I realized a couple months back that I need more female energy in my life. And because I’m a big fan of game plans and spreadsheets and strategies, I set out to attract the right kind of gal pal into my life. That is, I downloaded Bumble BFF.
Technically, Bumble is a dating app. I never thought I’d use a dating app because THANK THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW I managed to pin Alex down before Tinder became a thing. But it turns out this same app-based approach works for making non-sexy-times friends as well.
This is tough for me, because I’m a cave troll. I feel so fiercely protective of my time that I wonder whether I even have the ability to sustain any new friendships. But I spend so much of my time (let’s call it 40 hours a week) pretending to be normal and normal-functioning that I need some physical human beings I can sprinkle with all my manic energy. You know that person in your life who goes from office to office or room to room and tells the exact same story over and over in the exact same way and you’re like REALLY COULD YOU NOT?
Well, that’s me. But on the inside. I have all these thoughts stacking up and I’d like to dilute them by spreading them across an even field of friendlies. There’s a good chance this is just an elaborate attempt to ensure Alex doesn’t get sick of me because I simply cannot stop talking about random shite.
So, in case you’re in the same boat, here’s how Bumble BFF works:
Step One: Write your 300 character bio
Mine is something like “Hi I am super fun but hate people a little but am also full of light and love let’s meet for cheese”
Step Two: Upload six photos of yourself
My photos are a lie. You would think I spend my free time tromping about Moroccan villages whilst laughing exuberantly amongst my glamorous and wauldly attrauctive fraunds. It’s not my fault I’m a liar, I just rarely remember to snap photos when I’m fisting cheezits and making spreadsheets of creepy shite no one needs to know about.
Step Three: Set Your Distance Range
For me, like ten miles max. Because driving is hard when all you can think about is how you’re just 1 out of 7,000,000,000 on a blue dot in the vast nothingness of space.
Step Four: Link to Instagram and/or Spotify
Instagram, sure. I pretend to be an interesting person on there as well. But Spotify? HARD PASS. No one needs to know that my #1 artist for a solid two weeks in March was Kesha and/or that I basically listen to the same six songs on repeat (Toto’s Africa, One Night in Bangkok, Elastic Heart, Untouchable Face, Pursuit of Happiness, and Nothing Compares to You).
Step Five: Begin. That is, Swipe
Left Swipe = no thanks, bye. (98% of people get a Left Swipe)
Right Swipe = maybe we’re soulmates, but am I cool enough to be your friend?
After a certain point, the swiping becomes machine-like as every judgmental bone in your body is fully activated.
“She looks way too put together” *swipes left*
“Oh no, she uses that deer snapchat filter” *swipes left*
“All her other friends look like supermodels” *swipes left*
“She used the wrong YOUR” *swipes left*
Then, of course, that judgmentalness swings back around to your own profile.
Cue the existential crisis: Would I swipe right on MYSELF if I were on the other end? I’ve tried to be coy– listing some info but not everything. Mine says I’m a “writer with a day job.” Of course, then people are like “what do you write?” and I’m like “Dear God should I even tell them the truth” because if I was swiping along and saw a 32-year-old smiling in front of some exotic panorama while saying they’re writing a memoir I would be like “HAVE YOU EVEN SUFFERED.” *swipes left*
Sometimes you get your hopes up. Like, there was a woman on there who said she was a psychic and honestly I’ve never *swipes right* so fast in my entire life. Who doesn’t need/want a friend who’s a psychic?! But apparently I was a *swipes left* for her.
I wonder what she knows.
Probably the most alarming aspect of this entire experience has been the realization that Everyone Is Exactly The Same. It’s a little horrifying. Apparently, if you’re a woman over the age of 29 and live within 10 miles of me then all you want to do is Yoga! Brunch! Be Outdoors! and Try New Restaurants!
I’m down for all those things–but I don’t consider them a core part of my identify to such an extent I’d waste my precious few bio characters on them. It would never occur to me to list “trying new restaurants” as a hobby, even though Alex and I spend at least $1900 a month so we can eat exciting new tapas on exciting new patios and still be hungry afterwards. I’m pretty sure the “Trying New Restaurants!” people are the ones who rake their eyes up and down my human meat suit when we’re at the coolest new restaurant and then decide I’m not worthy of more than the slightest twitch of their sneer muscle. Sorry, lady. These are my eating pants.
Brunch is also something I’m into. But once you *swipes left* on two dozen women raving over Brunch! Bubbles! You begin to wonder if it’s code for something else. I mean, I love croque madam as much as the next person, but are we actually talking about fancy breakfast or is this a secret activation word for entrance into a goddess coven I didn’t even know I needed in my life?
Bumble BFF is almost like a beginner level game of Bingo– but instead of N42 it’s “photo of girl at the summit of a mountain, wearing colorful pants, a fitted jacket, an inexplicable bandana around her neck and hair in a very charming french braid I could never master.”
I’m beginning to question every aspect of my personality. These potential BFFs are like “I love being outdoors!” and I’m like *performs self-audit* — “I hike three out of four weekends every summer. Does that qualify me as loving to be outdoors? I know how canoes work, does that count? I own a whole closet’s worth of obscenely expensive camping gear, am I outdoorsy enough to be friends with this girl who’s repelling down a waterfall?”
Probably not. *Swipes left*
All this swiping is beginning to creep into my non-internet life as well. When I’m out in public and I actually pull my consciousness out of the clouds long enough to notice there are other people around, I will lean over to Alex and whisper “swipes left” or “swipes right” in response to the women and/or couples walking past us.
Here’s the plot twist, though: It’s working out.
I’ve had coffee, happy hour, dinner, and brunch (OMG, BUBBLES) with so many cool women the last couple months and even managed to convince a few of them to stick around. It turns out that despite my misanthropy and extreme aversion to most social situations, I really really like some of the humans. Friend energy (Frenergy?) is so good for the soul– particularly when it’s of a non-mans variety.
Speaking of all the ways I seek out friends who aren’t male, I’d also like to let you know I created a Facebook group a few weeks where we can all hang out. So if you don’t identify as a cis male, then PLEASE COME HANG OUT WITH US. Sorry, mans. There are reasons behind my decision but let’s just say it’s retaliation for all those centuries of not being allowed to smoke cigars in your club and/or sometimes we just need to be able to talk about our boobs without it getting *too* weird. We can still hang out here though, I promise.
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