A Match Made on Tinder

8 min read
27 May 2016
8 min read
1416 words
Recently my mother told me I should start finding a guy to marry. I wondered if I should tell her I’m on Tinder
Recently my mother told me I should start finding a guy to marry. I wondered if I should tell her I’m on Tinder. But that would be misleading because I’m not looking for a husband. Or a boyfriend. I’m not even on Tinder for sex. I’m exploring this highly stigmatised dating app because what society deems ‘unconventional’ for Nepali women is interesting. And being a Nepali woman on Tinder is full of experiences worth writing about. To follow the ventures, check this space every other Friday

Should your affirming swipe be followed by a cheerful “It’s a Match!” the other party has already seen and approved of what you’ve put on display. If it slides to another profile, they’ve either passed you by or haven’t come to your profile yet—either ways the outcome is more profiles to browse through and zero sense of rejection.

“But how do you know if you like someone?” is a common (and very good) question. The easiest way I’ve been able to answer this is by handing my phone over, open to a fresh profile on the famed flaming app. It is amazing how quickly we make judgments, we are intuitive about what—and therefore who—attracts or repels us.

A quick Google search reveals there are studies that indicate first impressions are made within a range of 2.5 – 7 seconds. Even without knowing the science behind it, I’m going to say much the same applies for Tinder. There may be a profile or two where you look through all of the photos (usually people have about 3-6), and you might bother to read what text they’ve thought worthy of adding, but generally, it doesn’t take much time to be swiping along.

A few photos and some text doesn’t seem like much to go on, but profiles can be quite telling. I, for one, am prone to skipping photos of semi-nude men putting themselves on a selfie-exhibition. I kid you not. There was one profile where a guy had posted six photos, five of which were black and white shots of him, shirtless, showing himself (muscles, body, and all!) in a variety of positions. My particular favourite was the closeup of him flexing one arm while he’s drenched in what I hope is rain and not sweat.

While swiping through men may not take much mental work, it was altogether a different experience trying to set up my very own profile

I tend to drift toward profiles where guys seem down to earth, adventurous, enjoy happiness, and have a sense of humour. Clichéd as it may be, photos with dogs have tipped the scale in favour of some over others. And this is what makes Tinder fun— there are a variety of people, and we are all looking for different things.

While swiping through men may not take much mental work, it was altogether a different experience trying to set up my very own profile. To me, the thought of putting up a photo clearly with the intention of trying to attract strangers was unsettling, to say the least. In a day and age where social media has made it acceptable (dare I say even normal) to display great degrees of narcissism, I am not one who favoursselfies, duck-faces, and suspiciously flattering angles.

In trying to dig up photos I considered to be Tinder-appropriate for my profile, it dawned on me how much I would be saying by these images. After much consideration and crucial input from dear friends, I settled on pictures that I hope give a glimpse into my interests and the things that amuse me. My message to those assessing my profile: these are some of the things I like, do you like them too, maybe we could talk about it and see if we get along.

At a later date I’m going to put this theory of what photos say to the test by opting for more skin, more cleavage, and maybe a few pouts. After that, I may switch it up for ones that are conservative, nerdy, and maybe even ‘loser-ly’. I can only imagine what difference this may bring about in the men, and therefore in my experiences, of Tinder-landia.

Though the profiles and photos are all the hype, getting to the match is only the beginning. After two individuals have both liked each other, the magical world of Tinder expands to the option of chat. Not all matches (for whatever reason) result in conversation. Not all  chats are as enticing as the photos. Some are surprisingly enjoyable. Most are mediocre.

Eventually, after shuffling through so many conversations that seem the same (What do you do? Where are you from? Blah blah blah), two people may move their interaction from Tinder’s chat to whatsapp/viber, talking on the phone, and then maybe to actually meeting.

To me, these various stages serve as an understandable and logical sifting process. If you don’t like the looks of someone, you might not enjoy their company, and that might make for bad sex or a worse relationship. The truth of it is, the numbers decline rapidly at each stage, and it’s disappointing to end up on a date where whatever spark may have ignited online is extinguished in person.

Initially, Tinder is massive amounts of fun. You go swipe-crazy, you make matches all over the place, your ego is mega boosted, and potential dates are super exciting. Soon after, Tinder gets tedious, the conversations can be taxing, and it takes a fair bit of time and energy. After a rapid slew of dates, I found myself quite Tindered-out for a while and in need of a Tinder-break, or at least some Tinder-time-off.

It seems no one has really been on this app for too long (or at least they don’t admit to it). And observations lead me to believe men use the app for a longer period of time than women do. But we’ll discuss the nuances of men vs women on Tinder another time. For now, let me end with this:€Ignoring the obvious of Tinder being more known for hook-ups, and considering the history of men and women being shown photo albums to choose a potential spouse, wouldn’t it be a relatively small (and amusing!) jump for Nepali society to join the Tinder bandwagon and embrace its services?

The dater is an unmarried Nepali woman in her late 20s. With the help of her friends, she enjoys experimenting in Nepali society. To connect and converse, visit facebook. com/satyasavitriontinder/