I am as bereft of ideas for this article as I am for improving my dating life — because I am struggling to define the word itself. Perhaps, we should start with the definition of dating. According to the Holy Bible (Wikipedia) “Dating is a stage of romantic relationships in which two individuals engage in an activity together, most often with the intention of evaluating each other’s suitability as a partner in a future intimate relationship.” It is very clear to me that this definition was drafted by a woman given that the intimate part is situated in some vague point in the future and the evaluation of every other criterion happens before that. To me, that’s like putting the cart before the horse in the hope of forcing the horse into a stable before it has bolted.
Perhaps a giant chasm of misplaced expectations, delusional self-assessments, and the over-use of filters where one should be genuine versus the abandonment of filters where one should be sceptical, sums up the dating landscape in 2022. Some people say dating apps have made us vultures feasting on the carcasses of what remains of a shredded self-esteem after mercilessly swiping left and right in a game of emotional UNO with our feelings. And never mind what rules the creators of the game may have clarified, in the dating world, you never know when the one you’ve given your heart to suddenly hits you with a Draw Four, says UNO!, tosses the last card and exits triumphantly, leaving you with a full deck of losers.
Some blame hook-up culture, while also rejecting a job offer after accepting it, because someone else offered a 0.5% hike. Some bemoan the lack of a stable rudder to align their misplaced romantic sails as siren after siren coos soothing music into their ears only to crash their emotional boat on their rocky jealous toxic shores.
But lest it sound like I am being overly sceptical, perhaps there is nothing wrong with the dating landscape at all. Perhaps, we are increasingly being subject to the toxic self-loathing and misplaced nihilism of Gen Z pop culture. Where a perceived lack of meaning in life is indulged with mutual misery bonding than addressed by simple actions. Look at most of the trending tweets and memes and almost rarely will you find anything positive going viral. But put up some homily about “How my romantic life is an empty barren wasteland like the career prospects of an IIPM graduate” and watch your comments section flooded with “I see you because I wasn’t born when the first Avatar movie released… Do you want to Hotstar and chill?”.
Perhaps if we removed the psychotically high expectations we set for ourselves and others over the simple act of meeting somebody, we might realise dating apps are merely the beginning of the process of getting to know somebody who could be the source of comedy material in your life if it doesn’t work out and the source of great poetry if it does. So perhaps, we can stop assaulting each other with accusations of “Why are you on this app? First tell me. Only looking for serious relationships” with “Let me first see if I should meet you over Pepper Chicken or with pepper spray and perhaps you may want to evaluate the same. And when we meet, we’ll realise that like most things in life, the truth is somewhere in the middle.”
So let me sign off by saying as FTX collapses probably tanking the crypto industry, inflation rears it head as does the prospect of recession at the same time even as Twitter goes through its own Elon Musk Spring, maybe next time you slide into someone’s DMs or swipe right on someone’s profile, you can share this article to start a conversation. Because if things get intimate, just like the truth, I’m also happy to be somewhere in the middle.
The author, Vikram Poddar, is a Marwari investment banker turned corporate comedian. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.