By Jackie Thakkar Jul. 30, 2018
There’s more to be gained on Tinder than casual sex and long-term romance. Enterprising urban millennials are now using the app to increase their professional network, find their next freelance gig, and even meet a potential boss.
It isn’t the best time to be on dating apps. The pressures of having profile pictures that resemble stills from an Imtiaz Ali film so your wanderlust is aptly highlighted and the unending Kafka quotes by sapiosexuals were tough enough. And then there were the new dating rules and vocabulary like “ghosting” and “cushioning” and “benching” that we had to suddenly keep up with. Now dating apps have also become testing grounds for your entrepreneurial ventures, a way to conduct a free feasibility run or a dipstick survey for a new product or an idea.
Recently, a colleague of mine went on a date where her prospect tried to sell her weed – naturally, she was taken aback. It came as a shocker but the tola of half-decent weed we got out of it helped us deal with the shock. Another friend had it even worse when the girl he matched with admitted to only expressing an interest in him because both their offices were in Bandra. And she needed someone to share an Uber to work with. Apparently, being UberPool-zoned is a thing.
From catfishes to straight-up serial killers, Tinder has certainly seen a diversification of it’s once mainly DTF audience. Among this new crop of online dating dramatis personae are the Serial Networkers or Networking Nymphs, an enterprising breed that gets its jollies from job-seeking and/or head-hunting on dating apps. It isn’t uncommon for Networking Nymphs to put their occupation in their bio, have a LinkedIn-esque profile picture complete with formal wear and vague captions like, “Doer, believer, dreamer.” They’re not swiping on your dating profile; they’re swiping your job profile.
Welcome to Tinder, the new LinkedIn. It does indeed start here. If this new hybrid dating app had a CV, it would list “versatility” under the Strengths section, because it is ready to take on a multiplicity of roles.
Latesh is a bright 27-year-old and one of my (exactly four) friends. He started his own digital marketing agency at 23 and like most start-up bros, the “Founder and CEO” job title in his bio, he says, is sacrosanct to his success with the ladies. Also, realising he’s at the fag end of his 20s, Latesh is consciously looking to meet women with long-term relationship goals that match his. So I was surprised when he told us how smitten he is after one date with Mala, a 21-year-old final year BMM student. While we tried to overlook that Mala was alarmingly out of his league, she also “just happened to be an aspiring digital marketer”. Two dates in, she popped the question: “Do you think I could be a good fit at your company?”, wasn’t the question Latesh was hoping for. Thankfully, he had the good sense of letting her down gently and telling her he would look into recommending her to other agencies. Mala has been breadcrumbing Latesh ever since.
There are spaces to make boardroom connections and places to make bedroom connections. But perhaps our generation is okay with intertwining the two.
The whole LinkedIn-isation of Tinder took me back to 2014. It was the early days of dating apps and I was fresh out of college. Desperate for a job, I deemed it okay to swipe right on an executive producer with the sole intention of getting hired on a project she was producing. Thankfully, my attempts at weaseling my way into a job were thwarted when she never matched back with me. Back then though, Tinder was still a dating app and nowhere close to the sea of spam it is now.
Perhaps the death knell for Tinder as a romantic app was sounded when Format Magazine defined Tinder as, “a helpful platform for putting out open calls for interns, apprentices, or business partners, and it naturally selects for a local demographic. Maybe not so romantic, but Tinder was never romantic.” Truer words were never spoken.
Of course, there are spaces to make boardroom connections and places to make bedroom connections. But perhaps our generation is okay with intertwining the two. May be nonchalantly switching between private, intimate conversation and professional workspace banter isn’t that big a deal anymore.
While it’s fair to assume that “only here for networking” is the new “not here for hookups”, I worry about what’s next. In the past year alone, I’ve come across profiles of happily married men and women, DPs with their family et al, looking for potential matches to satiate their networking nymphomania. There’s also a steadily growing number of young creatives swiping right for freelance work on dating apps. But my most terrifying experience was when an HR slid into my DMs on Facebook to offer me (and five other writers from our team) a job opportunity at their new, up-and-coming content firm. It’s made me miss the days when unsolicited Facebook DMs read “show bobs and vagene” as opposed to “see jobs and mail chain.”
For those of you who turn to Tinder in a low moment, now you have a new reason to consider it when you’ve actually been fired. It’s not idling or living in denial – now you know that any swipe can change your [professional] life.
Masking anxiety with humour. Living with his dog, cat, and mediocrity. Creating content aur life se kaafi discontent. Tweeting as @juvenile_jack.