05 Sep 2016
7 min read
Despite my better judgment, I’m going to ignore my own introductory paragraph and use this space to highlight how there are some universal parallels. It would appear that men around the world—and therefore the men of Tinder—are more or less the same no matter which country you’re in. Although this may sound anti-climatic, I actually find this finding quite intriguing.
Till date, all of the articles comprising ‘The Tinder Games’ focused on nuances of the app that are specific to Nepal and in particular to Kathmandu. Though I’ve alluded to out-of-country narratives (as shared with me by others), I have yet to reveal details of my own international Tinder-ings.
In all fairness, I must confess my global Tinder tales are limited to four countries in two continents, but for this article, that will have to suffice since it’s the only personal data I have. That said, allow me to rattle on about all of the things that make men the world over the same men who are on Tinder all over the world.
While I’ve already stated my aversion to stereotypes, there is something to be said for archetypes, especially on such an amusing platform as Tinder. In previous articles, I mentioned the ‘types’ one comes across in Kathmandu: vain men, married men, old men, dirty men, traveling men, timid men, boys who are not-yet men and mystery men (just to list a few).
Although I didn’t know what to expect, I wasn’t surprised to find that a lot of these archetypes graced the Tinder stacks of other nations. There are still many who like mirror selfies, flexing and showing muscles; those who think a woman on Tinder is bound to be dirty and crass; and specimens of a range of ages. There may be mild differences, but by and large it’s easy to put everyone into much the same categories. In simple terms, there are those who seem to be more my kind of people, and those who are not my type at all. Were I to meet the bulk of them, I’m sure many surprises (both good and bad) would await me in the form of a date. (But who has time for that?)
The local and the foreign
When I first started using Tinder, my high-key and low-strung friends and I were all curious about the ratio of Nepali to non-Nepali men. Some guessed the colour palette would be on the lighter spectrum and others assumed it would be several shades closer to home. In reality, Nepal’s Tinder shows a diverse range, and this is true of other places too.
Being in a brown country may lead to more chocolaty choices, but that isn’t to say there aren’t options of flavours. And when in a nation known for Caucasians, there’s a rainbow of men to be found. Ah, diversity at its best! No matter where you are, there’s more of the global than you’d think. I couldn’t say if people view this as a pro or a con. I don’t know if users are looking for country-specific matches; I suppose it depends on what they’re after. Regardless, the international component says much about a multi-cultural world and how borders these days have less and less to do with keeping people in.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s quite amazing that two people from different countries could meet in a third nation involving just as many continents. It’s even more impressive when you realise how unlikely this would have been not only a hundred years ago, but how there would have been far fewer chances of these happenings even five or 10 years ago. The world is moving at a rapid pace, and for whatever reason, platforms like Tinder somehow end up at the forefront.
Boys just being…boys
I suppose the biggest similarity of all is that all the men all over the world are still…just…men. I’ve had the same conversations more times than I care to count. I’ve had the same questions, the same (borderline sexist) comments, the same method of male-female interaction, and the same (incredibly disappointing) emphasis on appearance.
I suppose a part of me hoped there would be a noticeable change in more ‘progressive’ nations offering men who viewed and therefore treated women with a different degree of respect. To my dismay, this is not the case. If anything, the Tinderscape of first world countries indicates men are more upfront, brash and unabashed about their conquests. The level of directness was not one I’d seen as much of in Nepal. I wouldn’t go as far as to say Nepali men hold women in higher esteem (clearly our persisting patriarchal society proves otherwise), but maybe the men at home are still figuring out tactics for hitting on women. Maybe...but honestly, what do I really know?
What I am certain of though, is this: It doesn’t matter where you are, it’s still hard to find that right kind of connection. Regardless of your intentions for being on Tinder, it’s not always easy to match on like-mindedness and compatibility. Online or offline, in person or over applications, at home or in foreign countries, the struggle is the same, and the struggle is real. We (or at least I!) remain just as judgmental, just as full of our prejudices and just as set in our ways despite where on the map we may pin ourselves. Yes, this reality appears limiting, but if we flip the coin, the other side reveals a daunting challenge. As the world struggles over races, over people, over borders and over identities, something like Tinder offers an unexpected avenue for differences to be confronted, accepted and appreciated. The next time I’m in another country, no matter what colour or creed of men Tinder offers me, I hope I am able to use it as an opportunity to see that in the end, we really are just the same, and that…that is a beautiful thing.