This topic was initially quite difficult to write, as I’ve had to overcome a sense of embarrassment. The same feeling I experienced when I decided to bite the bullet and download Hinge – the app that proudly boasts its slogan: made to be deleted.
It’s not that I feel online dating is something shameful – I know countless couples who wouldn’t have met otherwise. So, why have I hesitated all these years? As I sit across my book collection, which includes ‘Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl’ by Natalie Lue, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen, and ‘Love Signs’ by Linda Goodman, it’s easy to see my dilemma. I love everything about love: an electricity filled, butterfly inducing state I’ve never associated with a screen.
“You should get Hinge, you’d like it” is a remark I’ve listened to one too many times now. And, after hearing it again last Saturday, I finally caved. After all, 2020 is the year for flexibility. But first, I needed to examine why I hated online dating so much. The two main reasons are:
1. I don’t want a part in some human catalogue where people swipe through photos of me like I’m some Facebook marketplace antique chair.
2. It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of using likes and matches to seek validation. Before long, you’re Pavlov’s most recent test subject, and every time you hear the ping of a push notification you experience a spike in dopamine).
My friends were onto something, though. Hinge is reputed as a ‘serious’ dating app compared to the rest, and seems to invite a different audience, too. In the last couple of days, I’ve seen profiles that are both funny and authentic (well, as authentic as an online profile can get). Occasionally there’s been some poor conversationalists, but it only seems to be a matter of time before I’m yet again whipped into a verbal frenzy.
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The app is perhaps most well-known for its holistic approach to the ‘getting to know you’ process. Users can only like ten profiles a day, which should (in theory) encourage people to choose potential mates carefully. Photos also have a unique set of prompts to go with them, like ‘my best blue steel’ or ‘guess where this photo was taken’, which allows users to get creative with their picture choices and invites interesting discussions to take place.
It doesn’t just stop at the visuals, either. Instead of a short bio (who can describe themselves in a hundred words anyway?), users must answer three questions that range from their preferred love language to social causes they’re passionate about. This combination of written and visual elements thus leads to a profile looking more like a mini portfolio.
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Although I’m not convinced I’ll find Mr. Darcy on here, I’ve done something that goes against everything I’ve ever believed in: I’ve unsheathed my heart from its dark and dusty cavern of protection. I’ve made myself vulnerable to the idea of a modern love, and all the rejections that may come with it.