Playing the Dating (app) Game
What you can learn from one woman’s adventures in Amsterdam dating, one app and one location at a time.
Text: Elysia Brenner
Tinder seemed an obvious place to start. As the most popular dating app in the city (and the world) it didn’t take more than a few swipes to find a match. Days later I found myself sitting across a high-top table from Daniel*, a cute Catalonian who had neglected to mention his lack of vino love when I chose by-the-glass wine bar Vyne – a top date spot (and 270 menu options) wasted. He was hoping to quickly move the party to a more private setting, anyway: the Tinder reputation remains intact.
It could Happn to you
Happn helps people of all sexual orientations find matches amongst those they pass by every day. You’ll see a lot of your neighbours in your hunt – which made choosing a location for my meet-up with Greek developer Georgios* ultra-convenient. We sat in the enchanting garden of Happyhappyjoyjoy East, supping on street-food-inspired fine foodery washed down with a decent selection from the bar. A magical setting for a magical connection – for that night, anyway.
The gimmick of this Tinder-like app is that, once there’s a match, only the women can strike up a conversation, within 24 hours, after which the man has 24 hours to respond. I landed a date with Andrew*, an American tourist from Florida who looks like the 11th Doctor and with whom I was happy to share a couple of the hundreds of offerings at my favourite Belgian-born beer bar, Délirium – plus some stolen kisses.
Accessing The Inner Circle
This Dutch dating start-up employs a recommendation system to get access, presumably to ‘keep out the riff-raff’ – and the attitudes of many on the site reflect that. One of the first people to contact me there? Daniel, from Tinder, looking for a second try. I went instead with Kees*, a Dutch developer who actually shared my thirst for wine. At his suggestion we met at GlouGlou, which specialises in the ‘vin naturel’ variety of the grape stuff, where you play Russian roulette with bottles of ultra-organics. It was the perfect place to pass a pleasant evening of tipsy conversation… after which neither of us bothered to contact the other again.
Struck by OK Cupid
I had been avoiding OK Cupid because it tends to be a time suck. Dozens of uninteresting messages after reopening my account, I finally struck the right chord with local boat builder Jan*, with whom I spent a long and lazy afternoon of cocktails and comfort food at hipster-friendly brunch bar and barbershop Cut Throat before realising that his intentions might be more serious than my own.
As for me, I might not have landed my Valentine’s Day date yet… but I’ve been hearing good things about Ohello, a new app that will set up a spontaneous date for you on the spot.
*Names have been changed to protect the (not so) innocent.
This article was originally published in the Jan-Feb 2017 edition of A-Mag