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Since dating apps launched in 2009, they have grown near exponentially and are a standard feature on any single person’s smartphone. Apps cater to specific communities, like the originators, Grindr and Scruff for the gay community, to apps for the senior set or people who are really into farmers. Is it any wonder that single celebs would want in in the action? Actress Sharon Stone (Casino, Basic Instinct) signed up for a Bumble account, only to have her account blocked by administrators who just didn’t believe it was really the Hollywood A-lister.
Match Group, which operates Tinder, Match, OK Cupid, and a handful of other apps, reported that “half of all singles in the US use or have tried a dating app. There are also huge single populations in the rest of the world where dating products are becoming the new normal.” While predictions estimate that the user base will top out around 28 million in 2022, those users are not loyal to any one app, switching around across a selection of services.
Having Stone on the app should be a feather in Bumble’s fedora, but it was hard for anyone to believe that she was actually looking for love online. Her take-down was due to user reports claiming that someone was faking Stone’s profile. Stone took to Twitter to note her disappointment in not being able to join in the fun. It took Bumble only a few hours to correct the error.
Celeb dating shenanigans have long been fodder for gossip. Every grocery checkout line is plastered with salacious details about who is divorcing who, illicit captures of couples canoodling through zoom lenses, and predictions about relationships in turmoil. It was just too much to believe that the beautiful, unattainable Sharon Stone could be out there with the rest of the unwashed masses, longing for connection, and willing to splash her details out on an app to get it.
She could have joined Raya, the elite dating app for high end people. Raya has a strict application and approval process, and many of those who apply are denied access. Raya offers a screening process, and notable users include Channing Tatum, Ben Affleck, Matthew Perry, and Moby, but of course, he’s everywhere. If Stone wanted to talk to these guys, she would have no trouble getting in touch.
Instead she took a chance on Bumble. Maybe she didn’t want to deal with other people in her class, maybe she knows all those people and doesn’t have any interest in rehashing the same problems and minor first world problem concerns. Perhaps she liked the Bumble concept, where women are the ones to make the first move and wanted the control that comes with not having to fend off the predictable masses of dm’s and dick pick pics.
It turns out that Sharon Stone is really just like the rest of us. She wants something she doesn’t have, and can’t find through the normal channels. Dating apps are how we meet people now. From long term relationships to the more common practice of random hook ups, app-based connections are easy, available, and more of a sure thing than wandering into a local bar and hoping for the best. It’s no wonder that even those who are perceived to be the most illustrious among us would want to test the waters.
Being at the top of your profession and trying to find a date is not easy for women. Actress Emma Watson (Little Women, Harry Potter) found herself filled with anxiety as she approached the age 30, realizing that she had not hit any relationship milestones. “‘Oh my God, I feel so stressed and anxious,” she said. “And I realise it’s because there is suddenly this bloody influx of subliminal messaging around. If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out.” Digging into those feelings led her to the conclusion that being single is actually not the end of the world, and she proclaimed herself “self-partnered.”
Oddly, while Bumble blocked Stone, Tinder’s Match Group recently came under fire for not adequately screening sex offenders off of their database. Reports of rape and assault from some women who dated repeated sex offenders after meeting them online caused the company to reconsider its policy. This raises questions about who should be allowed on dating apps, and who should make those decisions.
With everyone on dating apps, from Sharon Stone to sex offenders, the takeaway is that everyone is looking for something, and the internet is the primary place to find it. That Bumble couldn’t believe Stone was part of the same dating pool as the rest of the population speaks to how unaware these apps truly are of their influence over how people partner. It’s as daunting as always to find true love, and as dating apps circumnavigate the globe, the protections that apps have in place to secure users from harm and from false profiles will have to get tighter.