We Found Love In A Hopeless Place

Relationships have been such a consistent ‘trend’ for most with social media right now. While I’m not saying every relationship is a facade, there are a few that are simply for clout or gaining a few extra likes from hopeless romantics like yours truly. 

Regardless of how complicated relationships can be, most of what we see in movies, media, or even social media happens to be picture perfect. But that is miles away from how things are.

Never Thought

I’ve already talked about various kinds of relationships in ‘How Distance Can Affect a Relationship?’ and ‘How Are Codependent Relationships Affecting You?’. And even though I’ve already established the kind of relationships, this one is going to be about romance. 

My friend and I recorded ‘Romance Over Texts’ way before the pandemic, but almost everything we’ve talked about in there still applies. Yes, even the part about my type being toxic relationships! (HMU if you want to waste my time!) But recording that episode got me thinking about how most of us portray romance.  

Movies have always been the go-to spot for a quick hit of an unachievable expectation of romance, but lately, it’s like we’ve been craving for just that. Yes, most of us have been self-isolating way before this situation, but the fact that we don’t have a choice to leave when we want to is what’s screwing with us.  But it’s not just that, I’ve noticed that so many of us crave human affection and touch, especially now when we can’t have any of it.

And when you add romance movies, social media content and loneliness into the mix, it’s a match! 

Now I’m not trying to call anyone out. But I’ve talked about how I’ve come across so many people who want a relationship to exist. It’s not even the person or the concept of being in one, but it is the idea of having someone to talk to and share everything with regardless of how long it lasts. However, most of them always end up getting in and out of ‘relationships’ for various other reasons.

I Want To Know What Love Is

The digital age has given us all that we need, in one place. From music and movies to dating, everything in the palm of our hand. And Pronoy and I discuss ‘romance’ on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and more. But even though we’ve seen a surge of people trying to find companionship in any possible way, the pandemic has only seemed to make it worse. 

I’m no stranger to dating apps, I’ve had my fair share of Tinder and Bumble. But despite not having any luck on them before, I downloaded Bumble all over again only because ‘I had nothing to do during the quarantine’. I also got Hinge as an extra measure, and also because a few friends told me it was so much better! 

In a sea of various witty, snarky, or just straight up novels under the pretext of a ‘bio’, the quarantine still manages to shine through. Not only is it mentioned in some profiles, but it also seems to double up as an ice breaker. I’ve probably come across so many different profiles that’ll either feature a ‘joke’ about the quarantine, or the second or third question they ask will be about it. 

I mean, I obviously won’t judge since I partially joined because of it too. But it’s hilarious to see how riled up most get at the smallest of things. However, while the quarantine has given many people a personality trait, it still hasn’t helped improve their game in the slightest. The most common thing I’ve had most of my friends tell me is how most start with a traditional “Hey”. 

I know you’re probably going “It’s not that bad, Simone”. And it probably isn’t. But most of the time, it never goes beyond that ‘Hey’, and then my back starts hurting from carrying every conversation. Apart from constantly receiving messages like “hey wssup” or “how are u doin?”, I’ve had to deal with the constant “I’m only here till this lasts, so maybe we should *add activity here*” messages. Only because they often suggest “hooking up” with the person.

The Way You Make Me Feel

Speaking of ‘Hookup Culture’, it isn’t something I see myself being a part of, but I have nothing against it. It’s how people who are into it that bothers me. Seeing how most dating apps aren’t where anyone would ideally look for love, any time I’ve clarified that I’m not looking to hook up – a majority of them respond with hostility.

Not only have I come across people who tend to forget that conversation is key, regardless of what you want. But I’ve also met so many men (not calling anyone out) who think that being tall is a personality trait. Because not only do they think that’ll get them matches (I bet it does), but they also refrain from putting any actual effort. 

I’m not saying every one of them is horrible. There are a few men who tend to speak to you and continue to communicate even after you’ve stated that you’re not interested. But there aren’t too many of those! And before you call me out for not including any women in this, I’m sorry. But the only woman I matched with told me about her open relationship and then kind of, sort of ghosted me. Perhaps someday I shall share more tales of women giving me any sort of attention. But for now, this is all I have.

Look How They Shine For You

Seeing how we’re talking about dating apps, Tinder is one of the most known apps in India. And they’ve always been trying to change the ad game by coming up with numerous campaigns to include and indulge their users. 

Last month, like every other corporate company out there, Tinder India decided to join the party by creating what they called ‘India’s First Queer Anthem’. While that does sound like the kind of Queer representation the community needed in mainstream media, it wasn’t quite what we expected. 

*Everything that I share from here on has been sourced from various queer individuals from Instagram*

Tinder India collaborated with a Cis-het artist called Ritviz. Not only is this artist not a part of the community, but he isn’t an ally either. They also asked a white Cis-het woman to direct the video. And I’m not too sure about whether she is an ally. However, for an initiative that was supposed to be all about queer representation, I don’t see any representation for queer artists. 

When we take a closer look at the video, we realise that the representation was only about what’s in front of the camera, and not behind. But even then, the community wasn’t represented that well. Let me explain. The video starts with a queer man who’s a known transphobic mysoginist, and then continues to show various Cis Queer individuals, while also romanticizing a glorious, privileged life. Not only is that problematic, but it’s also brushing all of the issues many in the community have to go through daily. 

Tinder India also believed that by including ‘attractive’ Cis Queer individuals is all they needed to represent the community. With zero representation of the trans, intersex, disabled, and more queer individuals; not only is there zero awareness of various sexualities or identities, this video is just an extremely glamorous ad that features the ‘community’. 

It’s also been said that the queer individuals featured in the video were asked to give Tinder a house tour just so they could ensure that it fit their aesthetic and narrative which is extremely problematic. But you’re probably saying ‘Hey, they don’t mind it, besides they got paid for it, right?”, they didn’t. These individuals were told that Tinder would send them a “token of appreciation”, and that’s about it. 

Not only is Tinder capitalizing on Pride month, but it’s doing it in a way where a larger audience wouldn’t know much about it until they try looking into it. And yes, many organizations do it, but Tinder specifically said this was for the community. While many have talked about this on their social media, it hasn’t done much for Tinder to respond. But if the community doesn’t act like it’s all-inclusive at times, I don’t think anyone would blame Tinder either. Right?

Let’s Stay Together

Long-distance relationships have been a concept for a while now. But this pandemic has forced many relationships down that path. And lately, I’ve been seeing so many people use technology to the fullest. Only to feel closer to their partners in times like this! 

From Zoom dates to figuring out how to binge Netflix together, we’ve seen it all. So much so, that Hinge encourages its users to either get on a voice or a video call, just so they can get to know each other better, like a first date. Hinge ran a campaign during June. They decided to donate $1 to SAGE in honour of LGBTQ+ elders for every digital date their users went on. 

Long-distance relationships may seem incredibly weird for couples that happen to stay in the same city, but with quarantine laws and lockdowns, it isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Despite that, holding a conversation for more than 3 days seems like a huge deal for most people. Some could say it is due to the whole ‘work from home’ situation, or maybe people didn’t hit it off as much as they’d hope.

Even though there have been memes and ‘funny’ videos about how couples quarantining together have it hard, most single people using dating apps would say otherwise. While I did join dating apps due to the lockdown, there’s always the need to find someone new to talk to rather than just finding someone pretty to look at. 

I’ve repeated numerous points multiple times, but dating during a pandemic is not as bad as it sounds. Have you had any crazy dating app experiences? Then tell me in the comments. And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then you can find more of my work here.

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