Most of you have probably heard about Tinder. Heck, most of you have probably used the app at some point in your life. But how many of you have know the habits of Pakistanis on tinder?
With Pakistan in the middle of a digital renaissance, we decided to see how online dating worked in Pakistan. Who uses it? Is it just used for hook-ups? Has anyone met the love of their life through online dating? So we asked our social media following and did a little research and here’s what we found.
The reason why applications like Tinder have become so popular is because of the way society has limited socialization. For one, most our respondents said that the restrictions imposed by their families, especially women, hampered them meeting anyone. You can go to school, work and that’s really about it. Plus, as a society, we don’t encourage meeting new people who do not belong to similar backgrounds. This can be pretty restrictive. Moreover, we don’t really have socializing places. No clubs, no combined activity, nothing. Even places like restaurants also encourage socializing within your own communities. This is why the online world has become so popular in places like Pakistan.
Most people said that Tinder in Pakistan is exactly what you’d think it is-full of sleazy men. Most of the women we asked about Tinder said that it was full of sleazy men trying to hit on them. Fatima, one of our respondents, said that the Instagram account Tinder nightmares is a perfectly accurate representation of what women have to face. Even though most of these men used their real pictures, they said stuff that they wouldn’t even dare to say in person.
Another respondent, Saba, talked about how this one guy stalked her online, used emotional abuse after she ended the conversation, then found her other social media accounts and persistently messaged there. But it didn’t go further than that. This shows that online dating has created a space in which people feel a sense of freedom that they don’t in society. And women feel the same way too.
Most of the men who responded to us felt unsafe too, but not the way you think. Ali, for example, told us a story about how he met a girl off of Tinder, and she stole RS. 4000 from his wallet! Haider, another respondent, talked about how he was always scared while on Tinder. In one situation, Haider said that he once met a girl who was barely 16, even though she said she was 21. Another respondent told us about a time when a date brought her mother along!
Overall though, most men felt that Tinder in Pakistan was mostly dry, as the number of women were pretty less. Men were also distrusting of the women online, as they felt that many didn’t use their real names or pictures, start up conversations and then just disappear. The men in Lahore said that they had better conversations with women across the boarder in India.
Women still worried about log kya kahenge, but they felt that it was a safe way to get to know someone without any real commitment. They could talk and potentially meet someone in some form of privacy.
Men had the same perspective too, as they felt it was easier to approach women, even if they were few in number. Our respondents talked about how they met people through Tinder. Ali, for example, said while he’s had terrible experiences on dates through Tinder, he also met his best friend through the app. While researching, we even found a case of a women who met her husband on Tinder.
What most of respondents said that because of the sense of freedom and privacy people felt online, they were more likely to show their weirder side. Our respondents talked about how many people would have profiles adorned with religious scripture, but be sending the most unholy of messages. They also talked about how you’d be surprised to find a large number of people cheating on their spouses. Some of those people even had pictures of their respective spouses on their profiles! Now that’s called not giving a sh#@.
Some of our respondents even talked about how people with different sexual preferences take advantage of the privacy to create safe spaces for themselves. People belonging to the LGBTQ+ community flock to applications like Tinder because of the safety it provides, compared to the real world. Swingers, married committed people who like to sexually experiment, can also be pretty common on places like Tinder too. And this all makes sense. Marginalized groups will find places like Tinder safe compared to the hostility they may feel in the real world.
While most people said that Tinder is pretty inactive throughout the year, the summer and winter holidays were massively active. The reason this happens is because college kids and people who have settle abroad have come back to Pakistan. And since most have used Tinder abroad, they have a more relaxed approach to online dating, creating a more active and calm season.
But overall we noticed that most people felt the same restrictions with online world as they do in the real world. Men were weird and women were apprehensive. But if you’re patient, you can potentially find someone important. Moreover, things like Tinder have given marginalized communities and people who do not adhere to the typical hetero-normative standards a safe space to explore their sexual desires.