When I get the first throbbing red notification on the innocent-looking yellow app button, I know I’m in trouble. There’s a message. From a girl. A message from a girl in hot pursuit. Of me. This is a girl on the new app Bumble where guys can only speak to women who approach them.
But, fellas, we’ve heard this story before.
It starts off as something that perks up your ear at summer camp. Like that next year there will be a girls-ask-guys “Sadie Hawkins Dance.” Or that someone’s older brother accidentally went to a beach where the girls are all naked. The same guy who swears that his cousin goes to parties where you can go and just have s-e-x with anyone in the place.
Even though this goes against everything you know you don’t know about girls, somehow this activates the most optimistic part of your brain. Your dick. And when your thoughts move dick-quick, the rest of your brain can’t catch up.
We who are adults understand that nude beaches—while fun—are not just the holding area of the next S.I. Swimsuit Issue. That most swingers could not possibly get laid any other way. That Sadie Hawkins was a sitcom subplot so someone would have to go to the dance with Urkel. And the reason we know none of these plots will ever work is simple: Women have about as much game as Cher trying to mack on her gay friend in Clueless.
So before you down another shot and toss that girl at the end of the bar some asinine line, just let that burn your mouth instead. Women. Do not. Have game.
And such is the failure of Bumble as an app. It still trades on the rules of Tinderdom. Swipe-swipe-swipe and you’re bound to match with someone who also blows through this like a piece of meat in an art gallery.
But this one doesn’t offer the ability to send unsolicited dick pics. (Is there any worse case of thinking Dick Quick than a guy with an erection who thinks women he hasn’t met might want to see it?)
You brought this on yourselves, Mr. Slick Dick Pic.
My first message from a female (faces blurred to protect the gameless) reads:
Not awe-inspiring. But it’s there. I decide to give the app a rest and turn off my notifications. When I come back later that week I get an inbox full of:
Innocuous? Boring? Yes, but really it’s as condescending as if they’d opened with “You may speak now.” My chat-privileges are activated. I may now continue like any other app or social situation. Dance, puppet.
But then, like the overlooked restaurant that gets a flood of calls every weekend, I get the stragglers. These are women who, to be fair, have reached the weekend without securing a date. They are scrambling.
To make it worse, girls only have 24 hrs to message you. This means that your idle swiping on Monday is forgotten and everyone who logged on by Thursday gets some extra loving. It is a bit like the scene at a school dance where the couples all paired off and the stragglers have to walk off the floor or admit that they were nobody’s first choice.
Points to that last girl for asking a question—a bona fide non-yes-or-no question. But then we come back to Earth:
All of a sudden I have a name again. And the appearance of care. Whereas Saturday night I got the cut/paste openers from some Cosmo.com article.
As an app, Bumble is as weak as these lines. But here’s the good news for the Little Spinoff That Could. Tinder now has a paywall bigger than Netflix. Think about that: It is cheaper to watch just about any movie ever recorded than it is to meet strangers in your chosen radius.
Really, if I’m annoyed, it just gives me a little window into what it’s like being female. A woman walks into a bar and waits for her friend who’s running two minutes behind. And in that time at least four guys go, “Hey.” “Hi.” “What’s up” “Hi there.”
Game is overrated. So I changed my picture. No suit. No important-looking action. No puppy or nephew or other gimmick intended to make girls spontaneously ovulate.
It’s just me in a T-shirt holding a pile of books at a library fundraiser. Not exactly a sick abs shot. But it did get the attention of this lil’ lady:
Did it start a conversation? Yes.
Did that change the attraction level whatsoever? No.
But it was better than looking for a needle in the, “Hey” stack.*
*You were warned.
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