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    I Tried Dating Apps That Are Known For Hookups — And IDK What I Was Expecting, But It Probably Wasn't This

    Well, *that* escalated quickly.

    Hi! I'm Fabiana — and as a single person, I'm here to tell you how much of a struggle it is to date right now.

    I've written about the difficulty of dating during a pandemic before, including my most recent foray into Zoom speed dating. Hated it.

    Fabiana Buontempo

    (It's also worth mentioning that I am a straight cis woman looking to date men, so all of my experiences are be based on that.)

    Since I haven't had much luck so far on fan-favorite apps like Hinge or The League, I decided to keep going into the app world and try out ones that have an upfront reputation for being mostly (or only) for hookups. I wanted to see if people on there really *only* wanted some sexy time. Why not, right?

    Maybe these apps had an unfair reputation. Maybe I'd be pleasantly surprised. Either way, I wanted to keep an open mind.

    For some background on my love life, I am happily single, and dating is not the number-one priority for me right now. Having this mindset definitely made it easier for me to go onto these apps while not really giving a fuck and just doing some ~investigating.~


    I'm also not one to hook up with a rando or have a one-night stand, so honestly, it was quite funny to even try. Still, I wanted to see if I could match with someone who maybe was on the app for intentions *other* than just sex.

    Here were my experiences with four popular hookup apps:

    NBC / Via

    1. Yumi: A local hookup and chat app that doesn't require any personal info (other than your location) — and even lets you anonymize your profile photo if that's your thing.

    A screenshot of the Yumi app
    Fabiana Buontempo / Via Yumi

    How does the app work? The interesting thing about Yumi is that it doesn't require any of your personal details. You can also make your profile anonymous by placing emojis over your face or even blurring your entire profile picture.

    Clearly, the app is trying to make people feel less weird for just wanting a little sexy time with a stranger. The only info it asks for is the general location of where you live so it can create local matches. In the app, you flip cards, and if the cards on both ends flip, it's a match — and you can message the other person.

    My thoughts on it: Okay, sooo...Yumi is just as skeevy as it sounds. Granted, it's literally described as a "hookup and anonymous chat app," so I knew what I was getting myself into. But I tried my best to be optimistic with low expectations and see if there was anyone on there who had different intentions than just a "Yumi" hookup. Spoiler: I did not.

    I also found the app — and its "game" to flip cards to show that you like someone — to be a little confusing. By accident I flipped cards when I meant to "x" out of them, resulting in me getting some creepy messages from guys I already wasn't into.

    There was at least variety in profile photos. Some photos on there were normal selfies, while others were shirtless thirst traps. But basically, this is solely a hookup app, as most of you probably already figured by the time you got to this final conclusion.

    2. Plenty of Fish: A free-for-all app that lets you do things like search by specific traits you're looking for, or even livestream instead of just texting.

    A screenshot of the Plenty of Fish app
    Fabiana Buontempo / Via Plenty of Fish

    How does the app work? This app was even more confusing than the last. Going into it, I'd heard of a lot of people using Plenty of Fish, so I'm curious if I'm the only one who doesn't grasp the concept of it. Why is everyone allowed to message anyone they want before even matching or liking one another? The app also asks the most random questions about your preferences and personality more than any other app I've tried.

    There are multiple ways you can connect with someone. Photos pop up of profiles that you can like or pass on, the app has a livestream feature (I was scared of what that even was), and you can message anyone or reply to those who messaged you. A LOT going on here.

    My thoughts on it: I've heard of success stories on POF so I figured it couldn't be that bad, but the majority of the messages I received were guys being very forward or just asking the most bizarre sexual things. I expected this app to be a little more PG than ones like Yumi — but I probably only had about two normal/non-sexual conversations out of many.

    Most of the other messages I received were guys asking for my number right away (see picture above) or asking to wrestle (um, what?). The only positive I found with using POF was that you don't have to spend a lot of your time swiping away like other apps before actually chatting with someone.

    3. Tinder: The classic hookup app that probably doesn't even need a description.

    A screenshot of the Tinder app
    Fabiana Buontempo / Via Tinder

    How does the app work? Tinder has always had the reputation of being a hookup app, although I feel like its reputation has gotten a little better in recent years. Similar to apps like Bumble, you swipe to like or dislike other profiles based on the user's photos, a small bio, and their interests. Once two people match, you can have a conversation. Tinder is very user-friendly and straightforward compared to Yumi or POF, in my opinion.

    My thoughts on it: I honestly was quite surprised by Tinder. I went in thinking guys are only on there for a booty call, but I actually had some really nice conversations with a few guys.

    Most of them right off the bat asked why I was on the app, and I kept my answer pretty vague. Only one of the matches went somewhere — and we had a FaceTime date. The guy was sweet but just not for me, so I politely told him I wasn't interested. Going forward if I want to get back onto apps, I wouldn't necessarily rule out Tinder altogether.

    4. Bumble: An app that prides itself in, among other things, letting women make the first move.

    A screenshot of the Bumble app
    Fabiana Buontempo / Via Bumble

    How does the app work? Bumble has its users swipe on profiles that show multiple photos and a brief bio of each person. In male-female matches, women are required to make the first move so that we're more in control of the conversation. I liked this because it meant I wasn't receiving weird, off-the-bat messages like the other apps allow. You can also choose to include answers to prompts, similar to Hinge, to get a better sense of other people's interests and personality.

    My thoughts on it: I know Bumble isn't necessarily considered a hookup app, but I've heard from friends about some weird encounters on there. So I was curious to see what type of guys I would have the option of meeting on this app.

    Contrary to my expectations for the other apps, I was expecting some quality matches and conversations on here...but my results were quite the opposite.

    I swiped and matched with a handful of guys, but after a few off-putting messages, I found myself to feel a bit discouraged. (See the screenshot above. I mean — come on, Nick!) I would maybe revisit Bumble down the line, but as of right now, it's a no from me, dawg.

    Final thoughts!


    I think if you're someone who wants to try out dating apps and see which one is for you, try them out! It's tough to listen to others' opinions of them, as everyone has a preference on which dating app (or dating style) they prefer. Also, if you're looking for a no-strings-attached, casual hookup situation, some of these apps are worth trying. It all stems back to knowing your intentions of why you're on dating apps in the first place.

    As for me, I'm someone who is single and not looking to immediately date nor casually hook up with a random guy. So I'm pretty content being off these dating apps for now, especially if it means I can avoid creeps like Nick. 😑

    Have you had better luck with dating apps — or dating during the pandemic in general? Tell me in the comments!