Bumble is an online dating app, and Craig taught me how to download it onto my iPhone and create a simple profile. It was a process that took all of 15 to 20 minutes, as Bumble auto-loaded photos from my Facebook profile, and I didn’t object to its choices.
My intention was to sit back and watch only. I wanted to get a sense of how many single men were in this area in my age group and see if any of them were cute or interesting.
Bumble was created by a woman who used the dating app called Tinder and had a bad experience. This is how it works:
You hold your phone vertically to view each profile. First you see a series of photos of the candidates and scroll through them one by one; at the bottom you find a brief profile, maximum five or six sentences.
If you don’t like what you see, you use your finger to swipe the person’s image off your phone screen to the left. If you do like, you swipe right.
When both the man and the woman have swiped right, Bumble connects you, and you can begin to text. But here’s what’s different about Bumble from other dating apps: Only the woman can communicate first. I liked that. (If you remember, the last time I entered this scene, I was freaked out by a deluge of emails.)
I told Craig I had no intention of connecting with anyone. That I just wanted to sample the wares.
“You’ll be connected to somebody by the end of the week. I just know it,” he said. “And I’m going to be a little jealous.”
I waved a hand at him as in, “Whatever. Be quiet.” Then I started looking at profiles, and mostly swiping left.
I had set Bumble to show me only guys who were within a 40-mile radius, and I was pleased that the folks I was seeing appeared to have jobs, interests and an awareness of personal hygiene.
Every once in a while, I Bumbled on someone who was married and looking for a third partner or people who stated they wanted only to hook up. Ew. I swiped left for them.
One common theme in the male profiles was they all felt a need to share their height. I guess other women care about this sort of thing. I do not. Within reason. I was looking for someone who was fit, had interests that intersected with mine and had some cleverness going on.
It’s fair to say that I got a little obsessed with Bumble in those first days. I took breaks from my work to check. I checked before I went to bed. I swiped, and I swiped. Mostly left.
“I’ve swiped right a bunch of times and no connection yet,” I told Craig.
“It’s been about a minute,” he said. “Relax.”
Then one day, I swiped right, and the Batman-like word popped up on my screen.
“BAM!” it said. “You’re connected.”
There in front of me was a postage-stamp-sized photo of a bald guy we’ll call Pierre, because he was a Frenchman. I had 24 hours to reach out to him.