updated 16 Apr 2014, 12:50
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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
The Straits Times
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Getting finger cramp looking for Mr Right
by Melissa Kok

Mobile apps have always come through for me when I needed help - getting directions to a restaurant, identifying a song playing in a club and paying my bills.

But could they help me score a date?

A month ago, I downloaded three mobiledating apps to my iPhone: Paktor, Surf-face and Love Out Loud Asia (Lola, for short). ESynchrony is available only on Android phones, so I gave it a miss.

The profiles on Paktor and Surf-face were mixed and varied. Some were downright weird. There were pictures of men posing with stuffed toys; dressed up as characters (think Austin Powers and Snow White); with their wives and children; and even wedding photos. Others chose to remain faceless, using snaps of cars or animals as their profile picture. I passed on all those men.

Of the three apps, I had the most success with Paktor: Out of the 13 matches I got, I chatted up four and, eventually, met two of them.

One was a 35-year-old fitness instructor. After discovering our mutual interest in running, we met, at his suggestion, for an evening jog on Sentosa, followed by dinner.

I was pleasantly surprised upon meeting him.

He was tanned, fit and looked just like his photos on the app. He was also well-mannered and struck me as genuine and down-to-earth.

We had dinner at a food centre in Pasir Panjang and he offered to pay for it (we went Dutch). While we drove home separately, he texted me afterwards to make sure I got home safely.

You can meet decent guys through a mobile app, I thought.

The second person I met through the app was a 31-year-old financial planner. We chatted after being matched and, seeing that we had two mutual friends, I decided it was safe for us to exchange telephone numbers.

He told me he liked clubbing at Zouk. So when I was there with friends one weekend, I texted him to ask if he was there too and we met at the bar. He was tall, lean and fair, and well-dressed in a suit jacket over T-shirt and jeans. He turned out to be very sociable and easy to get along with. He introduced me to his friends, all of them were wellspoken and friendly. From that first meeting, we continued to keep in touch and are now friends.

Meanwhile, on Lola, which asks users to suggest date ideas, I suggested dates such as grabbing a burger together, having a beer and catching a gig, and managed to score four matches.

I asked one of them, a 32-year-old photographer who looked pleasant enough in photos, out for a drink.

But he told me he had second thoughts about meeting face to face because he "felt ordinary" and had "low self-esteem".

We chatted a bit more, but he soon stopped replying to my messages completely.

Nor did I have much luck with Surf-face. I found one match - and it turned out to be someone I have already known for three years, a bank executive with whom I club occasionally.

He sent me a text message shortly after we were matched: "Do you live in a corn field? Because I would love to stalk you."

Yup, zero chance of romance there.

The majority of users on Surf-face are in their early 20s. At age 31, I felt that the dating pool was a tad too young for me.

After four weeks of mobile dating, did I find chemistry? Perhaps, in a platonic sense. What I did find, though, was app-date fatigue.

My finger is cramping from swiping at men's pictures. Trawling through endless lists of singletons (or supposed singletons) is just too timeconsuming.

I'm throwing in the towel. For now, I remain happily unattached.

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