Dating apps offer users the convenience of choices and comparisons, the thrill of new people and experiences. And now, online dating is also becoming a game of grading and competition.
For those who thought that Tinder has made dating a concept of left swipe, its new app Crown will definitely make you feel that dating has become a game. Sixteen people playing head on head, to gain your attention, but only one can be crowned. While the idea of people fighting for your attention sounds nice, it’s essential to remember that you too will be on someone else’s 16.
Many find the idea of being compared and rated by someone who has no idea about you quite belittling. But there’s just no disputing the continued popularity of these dating apps. Twenty seven-year-old Maya (name changed) who lives alone in Delhi says, “There are two kinds of days that keep me hooked to these apps. The lonely and sad ones, and the boring and slow ones. Some days I am out because I’m looking for company, and on others excitement. It’s always a unique experience and it’s fun.”
City-based entrepreneur Akash finds himself hooked to the dating apps, often searching for potential dates. “I have met quite a few people but didn’t really enjoy much as they were not quite like they portrayed themselves to be prior to our dates.”
But for Maya, the app has been a great way of breaking social barriers. “I have found some wonderful people on Twitter. We often get stuck in a social circle that consists of people with similar backgrounds and interests but this app introduced me to diversity and there is always so much to learn. For example, never in my life did I imagine that I will find myself on a date with a board game developer, or a Chandni Chowk businessman, or a Trump supporter! It is very interesting and informative,” shares Maya, who identifies herself as a bisexual, and has had her share of creepy experiences as well. “Once I was chatting with a girl for a whole two weeks before the person revealed that they had faked their gender. It angered me no end. Once my date didn’t show up while I waited at a restaurant, but texted me things that revealed they were indeed present nearby and were watching me. I ran for my life,” she adds.
Nisha Jamvwal, relationship expert, feels that dating apps are seldom successful in finding a serious, real and rewarding relationship. “I’ve seen single friends very disillusioned and unhappy with the results of these because what is projected is seldom akin to reality. Often I find the seekers of a companion or partner view it more as a game than a real seeking of love, warmth, longevity, and fulfillment. I’m seeing more and more ‘seekers’ looking for lust, adrenaline rushes, non-committal sex and short-term excitement.”
Nisha Jamvwal, relationship expert
While dating app users have had their share of good days and bad days, the millennial seems to be open for criticism and grading. And more often than not, they find it essential for understanding their potential dates. “As inhumane as these dating apps sound, I like the thrill. If Crown comes to India, I will definitely give it a try. Of course, I won’t be expecting the love of my life to be there but we all need some masala in life. This is my masala,” laughs Maya.
Akash too finds the concept of grading absolutely normal. “You have the right to choose and judge people as per compatibility and your basic requirements. And once the app is available here, I would love to explore it.”
But there are exceptions like Sonam, who is preparing to go abroad for studies. “While I have always enjoyed meeting people on Twitter, the idea of someone grading you is not something I can digest. Also, a brief summary of who you are and what you like does not give anyone the right to judge you or grade you. The sheer notion of comparing people is absurd.”
Jamvwal too is very critical about the new element in Crown. “Dating has degenerated into a game of judgment, competition, comparisons, outward appearances — all things you want to avoid in a real, long-term, meaningful, reassuring and happy relationship. We need to ask ourselves if love is indeed just a game? If dating does not mean love, it only means a dalliance of going out and a transitory ‘friendship’ of sorts, this might work to help you meet different people. In this case, go ahead and take your chances,” she adds.
Though the use of dating apps is rampant in India, many refused to comment as their parents didn’t like the idea of them opening up to others about their secret dating lives. How the Crown fares after hitting Indian shores remains to be seen.