the app even for gay men? Before you get into a giant debate about #NotAllMen, let me stop you right there.
Bumble has bigger problems at hand. I spent all of a week sifting through a carousel of (very pretty) women, only to realise that I had to change my settings to get my preferences (and my sexual orientation) right. And once you’ve got that out of the way, it’s the interface that stings.
Yes, Bumble is the complete package when it comes to finding you your future soulmate/bff/job/Netflix original, but since it lists all your matches together, there’s a high chance you’ll be left looking like a bumbling idiot. Sure, the matches are colour coordinated so that you don’t mix them up, but what if you accidentally hit your business connection up with a ‘what’s up dawg’? What if you mistakenly ask your (rather platonic and woefully straight) future best friend out for a hookup? Or worse, what if you ask your date to write you a LinkedIn recommendation?
Rating someone according to their dating game? That’s one testimonial no one wants to see.
Bonus feature: Remember how scores of gay men complain about the constant fear of being catfished on a dating app? Imagine spending hours talking to someone whose profile pictures look like they are straight out of the GQ magazine, only to realise they’ve probably been copy-pasted from GQ.
With their video chat and voice-calling feature, Bumble lets you sort out the cool cats from the catfishes. Now if it only had a feature to sort people out according to their sexual identity…
Who is it for: For men* who don’t really have the time (or the space on their phone) to shift between LinkedIn, Facebook and the dating app of their choice.
Disclaimer: When its sole target audience of women is not using the app, of course.