I’m admittedly a bit behind when it comes to smartphone dating.
By the time I’d earned my PhD in OkCupid — an exhaustive and careful program, heavy on Google and Personal Message studies — all the cool kids were making out with sexy strangers they’d met 10 minutes ago on Tinder.
For those completely in the dark, Tinder is a location-based phone app that lets you select nearby mates in a rapid-fire “yes” or “no” fashion based solely on their picture. There’s messaging capabilities if you both choose “yes” — but what in the world do you have to say after 10 seconds? “Hi. Wanna fuck?”
Sounds about right. Attention spans bottom out at around 140 characters these days, so nobody has the patience to read some stranger yammer on about Wes Anderson movies. Just give us a picture and let us know if they’re too far away to even bother. Thanks.
The newest kid on the dating app block is Glimpse, which syncs with your Instagram feed to show all potential suitors how well traveled and popular you are. Screw sexy looks — you’ve swam with stingrays and traveled to India and back. Love me for my experiences, baby.
After a brief registration lull (I had to wait 12 hours to join), you select a screen name and profile picture, enter your age and sexual orientation, and handpick nine of your favorite Instagram photos and — voilà! — you’re officially on the market. You’re then tasked with scrolling through the nine-picture feeds of all your potential dates, which is a fantasy land of hazy beaches, wine tastings in foreign countries, fancy dinners and dogs. Lots of dogs.
Even the most mundane of shots (and there aren’t too many of those on Glimpse) are brightly hued or encased in those arty black-and-white noir type filters, which is really the worst kind of false advertising, no? A date with Mr. Stingray should come with the option of Toaster or Lo-Fi filters and where are the monkeys in Cambodia? God bless the simple sap who selects the #nofilter photo of himself amid the fluorescent lights at work. I have yet to see that, but he’s my future husband.
Anyways, if you happen to lock eyes with a wine tasting that’s like no other, feel free to hit the smiley face on the bottom, which alerts the user they’ve got an admirer! If they browse your feed and can get over the fact you vacationed in Ft. Lauderdale while they wintered in Fiji, they too can hit the smile icon. Two smiles activates the message feature and only now can you two begin the colorful peacocking of courtship, perhaps talking about the picture of you with Elvis Presley’s records in Graceland? Just a thought.
Founder Elan Miller got the idea for Glimpse after garnering “mixed success” on traditional dating sites. He felt like his Instagram feed was a more accurate depiction of who he really was and what someone chooses to take pictures of says a lot about them. He also thinks people suck at selling themselves and as a result dating profiles seem “over-engineered.” Glimpse is a more “authentic representation” of someone, he explains.
I’ll meet him halfway. A picture is worth a 1,000 words, so why take the time to explain why you love German beer when you can just take a picture of a beer flight? Why expound on how you like to cycle when you can just tag a photo of your new bike?
But I disagree that Glimpse is a more “authentic” way to meet the “real” person. Scrolling through sunset photos or artsy architecture shots in no way clues me into a person’s character. Sorry.
That being said, the early throes of dating are always wrought with a certain nauseating deception, whether you’re masquerading behind a laundry list of favorite Russian authors, a mid six-figure salary or washboard abs from five years ago, an eye-roll inducing element is, unfortunately, a necessary evil and, sorry again, but Glimpse is chock-full of this — but perhaps this time with a flattering filter.
Also, call me old-fashioned, but I sort of like to know a thing or two about whomever it is I’m taking the time out to chat with. Where do they live? What do they do for work? This isn’t to gauge a paycheck as much as it is to gauge life passion and interest. Aside from splashing around with pretty Spanish chicks in Argentina, what do they really do for fun? Of course you can find out all these things after you message, but you’d be saddened to learn the number of times I disqualified a possible OkCupid date after they let it slip on their profile that they’re “open” to non-monogamy or, you know, not looking for anything serious right now. There are certain things that are good to know before you invest the time, but then again, maybe I’m just old and crusty.
Dating is fun. Not that all hope is lost with Glimpse, lest you think I’m a complete naysayer. Instagram fanatics just might meet their kindred here, and for the rest of us it sure is a wonderful way to pass the time waiting for the subway.