Back by popular demand, another Taste & Tipple installment on dating. Yes, I’m still single, thanks for asking.
Bumble is often lauded as a female-friendly dating app. After matching with a prospective mate through the elaborate courtship dance of two thumbs mutually swiping right based solely on a select handful of blurry portraiture (none of which look like they’re showcasing the same person) women must make the first move. Ladies need to reach out to their match within the first 24 hours or risk losing them to the depths of internet forever.
While this certainly cuts back on the number of unsolicited dick pics received as a conversation starter, it comes with its own set of social evils.
Note: For the older members of my readership or those of you who have never heard of “Tinder nightmares”, yes, strangers on the internet will send you unwanted photos of their genitalia, often without the decency of featuring a banana for scale.
Here’s my problem with Bumble, I think it breeds complacency and a sense of entitlement amongst men, which, frankly, is the last fucking thing we need right now. Since the platform endows women with the sole power to be the initiator, it feels like it comes with a lot of unspoken pressure to be pithy or provocative in your opener. It’s like walking on stage at a comedy club for amateur night and not having any material prepared.
Mercifully, Bumble will furnish you with prompts if you’re at a loss for words, such as, “Would you ever go on reality television?” or “How important is coffee in your life?”
Okay, great, now either 1) I’ve had a stroke of genius and had an inspired original thought or maybe, although highly unlikely, they’ve put something in their profile worth commenting on or asking after, or 2) I’ve pulled one of the lines furnished by Bumble.
Now the ball is in their court and there are three possible outcomes. The first: they are totally unmoved by your opening foray and don’t respond, or maybe they just aren’t invested in engaging with a dating app for more than a quick hit of external validation that they are still desirable. The second, and in my experience, the most unlikely result: they provide a thoughtful response and mirror your interest by asking a question in return.
But their reply is a true economy of words, as though the plurality of the men on Bumble abide by the old adage, “brevity is the spirit of wit,” and proffer only one word.
The third option: they reply to your question, that either you’ve agonized over or felt so self-conscious about your own capacity to make small talk, in this absurdly high stakes game of, “Will I die alone or could this person wearing sunglasses in every photo be my soulmate?” that you’ve let the app do the heavy lifting for you and employed one of their scripted lines.
Let me game this out for you. Exhausted by all the pressure to be charming and likeable in every other facet of your life, you lean on Bumble for a helping hand and ask the, “Would you ever go on reality television?” question. In reply, you get, “Yes.” That’s it. Full stop. Or maybe you ask, “How important is coffee in your life?” and are elated when you see the notification pop up to indicate that Ben has sent you a message. You scroll to the 17th page on your phone, open the Bumble app, and there it is, a sonnet of a reply from Ben, “Important.”
Kill. me. now. There is no swifter death knell for a conversation than a monosyllabic reply, especially when it’s not even accompanied by a question in response.
Even if Ben had said, “Important.” … “You?” We, the women folk, would be practically over the moon with his display of common courtesy and fundamental understanding of social custom.
Sure, this is not a conversational imbalance between men and women that Bumble created, but it certainly seems to amplify it. By putting the onus on women to open the dialogue, I fear that the men using the app have become exceedingly expectant and entitled.
Often, it seems they don’t feel they need to take any ownership in advancing the conversation. They must think that if their lady suitor can’t come up with an inspired opener, remain undaunted in the face of neanderthal-like responses, and then proceed to put on a fucking masterclass of discursive strategy that is not too frequent, flirty, or unfiltered, then she must not be #wifeymaterial.
So, I don’t want to mince words, I’m over it. I could not be less interested in having to unfurl a Napoleonic-level conversational strategy via text message over the course of weeks just to have some dud muffin with a neckbeard take me out for a fucking fishbowl cocktail at Boston Pizza on Conroy – only to learn that he doesn’t like cheese, or potatoes (read: serial killer).
I think Bumble was relatively well-intentioned when it came out, but as luck would have it, users have repurposed the app to their whims. In the case of men, in Ottawa, it would seem they’ve interpreted the “women make the first move” premise as a kind of social contract that entirely abdicates them from having to make any effort or express even a modicum of interest.
So, thanks, but no thanks. I’ll be over here trying on habits and readying myself for the convent, and drinking the entire pitcher of this Lillet Lady cocktail which is a godsend for those of us in need of spiritual healing. Cheers to the single ladies.
Transfer to a large pitcher and stir in Lillet, gin, and sparkling water.
Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water, stir to dissolve, and store in fridge until chilled. Will keep in an air-tight container, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe adapted from: “Lillet & Cucumber.” InStyle. May 2015.