More and more of us use online dating sites and dating apps like Tinder to connect.

Looking for love in Alaska? There’s an app for that! Alaska may be an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts, but the dating pool remains shallow. It’s never been easy to find love in the far north. Through online dating sites and dating apps like Tinder, Alaskans are using these and other venues to make connections.

A Tinder tale

Sweet, smart, logical, and a little nerdy are some of the words Mark Bailey uses to describe his girlfriend, Jenny Jones, who he swiped right on using the dating app Tinder a little over two years ago.

The Tinder app is simple. People display their pictures and a few personal details about themselves and are instantly connected to app users in their area. Users swipe right to like someone and swipe left to dislike someone and once a match is created between two users who liked each other’s profiles they can start a conversation.

Jones, 25, and Bailey, 24, of Anchorage said they unexpectedly found love from the dating app.

After almost two years of dating in February, “Two years and 11 days” by Bailey’s account, I sat down for coffee with the couple to talk about their experience with Tinder.

“Our stories are different,” Jones said. “I had used Tinder a lot before we met, almost four months so to me it was really weird that Mark and I actually met.”

Bailey said he had used Tinder before but with no success until meeting Jones.

The couple said their first date or meet-up rather was at a coffee house.

“We don’t consider the coffee meet-up a date,” Bailey said. “It was more of the vetting process to make sure you’re not cat-fishing each other.”

Jones said that they didn’t originally tell most people that they met on Tinder.

“At first we told almost everyone that we met in a coffee shop,” Jones said. “It was just weird at first to say we met on Tinder but now that we are more comfortable it’s just funny and we tell people. They usually get a kick out of it that we met on Tinder.”

Both Jones and Bailey, who describe themselves as introverts, said they think it is hard to meet people in Alaska. Bailey, who studied at UAF for his first two years of school, said dating was especially difficult there.

“You don’t even leave your dorm in the winter because it’s negative 30,” Bailey said. “When I came down to Anchorage I focused on my career and just got really lucky and found Jenny.”

A few weeks into dating, the couple said they individually deleted their Tinder accounts on the same day without knowing the other deleted theirs until they told each other after a date that night.

Jones and Bailey are truly a Tinder love story. The couple now lives together with their three cats, one of which they adopted together.

A Tinder folly

A single 38-year old Anchorage woman who requested to be referenced by her dating alias name, Faith Charity, frequently uses dating apps to meet local singles. From her dating profile, Charity appears to enjoy traveling, freelance modeling and working out. Charity said she now uses her “alias” on dating apps as a safety net in case some men turn out to be creepy.

“I have met quite a few uninteresting men,” Charity said. “At first, I was very picky swiping right. I soon learned that you can’t be very picky on choices of men in the area.”

Charity said that  the inspiration behind her dating alias name is an experience she had with a man she met on Tinder who she chooses to call “Iditarod” because he competed in the race in 2015.

“Iditarod was too clingy. By the end of the evening, he wanted to date me, be his girlfriend, meet his mom,” Charity said. “After more texts and calls I finally told him to stop all communication and if he did not, I would file a harassment charge and request a restraining order.”

Charity said she now only uses her dating alias unless she feels comfortable enough after meeting a man to give him her actual information.

Charity said she thinks people are using dating apps like these because people can be whomever they want behind the screen.

“For insecure people, this makes rejection a lot easier than face to face,” Charity said. “Or for me it’s simply easier to initiate a conversation from the safety of your screen.”

Charity said she has had a lot of success meeting people with dating apps like Tinder and Plenty of Fish. Though Charity said she is not looking for another husband, for now she has met some really fun guys and cool friends using the apps.

Since January, Charity said she has turned off all dating apps because she said she needs a break from her various suitors and unsolicited “booty call requests.”

Northern love dating site

Alaska Dispatch News is getting involved with the dating scene in Alaska after the launch of its new dating site called Northern Love. Maia Nolan-Partnow, director of sales and special content at Alaska Dispatch News, said that the site was created last year not only as a way to bring in revenue for the paper but also to provide a useful tool for readers who want to branch out and meet people in Alaska outside of the “five” bars downtown.

Nolan-Partnow explains how Northern Love differs from other dating sites and apps.

“The difference with Northern Love is that you start off with one critical thing in common: Alaska,” she said. People are romanced with the idea of Alaska and this is a spot for people that share that love of this state.”

Nolan-Partnow said that having been a single person in town, she has experienced the challenges with dating in Anchorage.

“There is an element of serendipity to dating in this town,” Nolan-Partnow said. “Any tool people can use to find that unlikely person is helpful and what we’re hoping users are having success from the site.”

Nolan-Partnow said ADN is eagerly awaiting to hear of any successful matches made on Northern Love.

So it would appear online dating holds the same promises and pitfalls once found in more conventional dating methods.  It has definitely evolved from the days of arranged marriages and gentlemen callers. For now, Alaskans are “swiping for love,” and more of them are looking to the Internet to help them make connections than ever before, and will continue to do so as technology progresses.

Kendall is a UAA journalism student who hopes to turn her passion for writing into a career one day. Kendall has lived in Alaska for over 15 years and enjoys everything her beautiful state has to offer including the unique opportunities to cover stories in The Last Frontier!

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