I Came, I Tinder-ed, I Quit

Love and Sex

I Came, I Tinder-ed, I Quit

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza/ Arré

Iremember the night I downloaded Tinder. I was out drinking with a friend and as we downed glass after glass of cheap whiskey at a local bar, he suggested I download the dating app because all I needed to drown my sorrows in was some action. It had been two years since I’d been separated from my husband and was slipping into the annoying habit of drinking and sloppily crying myself to sleep.

“I’ve got no game, bro,” I told my friend even as he ignored me and continued to download the app on my phone.

“You don’t need game. You are the game,” he told me. It was profound shit which means nothing, but that on really drunken moments encourages you to say, “Meta!”

About 30 minutes later and close to five matches at hand, I yelped in joy, “This is the shizz, dude. What is this even?” I think I passed out with my phone in my hand and more than a handful of messages than I could handle the morning after.

At first I kept procrastinating meeting dates. The last time I went out on a date, I was maybe 18, sipping on a McDonald’s chocolate shake, and singing “Summer of ’69”. Also, how do I say, “I’m only looking for sex, dude” without sounding needy, desperate, or tharki? It gets in the way of everything. But then I remembered what Amrish Puri uncle told Kajol didi, “Ja Simran ja, jee le apni zindagi” – a line I have used even before taking a really good dump. So I decided to woman up and brave awkwardness to achieve my goal. Good, wholesome, bangin’ sex.

It took me a great deal of courage to tell my first date in over a decade, the sweet naval officer whose home would be Mumbai for the next six months, that I wasn’t looking for anything more than sex. But after that initial hesitation, I got better at it. When I told N, an utterly perfect gentleman, the same thing, we hit it off immediately. Thereon, I was out on dates almost every week, sometimes meeting three to four people in a week. I had found my new drug.

I learnt a lot about myself in the next two years. I learnt that I could be deeply non-committal even with the boys I liked. I learnt that I like sex without expectations (and sometimes even without conversation) more than I thought. And I learnt that my instinctive filtering abilities are on point.

Tinder, for its promise of a one-night stand, was becoming a multiple-night mess. So one fine June morning, earlier this year, I deleted the app.

In these two years, I hardly met creeps. Of course, there were those who hit the wrong note – like the dude who kept insisting I smoke a J with him on the very first date because “Cool af, night is lit.” Another who found my feet too small for his liking for some reason; yet another who scowled after I said, “I listen to Jagjit Singh.” Then there was the one who dropped the “I’ve always wanted to sleep with someone older than me” line just before we could drop our pants. In all these instances, I did the most woke expression of Bhagyashree than Bhagyashree could ever do, dropped an “Abhi mood nahin hai”, and fled the scene.

But amid all this hooking up, something even odder was underway. As I met new men, I realised that the old ones had somehow lodged themselves into my life, like obstinate pieces of spinach in my teeth. They had turned into frequent “Good-morning-good-night” WhatsApp messages, dogged taggers on Facebook, annoying RTs on Twitter, and likes on Insta. A handful of them would make desperate attempts at repeat dates, despite me being very clear about what we were. This would lead to me waking up to passive-aggressive comments on every social media platform they could stalk me on.

Tinder, for its promise of a one-night stand, was becoming a multiple-night mess. So one fine June morning, earlier this year, I deleted the app.

Just the way being on Tinder taught me stuff about myself, getting off it taught me something too. I realised that it wasn’t the fault of these men. Sex was, after all, in many cultures, a step in the direction of a relationship. It requires a special breed of dysfunctional and disconnected people like me to flourish on Tinder or any hook-up site.

So if you’re failing at Tinder don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, just get off it. But if you’re still obstinate about hanging on – come to me. I am planning to run coaching classes on “how to get this Tinder thing right”.