Gone phishing

The Daytonian’s guide to dating technology

By Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

Photo: Apps like Tinder allow users to swipe through photos before selecting a potential match

Looking for love? How about a hookup? Perhaps you simply require the illusion of a significant other to get your well-meaning but over-reaching friends and family off your back? There’s an app for that! The personals have leapt off the physical page and into the virtual world and have all us would-be soulmates reaching for our favorite piece of tech.

To conduct my research on this topic, I of course needed a smartphone, my girlfriends and the gallon-size jug of wine from the bottom shelf at the liquor store. As we ventured through the simulated meat market, the cuts unsurprisingly ranged from prime to canner grade. A kind of primordial judgey-wudgey bear came out of me, and I found myself howling with varying mixtures of fear and glee at some of the images that popped up. I did get a good feel for what’s out there, though, and it all just seems to depend on what kind of vibe you’re looking for.


Tinder, Grindr

“My favorite to use in Dayton is Tinder, but not for hookups,” my friend Sammy*, 29, shared. “I think people use it as a dating site, especially older people like me. There [are] tons of people on Tinder, and it doesn’t take any time to start an account. It just links from your Facebook.”

For Sammy, dating sites are more for entertainment than finding a warm body. “Tinder is like a game,” she says as she swipes left several times before landing on an appealing potential suitor. She swipes right and cried out, “It’s a match!” as a congratulatory screen popped up. “See? Fun, right?”

Tinder isn’t without its foibles, however. At one point as Sammy hands her phone over to me to take a look at the app for myself, and the phone slips between our hands and slides between the pillows of her couch. “I think it swiped right!” Sammy exclaims. I gasp as I see the cringe-worthy bathroom selfie and the words “men’s movement” in the profile. What does this mean?? “It just means he can message me now,” Sammy explains. I need only take a peek at a site like tinderlines.com to know that can go astray pretty quickly.

Test drive while traveling

Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, Lulu

For all the glory that Dayton holds, we just don’t have the numbers of cities like Chicago or New York, making potentially useful new dating apps like Coffee Meets Bagel and Lulu just out of the range of reality. But it’d be worth it to take them for a spin while visiting a bigger city. If you’re a woman seeking a man and hoping to eliminate the risk of the occasionally horrendous messages that Tinder has become mildly infamous for, give Bumble a try.

“Bumble is about establishing equality,” Whitney Wolfe, founder of both Tinder and Bumble, said in an April interview with The Guardian. “I can’t speak on behalf of the entire male population, but in my experience when a man feels rejected, or fears being rejected, they respond with aggression. So if we eliminate the rejection, what is there to be aggressive about?”

Committed to committing

OkCupid, Match.com, The Inner Circle, eHarmony, JDate

If you’ve got the time, the money and the wherewithal, these sites could help you reach your relationship goals. Clear about what you want out of a partner, life, the world? Slap down the coins, fill in the formula and wait for the love of your life to appear.

Leave me be!

Invisible Boyfriend

Have those family functions you dread because of the inevitable “Are you seeing anyone?” chasm for good cheer? Sign up for an Invisible Boyfriend! It’s super easy, fun, fast and meets with immediate results. It took me all of five minutes to create “Jack B. Nimble,” 37-year-old gardening enthusiast/teacher who lives in D.C. I was immediately sent a text from “Jack” that I could use to prove his existence, if so pressed. It even has a D.C. area code! Very convincing. I should probably explain this all to my husband before it gets out of hand.

Getting down with 3P


Interested in exploring beyond the traditional 2-way dating norm? Find likeminded people with 3nder and get exactly what you’re looking for! You may be pleased to know that Dayton has a fair number of users on the app, all waiting to potentially fill the space in your heart and/or bed.

Back to the future

Close Encounters and WatchMe88 for Apple Watch

It seems the faster technology advances, the stronger the romantic pull of simpler times. As soon as Apple released its Apple Watch, dating sites churned out apps specific for the new interface, but this time with a throwback spin. 3nder’s Apple Watch app Close Encounters strips the process down, providing only basic information and ditching the photos, letting folks meet blind-date fashion knowing only key tidbits about the other person’s preferences. WatchMe88 app actually lights up like a cab when a match is in close proximity. Not to worry about your privacy, though; both apps have an “invisible mode” that acts as your cloaking device when you’re not feeling social. Close Encounters also offers an “emergency mode” that when activated alerts the user’s closest friends to a dangerous situation.

Aptly put in a recent Cracked article titled “6 Reasons Online Dating Will Never Lead To Love,” writer/online dater Talia Jane says, “It’s not online dating that lands you a spouse, but the commitment to put yourself out there and meet people.” Whether you prefer your futuristic tech piece or kicking it analog like me and picking your paramour up in a bar, your partner is out there. Go get ’em!

*Not her real name, obvs.

Reach DCP freelance writer Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin at JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com. To read more from Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin, visit her website at jennerlumpkin.com.

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About Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

View all posts by Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin
Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin is a writer and amateur cartographer living in Dayton, Ohio. She has been a member of PUSH (Professionals United for Sexual Health) since 2012 and is currently serving as Chair. She can be reached at JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com or through her website at jennerlumpkin.com.

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