Lessons on Persistence

7 min read
19 Aug 2016
7 min read
1236 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

I suppose I should begin by saying I have definitely hit a Tinder lull. The app isn’t exciting anymore, and the same act on repeat has little appeal. For this reason, there has been a rapid decline on Tinder activities on my part. I don’t swipe nearly as much as I used to, and I couldn’t be bothered with having as many conversations. Truth be told, it’s been a while since I’ve even gone out on a date. Although I have become far less interactive, my lack of participation doesn’t mean there is a shortage of men who want to chat. There have been numerous fellas who have taken to messaging me with regularity, even though I don’t respond. Several guys messaged every day for a few days, and then there was that one guy who contacted me almost every day for well over two weeks…and I never wrote back. 

At first, the consistent messages were almost flattering—to think some guy repeatedly made the effort to converse with me does inflate the ego. But after a few more days it became baffling—why would anyone keep sending messages to a person who doesn’t respond? This started to seem like irregular behaviour, and then it got annoying, really, really annoying. It occurred to me I could take the easy route and click the ‘unmatch’ button so these guys wouldn’t be able to contact me further, but doing that would leave no room for me to better understand the phenomena of persistence. So instead, I tried to have a discussion, but sadly, that only led to disappointment. When I finally did respond and made a comment on the persistence, the response was not to offer insight but to drop lame and weak lines.

While the persistence in and of itself is one thing, the actual messages also struck a nerve. First off, they are so uninspiring; “hi” or “ hello” does little to excite conversation. But more than that, it down right pissed me off when these men then felt it was okay to address me as “babe” and “baby”. This bothered me so much I was compelled to confront them. I asked them what made them comfortable enough to refer to women they don’t know and haven’t met as “babe”. I also made a point to explain how this, to me (and to most women) is presumptuous, derogatory and demeaning. One guy actually apologised and said he hadn’t thought about it that way (kudos to him!). Another tried to convince me it was a term of endearment…which it is, I agree, but only when used between people who know each other, who are close, and intimate enough to use those words…it does not apply to strangers on Tinder. 

Another guy went as far as to tell me I was making a big deal out of it, in his words “c’mon, it’s Tinder.” And this idea is what I find to be a poignant flaw in the way men perceive women and how they pursue us—they simply don’t see how we are treated with a severe lack of respect. Regardless of the situation or context, men repeatedly fail to understand respecting women (and everyone really!) is necessary all the time, everywhere. Comments like “but it’s Tinder” suggest there are areas where women should know respect does not apply. And it’s that line of thinking that has led women to be treated as objects on Tinder…in a bar…at the workplace…and at home. (Hmmm. Starting to see how this is an issue?) At no point has a woman ever willingly relinquished the need to be treated with respect. This may come as a shock to many, but there are ways to initiate sex, engage at bars and develop a relationship without having to resort to being sexist, offensive and pushy. 

Unable to make sense of this, I asked a gentleman, and a scholar, why men would behave this way. His response was direct and enlightening: “They’re doing it for the possibility of sex.” Such persistence for the off chance of getting laid seems so…anticlimactic. But if we look deeper, there is a reason why many believe this is a method of courtship. There are countless movies and tales which tell and retell of men who tried, tried again, kept trying, tried some more and then got the woman. While this may be viewed and presented through romance-tinted glasses, the reality of it is this method is not welcomed. If she ignores you, does not accept your invitation and lacks the same sentiments for you—it’s a clear no. And, a no is actually a no—it baffles me that I even have to type that, and it shocks me how this one simple concept is still debated. If a woman turns you down, take your cue and leave. Because if there is one thing these movies and stories don’t say, it is this: persistence is not romantic, it is harassment. 

These terms may seem strong and extreme, but they are true. Of course there are various shades of grey between persistence and harassment, but it does not change how respect is an essential ingredient we could use a higher dose of. Yes, I am on Tinder, but I didn’t sign up to compromise on my self-value and no person for any reason should ever have to do so. 

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