Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Shopping for Dates: What You Need to Know Before You Swipe Right

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi South chapter.

It’s pretty hard to be on a DU campus and not know what Hinge and Bumble are, and harder still to form a definitive opinion about the premise, but here is where I stand on it.

We, as a generation, were introduced to the concept of a ‘one-night-stand’ or a ‘hookup’ in our pre-teen and adolescent years, and at the time it was conveyed as a very western and foreign concept, something that didn’t really directly affect us. Discussions about Tinder and such- at least in my experience- were strictly post-lights out hush-hush conversations where we wondered what it’d be like.

Now, with dating apps like Hinge, Bumble etc. becoming active members in the scope of our interactions with people our age, it begs the question: ‘Is it what we thought it was going to be?’ Being someone who spent a couple of months on the app and knows several others still using it, there is no doubt that the existence of such apps promotes the existence of a hookup, sex-centered culture where successful matches make it out of the awkward in-built chat boxes only to end up directly in budget hotel rooms or ‘my friend’s’ flats.

While there’s nothing wrong at all with casual sexual interactions, them taking center stage does belie the initial idea behind the conception of these apps, which was to help users find like-minded individuals with whom they could connect and have meaningful relationships. Instead, a mostly arbitrary seeming algorithm asks for your age and six photographs and spits out thirty-five profiles from an aforementioned age range for you to browse through.

It’s practically akin to shopping, looking at a person as a commodity and deciding to give them a whirl if they come in exciting enough packaging and seem to have some possible value. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that the phrase ‘put him in the cart’ has been used in my circle more than once.

It may appear that I hold a certain disdain for the premise of these apps- which is far from the truth. I have both given into the ‘lets Netflix-and-Chill’ situations and had lovely dates, and my issue arises from the awkwardness and hesitation I felt when it came to asking the ones I liked where we were headed, because the circumstance of our meeting in my head seemed to imply that a purely physical relationship or painful situation-ship were the only two options.

Even as someone from an all-girl’s boarding school that didn’t have to go through the I-have-a-crush-on-my-desk mate stage, I can recognize the paradigm shift from high school romances to college romances, because we seem all too focused on having the crazy, alcohol-soaked, no-strings-attached vacation party we were conditioned into believing college was meant to be. The experience of looking for a partner on such an app to me seemed to lack that wholesome element of awkward touches and nervous conversation that prefaced anything real.

This doesn’t even cover the actual physical safety hazards of having a date slip something into your drink in Bohca or showing up to a cute café in Khan Market only to discover that your six-foot curly-haired date is in fact decidedly not an undergraduate student. (A side note, if any reader here does intend to be going on any dating app dates in the future, leave your live location with your roommate please and thank you.)

Further, I’ve noticed that after a point it just becomes addictive to swipe on profiles, to see if there’s anyone you liked who liked your profile, because at the end of the day a lot of us attach a certain kind and percentage of validation to how wanted by others we feel and these apps can often lead us down such rabbit holes.

I deleted my profile about a month ago, and I can definitely say it’s kind of relieving, to not be checking if that one match texted me back yet or the UberGo prices to Sarvodaya Enclave. That doesn’t go to say I didn’t enjoy my time on there, it can be rather exhilarating to be talking to new people and having the freedom to invent any alter ego you please. What I take from my experience is that balance is the key to navigating dating using apps- knowing when you’re headed down a path you wanted to end up on. And knowing the answer to “So what are you looking for on ______?”.

Aditi Singh

Delhi South '24

Aditi is a reader-writer-cake enthusiast who uses writing to channel her thoughts and ideas. She is a second -year mathematics major who enjoys writing pieces that force the reader to challenge their existing notions. She also talks about navigating a male-centric heteronormative world as a queer teenager