It’s Gaming Men!

6 min read
24 Jun 2016
6 min read
1362 words
I’m exploring this highly stigmatised dating app because what society deems ‘unconventional’ for Nepali women is interesting

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

There are so many different types of guys, and to be fair, I haven’t interacted with all of them, but allow me to list the ones I’ve become more familiar with. Vain men: There seems to be an array of men, in surprising quantity, who are very devoted to their bodies. These fellas have flexing photos, sweating photos, gym-selfies, and you bet, the shirtless photos. They can be fit, into running, outdoorsy and want a match who can keep up. Often found to be jocks, models or bodybuilders, I find these men to be almost intimidating, and at the same time, I find them extremely comical. My interaction with this group thus far has been minimal and rather bland.

Married men: That’s right Kathmandu, several guys who have already tied the knot are still looking for a match! As much as possible, I try to withhold my judgments and assumptions, but I have yet to find a good reason for a guy with a ring to be Tindering. Several have confessed to their marital status (which is appreciated), some even claim to be ‘happily married’, yet statements of, “I’m on Tinder to network” and “It’s just a little fun” leaves me dubious, especially when wives remain unaware.

Old men: In deciding to match with significantly older men, there were a few possible scenarios I played out in my head. Most of these involved aged bachelors looking for a second wind in life through younger partners. In reality, the 70-year-old man I met was a widower who appreciated company over a nice dinner. I couldn’t fault him for that, and he was sure to make several mentions of a woman (closer to his age) whom he was hopeful about. A lot of times, these things just aren’t what you think they are or what they may appear to be. It’s good to add a slice of humble pie to dessert!

Dirty men: Ah yes, men of filth and grime with one thing on their mind: fornication. These men are more forward and far more direct. They are upfront about what they’re looking for, and they’re less inclined to waste time. They want to know if you’re single, available and willing. Should curiosity prod you to play along, you’ll find men with no filter and no question that is too much. Should you decline the invitation, the conversation ends quickly enough and that’s that.

Travelling men: And then there are the guys who are going through Nepal. Whether for a few days, a trek, or several months of volunteering, there are male specimens from around the globe available on the Tinder sample platter. Representing all colours and ages, styles and wiles, vices and interests. These are the fellas usually bit hard by the travel bug. They love adventure, and they’re always up for fun. What that fun translates to is entirely up to you and your match.

Timid men: To my surprise, Tinder seems to draw in a decent number of shy guys! Perhaps it’s the comfort of the internet, the distance of screens and the safety of non-face-to-face encounters that appeals to this personality type. Some come to life and are vibrant, mischievous and engaging over chat, but they struggle to carry  off the same act in person. I’ve beenknown to take a liking to the more quiet man, but with Tinder, the guy still has to play the right cards.

Boys who are not-yet men: Tinder allows users to choose what age range users they prefer to match with. The age bar starts at 18, and although my lower end is set to the mid-20s I am amused by the number of baby faced, peach-fuzzed, spikey haired boys who show off motorcycles and who try so hard to pass as men.

Mystery men: And then, there are the men who give away nothing. Men with stage names, fake profiles, no photos and cheesy quotes found on Google. I have as little to tell you about them as the profiles do. I don’t know who they are, what they want, or how they intend to match with no telling details. But I’ll tell you this, matching a mystery man is like a box of Tinder chocolate—you never know what you’re going to get.

With such a cast of possible characters (and the list above is in no way all-inclusive) maybe now it’s easier to understand why there are so many ways these games can play out. Based  on what the other party is looking for,what your interests are, what persona each person carries, the rules, the level of comfort, the chemistry and the dynamics are all up in the air.

It can be difficult to navigate each match, each chat and each date, but while in this game of men, it’s important for a woman (and man) to stay safe, and above all, to stay smart. There are a few rules of engagement I adhere to in order to make sure I’m one step ahead.

Rule number 1: Always be upfront and honest. Given the specific platform Tinder presents, a certain degree of directness is warranted and expected. There is no need to beat around the bush about where to draw the line. Should a man keep insisting for more beyond what I find comfortable, I tell him as such, and I tell him in a way where there can be little room left for misunderstanding. No is no, thank you very much.

Rule number 2: Be careful about exchanging information. In a society that is far too quick to judge and where common connections are the norm, I am selective about what personal information (contact details, work info, background etc) I give and to whom.

Rule number 3: Stranger (could be) danger! Although I stand by my opinion that there are wonderful people on Tinder, there is no harm in taking extra precaution. My amazing blazing friends have a say on my matches and on my conversations, and I never go on a date without letting them know where I am and whom I’m with.

These guidelines are important and I am certain that this (along with a few other things) is what has helped me maintain an overall positive Tinder experience. I’ve had other women tell me about men who have turned aggressive and dates that have been upsetting. While there is certainly plenty of room for drama, remember it’s all in the name of the game, and although there may be less blood than games of hunger and thrones, the Tinder Games still has plenty of levels for mischief and mayhem!