Like any other confused millennial young adult trying to find love in a world of the digital Gen-Z era, I’ve had my share of learnings. Some bad, and some not so bad.
There have been a whole lot of “external” factors impacting my dating life. Starting with the Indian family set-up where your folks, under the pretext of protecting you from getting hurt, tell you to keep off the boys—especially the textbook bad boys. Up until I got to college, and was absolutely disappointed (credit that to the rom-com movies and English TV series, making one believe in a not-so-realistic scenario about love and relationships). And finally, my efforts to meet people organically in a world bombarded with all kinds of dating apps.
I found myself to be one of the few comfortably single at 25 amongst my peers, where everyone was either in a relationship or was on a dating app. For the longest time I questioned the whole process of putting yourself out there and painting a picture to put on a dating app to find potential dates. With much persuasion from my girlfriends that themselves had never been on dating apps, and putting my own insecurities aside, I was ready to give this fad a try.
The first hiccup was which pictures to choose when I put myself out there. The second was describing my personality in one sentence and also what I was looking for. Both concepts were completely absurd to me. How do I choose my best pictures and how do I put my entire personality, that I was still developing, in a handful of words. I decided that these tasks were best done by my best friend who was in-fact the mastermind behind this idea.
When I got on the app, I was rather taken aback by the ease at which you could find a match. It was like a complimentary breakfast buffet at a hotel. After questioning the shallowness of judging a profile by their looks, I found myself doing exactly that. Merely swiping left or right based on the looks, and maybe by reading the profiles every once in a while.
On my first few days, I matched with a guy who was not creepy or wanted to hang out at a decent hour and wasn’t asking me to “Netflix and Chill” but just for a humble coffee. As much as I could feel the nerves kicking in and almost taking a rain check I got there for my first ever date— they say firsts are always special. I am not so sure about it being special, but it was memorable. My date, a well educated and a self-proclaimed feminist greeted me well and asked me expected question on what I was doing on the app, and what I was looking for in a prospective partner. When I returned the same question to him, he had a long list of things he was looking for in a partner. To be fair, I think the both of us just did not hit it off, and could not wait to get done with what felt like an eternity. He then, very graciously told me that I was not obliged to spend any more time if I did not feel like it, and that it was okay if I wanted to leave. So I did leave.
After giving myself another month on the app I decided I was just not made for these platforms. The overwhelming number of options and the fact that nobody wanted to make the effort anymore – the effort to have a nice date, the effort to make their date feel special or just the effort of trying to make it work. Maybe because in fact it does seem like there are plenty of fish in the sea. Everyone is just looking for the best catch.
Don’t get me wrong. I have come across a reasonable number of people who have met their significant others on dating apps and are happily married. Maybe this is the modern take on a pen friend or even Orkut dating.
While I send positive vibes into the universe and manifest my rom-com “meet cute” my take away is to not let social media tell you that you need to find a partner, and as cliché as it sounds happiness and contentment comes from oneself and there is no love like self-love. So never stop believing in love because love is in-fact everything and can be found in the little moments in life and I believe it turns up when we least expect it.