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Dial D for Dating

by Roopank Chaudhary

In the age of online shopping (which includes dating apps), love and romance have become commodities that come in all shapes and sizes, available to all and sundry. Of course, there are complex people (like yours truly) who would still be left suitably single after all these years, but most of the lonely hearts out there should have it easy. And if that premise is actually true, and with the doses of romantic ruses, matchmaking maestros and dating apps out there, why is it that many singles still struggle to take it to the next level?

What goes wrong in the value chain of relationships? Not claiming to be an expert by any stretch of imagination, and just being able to take an objective view having been there and now sitting (sobered and solemn) by the side, here’s my tepid take on why so many people are still single, and some of the challenges that people face when it comes to finding their right one:

The Paradox of Plenty
I know I have written about this before, and I still fundamentally believe this to be the root cause. Confronted by so many options, people tend to dither, dally and delay when it comes to taking a call about the right person. With an endless supply of matches to choose from the plethora of dating apps and networks out there, there is an inherent tendency to get lost in a sea of options and keep waiting for the ‘better’ one; the perfect one. And till that time, being single remains an optimal option. And with a stream of choices available out there, we keep at it till we will make the decision out of sheer dating fatigue and lingering loneliness.

Mismatch of a Match
One should ignore the number of matches or ‘right swipes’ that can be seen in today’s online dating world. Because let’s be realistic, many of them are just not the right match. Half of the apps today have men looking for hook-ups or just casual dating, and no surprises these end up having a substantial number of married and committed men lurking on them. Research shows that half of online daters are already in relationships, while 11% are already married. While you can match with 300+ people on an app, you might never go on a single date.

Majority of the time, men match with women who are far more serious in their approach and intention. Bespoke networking and matchmaking services might do better in this regard, but only if they have a screening and induction mechanism that is able to gauge what brings someone to their network.

Fastest Fingers First
People tend to forget that the choice they have with matters of the heart is also a privilege their potential partners have. So if you are busy swiping left, right and centre and cherry picking, so is the person on the other side. And if ghosting is a technique you employ, you can most certainly become a victim too.

Hence, the lesson here is that if you really like someone or at least seem to have a genuine interest for, act quickly. Chances are he/she has quite a few options at hand as well who will make a play sooner or later; and if you take time to respond or take it ahead, chances are you will be pushed to the end of the queue. A lot of the time, the quest for perfection leads to procrastination, but that holds true both ways. And in today’s day and age, millennial or generation X or Y, time is of essence to everyone.

Serial Dating
With so many options at hand and everything now planned on our smartphones, imagine what the daily scheduler could look like in the near future. Order groceries. Book a carpenter. Schedule a pilates class. Need a date for tomorrow night? Download a casual dating app. When finding a match and dating becomes transactional or just a preferred past time you can imagine where the majority of such alliances are likely to end up at.

So is there a way out to make dating more meaningful and more outcome driven? Perhaps not. It is what it is and like most socio-economic and demographic trends it will play out its own course and perhaps mirror what happened in the West. People will date and then delay and then date again for their own reasons and desires. As long as they know what they are getting into and realize that the path to perfection or passion is fraught with diversions and delays, it can be a level playing field for all. And the rest, one can safely leave to dear destiny.

A management consultant by day, writer by night, Roopank is based in Mumbai. He describes himself as a travel junkie and poet at heart. A bookshop browser and Kindle-hater, Roopank is also a sucker for all things Bollywood. 

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