"So, what are your hobbies?"
Currently, I am looking for some enthusiasm. Even the bare minimum would do. Any degree of excitement that convinces me to actually respond to the texts I have on dating apps, even if the questions they pose are one, or all, of the ones listed above.
Because dating in the current age has become a chore that I just don't find exciting anymore. I am in dating fatigue and I don't know how to get out of it.
I did not immediately warm up to the idea of dating apps. Some misguided, society-driven, illogical sense of shame kept me from putting myself 'digitally' out there. But, two years ago, convinced by two very persistent, well-meaning colleagues and friends, I finally took the plunge.
I had a profile of my best photos ready. I had a bio that sounded far more interesting than what I feel like on most days. And I was giddy with excitement - not necessarily over the prospects available, but about the activity in itself.
In my head, finally, it was time to go out on dates, dance under the stars, not share popcorn during a movie, and text through the night. It was time for casual hook-ups and unexpected friendships and discovering if I had a 'type' (other than red-flag).
Fast-forward to the present time and I made one friend that I'd rather categorize as an acquaintance. The hook-ups may have been casual, but they were far from satisfactory. And new and old conversations soon started to intermingle, to ultimately just appear as recycled versions of the same interaction.
Simply put, I am tired and exhausted with dating apps. In fact, at this moment, I am put off by the whole idea of dating itself. I'd rather buy a bottle of wine and sip on it while watching Dirty Dancing for the 100th time than go out to a noisy club and attempt to lip-read my date.
I feel like walking around with a questionnaire that answers the basic questions, simply so I may have a chance at a conversation that moves beyond my house location and work profile.
And I am, without a doubt or sense of shame, immensely jealous and surprised by people who actually managed to find a special someone on these dating apps.
I mean the only consistent thing in my life, in the last two years, has been the 'swiping'. And here people are celebrating their second date anniversary.
I don't know if it's me or dating culture. Am I just unlucky in love? Or perhaps too impatient for dating rituals? Have the countless Mills & Boon I read messed up my idea of the perfect date or the ideal partner? Or are the modern-day rom-coms to be blamed?
*Perhaps if I hadn't seen Naina and Bunny get together in the end, I'd have believed that bad luck strikes everyone. So, okay, Bollywood is partly to be blamed.*
But for the most part, I think it's the dating culture in itself. Dating apps develop a scenario where your looks become the first thing a person notices. Your whole personality is judged, or rather swiped on, in a handful of questions and a carefully crafted bio. And you are experiencing this mechanical form of 'flirting' with multiple people, at the same time.
How is your poor heart expected to find 'the one' (or honestly, anyone), when your brain is already working on a witty response to the seventh person you're chatting with on the third dating app you've installed?
Also, thanks to some close encounters that left me scared and certain conversations that left me disappointed and disillusioned, I can confidently say, the problem is not that I am spoilt for choice. Rather, it's the contrary. There is hardly anyone I actually feel a connection with.
Or maybe, it's because dating does not feel natural anymore. Maybe the reason I can't connect is because meeting new people no longer elicits a feeling of excitement. It has become so monotonous that there is little difference between a first date and job interview.
I am not sure what the solution is here. I've already tried dating app detoxes and realized that while a break may help a little, ultimately, you enter the same jungle. I've also tried to explore other avenues, like speed dating or group trips, but to no avail. Friends of friends ended up remaining friends only. And at this stage, I am not sure if I am even open to the idea of a blind date.
But jokes, ranting and self-pitying aside, I feel that somehow, in the race to swipe right, I have accidentally swiped left on the idea of love.