These days, every other person that we know is, or has been on Tinder. If you ask any of your friends who have used the app, they will surely have many tales to tell. From cheesy pick up lines to the instant “I love you,” Tinder has it all. There’s a story waiting to happen behind each ‘Hi’ and ‘What’s up?’
Seeing this very potential of stories on Tinder, Indu Harikumar, an illustrator and storyteller, has set out on a mission to curate, illustrate and share with the world, 100 Tinder Tales. These tales are sent to her by random strangers spread across the country.
Here are some of the stories that she featured:
The one about crashing a Tinder date, while being on another Tinder date.
I get up from the table and shake my head to tame my curls. My sister and I have finished our customary Sunday post-church lunch. As I turn to walk out of the restaurant (with fake granite walls and fake grape vines, for fake Silicon valley aesthetes), our eyes meet. You freeze. For a fraction of a second we face each other, a cold palor of fear clouds your eyes and your pale face pales even more. The whiskers of your scruffy little goatee, which I found endearing on your profile picture (orange flame, lustily mutually swiped right), quiver involuntarily, reminding you somethings cannot be controlled.
I flash a quick glance at the girl you are with, the girl trying hard to adjust her skirt (riding dangerously up her thighs, attempting to catch your glance with each upward tug) as she sits down, the girl who either has a crush on you or who you want to associated with publicly; the girl who may (I said ‘may’. Possibly.) silently crave for your pink maka pao lips (slightly calloused by the ciggies you smoke), the girl who would never know you found more solace lapping, soaring, sighing between the lithe, hairy outstretched legs of other young men. I walk on, letting my kurta (delicate orange threat dancing through black cotton) flutter behind me as I step into the hot angry afternoon glare. The Bangalore sun glistens in my eye as I throw my head back and laugh, imagining your fear of me outing you. I have better things to do in life darling. Like write. Or Instagram.
It was just another day in the city.”
Talking to ScoopWhoop about the inspiration behind the project, Indu said, “I wanted to breakaway, do something different. Someone in California started this 100 days project and I thought it was really interesting. I had two options, either to do 100 Words Of Love or 100 Tinder Tales. My friend found the idea of 100 Words Of Love way too cheesy, so Tinder it was.”
The one with the period sex.
“I am 2-1/2 days into my period & want to call him over. In the afternoon it seems like I can manage it. By manage I mean it isn’t a torrential flow, just a light and mild drizzle. But I am still worried.
So I message my best friend for a quick discussion, like I do before making any important decisions in life. “I like him and we want to do it. But I am chumming, is it a bit much for the first time?” “Period sex is best sex. Pro tip: Just put a dark towel on the bed. Go for it babe!” She goes onto tell me a story of someone who had period sex ending with, “You are naturally lubricated.” Adding again, “Period sex is the best sex.” I call him and he agrees to come. There is a tacit agreement this is about sex or so I think.
I message her again. “Whoa! That’s my girl! Keep the towel ready.” “Should I tell him I am chumming, I did mention yesterday.” She says yes and tells me how I should have a shower just before I meet him. “It reduces the bleeding.” I make mental notes and go online to read about period sex. To know what men think of period sex, dos and don’ts. Positions that work. Gravity and flow. Pregnancy and the period. An article I read, says that women are more squeamish about period sex than men. I like the way it ends – Men ejaculate. Women have periods. Both are messy and so is good sex.
I am convinced. I run for a shower, in the shower I feel I have been hit by the Great Wave off Kanagawa! I am bloody red. When I meet him, both my flow and my urge are unmanageable. We kiss hungrily. Undress hastily. “Do you have a condom?” “No, I have a period.” “Then we will do what we do.” We do what we do. He leaves. The next morning I wake up happy knowing that I don’t owe my body to anyone. That my boundaries of comfort are my own and I don’t need to explain. I don’t have to feel ashamed about the period or not being ‘available’ for sex. It is a step ahead for me.
For next time, I am keeping condoms ready. “
When we asked her why she chose to do Tinder stories, she said, “I was curious to know how Tinder works in India. I had used it once when I was in Europe, and it was fine. I was this brown woman in a white country, so I was exotic. But in India, the exotic factor doesn’t apply, and I was curious to know how people talk to each other, how they meet, what it culminates into when they are doing it through Tinder. I was really fascinated by what people are saying on it.”
The one with unbridled passion.
“By age 37, I have experienced the truest of loves and its devastating loss. A heart that has loved so singularly & lost so purely becomes either fearless or reckless. So when a chance Tinder encounter (*truly* chance because he is only in the same location for a couple of hours when we ‘match’) reveals himself to be perfect in all ways except that he’s married, I don’t disqualify him. It is the coldest thing I’ve ever done – to pursue an intensely sexual encounter with an absolute stranger from whom my heart wants nothing. It also makes me feel alive. We meet and have a spectacular night without an ounce of sleep. I get a cab in the early hours of the morning and as I ride back, there’s a smile on my face, a glow in my body and an absolute absence of guilt.”
Indu said she wasn’t hoping to get so many responses, given how sex and Tinder are perceived in India. “A lot of people sent me messages. It was mostly women, however, who shared their stories with me,” she said.
The one where she was looking for a salon on Tinder.
“I moved to my new house in Delhi over the weekend. That Saturday there was a lot of power cut and I was getting bored at home. I remembered how my friend was bragging about how he was getting ‘lucky’ that weekend . He had been using Tinder for quite a while but this was his only lucky weekend.
So anyway..I thought I’ll create a profile and see what it’s like. Once I logged in, I realized this might actually be a good place to ask people about Delhi and things to do in Delhi. At that point the thing on top of my list was to get a haircut. So I swiped right some ‘nice’ men and pretty much all the women who showed up in my circle.
One of them refused to believe that I was a woman. She kept asking me to come on Skype and record a message. In the middle of all this, I still tried to wean information regarding places to get a haircut. She didn’t agree and unmatched me!
Another girl thought I was being trivial by logging in and asking people for places to get a haircut. Anyway I asked 3 women for places for haircut and nobody answered my question.
Then I swiped right some 2 men. One of them actually turned out to be chill and we went to eat cake at this awesome place the other day. We talked bullshit and not sex ..so that was a good thing.
Another one I swiped right because he liked comics. When I asked him which comics, he said ‘DC comics’ and I was like, ‘meh’. Then I forgot to unmatch him. Everyday he would message a good morning. I ignored him. Yesterday he finally gave in and sent me a dirty message about how he wanted to kiss my neck and lick my pussy. I wasn’t angry when I read it but I felt icky.
So anyway that was Tinder for me tongue emoticon nomo tinder for me. I am committed.”
The one where she met a guy with a feet fetish.
“I am obsessed with feet. They turn me on. Like crazy”
We were speaking on the phone for the first time, after a week’s chat on whatsapp, and I hadn’t paid much attention to the first time he said this, but twenty minutes later I knew tonight’s conversation was to be focussed on feet.
Not make love? Okay, it’s not like I want to jump into the bed but I’m a little concerned about my toe being sucked all night long.
I meet him this weekend, I’d have to go get a pedicure on Friday evening. After work of course.
“Are you there?”
The one with love and loss.
“I always loved meeting new people. I feel it is easier to talk to strangers. No one judges you, they don’t know you and you can be yourself. As for Tinder, I first used it in the UK. It was the first time that I was living an absolutely independent life in a new country. Initially I wasn’t too keen on a “dating” app but towards the end I didn’t mind giving it a try. And in my last few days I met a few people and was glad to have met them. That’s when I realised that people were not just looking to hook up but there were people who were genuinely looking for good conversations and some company.
Once I came back to India, I uninstalled the app. I thought Indians would use Tinder just to hook up but I was still curious about how it was here. I reinstalled it when I was meeting a few cousins in Delhi (I live in Bombay) and had a few matches. One was with this guy who loved automobiles and was working with Lamborghini. I loved the brand and he was kind of cute. We got talking and got along really well. But I had to come back to Bombay and we couldn’t meet.
The distance didn’t matter, we kept talking. We would talk about cars, movies, music, everything. Overtime, we grew very fond of each other. Having a similar kind of work schedule, we’d be driving at the same time in the evening and would keep each other company on the phone. We were getting closer everyday. He trusted me and shared minute details of his life with me. One day, he was very disturbed and told me that his mom was not well and she may not make it. He didn’t want to lose her and was really heartbroken. He had always been a mamma’s boy and it was a difficult time for him. He talked to me through this period and I heard him out. That was all I could do, be there for him.
One night, he messaged me at 3 am to say she was no more. I burst into tears. He was shaken by her death and I couldn’t do anything but console him with my words as I was in Bombay and he in Delhi. I knew this was difficult on him and wanted to be with him. For more than two weeks he didn’t go back to work but life had to go on. He slowly started getting back to his routine but wasn’t the same happy person. He was more mechanical now.
We grew more close during this period and would spend more time on the phone. One day he messaged me saying he was going to meet a friend and would get back soon. And I said, “Please be careful, I’ll miss you.” I also told him that I was planning to visit Delhi soon. It had been 5 months since we started taking, I had to meet him.
The night passed and I kept waiting for him to reply. I tried calling him but couldn’t get through. I thought he must have gone on an impromptu trip. I sent him a few messages and tried calling him again for the next 2 days. There was no reply and then I was really worried.
I had no other way to contact him except that one number that I kept trying. When I didn’t hear from him for 4 days, I decided to call the Lamborghini office. I didn’t care if we had met on Tinder. I just knew I really cared for this man and him not being around was bothering me.