I love the internet and large groups of unknown lesbians give me anxiety-driven bitch face, so dating via the App store sounds like a fabulous idea to me. Anything to avoid in person rejection/rejecting. Online dating is nothing new, and while some straight people might hesitate to post their personals on the internet for fear of stigma, almost every lesbian I know has at some point gone online to find lurve or at least sex. It just makes sense; gay-dar has limitations, lesbian nights can feel far and feel between, and meeting a girl organically can feel impossible as a gay woman.
There’s no debating reality: lesbians are working with a far smaller potential dating pool than straight women, and (for reasons unknown to me) there are far fewer lesbian geared events than events geared at gay males. We’re straight up less visible, and dating apps allow us to safely browse through girls WE KNOW like girls. I can’t pretend making a profile doesn’t make me self-concious, but I will say that it’s better to put yourself out there in almost any way that to sit at home, re-watching The L Word, waiting for Mrs. Perfect to bicycle through the door.
Last week I created a dating profile on each of these sites, and rating apps geared (or accepting) of lesbians based on three criteria: style, amenities, and my personal experience.
Style: OkCupid’s color palette of pepto bismal pink and gender-normative blue isn’t the chicest choice, but it’s not ugly. Tone wise, OkCupid is relentlessly upbeat with tongue in cheek terminology and a pleasant aura of “we don’t take this too seriously and neither should you.”
Amenities: Like all of these apps, getting starting with OkCupid is quick and simple. All you need is an email address and a (hopefully charming) username and you’re reading to get creepin’. Regular members can filter potentials based on a variety of criteria, which allows you to cast your net as wide or narrow as you like. OkCupid has more features, filters, and functions than any other dating app I’ve scene. Some of the best include:
a. Compatibility questions that allow you to see your “match %” with other users
b. fun quizzes galore so other people can pre-judge you
c. ability to search based on location, age, height, religion, smoking, drinking, drug use, race (ugh), etc
d. ability to sort potentials based on match %, last online, newest, etc so you’re not stuck looking at the same assortment
e. tool to set “broadcast” so women in your area can see you want to hang out right away
f. Choice to not appear to straight people- this cuts way down on creepy straight dudes so blinded by their own delusional desperation they refuse to believe “gay” means “not interested in men including you”
Experience: The biggest free dating app in America, OkCupid combines a wide array of filters, detailed profiles, and arguably the largest density of LGBTQ women to choose from. I, and most gay women I know, have at some point(s) used OkCupid to go upon date after awkward date in hopes of (maybe) meeting someone worth waxing sweet nothings upon. One downside of everyone being on OkCupid is everyone will know you are on OkCupid. This is particularly awkward when you click on an appealing profile only to find that profile is someone you know, who knows you, who will know you know they know you’re alone. No amount of horrified back clicking can un-visit an unfriendly acquaintance’s OkCupid profile.
Proceed with caution, but do proceed. I’ve heard some great success stories from OkCupid, while I didn’t find anyone I wanted to date on there, I did meet an adorable new friend.
Style: With it’s clean layout and modern typography, Tinder is hands down the most aesthetically appealing app. Unfortunately, form comes at the the price of function. Profiles are incredibly limited, and searching for matches is limited to flipping through pictures of every Tinder user who shares at least one similar “like” with you on facebook.
Amenities: Tinder is basically a flip book of people vaguely connected to you on Facebook. You flip through pictures and press “heart” if you like what you see and “x” if you don’t. Since Tinder sees me ending up with a man, even though the thought of ending up with a man makes me internally scream, I spent 99% of the time pressing “x.” If you want to see more about someone, you can look at their very limited profile to see five pictures, a brief summary of how chill they are, and what “likes” you share. I can’t imagine a less effective way of searching for my next girlfriend/victim.
Experience: Tinder is the cyber-equivalent of standing on a street corner, pointing at passers by, and asking “What about that one? What about that one? What about that one? What about that one?” to determine your next date. I’ve read article upon enthusiastic article about Tinder being the new big thing, and I get the appeal: maybe the one for you is a friend of a friend, just waiting to be discovered.
Unfortunately, Tinder operates under the oppressive, hetero-normative assumption that that person will be of the opposite sex. Tinder matched me with an overwhelming majority of almost 100% male matches, even though I set my preference to “women.” When Tinder did match me with a woman, there was no indication whatsoever whether that woman was gay or just also enjoyed Mean Girls. Apparently Tinder thinks gay women are just going through a phase, maybe working through some daddy issues, and all we need to do is look at enough pictures of men and we’ll gave an go back to our God-given place on the D.
Out of morbid curiosity, I created a Tinder account linked to one of my straight guy friends facebook, and surprise surprise: not a single picture of a man popped up. Not one. I sifted for so ages in hopes that maybe Tinder really does just treat all people as if their sexual preference is equally irrelevant; it doesn’t. Tinder treats LGBTQ users as second class users because it views LGBTQ sexualities as second class sexualities; we are not the norm and therefore not worthy of even the most basic of consideration. Tinder graciously allows LGBTQ women to sign up for their service, but don’t expect them to treat us as anything other than straight. To Tinder, we’re clearly not worth the effort.
Virtually nothing offends me, but being treated as if my sexual orientation is irrelevant offends me. An app only useful to straight people masquerading as a LGBTQ friendly app offends me. Tinder might be stylish and based on an essentially good idea (matching via friends of FB friends/similar interests), but this is 2013 and it is not ok to treat gay women like second class users in any context or medium.
Style: Oh, Brenda. Brenda, Brenda, Brenda. It’s like you’re trying NOT to turn me on. First of all, who in God’s name decided “Brenda” would be a good name for a dating application? Why not Gladys? Millicent? Helga? Why not just name the app “Gram Gram” and call it a day?
In addition to sharing the name of unlikable female television characters everywhere, Brenda struggles with style and utility. Underneath a depressing palate of cheap lavender and dreary grey, Brenda does really seem like a sweet, well meaning application. I pity Brenda, I want Brenda take her glasses off and reveal that bangin’ body, but I don’t want to fuck with Brenda. I wish I did but I don’t. I am way too shallow for Brenda.
Amenities: Brenda can boast the awesome honor of being the only lesbian dating app in the app store. Yay! I love this. I would like to put as much distance between access to my lady-bits and men as possible, even on the internet. Other features Brenda boasts include:
a. Easy direct messaging. IM like its 2005.
b. Filter by age range and…. Well that’s it.
c. Brief self description area
d. Capacity to upload up to five pictures
Experience: One thing I love about Brenda is the girls online. OkCupid can feel a little high school what with the “who visited whose profile” but Brenda users are friendly and didn’t hesitate at all to hit me up. I see so much potential here, but the site needs a makeover and more filters/amenities to really be a competitor.
I cannot rate Dattch the lesbian dating app because I cannot download Dattch the lesbian dating app. I searched high and low in the app store but alas, Dattch eludes me now as much as it eluded me the day Trish told me to download Dattch. Maybe it’s only for European lesbians? Whatever the reason, Dattch hella snubbed me and I will not forget the insult. Even if they do have a super cute website.
So which app bodes best for women who like women? And the winner is…. OkCupid! OkCupid not only has far more lezzers, it has features for days, addictive quizes, in- depth profiles, and an incredibly detailed search criteria. Furthermore, by allowing LGBTQ women to remain invisible to straight users, OkCupid allows you to date online without male harassment. So go ahead, make a profile, and if you see me feel free to tell me I’m pretty.