Way back when I was in the dating game, things were a lot simpler: My father would give your father a goat, and the deal was done. Then along came the internet – you know, make a profile, post a picture, lie about your weight, and browse other singles – but even that’s not how it’s done any more.
These days, it’s all about apps. Crazy apps that are all racing to sign up new users and helping them, er, “meet.” And the awards go to:
Most Popular – Tinder
The most popular new dating app right now is Tinder. It shows you Facebook photos of other singles nearby (you set a geographical perimeter of as little as one mile). As each picture comes up you either like or pass. If you both like, then you can start messaging each other. Sure, you could actually take the time to read someone else’s Facebook profile, but I suspect that more often, users just scroll through profile pictures and play an instant game of “Hot or Not”.
The service claims it's making 2 million introductions a day, and that the average user’s age is 26. And keep in mind that if any of your Facebook friends use Tinder, they can see you’re using it too.
Weirdest Name – Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel only connects people who share mutual friends on Facebook. It’s like asking your friends to set you up on a date, but you don’t have to ask them; Facebook does all the heavy lifting. Coffee Meets Bagel combs your friends’ friends for other Coffee Meets Bagel users. Then every day at noon, it serves up a match. You then have 24 hours in which you can like or pass. If you both like, you’re both notified and can arrange to meet. This app leads to a more measured pace than Tinder; that 24 hours provides you an opportunity to call your mutual friend and do some digging. Added bonus: with more and more fake profiles on dating sites, this offers a little security in the knowledge that the people you might meet are real – and vetted to some extent by your own friends.
Best Site for the Professional Crowd – or Maybe Gold Diggers – hitch.me
You log into this dating service with, get this, your LinkedIn profile. That way, you can find the partner of your dreams based on their resume. No need to ask in person for your potential mate’s bank statements from the past five years before you waste your time on coffee (or a bagel). You can even search for a date within a specific field. Doctor? You bet! Data entry clerk? Uh, no thanks. Even the name of the site points to marriage as the ultimate goal, and the intro animation features an hourglass woman going gaga over a suave young man’s Stanford degree and fancy car keys.
Best App for Snagging Someone on the Rebound – On the Rebound
On the Rebound alerts you the second that a Facebook friend changes their status from “in a relationship” to “single.” Yes! Strike while the iron is hot! Or no, on second thought, maybe you should wait a day or two before you message the poor heartbroken sod for a date. Reaching out in real time might be a little creepy.
Best for Gay, Bi, and Curious Guys – Grindr
4 million users in 192 countries. Some seek love; some seek – shall we say – a lot less commitment. But it’s popular and, according to the company, gaining more than 10,000 new users a day.
Most Cringe-Worthy – Bang With Friends
Install the “Bang with Friends” app, then click the Facebook friends you’d be willing to hook up with. If any of them are using the service, and they click on your name as a potential hook up too, a message notifies both parties, and then... well, so long as you are both consenting adults, that’s really none of my business. Bang With Friends also gets the award for frankness. No “Coffee Meets Bagel” or “hitch.me” beating around the bush here – or maybe that’s the wrong expression.
Simpler than offering goats? Maybe. And just about as romantic.
Special thanks to the folks at Va de Vi for use of the location.