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Friday, June 14, 2024

Looking for Love? Swipe Right

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Gen Z’s love mantra is all about virtual sparks, swift ghosts, and the rise of slow fades. February is the month of love and Valentines. What better time to discuss the matters of the heart? From looking for a prospective groom on matrimonial sites; to apps for relationships and solo dates; and current slang words, WOW! explores how the dating game has changed with generous help from social media and technology

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Love me Tinder, love me true…. Elvis would have had to change the lyrics of his classic hit; had he been crooning for today’s youth. Dating is no longer the simple meet-ups over coffee, coy glances and romantic drives and movies. Things have spiced up on the dating scene. And how!

Date Nights and More
From flexing with virtual meet-cutes to ghosting faster than you can say “swipe right” it’ss a wild ride. Forget FOMO (fear of missing out), it’s all about JOMO (joy of missing out) as lonely hearts vibe with solo dates. Then there is dating lingo which will soon need a dictionary of its own. Getting ‘cuffed’ means making your relationship exclusive or official. ‘Slow fades’ indicate a gradual and intentional distancing from a romantic partner.

Is Orry single? 

Orhan Awatramani, the 24-year-old viral sensation and Bollywood socialite whose answers to Karan Johar in the season finale of Koffee with Karan broke the internet, admitted on national television that he is dating “not anyone, but any five at the same time.. If dating one is fun, dating goddaman five should be more 5X fun. “We are young only once. Live fast, die young,” he stated giving the singles of India new hope and confidence. Have the dating rules changed in 2024? Is the new age dating messed up?

Meanwhile, in December, a thought-provoking Netflix film garnered attention for providing a sensible perspective on relationships. In the final 18 minutes of Kho Gaye Hum Kahan, Ananya Pandey starring as Ahana, discovers that she has been curating a fictitious social media presence to portray a non-existent dating life. Her obsession with someone leads to a revelation, prompting her to realize the importance of self-love over seeking validation from others. The film resonated with numerous Gen Z individuals. Despite the vast world of dating and love, especially in Hyderabad, various trends and strategies in the swipe-right universe are worth exploring.

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Quick rewind

 Quirky romance: 45 percent of singles in India swoon over imperfections that make someone special
 Love outside the box: 70 percent of Indians are keen on embracing different personalities
 On Cupid’s watch: India’s leading the charge with 60 percent seeking a little outside help in their quest for love
 R.O.R: Return on Relationship: 86 percent are seeking emotional balance
in relationships

‘App’y Beginnings and Endings
When you have apps for everything, why should love be left behind? And given the flexible nature of relationships today, where often, no strings attached is the rule of the game, technology does its bit to help. So, there are apps for those looking for casual dates to those who want to get married. There is even one app for extra-marital dalliances!
 Tinder: For hook-ups
 Bumble: For a relationship
 Aisle: Regional language daters for those not comfortable with the
English language
 Grindr: Gay/non-binary
 Hinge: Long-term and for the committed
 Gleeden: Extra-marital dating app (free for women, paid credits for men)
(information based on popular perception)
The Hyderabad dating scene Bumble, the women-first dating app, released its annual predictions trends for
2024, with Hyderabad as its focus. Bumble’s research says 2024 is set to be the ‘year of self’ in dating and relationships with more people looking inwards at what they value and want.

 *** 84 percent of surveyed singles are actively seeking ways to better themselves, and 63 percent feel unworthy of a partner if they haven’t invested in self-improvement
 *** Previous relationship experiences influence 27 percent of Hyderabadis to engage in self-improvement for dating 
 *** 53 percent of people say they want to choose the slow life (being happy here and now) more than the hustle culture
 *** While 47 percent Hyderabadis value inner fulfilment over external validation; 43 percent will embrace authenticity over perfection in 2024 
 *** For 64 percent of Hyderabadis not caring about social issues or social causes (justice, freedom, equality, etc.) is a dealbreaker in a potential partner
 *** Women are less open to someone with differing political views and for 58 percent of women, it is a turn-off if someone they are dating is not aware of current societal issues
 *** Val-Core Dating: Val-Core Dating refers to the rise of people valuing engagement on issues that matter to them; 70 percent of people are more attracted to someone who actively engages in societal issues. This
is also relevant for over half (63 percent) of LGBTQIA+ daters in Hyderabad
Samarpita Samaddar, India Communications Director, Bumble shares, “It’s encouraging to see that daters in Hyderabad are taking charge of their dating journeys. We know that cultural conversations around misogyny, women’s rights, and social issues, that are intertwined with our dating lives, left many exhausted this year. This has impacted the way people want to date – people are feeling more empowered in their sense of self and seeking out those who value what’s important to them, whether it’s social causes, lifestyle choices or even their favorite sports. “People are feeling more empowered in their sense of self and seeking out those who value what’s important to them” – Samarpita Samaddar, India Communications Director, Bumble

Dating Trends
Young 18 to 25-year-old singles, who make up more than half of Tinder globally, nowadays are ditching the pressure of rushing to a “happily ever after” and are Not Attached To Outcomes (aka N.A.T.O), a dating trend revealed by Tinder’s Year in Swipe 2023. Anukool Kumar, Marketing Director, Tinder India, said that the new generation of daters who are embracing a low- pressure, zero-label approach to dating which opens them up to new types of relationships. In India, 65 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds using Tinder’s Relationship Type feature say they are “open to exploring”, and a quarter (25 percent) using the Relationship Goals feature say they are “still figuring it out.”

Hottest profile trends according to Tinder from its recently released Year in Swipe report.
 The optimal number of words in a Tinder bio is between 15-45.
 During peak season, there are 519 Tinder bios edited a minute
 Championing social causes such as environment, mental health, and animal rights to their dating mantras like authenticity, no labels, and emotionally available in their Tinder bios 
 Share at least five photos that capture your personality at different times. During peak season, 2263 photos are added to Tinder profiles every minute
 Did you know that a verified blue tick on the Tinder profile means your profile shows your potential Tinder matches that it’s you in the photos? About 65 percent of young daters in India said a verified profile makes a
match more attractive
 Quality Time: Including your love language on your profile helps indicate your communication style for future relationships. Spending quality time together is the most popular love language for singles on Tinder. About 65 percent of young daters in India said a verified profile makes a match more attractive

Help, I am dating
The dating app happn and a mental health organization called The Alternative Story have launched an initiative called #SundaySharingSessions to address the emotional challenges of online dating and provide users with valuable mental health resources. At least 35.6 percent of singles frequently experience emotional exhaustion from dating discrepancies.  #SundaySharingSessions is a month-long initiative that is on till February 4th, 2024 and takes place every Sunday from 8 pm to 10 pm on the happn app. This initiative provides happn users with a dedicated and safe space for free counselling chat sessions where they can discuss topics such as digital dating nuances, identifying red flags, practicing self-love, and coping with emotional burnout.

Singles Mixer
For singles who want to ditch dating apps and want to get connected in person, old style, Let’s Socialise has a Singles event lined up this month. Started by author Ravinder Singh who has several single followers, thanks to his bestseller I Too Had a Love Story, Let’s Socialise has conducted 62 events in nine Indian cities including six in Hyderabad. Siddharth Bhatia, head of operations, says that many find dating apps superficial with no real human connection. “Texting can feel lonely sometimes. Our Singles Mixers try to bridge that gap bringing together like-minded people over coffee and conversations. These ticketed events also have a fun element like a salsa or cocktail mixing or a sip and paint workshop.” What is the success rate of such events? Do people find their soulmates? Plus, what about the ban from the moral police for encouraging a toxic dating culture”? “We don’t promise any outcomes – like landing a date or finding their soulmate. We only facilitate people meet their tribe,”  he says. Also, how do they ensure that only singles are part of the meet-up? The organizers make it clear that the videos and photos of the event will be shared on social media. So obviously those who are in a relationship or are married, don’t want to take the risk of being identified and hence stay out, he says.
Price: Rs 2,000 onwards (covers food and beverage costs) 
Date: February 11
Venue: To be announced on @letssocialiseofficial on Instagram
Tel: 9873764253
“We don’t promise any outcomes – like landing a date or finding their soulmate. We only facilitate people meet their tribe" – Siddharth Bhatia, Head of Operations, Let’s Socialise

The Meet-up Experience
Aamer Mohammed, fitness coach and event manager, attended a Let’s Social meet-up at Farzi Café in Jubilee Hills in May 2023 after seeing an Instagram post announcing a meet-up for singles. “The event had a good turnout, but almost all of them fell through, and I didn’t see any solid bonding. However, I thought it was a great platform to give life another chance to connect with someone special. The event creates a space and time for singles to meet,” says Aamer. 

The process: 

Ravinder Singh, the founder of Let's Socialise, first breaks the ice with some jokes and conversations; followed by an introduction round, where you are given a certain number of words or sentences to describe yourself. It ends with an open floor where anyone can go and talk to the person they’re interested in.

The Single Women’s Collective
The tribe: Called GG, the single women’s collective with 40 women, started in 2023. It was started as a community for single women who have their own struggles as career women plus society’s judgments on their chosen/forced singledom. 

What’s it about: 
To give a safe space to young and old, single women includes all single women – whether unmarried, divorced, separated or widowed. A woman can be single by choice, luck or destiny.  “The group is for women to help them lose the burden of having to be in a relationship or meet the societal timelines for marriage and motherhood and no pressure to fit in. It’s all about finding one’s own tribe,” says the spokesperson of the group.

The community spirit:
The group consists of 40+ single women. Any single woman in Hyderabad can join and stay connected on WhatsApp and there are no social media pages.  Vibing with them The group members meet at an informal café or restaurant, share the costs and thoughts.
Fee: None 
Tel: 94938 40589

Single and Swinging:
A Facebook group called Status Single with about 4,000 women is known to be India’s first, only community for single women. Started by former journalist Sreemoyi Piu Kundu in 2021, it is like a community for single women in India who face harassment and pressure to settle down. The Hyderabad chapter of Status Single was formed in May 2023 and has 25 women from various age groups.

Mahithi Kamdar, a software professional who heads the Hyderabad chapter makes a video call to ascertain the person’s identity. The group members meet on weekends and also share news and info about rental homes, jobs etc. as well. Any woman who is not legally married is considered single and is welcome to join the community, she says.
To join, send a request to the Facegroup group called Status Single 
Fee: None

The Dating Dictionary
Quack Quack app has put together the dating lexicon for those who are newbies in the digital dating world.
The LowKey Movement: Inspired by celebrities, a growing trend among respondents is the ‘LowKey Movement’, where relationships are kept under wraps on social media until the big reveal, adding an element of mystery and
anticipation. Approximate 26 percent of men and women above 28 disclosed preferring to soft launch their partners on social media platforms and never fully revealing their identity.

Soul Snuggling: This year is all about genuine soul connections, and based on the opinion of 33 percent of women between 20 and 30, the priority of most couples will be to create emotionally snug bonds through shared feelings over physical closeness.

Intentional Dating: Gen Z is opting for slow dating, with even slower commitment. They intend to commit but don’t believe in rushing into it. About 23 percent of men between 18 and 25 explained how exploring different
relationships is equally important to finding the perfect one.

Zen Dating: Hearteningly, 41 percent of daters from Tier one, two and three cities said that if a match or relationship affects your mental peace, it is not worth pursuing. More daters are matching with people who positively impact their minds and souls instead of going for good looks and status.

BOX
HD: Virtual love through a movie playlist
This Valentine’s Day, WOW! recommends a list of films that explore the concept of romantic love with help from seven unique stories that are sure to leave you feeling giddy long after they are over. So, get your popcorn ready,
cozy up next to your beloved and take a journey with Jesse and Celine, Samantha and Theodore, Carol and Therese, Geet and Aditya, and Rocky and Rani among others.

HER
A possible response to Sofia Coppola’s otherworldly Lost in Translation, Spike Jonze’s film Her, set in futuristic L.A., explores the deep human desire to connect with another. Timely, the film daringly navigates the love story of an unlikely couple, Theodore, a human being (played by Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha, an artificial intelligence creation (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). 
Where to watch? – Amazon Prime Video

THE BEFORE TRILOGY
Long before Richard Linklater stunned the world with his magnum opus, Boyhood, he took us on a train ride to Vienna with 20-somethings Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) in Before Sunrise. It made us contemplate on our past with their 30-year-old versions in Before Sunset and ultimately ask us  to explore and accept reality alongside their 40-year-old versions in Before Midnight. With a love story that spans two decades and three films, the Before trilogy is a must-see classic.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

PAST LIVES
Gaining a tremendous awards-buzz this year is the newly released Past Lives, an impressive first feature film by writer-director Celine Strong. Starring Greta Lee and Teo Yoo, this beautiful tale follows Nora and Hae Sung, two childhood friends who are split apart after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea and years later are reunited for one fateful week.
Where to watch: Lionsgate Play

CAROL
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, Carol, directed by Todd Haynes, is a tender love story between two women Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) and Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara). It is set against the backdrop of post–World War II New York City during the early 1950’s. Visually stunning, effortlessly acted and sensitively crafted, Carol, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, is a treat for both cinephiles and romantics alike. 
Where to watch: Lionsgate Play

ROCKY AUR RANI KI PREM KAHANI
Looking for some Bollywood masala? Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani might just do the trick. The film follows Rani (Alia Bhatt) and Rocky (Ranveer Singh), an odd pair who decide to live with each other’s families before tying the knot. What this results in is hilarity and utter chaos. With a cast that includes all-time greats like Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and Shabana Azmi, the film is a fun watch.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

JAB WE MET
Trains, Hotel Decent, Ratlam ki Galiyan, ganne ke khet, Punjab di lassi… need we say more? These keywords are enough to figure out that one Imtiaz Ali film everybody loves. Based in Mumbai, Bhatinda and Shimla, Jab We Met plays out like a coming-of-age story of its protagonists, high-on-life Geet and the comparatively somber Aditya, who take us on a journey of self-love and discovery.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

YE MAAYA CHESAVE
Considered by Film Companion to be one of the ‘25 greatest Telugu films of the decade,’ Ye Maaya Chesave, directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon and starring Naga Chaitanya and Samantha, details the various stages of love in the lives of its protagonists, Karthik and Jessie, which is beautifully elevated by A.R.
Rahman’s music. 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

TEXT: IPSHITA RAMAN

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