The key to a person’s heart is with an impeccable Squidward impression.
At least that was the case for Judd Lopez, who became a TikTok heartthrob after he posted his own voice answer to the Hinge prompt “My best celebrity impression.”
The dating app’s new voice feature, which was released in late October, allows users to preview someone’s voice before matching with them. Hinge’s prompts are meant to offer a deeper representation of its users’ personalities beyond photos and self-written bios.
Now, it's become fodder for viral TikTok content, as users continue to post the bizarre, hilarious prompts they stumble across while swiping, or post clips of their own.
“This is my impression of Squidward walking really fast,” Lopez said in his recording. He then proceeded to make rhythmic squelching noises identical to the cartoon character's power walking in “Spongebob Squarepants.”
Commenters were enamored. One offered to pay for their first date, including a dessert. Another responded, “Marry him. IMMEDIATELY!”
“People shouldn’t be too serious when it comes to dating apps,” Lopez told NBC News. “I know you’re trying to make yourself look like the best possible you, but at the same time you don’t know these people and they don’t know you. So what do you really have to lose by just being yourself on the app?”
Voice prompts like “I’m weirdly attracted to...” and “Together, we could...” are meant to give users a glimpse of what going on a date with the person would be like, the company said in a press release.
“Hinge wants to help people get to know you as soon as they see your profile,” Hinge chief product officer Michelle Parsons said. “With the introduction of Voice Prompts, we’re adding more authenticity to the profile experience, allowing users to fully display their personality in a new way. Our team’s focus is to introduce the product updates that help our daters move from the selfie to new forms of self-expression.”
The most ridiculous voice prompts are often the most well-liked on TikTok.
A recording of someone’s “most controversial opinion,” in which they argue that dogs should be allowed to vote before chanting “dog vote!” several times, has 307,000 likes.
In a TikTok with 323,000 likes, user jabronicentral introduces her “best celebrity impression” as Link from the “Legend of Zelda” franchise, and then launches into guttural fight sounds.
Podcast host Jenny Chang started to answer the prompt “Biggest risk I’ve taken,” but interrupted herself with her own burp.
“Sorry, really, I’m so sorry. I did not mean to do that,” she said in the prompt.
Then her fire alarm started ringing, further derailing the voice prompt. “I don’t know what the hell is happening,” the recording continued. “I gotta go.”
In the video she posted on TikTok, Chang didn’t bother re-recording the prompt. Instead, she “left it as is.” In a comment updating her followers, Chang said she had “no new likes” in the five hours since she added the prompt to her profile.
Viewers joked that Chang’s voice prompt, though chaotic, would be an “immediate swipe right.” Another joked that it was “wife material.”
Voice prompts like Chang’s, even if unpolished, certainly add a deeper authenticity to otherwise superficial dating profiles.
On the other hand, voice prompts perceived as low-effort or boring aren’t as well received — on TikTok, they’re often criticized for being unimaginative.
A supercut of Hinge voice prompts posted by user c.h.l.o.e3_ features men giving less than stellar answers to the voice prompt.
In response to the prompt “Dating me is like...” a man named Joseph says, “I don’t know. You’ll probably have to find out.” In his voice prompt answering what he’d order for the table, a man named Chase said he’d order “Miller Lite and Fireball shots,” adding that, “If you don’t like it, sorry.”
Another man named Gino answered the prompt, “Give me travel tips for...” with just, “Georgia.”
Though the people featured in that particular TikTok video didn’t do anything objectively wrong with their dating profiles, some on TikTok criticized them for not putting enough effort into their answers.
In a comment, one TikTok user asked why the answers were “so dry.” Another user noted that the answers seemed designed to “impress other guys,” not potential matches.
Lopez thinks his voice prompt was so well received because it stood out from the less exciting ones on Hinge.
“I would guess that people see mine as like a refresher from all of the more serious prompts that most people see on the app,” Lopez said. “I would say don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t worry about what others think. It’s more fun like that.”
That’s not to say that the only way to stand out on Hinge is to be bizarre. But the voice prompt’s popularity on TikTok at least indicates that users might want to put a little more effort in their profiles than one-word answers.
As for whether he’s found love on Hinge, or TikTok, Lopez said he’s still working on it. He said he’s been DM’d on Hinge and other apps.
“Maybe I’ll find her soon,” he said.