Swipe for sex

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By Isha Singh Sawhney

I signed onto the minimalist sex app, Tinder, which is heating things up in India, to see what the swipe hype was all about.

YOSO. You Only Swipe Once was the first thing I learned on Tinder. It’s that feeling you get while swiping right and left across your screen, not scrolling, but Liking and Not Liking people, and accidentally swiping left, rejecting someone you want a second look at. Because once you swipe left, you can’t take it back.

It’s easy peasy. Forget horoscopes, compatibility, complicated janampatris and tedious dating-forum forms; Tinder uses the simplest and most effective algorithms – physical distance, first names (not even second), a few photos, Facebook likes (from TED talks to Coldplay and Band Baaja Baaraat, all your interests summed up in little icons) and common Facebook friends. So there is a dramatic broadening of horizons (read: omg your BFF’s second cousin’s cute co-worker) while you still get to keep your comfort zone.

It’s anti-axe murderer. Swiping is a therapeutic, fun form of people-watching without the hassle of attracting the wrong kind of attention like you would if you were doing it at a bar. Also, nothing says ‘vouched for’ (read not an axe murderer) more than a common acquaintance. A friend and I stumbled across a particularly dishy gentleman with peppered grey hair in reflective aviators, who we Facebook-stalked through common friends, only to realise our dream man relished his “dis” and “dats”.  Still, even the false sense of security is worth it. Go forth uninhibited into Tinder, then, into an amazing Pandora’s box of chat rooms, with total strangers youhave elected to interact with.

It’s NSFW. You will see your first penis when you’re least expecting it. It’s Tinder’s way of telling you to be prepared for anything. Though conversations usually consist of “Hey gurl”, “Let’s see those pretty eyes” and “Do you wanna chat?” – sometimes it takes just one penis to remind you that people are here for casual, spur-of-the-moment sex above all.

A not-so-secret society. It’s exciting and very weird to spot a familiar face, kind of like knowing a friend’s dirty hook-up secrets. Of course, when those people spot you back, and creepily tell you, “I swiped you right!” it’s time to pretend you have a doppelgänger. Also, if like me, if you aren’t single, expect to be inundated with concerned texts or emails asking if everything is okay with you: “Why are you on Tinder? Do you need a hug? Or a shoulder to cry on?” *wink wink*

The match fix. Soon enough you’ll experience the mutual smugness of a match, because you and your Tinder-half have both managed to separate the wheat from the chaff. This, of course, doesn’t last long, because as soon as there’s a match, your chat windows will explode in a flurry of creepy, surreal, funny or downright offensive conversations and selfies. Among my top favourites pick-up line doozies are “I’ve got STD, now all I need is U,” and “I’m no weatherman, but you can expect a coupla inches tonight.” For those who want a better idea without actually experiencing the horror, check out the Instagram @TinderDiaries.

Yet another phobia. Tinder adds one more irrational fear to the universe of imagined terrors social media brings: the overwhelming anxiety of the notification, “no one available in your area!” Dying alone it is, then. 


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