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In partnership with Bumble

160 People on Exactly How to Date Online Right Now

In partnership with Bumble.

A portion of proceeds from Man Repeller’s partnership with Bumble will be donated to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which answers calls, chats, and texts from those affected by relationship abuse and supports survivors, their friends, and family members 24/7/365 throughout the U.S. and its territories.

A friend texted me a few weeks ago with a salient theory: “Once we’re allowed to go on dates again, I feel like it’s going to be the greatest time to be single in American history.” His optimism was energizing, as was the suggestion that we might be a part of something historic, something akin to the repeal of prohibition. As the weeks in quarantine add up, my initial survey investigating who’s swiping on dating apps right now already feels like a relic from a bygone era. In need of an update on the state of dating swiping affairs, we’ve partnered with Bumble to take the pulse on how Bumblers are Bumbling a month or so into isolation. Who’s dressing up on top and wearing sweatpants on the bottom? Whose moms keep sneaking up behind them on their Video Chat dates? Who’s doing a design-agency-caliber rebrand of their profile?

You know what’s better than texting your friends for dating advice (sorry, friends)? Surveying the greater MR community on their Bumble shenanigans, and gleaning all sorts of intel in the process (tried-and-true opening lines chief among them). And for the cherry on top: a few MR readers annotated their Bumble profiles, walking us through their thought process like a celebrity home tour.

In the logical chronology of how modern courtship unfolds, read on below for: Pie charts aplenty! Annotated Bumble profiles and first date outfit ideas! Giggle-inducing stories during our global gossip shortage, as my friend Starling called it! Polar opposite predictions for dating’s future! And then, whether you’re looking for connection or banter, pick me up around seven in the comment section?

Table of Contents


Embrace the self-portraiture boom

— “Updated my pictures, had more time to take bomb selfies.”
— “I added some photos post-quarantine-hair-dye!”

A new chapter for your autobiography

— “I changed the bio to: ✨ out of quarantine snacks plz send help✨’”
— “New bio, to indicate I am also sealed in my house but looking to speak to other humans who are fun.”
— “My bio: I’m super passionate about socializing which is why I’ve already gotten in contact with your blood relatives and turns out I could potentially be your type.’”
— “My bio is now: Keeping my social distance.’ And I changed a few photos.”

Widening or narrowing the radius

— “I’m with my parents, so I updated my location.”
— “I haven’t updated my profile, but I put my friends who didn’t leave NYC in charge of managing my profile. I retreated back to my hometown in MA… and do not wish to match with anyone here.”
— “Changed my preferences (I’m not anonymous in my hometown… and I’m definitely not out).”

A tip straight from the source: using three or more profile photos increases your chance of matching on Bumble by 31%.


Canned as a sardine

— “The gif with the bear saying hello with his paw.”
— “You come here often?’”
— “If your name is Junior, and you’re really handsome, c’mon raise your hand.’”
— “I just type out the guy’s name with an exclamation point.”
— “I’m gonna be honest, I don’t plan on leaving my house anytime soon, I’m just really bored.’”
— “The recipient’s name and exclamation points !!!!”
— “Will exchange home-brewed mead for fly-fishing tips.’”

Flattery (the sincerest form of flattery)

— “You look really sturdy.’”
— “I use a really genuine compliment, honestly. I feel like guys don’t get those a lot.”
— “Congratulations on being the most attractive person I’ve matched with.”

Intellectual curiosity with a question mark

— “What’s your favorite quarantine snack?””
— “If you had a free afternoon (no quarantine), no obligations, no traffic, and $50 in your pocket, what would you do?’”
— “If you could road-trip anywhere in the world, where would it be?’”
— “Hey what’s your dog’s name!’”
— “Do you believe in ghosts?’”
— “What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done this week?’”
— “I ask about their go-to album during quarantine.”
— “If you were a shoe, what shoe would you be?’”

Bespoke as an Italian suit

“I typically look for something in the profile of the person that I matched with that is either unique or strikes me as a bit strange and I’ll ask them about it.”
— “I’ll ask a question about one of their pictures. If they’re playing an instrument, I’ll ask what kind of music they like, if it’s an obvious touristy picture (example: them at the Colosseum) I’ll ask when they visited and if they liked it.”
— “Something related to their linked Spotify.”
— “It’s usually based on their profile. I’m a custom gal.”

A tip from Bumble: the bold among us can send an Audio Message to your match instead of text.


I’m funnier than a standup special

— “I’m a laugh and a half.”
— “That I’m fun and can banter.”

I contain multitudes

— “I’m multifaceted with a big personality.”
— “I’m a collage of a human being. Also, that I am a successful woman, and I will not tolerate someone who will talk down upon me.”

I know exactly what I want

— “I like a very specific radio show that I hope some man out there also likes.”
— “I want happiness, no drama, a creative thinker, and someone with a sense of humour.”

They should manage their expectations

— “I’m probably taller than them.”
— “I am (and this should be) uncomplicated.
— “That my love for Jeff Goldblum will never match any kind of love for you.”
— “That I‘m hot, fun, and need to be fed constantly.”
— “I mean business.”
— “I’m looking for something real.”
— “I am cute and like pizza.”

A tip from Bumble: add the Virtual Dating badge to let your match know you’re down to date from home.


Crisis management, considered

— “It’s interesting to see how people react to a crisis. It says a lot about a person.”
— “I need someone I can prepare to be locked away with for months on end with no external contacts.”
— “Petty things don’t matter, just make me laugh.”
— “Being around my parents during this makes me realize what I do and do not want.”
— “It is more important to me that he be actively working on his health and wellness (physical, mental, emotional).”
— “I am definitely more curious now about how people spend their spare time. Something I probably would have never thought too much about before the pandemic. Obviously it’s nice to know hobbies and such, something I would have liked to know before, but what is occurring now helps you understand the various ways people are dealing with this. It’s an odd social experiment and distraction that I am definitely enjoying!”
— “I’ve always thought about who I want to go into an apocalypse situation with.”

Dealbreakers, reconsidered

— “It all feels a bit pointless right now, so I’m more open.”
— “I feel like I’m not limiting myself as much—usually location (especially in a city without a car) plays a role, but right now it’s not a factor and maybe it never needed to be! I also definitely am paying more attention to the men that are taking this seriously.”

Opportunities for self-reflection, seized

— “It’s given me an interesting break to think about my ‘need’ for another person. When relationship progression is off the table for a while, the stakes are lower and you can just enjoy talking to people.”
— “More interested in companionship.”
— “More long-term vision.”

A tip from Bumble: you can now expand your Distance radius to the entire country


The smooth move

— “I bring up a heated topic and then I say, ‘Actually it’d be easier to explain over Video Chat.’ Usually, they want to debate so badly that they agree.”
— “I say: ‘It’s a long story! Let’s Video Chat and I’ll tell you.’”

Weave your dulcet tones into conversation

— “We texted for three full weeks. Then I asked, ‘Have you wondered yet if I have a super weird voice that would make all this texting kinda pointless?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it would be kinda weird? But if you have like a Darth Vader voice, I’m into that.’”
— “Say: ‘Hey, wanna hear my voice?’”
— “Send Audio Notes first.”

A personal touch

— “I sent an iMessage hand-drawn note saying: ‘Do you want to go on a Video Chat date? Check: yes or no.’”

Make the second move

— “I think just ask! Worst that’s going to happen is they will say no!”
— “I say something like, ‘So usually I’d want to go on a date with you, but how about a Video Chat for now?’”
— “It’s video time, baby face.”
— “The Bumble video call feature is great. When I’m tired of texting someone, I ask them if they want to go on a video d8.”
— “Discuss plans for the next few days and then suggest an early evening drink.”
— “He initiated. He was like, ‘[This place] is normally where we would go on a date… Grab some wine and let’s pretend?’”
— “Just ask.”

A tip from Bumble: try Voice Calling within the app if you aren’t ready to exchange numbers or take it to the Video Chat level. 


Fast casual

— “I don’t really think virtual dates are real dates but hangs, so I would just wear what I wear when I FaceTime a friend.”
— “I wore a sweatshirt, he did too.”
— “Nice sweats.”
— “Simple T-shirt and leggings—we both know what we’re getting into at this point in quarantine.”

Half-dressed is more

— “Cashmere jumper or silk pajamas so I look luxe, but like I’ve not made too much of an effort.”
— “A black camisole with a cozy sweater and gold hoop earrings. Sweatpants or pajama pants on the bottom. 🤷🏻‍♀️”
— “A cute top with sweatpants.”
— “There’s a particular importance to what I wear on top, as that’s what will be seen on camera. The bottom is less important as it will be hidden, however there’s always a risk should I be asked to stand (to prove my height or maybe to do a pirouette), so I would refrain from choosing pajamas or any grungy sweatpants.”
— “A cute sweater.”
— “An outfit I wore before one of my virtual dates: a white Casablanca T-shirt and a dark blue V-neck cashmere jumper by Massimo Dutti. I wanted something comfortable and real. Nothing formal but presentable. I wanted to make the other participant feel comfortable and help us get over the usual initial awkwardness.”
— “A bit of makeup.”

The YOLO approach

— “We decided to dress up in black tie—I wore a black velvet dress, diamanté earrings and socks! On another one I’d probably wear a nice top and jeans.”

A tip from MR: never underestimate the power of the flounciest sleeve in your closet.


Drinks or dinner? Beverages or edibles?

— “He made me a virtual oat-milk cappuccino. Going as far as buying oat milk the day before because he knew I was plant-based. Chivalry is not dead, ladies!”
— “It went well! We just chatted with a cup of tea.”
— “We had a beer together while chatting and played some games on Houseparty.”
— “It was fun! We had dinner together and laughed about it being a cheap date.”
— “We just talked and had drinks, it was nice towards the end when we got on some good topics of conversation, it probably wasn’t any more weird than a normal first date.”
— “First, I take an edible… I wait 45 minutes… then I just let it happen.”

A game plan

— “The first was less awkward than I expected, and we talked for four hours straight. We had planned to do a Paint-With-Bob-Ross date, but the conversation ended up being engaging enough that we didn’t get to that part. 😊”
— “It was the best: We played different types of games like ‘Would You Rather’ or ‘Never Have I Ever.’”
— “It went well! We watched a movie beforehand so we would have something to talk about, but we ended up chatting about books and politics and our lives more.”
— “Just talked, pretty good, a little weird but we both rolled with the punches.”

Digitally native dates

— “I had already met the person for a drink right before this all started, and so I had their number from that. We were joking about when a second date would happen and decided to watch a movie with Netflix Party and FaceTime first. It was really fun!!”

An efficient system

— “They’ve really run the gamut— it’s actually a great way to screen people and not have to waste hours and money out at a bar with someone you’re 0% into.”
— “I did virtual dates before lockdown. They’re usually successful and consist of chatting.”

A tip from Bumble: challenge your match to a game of virtual chess, or compare astrological charts


— “I made a group chat of all my Bumble matches, and they tried to get me to make a bracket of who was my favorite. We read a bedtime story as a group. Good times.”
— “Swiped right on a guy two years ago, and we were supposed to go on a date. We never did, but we recently matched again, and I asked him how the past two years have been.”
— “The date I went ‘on,’ he got very drunk and accidentally spilt red wine all over his bed and his snoozing dog. My mum also walked in halfway through and ended up introducing herself to my date.”
— “A guy kept asking me to come over and I wouldn’t due to social distancing. He agreed to sell me his Switch so we could meet. Then he made a meme for me.”
— “One match got stick-and-poke tattoos on his toes that said ‘on vacation’ one letter for each toe. 😅”
— “I matched with my crush from work who I was too shy to talk to, and now we talk everyday. :)“
— “I’ve become really good friends with a guy who I’ve only FaceTimed with. We now have a little book club for the two of us. The relationship started out with some virtual sexting and has somehow morphed into a friendship.”
— “I watched this guy I’ve been talking to take a shower, haha.”
— “Feels like high school again, venting to an almost complete stranger about how much our parents are driving us wild. Hello, 2006.”

A tip from MR: write a review of your date in haiku


Hands off!

— “Wild and cautious all at the same time.”
— “More conscious about germs!”

Cuffing season!

— “People (read: me) will be more interested in relationships vs. dating around.”
— “People are going to be really ready for relationships since we’ve been alone for so long.”
— “I think disasters make people want to be connected—thinking about your own mortality will usually push your life forward—so I think people may want to be connecting more overall on an emotional level.”

Frenzy!

— “People are gonna be all over each other.”
— “I want to have as much sex as I can for a year then start looking for something real again.”
— “I think there will be a whole lot of new singles that broke up because of either long-distance, quarantine edition, or being too close to each other all the time.”
— “A massive boom—five dates a week with a different person each night. Got so much to catch up on! (Friends first tho obvs.)”
— “Everyone is just going to have a lot of pent-up sexual energy and frustration that I think people are going to make their matches now and then it’ll seamlessly transition to the physical aspect when this is over.”
— “People are going to be so excited to go on real dates! Coffee shops and happy hours will be full, museums will be teeming with people, and I think we’ll all be a little better at communicating.”
— “I think people are really going to value physical intimacy and the human touch. And just being in someone’s presence—it’s shocking how comforting it is.”
— “It’s about to get WILD and I cannot freaking wait. I have a date lined up in person once this is over, so I already feel like I accomplished something cool to look forward to.”
— “We are all going to be horny and even more socially inept than before.”
— “Optimistic—I imagine lots of new singles, and a renewed enthusiasm for bars, dancing, and actually going places.”
— “People will be dating like crazy after—I don’t want to be locked in isolation alone again.”
— “Buzzing!”

A tip from Bumble: there are certain times of day when Bumble is booming. Might we suggest setting a calendar reminder and sauntering into the app in the early evening? 

Graphics by Lorenza Centi.

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