Judging a bee by his/her black and yellow

swipe left, swipe right, Tinder, Bumble, Dating App
               How do dating apps force us to judge books by their cover?

When a book’s cover is all Bumble lets us see, how else can we decide which way to swipe?

When I look in the mirror, I like what I see. I mean, it’s not always perfectly quaffed hair and highlighted cheekbones, but I believe the general consensus would be that I am amongst the aesthetically acceptable. However, when I launched into my Bumble brigade, I immediately recognized an overwhelming sense of insecurity about how to present my “best self” to the Bumble-verse.

This feeling was not at all akin to the empowering butterflies I, sometimes, experience leading up to a night on the town with the potential for hottie-hunting – nor the nervous excitement of a first date or encounter with a living breathing human being. Instead, as I swiped through my own photos, I started to analyze all the minute details that never struck me before. And, my brain on Bumble buzzed something like this:

Does this photo make me look approachable? Too approachable (aka easy)? Too sexy? Not sexy enough? I can’t use a filter because then I’ll look fake, but if I don’t fix that pimple, they may think I have bad skin. How much cleavage is too much cleavage? Should I smile or look sultry? Does a professional photo imply I’m obsessed with work? Cats or no cats? OMG, I give up: just throw the whole album and human away.

Apparently, a first impression is everything – even when an app takes away your ability to really make one.

The first photo; the number one, Grand Slam selfie of the dating app game. The determiner of whether or not the potential love of your life is going to say, “Yes, that’s my kind of humanoid,” and swipe right – or toss you into the lost pile of lefts along with that woman who was wearing too much leopard print and purple lipstick and the pre-teen with the affinity for misspelled tattoos.

While you’re already anxiety-ridden and overjudging every flash button you’ve ever fingered, there Bumble is with its annoying emotionally-void voice of positivity saying, “Lead with your strongest photo.” Biiitch, I have 1,321 pictures on my phone, including coverage of a few booze-soaked bachelorettes and a photo album dedicated to feline supremacy, how in the name of the god of all that is unholy in the hellscape of modern dating am I supposed to choose which photo is the strongest?

Potential solution: swiping success be damned and just close your eyes and start poking your phone until you fill in the necessary frames.

Did you know there is actually a “perfect formula” for online dating photos – as determined by frigging neuroscientists?

Yes, that’s right – even the geniuses of the world are acknowledging how truly dicked this whole dating app situation is. So, sociologists and neuroscientists came together to offer solutions to increase your swipe rights. Their helpful and not-at-all-dehumanizing suggestions include things such as wear vibrant colours, don’t use group photos, ditch your glasses, show direct eye contact, and wear a sign that says, “I give up, someone just hug me already” – ok, ok not the last one: That was internally-screaming me projecting outwardly.

So, after deciding not to post the photo with the pleading sign, I chose an array of nice, but not boring, sexy, but not slutty photos that I hoped would show potential suitors “who I am.” Can you bloody well imagine a well-educated, gainfully-employed, animal-loving, yoga-practicing, aunt, friend, literary aficionado and sexually-empowered female being reduced to four or five static representations of herself?

Neither can I, but we’ve all seen that tooth-achingly sweet rom-com where two swiping sweethearts discover digital love above all the odds. So, now we wait…

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