Julia* lives in Maine and, though she says she’s had the most success meeting people via Bumble, kept Tinder for her work trips. “I’ve held onto Tinder because it’s used more internationally,” she says. “I used to travel abroad alone for work a lot and would just get super bored. I downloaded Tinder for the first time in Buenos Aires because I wanted to practice my Spanish. Even if I don’t go out with anyone, at the very least it’s entertaining to scope out people in foreign cities.”
And let’s face it: Canadian online dating is convenient. You find thousands of singles in one place. For those who live in smaller villages it opens the door to meeting people in nearby towns and villages. For people in larger cities it simply means meeting people outside their social circle - without having to attend a ton of social events to do so. Social events are fun, you should attend them, but when you attend more than you want to and always hope to meet singles, it sort of kills the joy.
That might be one reason why Bumble has its devotees, too. “I downloaded Tinder and Bumble when I got out of a pretty catastrophic relationship because I was certain I had extinguished all game and would never meet someone organically,” says Cristina, 26, a graphic designer from Boston. “At first Tinder was the more addictive option because of the number of candidates, but I eventually shifted to Bumble because the conversations were better, and the numbers way more manageable.”
And of course, you'll want to be using the right dating app to get the job done. Luckily, you're looking for a casual encounter at a time when new apps and features are constantly evolving to help you find exactly what it is you're looking for. Not sure which apps to start with? Here are some of the best dating apps for hooking up, as well as our advice on how to use them to your advantage to get lucky tonight.
For many modern daters, the name “Tinder" should be accompanied by the Darth Vader theme song. The truth is, no app embodies the “necessary evil” aspect of swiping the way Tinder does. And it’s not even Tinder’s fault: As a pioneer of the current dating app format, Tinder’s utter ubiquity means everyone has an opinion about it. And because, as we've established, the dating rigamarole kind of sucks in general, that means a lot of people have negative opinions about it. But you have to hand it to Tinder, they really did change the game (for better or worse).
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Why it's awesome: Founded in 2000 by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, eharmony is the site for serious daters. A spokesperson for the site says it's been used by 54 million people, and is apparently responsible for 4 percent of U.S. marriages. Users answer a lengthy questionnaire that helps eharmony determine what it calls a "a select group of compatible matches with whom you can build a quality relationship." Spira says she's always seen eharmony as a "matrimonial dating site.""That doesn’t mean you’re going to walk down the aisle, but it certainly means that you’re looking for a very serious relationship that may or may not lead to marriage. It may lead to living together or at least being in an exclusive, committed relationship."
Bumble looks eerily similar to Tinder, but functions a tad differently. The big catch with Bumble is that when opposite genders match, the woman must message the guy first — and she has 24 hours to do so. Guys can extend matches for 24 hours, if they’re really hoping to hear from a woman, as can ladies, if they want to initiate something with a match but just haven’t had the time during the first day. For same-gender matches, either person can initiate the conversation first.
Happn is a dating app not too dissimilar from craiglist’s “missed connections.” The app only shows users people they’ve crossed paths with, literally, whether that be on the street, at a party, or in their favorite cafe. Once users find people (or the person) they’re interested in, they have the option to “like” their profile and wait to see if it’s a match.
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Wild provides users with the anonymity that other dating apps don't. For starters, there's no social login required. The app also goes the extra mile to verify its users (meaning, you'll need to send a photo of you giving a thumbs up, which is then checked against the photos you've posted to verify it's really you), helping to take the awkwardness out of meeting up with a potential hookup that looks nothing like her picture. You can also filter by intention, so that you're not wasting time sorting through matches who are here for something serious. Once you've found a hookup for the night, you can set your profile to invisible so that other users aren't messaging you when you're, uh, in the middle of something.
Hinge makes itself unique by providing prompts to answer instead of making you sweat through the bio-writing process: from, “The key to my heart is…” to, “Where to find me at a party?” and, “I’ll pick the first part of the date, you pick the second.” Additionally, Hinge opts out of the swipe-based premise by allowing users to like or comment on individual profile photos and prompt answers. From there, the liked user has the option to start the conversation.
Before there were dating apps, there was OkCupid. What started as a traditional online dating site you could only access on your computer has evolved into an app equipped with traditional swiping and messaging functions you'd come to expect in a dating app. It's also coupled with a more robust written profile that allows users to state things such as interests, what they can't live without and what a typical Friday night looks like to give potential matches a better feel of the person they're chatting with. What makes the dating app especially great for finding hookups is the search functionality, hands down. While apps like Tinder and Bumble only allow you to filter by location and age, OkCupid lets you search using keywords found on profiles. In other words, you can see who's looking for something casual, or type in phrases like "not looking for anything serious." If you're kinky, you can also sort matches using your fetish of choice, all while keeping your location and age parameters intact. This is one of the app store's most popular dating apps for a reason.
A handsome dental student from LA, Sam chooses a bar in the East Village for our date, but it turns out to be too crowded, so we're forced to relocate. I settle in with a glass of wine and find out he’s driven, smart, and wants to be a dental influencer (!!!) on Instagram (in hindsight, this explains a lot). As he continues to extol the business potential of social media to me, a social media editor, he suddenly gets up from his side of the table and plops down next to me. Awkward! He asks how tall I am and it leads to a conversation on average heights in America.
Why? I pretty much only use Hinge now. I have tried almost all of them: Tinder at one point in college, Bumble, OKCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel .... I found that Tinder was mainly for hook-ups and while I liked that guys were less grimy on Bumble, I’m pretty shy so I didn’t like that I had to be the one to initiate conversation. (Editor's Note: Women seeking men must message first on Bumble; for women seeking women, that rule goes away.)
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