If you aren't familiar with my addiction, here's the need-to-know summary: I download dating apps out of boredom because I like window-shopping through an endless supply of men. Only once in a blue moon do any of these apps induce me to go on an actual date.
What did I think of Clover? Well, it confirmed my belief that this world can only be cleansed by fire.
Clover markets itself as Tinder meets OKCupid. I've never used the latter, so I can't compare on that front. But the Tinder-concept makes sense: it's your basic swipe-right-swipe-left format for shuffling through potential matches. Window shopping galore. The major difference is that this app also has a section that allows you to see your matches, people you've liked, AND (here's the selling point) people who've liked you—whether or not you've even checked them out to see if it's mutual.
Just a refresher if you're not overly-familiar with Tinder, one of the great things about it is that you are only able to see and message profiles that are a mutual "like." (In other words, you both swiped right.)
So if that's one of the great things about Tinder, why does Clover's variation make for such a selling point? For one thing, it means I get to see what type of men are interested in me, not just the ones who caught my eye. For another, I thought, "Who knows! Maybe there will be people I wouldn't have given a chance at first glance! But knowing they're interested in me will make me give them more of a chance." (Oh how wrong I was…but we'll get there.)
The other key distinctions of Clover are that you can make your profile a little more extensive than just a brief About Me section and a shallow list of things you like (yoga, coffee, hiking, wine, fishing, etc.). Clover has a few more profile questions you have the option of displaying. For those of us who are picky about things like smoking or religion, this is a really nice addition.
Finally, my favorite thing about this app is that in addition to liking a profile or messaging someone, you also have the option to cut to the chase and directly ask for a date. For the person being asked, you can decline, or you can suggest a place or time. How delightfully in-keeping with my idea that the faster you meet that 1-dimensional profile in 3D high definition, the better!
So with all this in mind, here's Clover in a nutshell:
- More extensive profiles, if you want them. There are still an abundance of men floating around with nothing more than their age and height on display, but many users choose the option to display a variety of additional facts. Race, Religion, Smoking/Drinking/Drug [Weed] habits, and more. If you pay for a profile, you can display even more information and get a fancy checkmark next to your name showing that you are a real live person and not a pretend person.
- On the same note, finally, FINALLY a dating app that asks what your intentions are. One of the profile segments is "Intention" and you have a choice of answers including "Looking for people to chat with," "Looking for new friends," "Looking for hookup," "Looking for casual dating," and "Looking for long-term." And surprisingly, I saw a variety of profiles with each of these intentions. So there's someone for everyone on this app.
- I really, really love the whole cut-through-the-red-tape-and-ask-me-on-a-damn-date feature. Really. That part is a great idea. Well played, Clover. Well played.
And now, the dark side of this app and why I am currently feeling generally repulsed by humanity.
- When I say you can see anyone who liked your profile, whether or not it's mutual, I mean ANYONE. As of writing this, I have had the app for less than 12 hours, and my phone has been exploding with hundreds of notifications. I almost couldn't get to my settings fast enough to turn off the sound on these notifications. And this list of men into me? They are across the board, not just profiles that meet my search filters. I quickly realized that it would take forever to go through this list and narrow it down to men I am actually interested in, and I began to simply ignore the list altogether, opting instead to use the filtered search feature.
- One would think that listing in plain letters that you are looking for a long-term relationship would deter contact from people who are looking for hookups or -ahem- "chatting." Not so, friends. Not so. Creepy men are just as persistent and unconcerned with your needs/desires on Clover as they are pretty much everywhere else.
- These men can also message you without needing a mutual like to get past first. So far I have heard from two barely-legal teenagers, a weirdo who asked whether I'm looking for a "Relationship, friends with benefits with gift perks, or pay2play?" (in spite of that handy intentions feature), a 49-yr-old over 1000 miles away from me, several men whose profile pictures imply that they do not know the year is 2016 and they are not on Myspace, and Omar.
- Omar has sent me 9 messages, mostly quoting Bane, a villain in Batman: the Dark Knight Rises. I have not replied to Omar because I honestly do not know how to reply to Omar, and I genuinely do not know why he thinks these messages are a good way to approach a woman.
- The dating request feature also does not require a mutual like. Which puts you in the uncomfortable position of having to reject someone whose attention you hadn't really solicited—unless simply being on a dating app counts as soliciting their attention? I suppose there's an argument to both sides of that. But it would be nice if it had to be mutual first. On the other hand, a guy having the stones to open with this move automatically inclines me to give him additional consideration, even if I wasn't immediately impressed by his profile. That said, I feel very icky sitting here staring at a date request from a guy I am simply not attracted to. If I wanted to hurt men's feelings I would go to a bar.
- After reading my messages, I feel creeped out by men in general, and have no desire to talk to any of them.
- I am concerned about Omar's mental stability.
So with all of that in consideration, I'll bet you're expecting me to delete Clover and move on. But the catch is I'm genuinely intrigued by the portion of the app that let's you request dates "as easily as you'd order a burrito" according to one review. From what I can tell, it essentially functions as a means of setting up a blind date. It requires mutual interest, of course, which so far I haven't had, but I find this portion of the app very unique and worth investigating further. Maybe by this time next week I'll have a story to tell from it.