It’s not a new concept — in fact, it’s a centuries-old custom used around the world to help people find love — and in many cases, to create lasting and meaningful alliances between families.
A matchmaker who has data on eligible singles looks for patterns, personality traits to compliment one another, and uses it to pair them up to see if it would be a good match.
By Western standards, many have adopted this idea digitally in recent years — on dating apps, and matchmaking websites:
Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Shaadi.com, JDate, Farmers Only, Match, OK Cupid, Our Time — just to name a few.
They’re often “themed” in order to help daters narrow down the type of person they’re looking for, so they have something in common right from the start.
It seems that worldwide, singles are looking to find “The One”:
With over 7 billion people on the planet, you’d think it would either be extremely easy to find someone — but it seems to prove the opposite.
Matching another person with your desired traits seems to be difficult enough:
- Physical appearance, height, style
- Geographical Location
- Political Beliefs
That’s all without adding in personality — and whether or not you have a spark.
I’ve heard many say that due to the overwhelming amount of options and the ability to swipe whenever they have a spare moment — it’s hard to settle on just one person.
Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash
Cue… Indian Matchmaking on Netflix:
It’s a show that follows many Indian singles looking to find their match — most involving their families and friends in the process.
I know quite a bit about Indian culture, as one of my childhood best friends is Indian.
I was lucky enough to grow up as an “unofficial” member of her family and spent many Saturday mornings eating delicious meals that her mother cooked — and even sneaking them onto her father’s plate when it was too spicy for me.
I was also honored to be part of her sister’s large, opulent, traditional Indian wedding — which was an experience I’ll never forget.
When I saw Indian Matchmaking suggested for me when I logged into Netflix, I immediately knew this was a must-watch.
It didn’t let me down — it taught viewers about multiple types of Indian culture and background. I found myself laughing, cringing, and hoping with all of my heart that the “cast” found love by the end of the season.
It was everything I’d ever want in a dating show, but I also felt like I was learning about different people around the world at the same time.
As a History teacher, I am always excited to learn — in fact, I found myself googling maps of the different locations in India to better understand where different cast members were from, and what that means for marital expectations.
It follows Matchmaker Sima Taparia:
She uses profiles called BioData’s in order to help match Indian singles in the U.S., as well as in India.
She’s kind, but often offers words of advice to her clients in order to help them find and keep matches.
Many of them call her “auntie” — an Indian term of endearment and respect — but that’s also fitting of her interaction with them.
She tells them how it is, but is there as a mentor when they inevitably stress about finding their person.
Indian Matchmaking mixes deep history with the modern world:
There has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding this show — with some saying that it’s simply an antiquated way to meet someone.
However — that’s exactly what we do now.
Dating apps and websites are simply the 2020 version of asking a matchmaker to set you up with someone.
The dating apps are often criticized for lacking the human touch — because the dating apps haven’t met the person, it only has data.
However, the dating apps do have a far larger pool to show based on criteria selected by the person using them.
Does that help — or hurt their success rates?
On the show, we often see Sima give the singles just one BioData at a time.
That does seem to help them find interest in the person, and not constantly look to who is next.
Many cast members are familiar with Matchmaking for generations:
The show was very transparent that many cast members have had arranged marriages in their family for generations — so that’s what they have grown used to. Many are very happy in their arranged marriages, even (and especially) after decades together.
I found myself excited for the start of each episode — where viewers heard stories from an older couple who had been set up decades earlier.
If they pick their own spouse it’s called a “love match”, but that does not mean that love cannot grow out of an arranged marriage — it seems quite the opposite.
For those who are upset at the idea of a human setting two people up together — think about how many times you or your friends have swiped on an app hoping for the same!
With a human Matchmaker, there’s more accountability:
If the person stands you up or decides to “ghost” you, they may not be eligible for future matches until they’ve proven themself to be trustworthy — a feature that dating apps have yet to install.
It seemed that as Sima got to know the singles, she was able to pinpoint exactly what they needed — and even asked a fellow matchmaker for help when her dating pool didn’t have what she needed for a client.
It makes me want to be a Matchmaker:
Indian Matchmaking is 8 episodes that fly by — truly an easy show to watch, but it tore at my heartstrings all the same.
I found myself rooting for some, and wondering why others were bothering since they just kept shooting her matches down.
I can’t wait for another season — and a follow up show called “Indian Weddings”.
Did you hear me, Netflix?
It even gave me some aspirations to quit my job and become a matchmaker — maybe it can start right here on this article.
I’d love to write a follow up about how two people who commented on this article or emailed me became my first matchmaking clients.
A match made on Medium?
I like that.
I really like the sound of that.
Looking for love?
If you’d like me to set you up… you know what to do!
Previously published on medium.com and is republished here under permission.
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Photo credit: Dipesh Gurav on Unsplash