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“Guys found it to be ‘desperate,’ when it wasn’t desperate, it was part of a broken system.” Like many startup founders, Wolfe has big ambitions for the service: “It’s not a dating app, it’s a movement,” she says.“This could change the way women and men treat each other, women and men date, and women feel about themselves.” Bumble launched about six months ago and seems to be catching on.
I don’t think I come across as “easy”, and I am intelligent and take care of myself. Maybe you won’t say anything because you know that if you do, the relationship will end. If my 38-year-old fiancé had done that after a month or three, we wouldn’t be getting married.
“I felt like I was being punked or something, because all the guys are really good looking and had really good jobs,” explains Lauren Garzon, a 32-year old hotel manager in NYC.
“So I was like, ‘Ya, I do want to date all of you.'” She says she was disappointed that few of the guys she messaged wrote back, but Jen Stith, a spokeswoman for Bumble, says the company is considering adding a time limit to encourage guys to respond more quickly to messages. “Because girls like it,” says Bryan Oltman, a 28-year old Bumble user and software engineer who used to work at OKCupid.
“It’s important to me that nothing we do harms Tinder,” she says. It’s my baby.” But that doesn’t mean she’s not using similar tactics to get it off the ground.
One of Wolfe’s major contributions to Tinder was her ability to get college students to download the app.
’ And wouldn’t it be nice if there was no way he would think you were desperate or weird if you did?
A year after she was ousted from Tinder and nine months after she sued the company for sexual harassment, Wolfe is back with a dating app of her own, dubbed Bumble.“He can’t say you’re desperate, because the app made you do it,” she says, adding that she tells her friends to make the first move and just “blame Bumble.” Matches expire after 24 hours, which provides an incentive for women to reach out before it’s too late (the women-message-first feature is only designed for straight couples—if you’re LGBTQ, either party can send the first message.) Wolfe says she had always been comfortable making the first move, even though she felt the stigma around being too forward.“I would say ‘I’m just going to go up to him,’ and all my girlfriends were like ‘Oh no no no no, you can’t do that,'” she says.A former member of Kappa at Southern Methodist University, Wolfe shows up at sororities with yellow balloons, cartons of yellow Hanky-Panky lacy underwear, and always, she says, “a cute purse.” Then she hands out a thong to each sorority sister who sends out 10 invitations to Bumble.“By the end, I’d show up and they’d be like ‘Go away, we’re already all on it! Because of the female-first messaging model, Bumble seems to be free of some of the sleaziness that plagues Tinder, at least for now.Men post pictures of themselves wearing button downs (not muscle tees) or hugging their moms (not endangered species.) And because they can’t message first, guys can’t hedge their bets by swiping right on every girl they see and messaging all of them to see who bites.