Bernadette Callaghan reviews Hinge– the dating app ‘designed to be deleted’.
How does one date in Canberra? Sleep with someone from your university college? Find a nice ADFA boy? Date your friend’s ex’s ex-girlfriend? The prospects are grim. Single now for a year and a half, I have finally caved and downloaded a dating app, specifically, Hinge. The premise is simple but much more involved than I expected. First, you choose six photos which you can attach a prompt to – “Me during Fashion Week”, “As seen on my mum’s fridge” and “Plandid or candid” are some of the options. Then it’s time to answer three written prompts to fill out your profile. Examples include “I’m overly competitive about…”, “I’m the type of texter who…” and “I want someone who…”. You would think that not needing to write a real bio would take the pressure off, but choosing the right prompts is frustratingly difficult. Despite the time I spent carefully curating all my responses, it seems many of my fellow singles just don’t give a shit. Ah well, maybe it’s easier not caring.
As I start my journey, profile completed, my housemate walks me through the steps of liking someone’s profile. I can either like or comment on any of the photos or prompt answers that people have on their profile, and if I dislike them, simply hit the “X” and move on to the next profile. This makes it easier to comment noncommittally on someone’s fun travel photo or joke prompt answer, if you’re so inclined. I can’t say I’m a very carefree person, and I’m too scared of someone getting the wrong idea that even if someone’s profile makes me smile, I won’t comment or like.
Let’s move onto the scope of folks you will meet on Hinge. There’s the copy-paste white men with chiselled jaws and too many gym photos that make you despair for the human race. These are the self-same men who, when using the prompt “What are you weirdly competitive about?”, answer in the realm of “Everything”. This is not a personality trait, and it’s not cute. Then there are alt-men with mustaches who have at least one photo at a house party who assert that Seinfield is the best show ever (doubtful). The few queer* women on the app seem either to drink as a personality trait or crochet like their life depends on it. There’s always the few people you come across that you know, like a mate from uni whose profile you like “as a friend” (genuinely not sure if this is correct online dating etiquette, let me know), or someone you’ve worked with who likes your profile and makes you feel very awkward as a result.
Not all hope is lost though, dear readers! I have organised a singular date with one of the measly six people I’ve matched with (only three of which responded to my messages). Will this end my search for “the one”? I don’t think so, but it will probably end my experimentation with dating apps. The act of judging people on their photos and prompt responses feels superficial and makes me feel like an awful person, even though I know so many people do it and manage to find genuine connection. As I also fear the mortifying ordeal of being known, having my profile out there for everyone to see is… horrifying.
Download Hinge, or don’t. Staying single is less stressful, in my opinion.
*Editor’s note: the author now has four dates successfully planned on Hinge this week. Woroni wishes her all the best.