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The dating app challenge: Hinge

By Dana Varinsky
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In this week’s issue, we’ve rounded up new, alternative ways to date in the city, from literary speed dating to conversing with paper bags over our heads. It's tough to date in this city, and it would be cruel to send you out to flirt without first making ourselves the guinea pigs, so six single Time Out New York staffers signed up for new apps and tried to make love (or at least like) happen. Each day this week, we’re bringing you our experiences. So far, we've tried JSwipeDistinc.tt and Glimpse. Next up: Hinge

Hinge is formatted similarly to Tinder (in that you swipe right or left), but the offerings are more curated. Each day at noon, you get a batch of up to 20 users to peruse (the exact number depends on the size of your network). Each will share at least one mutual friend with you on Facebook, or you’ll share a bunch of what they call third-degree connections—the app will tell you who connects you. The idea is that you’ll find people in your social circles, and won’t fall into that mind-numbing swipe vortex.

You can also see a little more about each person on Hinge than on Tinder—their photos are their Facebook profile pictures, and you can see what Facebook networks they belong to (which avoids the douchey university name-dropping issue). There are also options to fill in height and pick from a list of tags you think fit you (beer snob, animal lover, night owl, etc). So you don’t have to think of a witty tagline that gets all that info into a couple sentences, though you can add one if you want.

I found the app to be kind of a better version of Tinder, though the fun of matching with somebody you'd never encounter otherwise is missing. But here’s the real problem: nobody really seems to talk once they have matched. I got a few messages, but mostly I just wound up with this silent list of matches. I’ve even saw users' taglines asking why nobody messages each other. My theory is this happens because you don’t get an exciting match notification the way you do on Tinder, urging you to start a conversation right then (or at least, I didn't). So by the time I checked my matches later, the moment had kind of passed. Or maybe I’m just being shy and need to start reaching out more...that’s totally possible, too.

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