“I think maybe I’m a racist,” writes Charu, 31, 14 kilometres away, active 2 minutes ago. I need 2 know if u r up 4 it.”I’m not quite sure I am, so I stall. Look, I’ve lived as an extreme racial minority for the majority of my adult life, and being a straight white man dating in non-white lands rallies from what Louis CK would describe as “a me?“I only want 2 fuck u coz u r white.”Before I can decide if it’s racist, or if I care that it is, she’s into her right-swiped list of conditions.“I’m married,” she types, “so if I do this, I need 2 know I’m going 2 get what I want.”“Which is what? ” to being mistakenly identified as one of those “walking ATM” expats that I’m definitely not, to once having a woman on the street come up and spit on me. Over my 15 years of peripateticism on five continents, meeting women in the usual, old-fashioned sorts of ways, dispelling the stigma of online dating has been an extended and forced attrition.” I asked 28-year-old Sonali, a friend whose being on Tinder had initially made me consider that the whole thing might not just be for douche-tubes.“”I would lean towards the white guys,” she said, “the good-looking Indian ones tended to be very ‘Delhi’: wanky and over-privileged if they were well travelled, and boring if they weren’t.The white ones were usually more fun with fewer hang-ups and better manners.I swear I will worship it.”“And then there are those self-obsessed kinds,” wrote Meera, “‘I work out for 4 hours everyday, I burnt 1500 calories today. It’s what’s made Grindr, Tinder’s origin-app, so popular with gay men. None of this ambiguous bullshit hetero dudes have to suffer.These guys know what they want, when they want it, and the closer you are, the quicker it comes. Not that this seems to be stopping anyone, whatever skin colour they’re partial to.What other explanation could there be for their datelessness?
In fact, Indian men were complaining the app was broken, or corrupted by a “no matches bug”.But as Poonam explains, “Tinder put women in charge of expressing interest…It’s probably the only way girls can check out (available) boys without getting into trouble.”And with daily new-user registrations up a holy-shit 740 per cent since this time last year, Tinder has burrowed itself deep into the country’s conservative cultural undercarriage., bro.” I fill into my next blue text bubble, tapping again on her photos, confirming not only that you can’t detect a maybe racist by appearance, but that her appearance is rather pleasing. I hadn’t taken kindly to my friends in Bengaluru creating a profile that one time, just to see how many hits “the gora” would get. It’s not Charu’s immediate post-match dive into depravity that’s made me uncomfortable — this sort of dirty bird pops up every so often on social media — it’s the bluntness of her sexual Occidentalism.