Andrea Cheong explores seven dating apps to answer: what's trending and is Tinder still the reigning king of hook-ups?
We all know how this one works: swipe left for a no, right for hell yeah. The ‘super like’ update, which tries to combat some users’ habit of spamming right-swipes to net as many matches as possible, has been successful in guaranteeing me a chat every time.
And with the multitude of guys on this app, it’s not surprising that this is the most active one in Singapore right now. However, it’s all quantity over quality. The image of the ‘nice guy’ cradling an infant (don’t), or posting pictures from his baby album circa 1990 (even worse) doesn’t work here. And maybe it’s because I didn’t entertain anyone with a shirtless photo, but the sleaze factor was almost zero, which was very much unexpected.
Talent pool Well-educated guys, and many with ‘first connections’ – thanks, Facebook. It’s an even mix between expats and locals, but that depends on the location from which you’re swiping. There was also the obvious handful of bored army boys. Ugh.
Best line ‘With the current imbalance of women-to-men ratio and consistent increase in female expectations, cooking is a necessary skill set to have in order to attract the female gender.’
Happn tries to capture the romantic idea that your next squeeze could be the stranger you just passed by. Profiles pop up on your screen when you cross paths, and if you both give each other ‘hearts’, you can start chatting.
Despite being a lot quieter than most of the other apps, I’m giving Happn kudos for having more better-looking users (I’m not always that superficial, just sayin’). Oh, and one guy offered me a job interview that may or may not have been a disguise for a date. Here’s looking at you, Brandon – try LinkedIn next time!
Talent pool Our office’s Ann Siang ’hood scored a lot of chefs, finance guys and lawyers in their late 20s and 30s, all clothed.
Best line ‘My masculine sixth sense told me [you were American]. Guess it’s not very accurate xD. I wish you were American.’
Coffee Meets Bagel
This app takes itself very seriously, almost to a fault. In some ways it takes full advantage of the dating ‘game’, with its in-app currency of coffee beans. You spend them to reveal the mutual friends that you and your match have.
What’s disturbing, though, is that you can ‘give’ away your unwanted matches to friends, which earns you points. And if you don’t hear back from your matches, there’s a ‘rematch’ option – except it floats your profile to the same dude. It feels like the equivalent of sending out a Facebook invite to a game that no one wants to play, and smells a little of desperation.
Talent pool So shallow it’s basically a puddle. There’s a good balance of locals and expats, but no one really got my pulse racing.
Best line ‘So does this mean we’re like boyfriend-girlfriend now or something?’
The paltry offerings come mostly from the app maker's country of origin (the Philippines), but the hook-up culture seems tame here, which is refreshing. Peekawoo initiates conversation based on a series of A or B questions set by your potential match, so it seems that you would have to know exactly what you want with very little room for compromise. You're limited to just three matches a day, and because of the current lack of people on the app, I received plenty of recycled profiles I'd previously rejected.
Talent pool You'll find guys who think they're deep, or the ones who are obsessed over things like football players or cars. Honestly boys, how many girls are going to be able to tell one brand of sports car from the next?
Best line None, because no one spoke at all.
Created by the co-founder of Tinder, Bumble gives women the upper hand. Getting a mutual ‘like’ gives you 24 hours to initiate conversation before the connection disappears – it’s all about seizing the moment.
It isn’t big enough in Singapore. After a brief session of swiping left, I had completely run out of people to ogle. Even after three days, the app couldn’t find anyone for me – not even recycled users. And as for how Bumble compares to its nymphomaniac sibling Tinder, the kind of quotes that were in the profiles of my potential matches were like outtakes from 9GAG. So, not that different.
Talent pool Lots of expats and tourists passing through. Almost all the photos were of them at the beach or in sportswear – basically any situation where they didn’t have to wear a shirt. Pictures also featured a lot of lion cubs and elephant-riding – the animals-attract-girls strategy is a lot more endangered than the fuzzy golden retriever here. I also encountered a guy or two I knew had girlfriends – that’s a turn off, people.
Best line ‘Oh sh*t, aren’t you [redacted]’s friend??’
Blindfold masks or blurs profile pictures based on the premise that online dating can be embarrassing. In reality, hiding your face is not so much for discretion as it is about being unsure about how attractive the opposite sex will find you.
Every morning the app delivers a match, including a lot of ‘bonus matches’. After about four unanswered greetings, I came to the conclusion that without some kind of attraction to your potential match, it was just as good as talking to a robot, minus the spelling accuracy. The only people I can imagine actively using this app are Quasimodo and the Phantom of the Opera, both of whom are fictional.
Talent pool Early 30s, and most aren’t even based here.
Best line None, because this app is dry.
Lunch Actually runs this app that seems to frown upon the idea of casual flings. I nearly gave up within the first hour because it felt like filling out a form for a park barbecue pit permit. I had to provide my IC number and answer a tonne of questions. And then I waited. It took a whole day for LunchClick’s background check with the Registry of Marriages (seriously) to make sure I wasn’t just looking for a sidepiece.
From then on out, I received only one profile to pick from each day. Eventually, I was invited to get a bit of a cheeky Nando’s. This app seems ideal for office workers who want to get to know people in their free time, rather than immediate access to a hook-up. Did I mention there was no conversation, just an invitation for some Peri Peri chicken?
Talent pool Mostly locals in their 30s. Judging by how communication is limited to a series of intense questions about the desire for kids, meeting the parents and splitting money in a relationship – whoa there, not-yet-friend – it’s really not for people who enjoy conversation.
Best line None at all. Just quiz questions like I’m in a game show. Or a noughties Blogger.com questionnaire post.