WHILE I can’t point to the single most important lesson that dating in New York has taught me, I now know that the first drink you or your companion chooses can make a statement. Whether it’s a craft IPA or a piña colada, brown liquor drowning one big cube, or a few shots of Patrón, it sets a certain vibe, helping you write the story of an evening before your glasses clink.
That’s why, when it came to compiling a compare-and-contrast guide to dating apps—which these days cater to anyone from farmers to the hookup-minded to those seeking their soul mates—we decided to draw beverage analogies. Here, eight apps and the type of tipple they would be:
The Homemade Bloody Mary
Hinge may ask a lot of you, but chances are you’ll be happy with the results. Think of it as a DIY Bloody Mary you perfect after too many disappointing, watery, overly salty versions at the corner bar. The app lets you “like” or comment on parts of a person’s profile and offers your responses to conversation-enriching questions, giving you the ingredients to craft a presence with no need to create a witty bio out of thin air. Hinge also displays users’ deal breakers—whether they draw the line at smoking, attitudes toward procreation or religious affiliation—ideally providing enough info to help you find a mate who brings your dating days to an end.
The Long Island Iced Tea
As the app that introduced swiping left (nah) or right (yes, please!), Tinder is the Long Island Iced Tea of the bunch: Like that five-booze recipe, its users’ diverse flavor profiles can lead to both tons of fun and nights you’d happily forget.
‘Tinder makes it tough to find ‘the One.’ But you’ll enjoy a variety of tastes.’
From extroverts who want to chat up strangers to Snapchat porn bots and those actually interested in impromptu hookups, Tinder’s minimal filtering makes it difficult to find “the One.” But you’re sure to sample a variety of tastes. Or at least drown your sorrows as you swipe away the pain of a break up.
Glenlivet Nadurra, Neat
Snooty elites take as much pride in how they order a whiskey (rocks, neat, splash of water) as they do in their members-only clubs. So does the League. Touted as an exclusive app for working professionals, it lets you view a mere handful of approved members, verified via LinkedIn or
each day during its 5 p.m. “Happy Hour.” As with Yale and
internship program, not everyone is accepted.
The lengthy messages pushed by the in-app digital “dating concierge” are so thick with emojis, however, you may start to worry about the age and maturity of its seemingly successful users.
Three $13 Bottles of Red Wine
As much as a weighty Rioja can make things sexy, it can also erase inhibitions, leading mature adults to try something new and fun. Ditto Feeld—formerly Thrinder—the least creepy place for individuals or couples into threesomes, swinging or other alternative sex to meet.
In addition to listing your interests, Feeld invites you to include any sexual desires on your profile (if you’re unfamiliar with the meanings of MMF, FFM or BDSM a quick Google search will help). This is “dating” very broadly defined: The app’s openness surrounding sex actually relieves the pressure to hook up, making it potentially the best app for “sex-positive” users.
2-for-1 Margaritas on Ladies Night
In a world where men try to pass off “below-the-belt selfies” as friendly greetings, Bumble puts women in control by letting them—nay, requiring them to—initiate all conversations. Of course, as with those Ladies Night drink specials aimed at women, men seem to benefit most. They have to do a lot less work as the app’s willing prey.
Bumble has a game-like swipe function a la Tinder. With only 24 hours to message a stranger before the match expires, however, the thrills the app offers can seem as short-lived as the one that comes from imbibing 2-for-1 margs.
Plenty of Fish
Like the dead-simple cocktail that newly minted 21-year-olds order, Plenty Of Fish is for less savvy internet daters who don’t know what they like or want yet—and only dare try something they’ve already heard of.
No mutual matching is required for users to contact you on the janky, outdated app, so take as many shots as your typing fingers allow regardless of corresponding interests or relative attractiveness. Result: an onslaught of incoming messages, as tedious as the lengthy process of creating a profile.
Espolòn Tequila on the Rocks
Raya aims for the same elite status as the League, but it’s significantly cooler—from its handsome profile layout to its in-app experience (users can create a mixtape to show off music tastes) and “first rule of Fight Club” ethos. Would-be users submit their Instagram accounts to apply and are approved based on clout, which is why the community is heavy on actors, models, DJs, talented creatives and blue-checked influencers. Comparable to small-batch tequila versus a pricey bottle of Pappy, Raya is like the drink trendsetters enjoy under the radar…until venture capital bros find a way to ruin it.
Shots (of Literally Anything)
Much like downing a few shots and recklessly seeing where the night takes you, meeting someone on HAPPN, which suggests hookups based on nothing more than proximity, can generate both excitement and dread. To ease the tension, a pop-up game called “Crush Time” asks you to pick from four users who already liked your profile, making HAPPN feel like a drinking game stirred with a dating app.
In the Swipe of Things
Three daters highlight the best aspects of their favorite apps, from making friends to ‘shallow’ hookups.
“Hinge lets you get creative with what you share. By being given questions that pull personality out of you, it makes me eager to answer and see what others are saying. I get easily overwhelmed when filling up an empty box; there’s more pressure to be witty.”
“I’ve met so many good people on Tinder, a lot of whom I’m still friends with even though nothing really materialized romantically. I think Tinder has gotten its strong reputation as a hookup app because it does actually make casual sex easier and more available.”
“I use all of the apps the same, to meet people I find interesting or attractive and just see how the relationship evolves. At the end of the day, we have to base everything on looks which, in a way, makes us all incredibly shallow and puts an interesting spin on dating.”
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