Whenever I see a tall, dark, and handsome man in a gaudy Speedo, I Like him. The same goes for when I see a tattooed woman in a jumper or sundress. As someone who identifies as bisexual, I enjoy being able to connect with both men and women on Tinder.
But that hardly means that I connect with everyone in the same way. I suspect that’s part of the reason Tinder recently rolled out more ways to express your sexual orientation on the app.
I’ve seen firsthand that the world of men seeking men on Tinder. Things can become a little cruisy, but I maintain that it’s still better than any gay-specific dating app out there when it comes to meeting a potential partner who’s also interested in pursuing a long-term relationship.
Many gay and bi men have a tendency to look for love in all the wrong places. While heading to the jockstrap party at a leather bar will undoubtedly lead to a fun night, that night probably won’t turn into something more. Same too, in my experience, with gay-specific hookup apps. As a rule of thumb, if you’ve said less than 100 words before getting naked together, then don’t expect it to turn into something serious. (Again, that’s not to say it’s impossible, but let’s keep expectations realistic.)
If you’re a gay/bi man looking for something besides a casual fling, I highly recommend Tinder. It’s not uncommon for queer men on the app to directly ask, “What are you looking for?” which is a sort of euphemistic way of asking, “Is this going to be a one-time thing or are you trying to actually get to know and date me?” That way, it’s all out in the open, and you will be on the same page before deciding to meet (or not).
While this is a common hetero dating norm, I can’t help but find it stupid. If you want to talk to someone, you should talk to them no matter your gender.
On Tinder, I’ve also noticed that I match with a hell of a lot more men than I do women. (This was even before I put I was bisexual on my Tinder profile, so my rejections weren’t because of biphobia.) Women, it seems, tend to be choosier.
As my straight friend Sonya*, 29, says, “If the pic grabs my attention, I will then read the profile before ever [Liking].” As I know from using Tinder with my gay friends, we usually don’t read the profile. If we find them attractive, we tap Like. If we’re unsure from the pictures (maybe he looks really handsome in one and then really iffy in another), we then read through his profile. In this regard, it’s more of a tie-breaker for gay and bi men, whereas it’s a necessity for women.
In male-to-female chats, women tend to initiate the conversation significantly less often than men. I’d say when I match with men, I’m pretty evenly split on sending over an opening line. With women, however, I take the initiative roughly 90% of the time. If a woman does send over a message first, most of the time she identifies as queer or bisexual, meaning that straight women hardly message me first.
“I still usually wait for the guy to message first,” my straight friend Jill*, 23, says. “I shouldn’t have to pursue.” While this is a common hetero dating norm, I can’t help but find it stupid. If you want to talk to someone, you should talk to them no matter your gender.
The differences between using Tinder to connect with men and women continue when you actually meet in person. I end up going out with significantly more guys than I do women. That’s for a number of reasons. For one, gay men tend to initiate meeting up quicker than women do. Women, in my experience, spend more time getting to know the other person via messaging.
“I need to do a little recon before agreeing to meet up with him, since, after all, we are complete strangers,” Sonya says. While it’s understandable to want to get to know someone before meeting them in person, I believe the longer you spend messaging back and forth without setting up a time to meet, the more likely you are to get distracted, lose interest, or start talking to someone else who you find more exciting.
Now the world of women seeking women on Tinder is a whole ’nother story.
“It sucks,” my bisexual ex-girlfriend Cookie, 25, says. When I ask her why, she explains, “Nothing seems to ever go anywhere. Girls don’t want to meet up. We just talk until until one of us stops responding.”
With guys, however, “[They] are just down to hang and chill and meet up.”
Not everyone feels the way Cookie does, however. My bi friend Jess*, 31, says she loves and has met some pretty cool women on Tinder, many of whom she’s dated for long periods of time and some of whom she now considers her close friends.
“I think the main difference is that you know the guys are into you, where you’re not always sure the women are,” she says. “That can make [using Tinder to find women seem] ‘harder,’ so to speak.”
The heart of the woman-to-woman Tinder experience is perhaps best described by bisexual comedian and co-author of “I Hate Everyone But You” Gaby Dunn.
“Tinder for straights is quotes from ‘The Office’ and people hiking,” she says. “Tinder for queer women is ‘Killing Eve’ and astrological signs.”
*Names have been changed to protect innocent daters everywhere.