The Buzz on the Bumble Dating App

  • Columnist:: Lyndsay Rush

Every few months a shiny new dating app surfaces, with some new twist on the old standard (scope, swipe, match, fall in love and get married in the mountains). And, as resident sorta-expert on online dating around here, I thought I’d scope it out and report back on some of the pros and cons of the newish app, Bumble. For research’s sake of course. 

Pro: Bumble is being called the ‘feminist dating app,’ meaning that after matching, it is entirely up to the woman whether or not she wants to initiate conversation. This ladies-first approach is the brainchild of Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe (who left Tinder after suing fellow co-founder for sexual harassment). So I’ll tag that as another pro—that she hasn’t left the online dating space and instead wants to ‘reinvent it.’

Con: In theory I like the idea that women get to make the first move (evening the playing field and all that), but as my bio on the app says: I can’t tell if this app gives me all of the power or all of the pressure. So I guess the con for me sometimes is that it’s nerve-racking to have to be the one to initiate every single time (and yes, I understand that’s how many men often feel). But the truth is, on other apps, I was never afraid to start conversations if I was really interested; I didn’t really consider it breaking the rules to do so. So I guess it feels a little lopsided that it’s always all on me to get the party started. On the topic, Wolfe recently told Vanity Fair: “If you look at where we are in the current heteronormative rules surrounding dating, the unwritten rule puts the woman a peg under the man—the man feels the pressure to go first in a conversation, and the woman feels pressure to sit on her hands. I don’t think there is any denying it. If we can take some of the pressure off the man and put some of that encouragement in the woman’s lap, I think we are taking a step in the right direction, especially in terms of really being true to feminism.” So maybe this is more of a user-experience con, but an overall equality and empowerment pro.

Pro: Another twist is that once you both swipe right, there’s a magical 24-hour window in which you have to chat or the connection disappears. Poof! This timeline is actually super refreshing because you don’t have a folder full of what I call ‘dead matches’ sitting there collecting dust instead of dates. I love a deadline and this helps me take a second look and if I still can’t find anything interesting to say based off of their photos/bio, I’ll assume I’m not motivated enough and may as well let the match expire. It’s like spring cleaning for your dating life.

Con: People are still the worst. A lot of the old dating app problems are still there… people who never respond or suddenly ghost, a sprinkling of scumbags, the ushe. (P.s. I have been told that’s the way we abbreviate ‘usual’ and if anyone has a better idea I am all ears. This has nagged me for years and I am not embarrassed to admit it.) 

Pro: But according to Wolfe, women using Bumble feel more power, men feel flattered to be contacted (versus rejected and aggressive) and in turn behave more respectfully. AKA everybody wins. She insists that this one switch sets an entirely different tone for these types of interactions. 

Con: As it stands, they haven’t created anything innovative for LGBTQ users, aside from the 24-hour expiration date.

Pro: If you find yourself in a wipe-left zombie state and accidentally say no to someone promising, you get three ‘backtracks’ every three hours. 

All in all I give this app a big fat “pro” stamp of approval. It will also help you brush up on your openers, realizing that “Hey!”, “How’s the day going?” or “Big plans this weekend?” are really great ways to start really boring conversations and you can do much better than that.