I’m Banned From Every Mainstream Dating App Except Bumble and I Hate It Here

So I hate Bumble. But look, if anyone from Bumble is reading this right now (hi, sorry), it’s nothing personal. Do I think the word “bumble” itself is pure ick and the entire “ladies first” premise is a little dated in a very 2014, #girlboss kind of way? Yes, of course. But that’s not the point.

Obviously, I know a lot of people really love and respond to Bumble, and if that’s you, then great! But the main reason I hate Bumble is because as someone whose biggest turn-on is feeling pursued, the whole “making the first move” deal simply does not work for me. As soon as I have to put the moves on a dude, any erotic potential he may have held for me just vanishes. Naturally, this pretty much makes Bumble a self-defeating exercise in futility.

Unfortunately, at this advanced stage of my app dating career, Bumble happens to be the only one of the “big three” dating apps (by which I mean, of course, the holy trinity of Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge) that I’m not banned from. I can explain, I swear.

Tinder was first. In retrospect, this was really no big loss—I think we’ve now reached a point as a society where we can all agree that Tinder kind of fell off and/or was never actually that great to begin with—but in 2019, it was a pretty serious blow. As a teen of the 2010s, I basically grew up on Tinder. You might even say Tinder raised me. (No offense to the loving parents who *actually* raised me.) So opening up the app one day after years of faithful swiping to find out I had been banned—with zero explanation—felt like coming home and realizing my spouse of five years had changed the locks to our house. (I realize I have now kind of lost the thread of this metaphor and it’s unclear whether Tinder is my dad or my husband. But either way, the point is that the deadbeat left my ass.)

Much like the men on said dating apps who will ghost you with no warning or explanation, dating apps usually won’t tell you why they banned you. So like a girl who just got dumped via Post-it Note, you’re basically left to sit around and wonder what you did wrong. In my case, all evidence seems to point to the fact that I’d recently changed my bio to, “I’m sorry but my circumstances have changed and I can no longer afford to date men for free,” and threw in my Venmo handle for good measure. So, TL;DR: I got banned from Tinder for being hilarious and entrepreneurial, and I’m not sorry.

But Hinge! Hinge hurt, I’ll be honest. It’s been more than two years, and to this day, every time I hear someone answer the “favorite dating app” question with Hinge (because let’s be real, the answer is always Hinge), I still have that stomach-drop feeling you get when someone offhandedly mentions the ex you never got over.

TBH, I truly have no idea why Hinge decided I was persona non grata. What I do know is that it happened almost immediately after I very nicely (and politely!) told a Hinge guy I’d been on a few dates with that I was no longer interested in seeing him, so the logical assumption is that he reported me out of spite and Hinge didn’t ask any questions. In other words, as one of my coworkers put it, “All it takes is one bitter man.” (This isn’t super relevant, but it feels worth mentioning that this particular bitter man was a photographer whose shower curtain was literally a collage of all the naked women he’d taken pictures of—and no, I cannot explain why it took me more than one date to break things off with him. Pretty much the entirety of my 22nd year on Earth is between me and God, okay?)

So, long story short, I’m stuck with Bumble and its girlboss-y energy and aggressively yellow interface. Obviously, I’ve had to come up with some clever workarounds since landing myself in dating app exile, because I am a daughter of Tinder and literally incapable of meeting people IRL. Below, some advice from me, a literal disgrace in the eyes of Tinder and Hinge, on making the best of life on the fringes of online dating society.

Have a default opener in your Notes app that you copy and paste to every match.

Okay, so generally speaking, I am very much against this practice. But desperate times, you know? If you, like me, need to feel pursued if you’re going to have any hope of being even remotely interested in a match, sending out a blanket opener that puts the ball in your match’s court can help you trick yourself into feeling like they’re the one initiating the conversation. Nothing wrong with a little calculated self-delusion! Something like this usually does the trick:

“Alright, here’s the deal: I hate Bumble. Unfortunately, it’s one of the only mainstream dating apps I’m not banned from (I can explain, lol). I understand Bumble’s whole deal and get that some people really respond to it, but for me, the thing I’m most attracted to is feeling wanted and pursued, which means that as soon as I have to make the first move, I’m totally over it. So if you’re at all interested, shoot your shot and we’ll both pretend you approached me.”

(You can literally copy that if you want, IDC.)

Reach out only to the matches who extend your connection.

Quick Bumble refresher for anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about: Bumble gives you only 24 hours to reach out to a match before it expires, but a match can extend the connection for an additional 24 hours if they’re really hoping you’ll make a move. Sometimes this gesture is enough for me to get that hit of “Okay, he wants me” validation, so I try to focus on those ones.

Become famous enough to get on Raya.

I have not yet succeeded in doing this. If you know anyone who can help me out with this quest, please feel free to slide right on into my DMs, thanks.

Rebrand as a sugar baby.

Just kidding (no, I’m not). Look, all I’m saying is it’s harder to get banned from apps that are already a little sketchy to begin with. Plus, new side hustle! It’s called ~passive income~, baby.

Use the fact that you’ve been banned from all the other dating apps as street cred.

It’s a great icebreaker and it will make you sound ~edgy~. It might also make men scared of you, which is always a good position to be in. My number one dating tip? Strike fear in a man’s heart early and often. (Yes, I’m single.)


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