Is love the same on Mars as it is on Venus? Image: Thinkstock
"Men are creepy. And Tinder, and other apps like that, just hand them a licence to creep," said a particularly dejected female friend to me, while we streamed Hannah Gadsby's Nanette on Netflix last weekend. "Sure. But not all," I meekly added. "All." She was certain.
The truth is, dating apps are to love and relationships what Facebook and Instagram are to real life. It's an exaggerated, manufactured, carefully curated set of lies. And while we, the women, are still unaware of what we REALLY want, we are certain of what we DON'T. Answer: Drama
But wait, is it the same on Mars as it is on Venus? Do men (the few nice guys) also just want to stay away from drama? Do they sometimes crumble under the pressure to start the conversation (the app-equivalent of making the first move)? And what if they are introverts? Let's say they overcome the initial weirdness and start off with 'Hi', is our armour of sarcasm capable of differentiating between the creeps it was built to ward off and the good guys? How difficult is it for the good guys to cut the clutter? We ask five men about being a man on a dating app:
I'm done! GIF: Giphy
I remember when I first started using dating apps and I came across women's profiles with a statutory warning "His & Hellos swipe left" or "Like me only if you can handle me." Hence I had to come up with some nice conversation starters (can I say pickup lines?) from the existing content on the Internet. Yet, I still wonder what's wrong with just a hello? But then, dating apps are a different ballgame and one needs to be innovative. When I managed a few matches, I realised I am too late because there's already a myth about men on dating apps. But not all men are creeps. I remember having a long conversation with a girl where she was complaining about how this app has disappointed her, and I realised she was on the app with marriage on her mind (which is why she was disappointed, maybe). I know there are a lot of creeps out there who are desperate for hook-ups and one-night stands but I am sure women are smarter to figure out who's what. Not that there's any harm in using technology as per your needs. I really had a mixed experience here with few turning out to be good friends, some networking, a few casual dates and some really nice conversations. I haven’t yet given a thought about building a relationship which I believe happens without planning for it. My advice is to be straightforward, have a genuine conversation with genuine people, have a little patience and identify the tone of the conversation earlier on. Don't try to steer it in the opposite direction forcibly.
Rahul Sharma, operation manager
"I ended up being stalked online, (she) knew everything about who I hang out with and the places I visit based on my social media update," Jaidev. (Creepy, much?) GIF: Giphy
I do agree that women have it tough on dating apps because I have read some of the messages my female friends get on such apps and at best, they are unintentionally funny or moronic, and at worst, creepy as hell. As far as I am concerned, I usually open a conversation by paying a genuine compliment (not the "u luk hawt" variety) and giving a brief introduction about myself, after which it is up to the woman to respond or not. I don’t think it is quite tough to send across a non-creepy opening line and women have generally responded politely even while saying I was not their type. But women can be creepy, too. I have had a creepy experience with a woman on Tinder, who exchanged numbers with me in the very first conversation (we had mutual pals so I did not think much about it) but I ended up being stalked online. This woman knew everything about who I hang out with and the places I visit based on my social media updates and she would make it a point to let me know that she knows everything I do, which was really creepy.
Jaidev Hemmady, content writer
"I came across women's profiles with a statutory warning 'His & Hellos swipe left' or 'Like me only if you can handle me',” Rahul. (So extra) GIF: Giphy
I don’t know about other men but I am sure all the nice guys keep it real and simple like I do. Girls can tell if the guy is being original or at least that’s what I count on. Best is not to try to be James Bond because if you were like James Bond, you wouldn't be on the app, would you? A lot of times, women stopped responding all of a sudden once they learnt about my profession, which just proves they were being judgmental. I find that extremely rude. Sometimes it seems that though girls complain about creepy guys, they do go for so-called macho men who somehow succeed to woo the girl. And on the contrary, while all women complain about how gentlemen and chivalry have disappeared, they don’t respond too well when nice guys are being nice and chivalrous to them. Also, a lot of times, at least in my experience, the nice behaviour of a nice guy is interpreted as flirting, which is shut off rudely, forcing us to wonder what we did wrong. It won’t be so difficult for nice guys to weed through weirdos if girls would stop judging the book by its cover.
Chetan Karkhanis, professional make-up artist
"Though girls complain about creepy guys, they do go for so-called macho men," Chetan. (Bad boy fetish, anyone?) GIF: Giphy
So my experience in the US has been much better. I get many more matches here than I used to in India. And I tend to get matches mainly from African-American women who often mistake me for Latino (because of my name, I guess). Anyway, apart from that, it's pretty much the same and it gets pretty boring. I finally took the advice of one of my male friends and formulated a standard approach that I copy-pasted on every chat window in the beginning. I'd start off with "bad joke to start your day?" And if they responded in the affirmative, I repeated some jokes my friend told me. Like, what do you call a Chinese dynasty that's all alone? Answer: Han Solo. And so on. It worked in the sense that it got the conversation started. But it generally never went anywhere. And those women thought of me as this guy who is always entertaining, which after a point feels like a burden. I went on a few dates which were alright. But they always had one foot out of the door. After a point, so did I and without anyone really putting in any effort, things fizzled out. I much prefer meeting people in person, which is how I met my girlfriend, and honestly, I'm relieved to be out of the whole online dating game.
Raoul Lobo, student
"I went on a few dates which were alright. But they always had one foot out of the door. After a point, so did I," Raoul. (Is being too cautious a bane?) GIF: Giphy
I'm 40 and I have a filter that asks for 23-33 year-olds, which by definition makes me the creepy one. But that also means I get very few matches, to begin with. In the three instances that matching happened, one was a rather pleasant girl whom I didn't fancy, but accidentally 'liked'. Sometimes, you get the swiping wrong. The second time, there was this girl who was a writer and we had great text conversations for about three days and then we decided to meet for dinner. But when we met, we were both somewhat disappointed, and she made a quick exit, faster than I could say bye properly. The third match was with a 23-year-old intern, who was funny and the chats were nice. Surprisingly, she preferred older men because they're so much more mature (her words, not mine). I start with 'Hi'. It's been a reasonably low-performing opening line but the women have been quite sweet. I am also very wary of weirdness, so even girls with pouting selfies get left-swiped.
Anand Vijayan, design consultant