The new age of romance


Single and no one in your offline life for a V-Day date? There are plenty of ways to hook up in cyberspace for 14 February. We have to admit that a lot of these methods are more suited for millennials. Many in their 20s and 30s have found their matches through social media – through Facebook, and now increasingly through applications downloaded to their phones.

The first speed dating events were also organised last February in Kathmandu. Dating apps are not just about finding ideal matches. They can help singles to find love, but also new friends, professional connections, or casual partners.

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Swipe right

Tinder has earned a reputation in some parts for facilitating casual sex — though life has a mind of its own and married couples that met here do exist. This dating app invented the  swipe right on the profile of someone you are interested in. Either because of social stigma or because many women are looking for a level of commitment, Tinder in Nepal is populated largely by men. Because of this, it took 27-year-old Anuj three months on the app before he found a date in December.

“We were together for an hour or two in a nice restaurant,” says Anuj, “We talked about everything under the sun, and it was a feel-good moment, but that’s about it.” Neither asked for a second date.

Anuj is now back to swiping left and right to hatch himself a date for Valentine’s Day. “I am not ready for commitment,” he says, “But maybe a casual date would be a good time-pass.”

Make the first move

Bumble is new to Nepal, and set up similarly to Tinder, but here only women can initiate a conversation. This encourages women to break out of gendered expectations to make the first move, and it has been found in many places that women feel safer online when the ball is in their court. Women, if you want a date this Valentine’s Day, just be bold.

Various preferences

Grindr is a dating app that is dedicated specifically to gays, bisexuals and transgender people, and so it is popular among members of those communities. While other apps ask you to state your dating preferences, Grindr does not have to. The app has had some damaging news coverage internationally of late, but men in particular in Nepal have found matches here.

Cut to the chase

Coffee Meets Bagel seeks to avoid small talk and push users into something deeper. “When were you last excited?” the app asks, “What are you passionate about? What did you have for breakfast?” Such pre-questions may lead to a person have more interesting dates. Started in 2012, the app is new to Nepal but many users find it works for them.

Must love dogs

Calling all dog lovers! Not many in Nepal know about it yet, but Dig is the dog person’s dating app. It will help you find a suitable match not just for yourself but for your pooch as well. Available on both iOS and Android, Dig is a refreshing change. Maybe this Valentine’s Day you and your doggie go on a double date.

Dating in no time

Abha Dhital is co-founder of the greeting card company Little Things and organiser of the speed dating event in Kathmandu in February 2019, in which 20 women and 20 men each had five minutes to interact with each other. Dhital spoke with Nepali Times recently about organising Speed Date 3.0.

Nepali Times: When did you begin the speed dating program?

Abha Dhital: Feb 14, 2018. We wanted to host an event. Our company has a lot of love-themed products and we wanted to do something for singles.

This is going to be your third speed dating event. How does your upcoming event compare to the previous two?

Honestly, we were planning to not do it since many other companies have hopped on the bandwagon. But since September we have been getting many queries about the ‘next speed date’, so we decided to continue.

We wanted also to do queer speed dating, but we didn't want to overstep and do it ourselves. We have reached out to our queer friends as soon as they agree to co-host, we'll organise one.

Who is eligible to participate?

If you go through our registration form you'll see that it's very elaborate. People need to be single and 25 or older, but they also need to understand the concept of consent and be able to handle rejection. The form we designed will tell you that we're looking for quality participants.

Do you know of any past participants becoming a couple?

There are three pairs who have found love through our event and it makes us happy.

Any tips for the participants?

Be confident but also be cool and respect your counterparts.

(Basecamp, Jhamsikhel, Friday 14 February, 6 pm)