Parents Know Best? How OKCupid Taught Me that True Love is to #FindMyKind

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Parents Know Best? How OKCupid Taught Me that True Love is to #FindMyKind

Illustration: Arati Gujar

When most people face a quarter-life crisis, they start to ask existential questions about the trajectory of their lives: Will their career ever truly be fulfilling? Are they as happy as all their friends? Is their day-to-day grind going to be more of the same until they die? These are the anxieties that keep my fellow millennials up at night, obsessing over an uncertain future. But me? I stay awake scrolling through the millions of terrible matrimonial profiles that my mother has emailed to me.

You see, my quarter-life crisis began some months ago, when my parents started to drop what they thought were very subtle hints about getting married. “Degree or naukri dono mili… time for settled zindagi! 😉 😉 ” my dad’s coy WhatsApp forwards would read. Meanwhile, my mother’s strategy was to give me a weekly update on how many members of her kitty group were in the throes of wedding planning for their own offspring. When I studiously stopped myself from responding to these nudges and guilt trips, my parents abandoned these tactics in favour of the direct approach. 

That’s why I’m stuck skimming through a bunch of boring matrimonials chosen by my well-meaning but clueless mother. In fact, all that this exercise in matchmaking has taught me is that my parents and I have totally different priorities when it comes to finding a partner for me. On these sites, I comb through their profiles, looking for shared interests, hobbies, passions — the things that make for time worth spending together. Is he an animal lover like me, or too scared of dogs to volunteer at the shelter with me? Would he be bored out of his mind if I took him to a classical music concert, and will he do his fair share of the housework without making a fuss?

My parents, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about these petty concerns. They are too busy focussing on the vital stats, like where did their prospective son-in law do his MBA, and whether his kundali is compatible with mine — you know, the things that according to our parents, make a solid foundation for any good relationship. When I told my mother that none of her matrimonial picks had anything in common with me, she pointed out two who apparently like watching movies. When she saw that I was unimpressed, she quickly followed up with, “Beta, opposites attract!” 

In fact, all that this exercise in matchmaking has taught me is that my parents and I have totally different priorities when it comes to finding a partner for me.

Surely this advice is a bit rich coming from someone whose main goal is to find a match of the exact same community, religion, tax bracket, and mother tongue as me. At this point, I’m starting to think that they’re just making up the rules for marriage as they go. Does anyone really believe that polar opposites will magically work out their differences to form a happy union? What are we supposed to do if, upon getting married with a pair of perfectly matched biodatas, we have nothing to talk about or bond over? As usual, my mother has an answer for everything: That’s what babies are for. 

Of course, this was always my parents’ endgame, from the time they first started pushing the idea of marriage gently towards me. Unfortunately for them, I am still envisioning a future where my partner and I aren’t made sick by the sight of each other, regardless of whether there is a baby in the picture or not. 

Nowhere is this generation gap captured better than in the new OKCupid ad. The dating app is meant for those lonely hearts who are not just looking for a hookup, but for a real connection. By matching you with potential partners through a series of questions, the app helps you find your own kind. From the very start, the ad makes it clear that the most important opinion when it comes to finding love is your own. As far as OKCupid is concerned, it’s not too much to ask for someone who’s compatible and likeminded — maybe even a soulmate — before any of the other society-approved requirements. 

In case you needed proof, a fairytale millennial romance can begin online, never mind the so-called “rules” of marriage according to the parents. It’s like I told them: When I get married and leave the house, you two are still going to have to put up with each other’s taste in movies. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a companion who had a little more in common with you? 

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