Tinder believes every new person in your life expands your horizon, and being inclusive, accepting and allowing authentic expression should drive much of this expansion. But don’t let us tell you that. Here we hear from 5 Tinder users and their stories of love, friendship and adventure.
To love and the freedom to choose.
I swiped right with him a little over two years ago. Tinder became text, and we decided to meet for drinks one crisp winter evening. It was electrifying – the pun game was strong, the jokes were on point and our collective sass could have won the next season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But then again, there was zero sexual spark. It was fight or flight. Our way or the highway. We knew what we had to do.
I found one of my closest gay friends that day, and it was the start of a bromance that still goes strong. He eventually moved away to Germany, found love and even got married this March, but our relationship still goes strong, through memes and messages alike. See, not every happy ending needs an accompanying love story. Sometimes, love is love is love, and the beauty of it lies in the fact that it’s free from all labels. Just like it’s supposed to be.
– Aniruddha Mahale, 29, Mumbai
I grew up in Kerala, and enjoyed dressing up as a girl when I was young. This made me the target of a lot of jokes to the point where even the teachers would make fun of me. I had the fortune of very supportive parents, who were doing everything they could to give me the best education. I didn’t share stories of my bullying with them. I was a highly achieving child, and so they never suspected anything was wrong. Looking back, I woke up every day fearful about the day ahead and how I was going to get through it. I struggled growing up and dated women since that’s what I was meant to do. Checking out guys would also induce panic, and an acute self-awareness that what I was doing was wrong, and people would hate me if I told them. There was no concept of gender or sexuality where I grew up, no conversation around it, so understanding myself was a long shot, forget accepting.
In my 2nd year of college, I joined a non-profit, and moved to Bangalore after getting an engineering degree to work with them full time. Just having broken up with a long term girlfriend and still not being able to truly identify what was amiss, I took a short course in demystifying sexuality and finally had enough information to make an informed choice. I joined Tinder in 2015, and was very awkward since I had no experience with men and how to navigate romantic spaces with them. A year on, Tinder and an existential crisis later, I was on my way back to India from a three-week solo trip in Mauritius and Dubai and told myself on the plane that I will land and delete the app. As soon as I landed, I got a Super Like notification. Since his location was miles away, I realised there’s no real harm in talking. He was funny, cute and intelligent, and I thought let’s at least be friends. Over a shared interest for travelling and similar family values, we found ourselves on a six and a half hour Skype call.
A few months later, he came down to India, and meeting him in person felt completely natural and almost perfect. Two days after arriving he gave me a ring, a ‘will you go out with me exclusively’ ring, and to this date I wear it. Two and a half years later, I’ve moved to be with him, and weekends are spent with either his parents or mine in complete acceptance of our choices. I want to thank Tinder for the invention of Super Like. Without it, his profile would have never shown up; and to think I almost deleted Tinder! Adopting children is a big part of our shared goals, and watching the 377 judgement in India, I dared to hope that just maybe we’ll be counted as equal citizens with the right to adopt children, as and when we’re ready.
– Aswin, 27, Bangalore
I moved to Bangalore in 2016 for my Masters degree, and didn’t know anyone in the city. I got on Tinder with no agenda, primarily to make new friends and meet anyone who could take me around and get me acquainted with the city. That is how I met Teena. We matched and started talking. I had a Harry Potter reference in my bio, she mentioned it and we connected immediately. After a few days, we moved to WhatsApp and spoke constantly. We finally decided to meet at a music concert and realised how we feel about each other. On the January 9, 2017, she officially asked me to be her girlfriend; we both just felt like we fit together. I didn’t get on Tinder with the purpose of finding a date, but destiny clearly had other plans. We’ve been together ever since that fateful day in January. After my Masters I moved to Bombay, and she remains in Bangalore. My family knows about her, and we just did a family vacation in Kerala together. On hearing the 377 verdict, I video called her immediately. I really wish I was with her on the day, by her side, just to be able to hug her. I only wanted her, and I’m sad we weren’t physically together that day of all days.
– Pooja Nair, 26, Mumbai
The 377 verdict should give me the courage to take my name and share a photo, but I’m not ready. I haven’t even had the courage to come out publicly as queer. After many less than perfect first dates, I matched with a trans man on Tinder. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was signing up for, and my instinct to go meet him was part rebellion and part curiosity. We met at an LGBTQ film festival, and I feel like something in my world shifted that day. I met the community, was introduced to some fine cinema, got an education on identity and most importantly met an older queer woman who eventually helped me come out to my parents. When I say ‘helped’, I mean she literally did it for me. As for my Tinder match, we’re hoping to be married in the next two years, as soon as we navigate how to come out publicly. But until then, we’re loving and supporting each other every day. And there are few things that assist in self-acceptance like love.
– Anonymous, 28, Delhi
In February, I landed in Mumbai to start working in the women’s rights space. I’d left my entire LGBT+ support network behind in London and I was really sad. My friend persuaded me to download Tinder and I was really sarcastic about it at first because I didn’t want to date at all! Within minutes I matched with a woman who introduced me to her WhatsApp group of close lesbian friends. I started messaging on the group and everybody responded and I just felt very accepted. A few days later, another woman was added to the group and straight away I noticed her sense of humour, her memes and especially the adorable comments she made. Plus she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen! By this point, I’d moved to Jodhpur for work and so I took a chance and messaged her directly on WhatsApp to say ‘hi’. I wasn’t really expecting anything but she messaged back and we really got on. Over the next three weeks, our messages turned into phone calls and then video calls. We were virtually dating and getting to know each other and things were going really well. When I was back in Mumbai, we met for the first time and one date turned into spending an entire week together. Something about being with her already felt like home! Two weeks later, I was introducing her to my best friends and sibling in Goa and we have been going strong ever since. The whole thing feels like a fairy tale and I cannot believe that I was so lucky to meet such an intelligent, witty and beautiful partner. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for Tinder.
– As told to Gaysi for #QueeringWithTinder