Ladies first

Updated: Dec 12, 2018, 11:33 IST | Anju Maskeri

With women making the first move, the app gets most things right, except worthy matches

Ladies first

Just when this writer had nearly sworn off dating apps, in came Bumble. After being around on iOS since 2014, the app - backed by actor Priyanka Chopra - officially launched in the country this month on iOS and Android platforms. What makes Bumble interesting is its "feminist" leanings - offering ladies the chance to make the first move. According to its American founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, the idea was to allow women the first-mover advantage, while building a culture of mutual respect.

It's a free app, but if you want to bump up your options, there's a fee
It's a free app, but if you want to bump up your options, there's a fee

Easy navigation
Curious and hopeful, we decided to dive into the online dating pool. Our first flush of enthusiasm takes a hit when the profiles start taking painfully long to load even on a premium corporate 4G plan. For a seamless experience, we suggest you take the WiFi route. Setting up your profile is quick and hassle-free, though it requires a Facebook account from where it fetches all your data. You can also sync it to your Instagram. Next, you can go about selecting what you are looking for: dates, new friends or networking and then the gender of the mate you're seeking. The interface is neat and resembles that of Tinder, albeit this one is bathed in a shade of yellow. Unlike Hinge, which asks you a series of questions, so that its AI can effectively find matches through common answers, here you have the option of restricting it to even one or two. Sadly, this translates to limited information.

A snapshot of our profile
A snapshot of our profile

We finally get down to business. After the first 15 swipes, we are disappointed to find that most men are in their mid 20s. Whatever happened to the 30-plus lot? It's when you realise that your options are steadily shrinking. And, when they do make an appearance, it's a damp squib. So, we swipe right to a fairly cute, seemingly witty and oddly familiar face. Just to remind the reader, it's women who need to initiate dialogue. This option somehow increases our commitment to the conversation because if you don't get talking within 24 hours, the match expires. For all missteps, there's an option called backtrack.

The Backtrack option
The Backtrack option

A sense of deja vu
Fortunately, our match is quick to respond, that too with a "Hello, Hinge partner". Out of 12.4 million that maketh Mumbai, we end up with the same match from our earlier stint. Recycling old matches is common on dating apps.

It also offers other features such as Bumble Bff and Bumble Bizz to help you find a friend or business partner. We like that because in the absence of bae, you at least have the option of casual networking, and we do end up making a few connections.

All in all, the experience is not unpleasant. It feels safe. If you're used to expecting men to make the first move, this makes you step out of your comfort zone. It may be tough on men though, but hey, why should boys have all the fun?

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