Love. Dating. Flings. After celebrating a Valentine's Day alone that focused on self–love, these thoughts have been circling in my head daily. As a hopeless romantic with not a lot of romance in my life, I decided to take the initiative and tackle my love life head–first. How? Through Monet, a dating app focused on drawing for your matches.
The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that this app, which was developed by two Penn students, shot to fame after going viral on TikTok. It allows matches to send drawings back and forth and chat with each other, giving users a way to have "organic conversation" with others. By focusing on drawings instead of swipes, Monet's developers claim that the app is "a lot safer and more wholesome" than its competitors.
I decided to give it a shot myself and see whether it really lived up to its claims. I spent two weeks drawing and messaging, documenting everything along the way.
Day 1: I spontaneously download Monet in hopes of finding my true love. Well, realistically, not the man of my dreams—but hopefully, at least, someone I can connect to. I create my profile by adding photos and writing a short biography with a prompt of what I want others to draw for me. I also narrow down my age range to 18–24 from the default. I'd rather not end up with men old enough to be my dad. I notice that I can select if I'm looking for friends, dates, or both, which is a nice feature that lets users clearly state what they want.
Once my profile is complete, the app shows me some people I can send drawings to. I reject some but decide to draw for a few I find intriguing. I quickly realize that I'm not only terrible at drawing on my phone—seriously, the screen is way too small—but I'm also not creative at all. It takes me way longer than it should to think of what to draw. A lot of prompts are vague or open–ended, and I end up drawing food for most of them—because who doesn't love ice cream, right?
However, after only a handful of potential users, I'm met with a blank screen saying that there aren't any more people that fit my preferences. After refreshing my app numerous times to no avail, I call it a day and hope tomorrow will be better.
Day 2: I reopen Monet in hopes of being able to scope out more potential matches. Zero. It still says that there aren't any more users. I notice that I've received responses from two of the guys I sent strawberry drawings to, so I message them back. Even though the drawings are supposed to be icebreakers, the conversations are exactly like what you'd find on any other dating app—a smattering of pickup lines and small talk.
I realize that I can adjust the location preferences to be local, global, or specific to my campus, so I decide to change to global in hopes of increasing the pool of users. I refresh. Still nothing. I close the app and decide to try again tomorrow.
Day 3: I refresh the app again, and there's still no one to send drawings to. I also forget to respond to either of my matches (oops). 'Forget' as in I see the messages and choose to not respond because, truthfully, they're not interesting enough for me to want to reply. Sorry, not sorry.
Day 4: I try to test out the campus option to meet other Penn students, but apparently it hasn't started yet. Bummer. I forget to send responses to my two matches again, but I remember to experiment with the app's features. There are so many buttons with no tutorial on how to use them. After playing with some settings, I finally get another small handful of potential matches. I reject a few and send drawings to two others before I'm left with a blank screen again. So much for 20,000 downloads, 20% male, and 94% Gen–Z.
Day 7: After I take a few days off to catch up on midterms and schoolwork, I finally go back on Monet. I find myself with an inbox of notifications of drawings that suitors have sent to me to match, and I accept a few. Although the drawings are definitely not Picasso–level masterpieces, I'll admit that I'm in no position to critique with my mediocre scribbles and stick figures. Some of the drawings are definitely wholesome like the app description claims—one of the drawings I receive is of the user's family and includes an explanation that family is the most important thing to them. Another sends a cute attempt at a portrait of me, which predictably leads to some flirty banter.
Day 8: I find a much larger base of users to choose from. I also receive numerous drawings in my inbox, to the point where I get a notification saying that I reached the maximum amount of unmatched drawings. I decide to accept most to see how the conversations go. One of my matches starts asking about Philly weather, another asks about what music I like, and another relates to my passion for Korean dramas. I even get a Koreaboo who tries writing in Korean to me, but it doesn't seem like he knows the language at all. I suspect Google Translate.
Day 9: I have an epiphany. I discover that I can actually press the arrow button on the drawing card I receive in my inbox from potential unmatched suitors to see their profile and pictures. This is mind–blowing. This entire time, I've been accepting drawings from random people without seeing their biography or photos, which made me wary of who I was talking to. I use this feature to accept a few more drawing matches in my inbox after more deliberation over their profiles. I'm still so shocked at how unclear this feature was from the beginning.
Monet was a pretty interesting experience. Although I do feel like I met some nice people on the platform, I don't think I would want to start anything romantic with any of my matches. I admit the drawing aspect is a cool feature and a nice way to start conversations, but I don't think the doodles matter too much past the initial encounter. A drawing sent to someone feels like the equivalent to a swipe on Tinder.
I also thought the app was confusing to use because there wasn't a thorough tutorial on how to maneuver around the app. I had to experiment and uncover what each button did myself, which made even accepting matches confusing for me. Even now, I'm not too sure if there are other features in the app that I'm not aware of yet, which I feel could be improved if there were clearer instructions.
One thing that I do look forward to is the campus feature. I noticed on the app that I could add my school and match with other verified students at my school. Unfortunately, maybe since there don't seem to be many Penn students using the app itself, the feature wasn't available for me to use yet. I do think this is a very cool feature and one that would excite me more, as I'd be able to connect with other students as friends or potential romantic interests.
Overall, I think this was definitely a unique way for me to start off my dating app journey. Despite Monet having a few minor drawbacks, it was still somewhat entertaining. The conversations weren't the most enlightening, but the app did seem to attract a more wholesome crowd, and the drawings were amusing. Monet certainly has potential, but currently it doesn't seem to stand out too much from the other common dating apps.
While this app is certainly one you can download if you're in search of a romantic match or new friend and want to try out your drawing skills, I didn't find this to be a suitable platform for me. Maybe I should take some art lessons and then try again.