What's most likely to get you laid from Tinder? Apparently, saying that you want to solve calculus problems, hug trees, chase mosquitoes, or do any godforsaken thing than have sex. Well, if the number of profiles saying 'no hookups' --- declared in the tone of 'no herpes' --- is anything to go by, that's a strategy India's young people swear by.
The tones vary from 'ewww, what kind of pests hookup?' to 'God, isn't hooking up so passe?' However, this great disdain for casual sex is gloriously advertised on the profiles-- alongside 'sapiosexual', 'fitness freak' and 'party animal'.
Now, it's perfectly alright to not want casual sex, like it is perfectly alright to want it, especially on a dating app. But showing the choice off - in want of a better word - says, something stranger and ironic about the times we live in.
We are looking for dates on a dating app and decrying sex like it's equivalent to running someone over. Well, it's almost like saying Digene is not for digestion or, wine is not for drinking. And we are hoping that shaking our heads at the idea of sex will make us more desirable to prospective dates. Unless people on Tinder have completely forgotten which century they live in or have lived all their lives in the shadow of Hum Saath Saath Hai, that's somewhat strange, isn't it?
In the late 90s, philosopher and pioneer of the one-expression face, Bobby Deol sang about wanting a 'dost' in the 'haseeno ka mela'. That seems to have stuck with our country.
For all these 'sapiosexuals', they are on Tinder to find friends (even if the person has some 200 common connections with you), or, friends because he is new in town (And, Tinder is the only solution) or, friends because that makes him sound like a friendly guy, right?
"No hook-ups, swipe left!" is the description you will read on every third person's Tinder bio. In fact, on a ranking of the most common description, it comes right after 'sapiosexual'.
A friend, who was once planning a date with a guy whose bio read 'no hookups' told him that she was not looking for anything beyond a casual sexual engagement. Her 'no hookup' date was instantly ecstatic. "I didn't write it because I thought I won't get matches," he confessed. Instead, he chose to write 'no hookup' just to come across as a guy with good sanskar, which, according to him, would result in more matches.
While some in the category of 'no hookup' lie to get laid, what is more amusing is that many of them are also there to just judge you, or anyone who is on Tinder to find casual sex -- an app meant for the same.
There was a possibility that my friend's Tinder date would just snap and tell her, "You shameless girl."
But, these 'fitness addicts' and 'movie buffs' who are not looking for hookups are not surprising at all. After all, we don't need to look any further than the Tinder's sanskari advertisement for India to figure what 'dating' is supposed to sound and look like in Indian society.
Now, for many, many young Indians, sexual liberation, especially in case of a woman, is immediately slotted as 'promiscuity'. Several women refrain from discussing or even mentioning casual sexual encounters with even female friends just to avoid cumbersome stereotyping.
A friend, who is all set to get married, told me the other day, "You are still in that zone." I don't know what it meant, but that "zone" sounded like I live 'Beyond the Wall' of Westeros and chill with the wildlings.
See, it's not like Tinder was supposed to be the virtual Woodstock of our lives where we are allowed to be, and have a all blast while at it. It's somewhat shallow too -- swiping on pics and if you are lucky, a couple of lines. But hey, the least one would have expected was to find echoes of your neighbours and nosy relatives in prospective dates on a dating app called 'Tinder' for god's sake.
It's always possible to discuss what you want from Tinder after you 'match' with each other. But, advertising it seems like taking a moral stand. It makes it sound like casual sex is some sort of a sin.
There's a good reason to believe that these are also the people who would slut shame women and perpetuate stereotypes.
You know, you can kind of hear them offering you their understanding of all your life's miseries--casual sex. Can't find a husband? Oh, remember your days of hooking up. Not meeting deadlines? Of course because you are thinking of 'casual sex' all the time. Losing/Gaining weight? What do you expect if you engage in hookups?
Casual sex is a taboo here. And, it will only be tolerated if it's tinged with shame and swept under the rug.
And, that is what is wrong with these 'no hookup' bios. It feels like a placard being shown to you telling you how 'immoral' you are. It feels like you are being scolded for wanting an extra slice of cake. And, it makes you wonder if you should replace your display picture with the wine glass to one of you making pooris. Not that they are mutually exclusive in real life, but in the scheme of sanskaari Tinder, it definitely is.
Also see on HuffPost: