The Tinder Inc. application icon | Sara Hylton/Bloomberg
The Tinder Inc. application icon | Sara Hylton/Bloomberg
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I don’t speak for all but definitely for many by borrowing from Nietzsche and proclaiming: “Romance is dead”. Just when the world had concluded that urban millennials, armed with Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, don’t court and romance anymore, things changed with the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Romance is making a comeback. B.B. King, you’d be glad to know, the thrill is back. 

Urban millennials, arguably, are India’s first generation to enjoy this level of freedom to fall in love. People romanticise ‘love in the old days’ because it was rare to come by. To quote Hozier, “We fall in love just a little ol’ little bit, every day with someone new…”.

Let’s face it, who even has the time to fall in love? How do I go on pursuing the man I like when I am busy chasing deadlines? And one has to appreciate the freedom to have pre-marital sex as an activity privileged city folk can afford and indulge in, but even that’s a conundrum now.

On apps like Tinder and Hinge, many only swiped to hook up, and mocked those who wanted something more serious. Meaningless sex trumps meaningful relationships at times. You can’t have the best of both worlds.

But then something changed. A virus slowed down the pace this planet functions in and all of a sudden, we have all this time that we don’t quite understand how to spend. On online dating sites, people seem to be filling that time by seeking conversations with people that they earlier, quite frankly, treated like trash.

Even if momentarily, by the simple virtue of not being able to see each other for drinks and more after exchanging four texts, people are actually talking. Tinder and Hinge are the new pen pal systems.

Also read: How to date online in the age of coronavirus

Time to talk 

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, even Tinder has offered its users “Free passports” so you can swipe all over the world as a means to offer some relief to isolated singles. People can now swipe and match with people living in America, Pakistan, Italy, Germany… all countries Tinder is present in. Not to go on a date. But to talk.

Before the pandemic struck, this feature was paid and mostly people with travel plans would use it, in order to make some friends and have someone to hang out with in a new country.

Now, Tinder has become a way for people to share their experience in their countries, find comfort in strangers, get first-person accounts of how the pandemic has affected these countries, and see how people are coping with the isolation. It’s comforting and I can assure you it gives a way, way stronger sense of oneness than lighting candles or banging plates.

Speaking strictly from a cis-female perspective, men on the app are now more attentive, interested and engaging. Since dates have naturally been deferred to the future, there’s extra, visible effort in trying to charm the person on the other side of the text.

‘Emotionally unavailable’ beings can be seen baring themselves, looking for real connections in a cut-off world. I think it’s beautiful to see “what’s up” changing to “How are you feeling”, “how are you doing” and “I hope you’re okay” on my chat windows.

A friend, for example, is completely enjoying the special attention a ‘F**k boy’ is bestowing upon her — constantly checking in if she’s doing okay and being unexpectedly “cuddly” (virtually, of course).

Also read: Cancelled sex parties, quarantine porn, kissing ban — how coronavirus is killing sex life

People don’t look for serious relationships online

Even though all of us are spending half of our lives on the internet, the idea of finding love online is still scoffed at, which results in the casual, uninteresting behaviour that people exhibit online, very evidently treating their matches as nothing more than objects of pleasure.

The notion is outdated and has roots in strangers eloping with each other after chatting on Facebook or Orkut, sometimes getting catfished or unsurprisingly, regretting their decision.

But that was long ago, when we were just learning how social media sites work and Facebook had just the ‘Like’ button.

Dating sites are a fertile ground to meet your special someone. Sure it’s not like the movies where you bump into someone, your books drop to the floor, and while picking them up you look at each other and you know it’s forever. These things sadly, happen only in our heads, Danielle Steel books and Karan Johar movies.

The isolation and the coronavirus pandemic have given us the time to finally take a breather and get to know someone properly before meeting them for a coffee or drinks, so enjoy this privilege to its full extent before the world comes back to normal.

The Internet is where we spend most of our lives, then why can’t we find someone here with whom we can spend the rest of our life?

Views are personal.

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