Let’s start at the end-Tinder and me, not happening. Just not possible. Now to the story.
To keep things happening in our flat, my flatmate and I decided to download Tinder, for strictly non-serious purposes. The not-for-anything-serious aspect was so important to us that every ten minutes or so we would say it out loud, to keep reminding ourselves. Despite all this we survived barely 72 hours on the app, cumulatively.
Most ideas imported from the West get Indianised in the process. It seems Tinder followed the McDonald’s route. Yes Sir, you will have to sell Aloo tikki burger to survive in India. So what happened with Tinder? Well, the hookup app has become the shaadi.com of aspirational singles who wish to arrange their marriage themselves, rather than leave it to their parents or family. A sense of control over our lives, #millenials. That it’s working is where I feel abandoned. What works for the world doesn’t work for me. What doesn’t work for the world anyway doesn’t work for me. Mr. Guardian Angel Sir, what, if anything, have you been upto?
Before I walk you through our issues with online dating, a brief history would be in order. In our lives we all come across that person who in his childhood was chased or bitten by a stray dog. After that one gruesome episode, the person is scared of dogs, all breeds, pet or stray, so much so that you will have to chain your pug if you want that person into your house. If you have a frail, tan colored dog in mind then replace him with a big, black, ogre (but not Shrek, no good heart for miles) among men and you have my life story. I’m a straight woman who can’t trust a man as a partner; friend yes, partner difficult. Time, the great healer, has his task cut out but is choosing to ignore the burden. And now Tinder.
The Fundamental Problem
What’s the one prominent thing that you’re judging a person on? Looks, obviously. To anyone aware of my past, I need not bother myself with an explanation on how little I value looks. My choices speak for themselves! Not that it worked wonders for me but I’m still not used to judging people by their looks. There is a second issue: our sense of the world is shaped by our surroundings and experiences. Since men in my family are all camera conscious, our dogs pose better than them, I grew up with the notion that it’s difficult to get a man to pose. Not the right notion, I’m being sexist, I agree, but it’s a deeply rooted thing. Photos is what Tinder works on. To see men with raised eyebrows, pouting and clicking selfies, the ones with an iPhone 7 using the mirror and making sure they are their phone’s prop became a tad bit too much. The only reason I survived was because I was laughing through the entire thing with my flatmate. On what grounds were we rejecting them? Chicken legs: implies doesn’t work out, no stamina, reject. Too chikna, no. His waist-too narrow and too thin. Almost everything that I had been taught not to judge a human being on were the only parameters available to judge them on.
Veracity of Facts
As I’ve mentioned earlier, trust is an issue with me. If at all we decided to go beyond the photos to read the description, if any, and if it had spelling mistakes, it was a left. Too many exclamation marks, full of emojis and unfinished sentences, left you went. When in doubt go left was a policy. When everything looked good then came the magnum opus: What’s the guarantee that it’s true? Post-truth. Word of the year. Sorry, can’t believe what is being said. My own information is factually incorrect. I’m no longer a student at Indian Statistical Institute. I was, but that isn’t my current vocation. What is the guarantee that he isn’t lying. Even if everything is true, the lack of an issue is also an issue Sir! As I readily admit, “In mamlo mein hum kaafi chutiye hain.” Moreover, what are the facts on offer? 6 ft 1″. Very nice. That is not what I am going to risk an evening on. Height and looks (or the lack of it) don’t get you very far. Personal experience. I agree that you’re supposed to take chances and that’s how things work here, but if I were to invoke the powers of Lady Luck, I would use it on more pressing issues.
I usually find myself rushing through life. There’s just not enough time to do all the things I want to do. In such a scenario, meeting someone while walking through life is my preferred route rather than first exercising my thumb for hours and then meeting specifically for I don’t know what. Trial and error has never been my go-to option except when balancing chemical equations way back in school. Evenings are work out time that can’t be squandered away just like that. Given that I’m not what you can call a stranger friendly person, in fact I’m barely friendly, the whole thing seemed like a big grand plan of wasting time. I could use that time to watch Friends, something I’m always judged on (I haven’t seen a single episode!)
Last but not the least: The Premise
So why am I on a dating app? To find a “match”. Do I want one? No. Do I need one? No, but I’m told I will eventually need someday. I personally feel it’s very important to get the answer to those two questions right. Because it’s a mixture of want and need that is going to make you deal with nincompoops who according to your head have become indispensable, whereas in reality it’s just the law of inertia working.
My relationship with relationships is complicated. I can’t list down my expectations, from a man or a relationship, but when in it I would definitely know if I wish to be in that situation for a minute longer. That is the beauty of a breakup: if you have had one then walking away doesn’t seem like a big deal. You stop being into relationships for the reason that getting out of it is going to hurt. Only if it’s adding value are you going to live with it. Even wanting to get into it is a decision you want to apply a lot of thought to. Tinder India wasn’t helping.
Love (the romantic kind) is definitely overrated. To be sure, I totally believe in it. My ideas on love are beautifully summed up below:
We’re all so absorbed by the idea of love. That’s not to say we’re somehow misguided or deluded. Love, unfortunately, is what makes us tick. But it happens to be in short supply, at least in the places that we are told to look for it. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to function in the real world without the bulwark of knowing we love something, or that something loves us back. But where does romance-read building castles in air-come into it?
When in your personal life love has been like a bitter gourd (karela sounds more appropriate, one of those mother tongue things I guess!), you had it because you thought it was supposed to be good for your health in the long run, only to leave a bitter after-taste, after which you realized you’d rather live with a slightly compromised health than deal with that taste, you wish to stay miles away. You don’t want romance to come in, unless thoroughly vetted, concerns where Tinder wasn’t helping.
What’s the whole fuss about finding a date, for an evening or for life? To get things straight, I’m happy for the people for whom things play out like it should. But I’m unable to understand why I can’t willingly stay single for as long as I choose to be without getting into the “aur dikhao, aur dikhao” online (or offline) shopping campaign. It was when friends, their mothers and my own mother asked me to try online dating that we wasted our wifi plan over Tinder (so what if it was unlimited), telling each other that we weren’t there to get hooked. We were sort of looking at the menu to judge a restaurant, in which we had already decided never to eat in anyway. I realized that I was unable to deal with an Add to Wishlist, Add to Cart approach towards choosing a man I wish to spend an evening with (my flatmate pointed out- there should be a Save for Later option!). Incidentally, I never even took to online shopping except for buying books, seems pictures are unable to convey the proverbial thousand words to my obtuse head.
Having dealt with Tinder for a few hours, the two of us finally deleted our accounts to admit that we were not ready to have a partner, for evenings or life. Our lives are too simple and straightforward after years of following a loopy trajectory to be squandered away. We are responsible to no one but ourselves. We don’t live a dual life-fighting over texts/calls and then pretending to be normal in front of family and colleagues. No expectations, no rewards. Straight and simple. We wish to keep it that way at least for a while. I personally wish to keep it that way for life. Perfectly at ease with my solitude, the threat of being alone when I am older isn’t going to get me to deal with buffoons when I am young and can channel my energy more productively.