I think we all can agree to the fact that technology has advanced, and it has advanced a lot at that. It has affected every aspect of our lives, and dating is one of them. I still remember a few years ago, when Facebook was the ‘It Girl” of social media in Nepal, I used to make online boyfriends through it and break them off after a week (in my defense, I was 15 years old and stupid) and I had to delete my Facebook account as a repercussion of my actions. Moving on from all that, now after a few years, Facebook isn’t the ‘It Girl’ of social media anymore; to be very, very honest, Facebook has become a platform for 35-year-olds who want to show off as to how well they are doing than other 35-year-olds; it has been replaced by other social media like Instagram and Twitter. Now, not only do people use these social media to share their thoughts, keep in touch with friends and family, post pictures, show off, and do whatever the things they do while using these sites, people also use these sites to find their significant other, no big surprise there!

I think the beginning of the whole idea of online dating developed from the intriguing advertisements we see in the advertisement columns of newspapers; these advertisements still appear in newspapers nowadays, though albeit a little less, but they do appear, stating something like, “A gentleman about 39 years of age, who is pretty loaded, is in need of an educated and pretty wife of 20-25 years of age”. These ads have been pivotal to the newspaper business from decades ago to this day. Nowadays, these types of advertisements have moved to a bigger platform, i.e. the internet.

According to a research conducted among Westerners, as many as 1 in 10 utilized an online dating service, and a sizable percentage of these users are young adults between 18 and 24 years. Dating online might not be that popular in Nepal, but it is slowly gaining popularity. A lot of Nepali young adults are active on the online dating scene. Dating applications like Tinder, Bumble, Badoo, Hinge, Happn, and Coffee Meets Bagel are slowly gaining fame. The dating app that is in right now among Nepali young adults is Tinder, though.

While a lot of Westerners use Tinder as a simple hookup app, rather than an app where you meet people and seriously ensue a relationship, most Nepali young adults use it to pursue serious relationships, or as a platform where you can meet people with similar interests and broaden your friends circle. Through a little research, I found out that Nepali youth use online dating, and they do so for many reasons; many believe they are discriminated against by their possible significant other, based on their appearance, and many are terrified of the physical closure. It’s a thing where people just enjoy dating virtually, and most perceive online dating as a positive and normal activity, which is a good thing in my opinion, we are moving forward as a society. I have not only heard, but observed a lot of successful online dating stories.

Not only has online dating helped heterosexuals, but it has been very helpful for the LGBTQ community to find a partner in the context of Nepal, which has a very conservative, close-minded, heteronormative society. So, people from the LGBTQ community who are out of the closet are rare. This is where Tinder comes into action. A lot of my friends who belong to the LGBTQ community have found their current girlfriends or boyfriends via Tinder. Also, there’s a dating application geared towards gay, bi, trans, and queer people; it’s called Grindr. This application makes use of a mobile device's geo-location, a feature of smartphones and other devices that allow users to locate other users who are nearby. It is mainly famous amongst the gay community (if you didn’t know about this app, then gays, thank me).

Moving on, an application that is not famous in Nepal, but something that I recommend, is Bumble. While a lot of dating apps are full of catfishes, Bumble is not. Bumble has a photo verification AI which is a guarantee that the person you are talking to is who they say they are, and yes ladies, Bumble is women-oriented. It empowers women by giving them the ability to control the conversation when finding friends, dating, and networking online, and it has made it very, very necessary for women (hence, acceptable) to make the first move. Women are in charge in Bumble, which has led to lowest reports of harassment and abuse.

In general, it is obvious that dating apps have become common, is becoming common, in a country like Nepal, where constant dating before marriage is still a taboo. We are being more open-minded towards things like dating, and we the millennials view it as a common thing. Anyway, my fellow millennials, get on that online dating train, we need to somehow up the baby boomers in the dating game. Ladies, remember, Bumble!