I mean, does it really matter?
This piece comes by special request and also cuz it needed to be done.
When it comes to dating apps you have your Tinder, your Coffee Meets Bagel, your OKCupid, and your Bumble. Each has its respective demographic — Coffee Meets Bagel is for introverts looking for something longterm, OKCupid is for weird introverts with a personal quiz obsession, Bumble is for self-labeled male feminists and girls who are tired, and Tinder is for everyone who hasn’t given up hope/people trying to get laid.
Then you have your South Asian dating apps.
It takes a special person to be on a South Asian dating app. For one thing, they have to like being around South Asians 24/7. Tall order, to be honest.
In my experience, these apps attract three types of people:
- South Asians looking to get married
- South Asians who only have South Asian friends
- People who aren’t South Asian who want to make dumb Aladdin jokes
Everyone on these apps say “Ben Wyatt is my spirit animal” or other dumb shit. Most of them look like the gel-haired teenage idiots who hung around the soda table at every brown get-together. A lot of them are from India proper. All of them have abandoned these apps. It’s like a ghost town out here.
Before we begin, it should be noted there is no fundamental difference between Dil Mil and Kama, the two main South Asian dating apps. They offer up the same tiny pool of matches, they let you fill in dumb qualifiers like caste and community, and are both effectively trying to get you married. The only thing missing is a place to add in your complexion (I am wheatish, just so you know).
Mechanics-wise, the apps will tell you they’re different. Dil Mil only lets you look at a dude’s pics for five seconds before forcing you to his profile to decide. You don’t get to look at the pics again and mull it over. Kama only sends you three matches a day.
I think these systems have both been put in place to make it seem like there’s a game element to the apps, like with Coffee Meets Bagel. But it feels like they’re just trying to mask how small their pool of users is.
These apps also play up the South Asian stuff a bit too much. It’s basically a gimmick. If you look at some of the “personality traits” that Dil Mil lets you populate your profile with, you’ll see what I mean:
I did appreciate how it let me pick “strong-willed” — not gonna surprise any dude by suddenly having an opinion. I DID NOT like how “sarcastic” is an option because gross.
I am overall disappointed by both these apps but not surprised by them. I think they’re meant for people who want to get married right now to a suitable whatever, but they don’t make sense in the dating app landscape.
Also the backwards concept of pairing us up by caste, community, or college dance team is at the very least ridiculous and at the worst harmful.
There is one dating app, though, that could be our savior — Dus.
It says it’s “not a Shaadi site — you’re welcome.” And as cheesy and self-satisfied as that is I’m honestly so relieved.
The site promises ice-breaker games you can play with other users and quality “verified” matches. But it still showed a dude I matched with on Tinder who offered to spin me on his dick so idk about “quality.”
It does look like it keeps an eye out for safety with the special mode that keeps your profile hidden from friends and family. No prying aunties, the site promises.
I can’t tell if Dus has a larger pool and therefore is more usable than the other two apps because they want you to pay for matches. So that’s another downside.
Overall, I have a lot of doubts about South Asian dating app culture.
For South Asian people to dedicate a whole app to seeking each other out is unnecessary. It’s a vanity. Unless we’re creating a safe space to share culture and find each other, there’s no purpose.
But any place that asks you to fill in your caste for the purposes of selecting a partner doesn’t sound safe, even if it’s just trying to highlight your “community.”
The only reason you would use these apps is to either get married, keep your worldview small, or live out your brown fetish. If that sounds like you, have at ‘em.