Swiping right can go wrong

- December 27, 2018
| By : Patriot Bureau |

Hooking up on a dating app like Tinder often leads to happy endings but sometimes one partner reads the signals wrong and nasty situations develop Harsh Singhal (name changed), 20, a fashion design student in Delhi, met a person on Tinder who he thought was “good-looking and polite.” After talking for a day and meeting […]

Hooking up on a dating app like Tinder often leads to happy endings but sometimes one partner reads the signals wrong and nasty situations develop

Harsh Singhal (name changed), 20, a fashion design student in Delhi, met a person on Tinder who he thought was “good-looking and polite.” After talking for a day and meeting once in person, the two decided to head to the other guy’s place for a hookup.

Singhal was admittedly excited about it, and reached the place much earlier than planned. Both rushed to the room which was on the sixth floor. However, while Singhal was climbing up the stairs, he started having doubts about the tryst. He told the guy that perhaps they should get together some other time. Much to his shock, the guy was looking at him differently. “There was some sense of hunger in his eyes. I didn’t feel nice at that time,” says Singhal.

The guy persuaded Singhal go to his room and started undressing him. It was a bit late in the day for him to withdraw consent, but still, Singhal tried. He said they could restrict themselves to foreplay, and then go out somewhere. However, the guy wanted to go all the way. “I was scared not by him but in general,” tells Singhal. He continues “I felt my body was not ready for it and still he didn’t listen.”

The numerous times Singhal said “no” were not heard, both had sex, but at the end of it Singhal felt violated, both physically and emotionally. After they were done, he told the guy to not do this with someone ever again and left as quickly as he could. “He was not very apologetic about it,” he recalls about this encounter.

Such experiences abound as people use chatting apps for making friends or meeting new people for dates, hookups, and the works. Gone are the days when parents would set up a discreet meeting between a girl and a boy, during which they would exchange a few polite words and eventually be betrothed for life. In the 21st century version of dating, we find our potential partners ourselves.

Dating does, however, come with its fair share of complications and negativities. Tinder is known all over the globe as the most successful and widely used dating application. It has over three million paid subscribers, 50 per cent of whom joined in the last one year. It brands itself as “not just a dating app, a cultural movement.” The action of swiping left or right has become almost second nature to Generations Y and Z.

Tinder allows you to ‘browse’ through a whole list of people based on where they live and what their preferences are. Success stories abound out of seasoned Tinder users — about how they made lifelong friends or found their soulmate. But the other side of the scale is just as heavy. While Tinder presents an opportunity to meet and talk with new people, it also provides a window for possible creeps and cheats to climb out of the woodwork and join the fun.

Ayesha, 24, has been using Tinder for a few months now, and has become “somewhat familiar with the dating game.” She confesses that most of the men she had met had been decent. This one time, however, she had gone out with a man she met on Tinder, to a pub. Halfway through the date they decided to step outside for a cigarette. “It was past 11:30 pm, and we were smoking on the footpath,” she says.

“Suddenly I felt his hand on my bum, and I moved away a little. But maybe the message was not strong enough.” Ayesha relates that he then put out his cigarette, came closer and grabbed her waist. “When I told I was not interested, he seemed to not hear me. And he started groping my breasts.” Ayesha then tried to push him off, and when he stumbled away she went back in to the club to get her bag and leave.

“People tell me that it was late and so behaviour like this was to be expected from a guy. But that is something I cannot agree with. Disrespect and indecency should not be judged based on where the hands of the clock are, right?” she asks. Before leaving she complained to the manager of the pub, and then ‘unmatched’ him on Tinder, due to ‘bad offline behaviour’.

Another incident is that of Karthik (name changed), who was studying in Bangalore. During his free time he used to go on Tinder looking for men he could meet or hook up with. One day, he met Varun, a pilot with an American airline, in the city due to a stop-over, not looking for more than a hookup. He was good looking, intelligent and humorous, qualities Karthik could not resist.

Soon, both decided to meet up, Varun invited Karthik to his hotel room. While on the way, both were texting each other, suddenly Varun proposed the idea of BDSM. Reluctant at first, Karthik accepted the offer.

However, there was a twist. Varun, who was much older than Karthik, wanted to play submissive. Karthik was fine with it. “He started taking off my shoes, and licked my toes,” says Karthik.

After indulging themselves in several sexual activities, Varun took Karthik to the washroom, sat on the floor and asked him to pee on him — also known as ‘golden shower.’

Karthik found it absurd, and lost interest. He told Varun he could not do it. “He asked me to leave the place immediately — even though at first he had told me to spend the night with him and have dinner,” says Karthik.

A disappointed Karthik returned to his hostel room. Later, he texted Varun and told him what he did was wrong. Varun apologised, and they never texted each other again.

Neha, 26, has been using Tinder for a while now and is quite selective about the people she meets through Tinder. It was her second time actually going out on a date with someone she had met on Tinder. Neha was going to meet her grandparents that night, and did not want to smell of alcohol. The guy, however, insisted on going to a pub, and getting a drink, constantly insinuating that Neha was being too prudish.

Neha asked him to keep a respectable distance and sit on the opposite side of the table, but disregarding her, he sat on her side of the bench and kept inching closer, until she was at the absolute edge of her seat. “He even tried to make a joke, saying, “Aur khiskogi toh gir jaogi!” (If you shift any further, you will fall) and I had to repeatedly tell him that I was not comfortable with the proximity and the touching.”

During the drinking and the drive back home, he kept touching her thigh and getting closer, despite her saying clearly that she was not comfortable. At the end of the night, when Neha voiced her discomfort for the last time, he apologised and tried to brush it off by joking and pretending like he didn’t understand, “I didn’t know you were such an ‘Aunty’.” Neha made sure that that was the last she saw of him.

Despite platforms like Tinder, Bumble and Grindr being for the sole purpose of finding potential friends or partners, those are obviously not the only things they are used for. People are often rude, lewd and downright inappropriate. Cases have come to light wherein people were tricked into meeting up and were consequently filmed in compromising positions without their knowledge.

Having said that, dating platforms have revolutionised dating, especially in India. Media reports state that it gets approximately 7.5 million swipes daily in India, and also “boasts the most messages per match globally. India happens to be Tinder’s largest market in Asia, though the exact numbers are not known, as the company doesn’t share country-specific numbers.

Be that as it may, the above examples show that even in our arguably emancipated generation, we still have to be just as careful and wary of the people we meet and engage with.