We’re all familiar with the online dating scene and the various apps that are most frequently utilized: Tinder, Grindr, Hinge, Bumble, and so on. These apps rely exclusively on radial proximity, and otherwise don’t filter out individuals besides their gender. “But what if I want to get more specific?” Fear not. There are far more niche (sometimes obscure) apps out there, and I’m going to try out a few and report back. This is Part I.

Happn

General gist: Ever cross paths with someone cute in a coffee shop? Well now, if you’re both on Happn, you’ll pop up in each other’s feeds. The app is based on immediate proximity within a certain time frame.

This guy nailed it when I asked him what he thought of this app:

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Pros: The page continuously refreshes as individuals move throughout your area, so you’re never short of potential matches.

Cons: YOU ARE LITERALLY SO CLOSE TO EVERYONE. I downloaded the app at work and was then terrified of going out to lunch because I saw dudes whose locations were steps from where I wanted to get a salad. The chances of running into someone you match with are high. It shows you how close/far away you are from the person…in FEET.

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You get your usual weirdos.

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And then some occasional worth-while conversations. But the whole proximity thing makes it way easier to meet up with someone. Maybe that’s a pro?

Best match: this guy

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Bristlr

General gist: This app targets two specific niche groups: men with beards, and other individuals who enjoy stroking beards. The guys’ beards on this app range from that sexy week-out scruff to full on Dumbledore beards.

Pros: If you’re into beards, you’re in the right place.

Cons: So many cons. The app itself operates as though it’s somewhat of a beta version. It’s slow and under-developed. Additionally, when you sign up for an account, you’re given a username that only sort of closely resembles your actual name, but chances are you’ll have to ask your match their name.

I understand the appeal of a niche dating app, but with such a new, relatively-unknown app such as Bristlr, why would one want to so drastically limit their potential pool? I guess if you’re REALLY into beards….

One more pro:

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Clearly this guy was going for a “spray and pray” method, and I actually kind of really liked that the app alerted me to the fact that he was doing this. Although he only said hi, I’ve encountered other guys who go for an instant conversation-starter such as…

7How do I know I’m not the 29th girl he’s tried this line on? I just wish some guys would be as honest as this dude…

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I should mention that I set myself up for some conversation starters in my bio, detailing that I love $1 slices of pizza, cats, and drinking red wine through a straw. The responses that followed were…interesting.

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And…

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Long story short, neither of these apps are A+ but if you find that aimlessly swiping left and right is an exhaustive process, consider narrowing your options, whether dependent on immediate proximity or facial grooming.

Next up… Tindog (Tinder for dog owners) and Align, based on astrological compatibility.

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