Modern dating is considered to be hard enough. And then you have 2020 that served us a curveball in the form of a global pandemic that confined us to our homes for an extended period of time. Singletons, as a result, were left to improvise resolutions to ‘put themselves out there’. But even a deadly virus couldn’t dampen the drive of many to find The One (or at least the one for now), even if that meant jumping through a few extra hoops. Need proof? Bumble India’s recent report on how single Indians dated in 2020 reveals that over 540 million messages have been sent on their app this year. 69 per cent of these users also added that they plan to continue using dating apps just as much as they do now in 2021 as well, if not more.
Whether you spent your lockdown days swiping right with gusto or social distancing from one too many video dates, love in the time of coronavirus certainly lived up to the ‘may you live in interesting times’ adage. Vogue India looks back at all the dating trends that racked up one too many suitors during the year that was.
1. Slow dating
The merit of taking the proverbial scenic route wasn’t just restricted to slow travel and slow living this year. Bumble India reported that with an increasing number of people inclined towards building more meaningful connections, there was no more of simply cutting to the chase. According to their study, 78 per cent of single Indians felt the need to build trust before meeting potential matches in-person. Thereby slowing down the ‘get to know you’ phase to form a deeper bond before meeting IRL.
This has nothing to do with your niece coaxing you to watch Frozen yet again, but has everything to do with someone you’ve been speaking to online, unceremoniously freezing you out without any explanation. Being ghosted or Caspered has got nothing on being cold-heartedly Elsa’d.
3. Quarantine and chill
Netflix and chill, but make it pandemic-friendly. The premise—hanging out with someone with the idea of eventually hooking up—remains the same. The twist to this recipe? A serving of adequate health precautions that the present-day now calls for. See also: the rise and rise of virtual dates. After all, we have clocked in maximum time on Zoom and FaceTime this year. Bumble India’s study found 78 per cent of their community open to virtual dating, with video chats serving as the perfect bridge to form new relationships even when locked in.
4. Dial toning
Meet ghosting’s equally annoying cousin. In this modern dating phenomenon, someone gives you their number, but doesn’t bother replying when you reach out. Not to be confused with ‘flat lining’, which is when a conversation goes dead and no one knows how to bring it back to life; or with ‘flashpanning’, which is when your romantic interest bails as soon as the ‘honeymoon period’ fizzles out.
Remember Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s iconic Fleabag, and her slew of unsuitable boys? Even if you were rooting for her and the Hot Priest, that was a match just waiting to not happen. Cue: fleabagging, which Collins dictionary describes as ‘repeatedly dating someone who is wrong for you’. Been there done that, did you say?
Ever been with a date who made your ears bleed but you barely got a chance to get a word in? If you’re nodding your head, then turns out you’ve been ‘Kanye’d’—no rocket science here, just (what should be unacceptable) dating etiquette where your date excessively talks about themselves the entire time in a thoroughly one-sided conversation. These are probably the very people who are most likely to indulge in ‘zoomlander-ing’ ie spend the entire Zoom date checking themselves out in the camera instead of looking at you!
7. Deja ew
Déjà vu, but of the unsavoury variety. Like when you come across someone you’ve already spoken to or gone on a date with while browsing through a dating app. Especially when it’s an encounter you absolutely did not enjoy. Can we sign up for some zsa zsa zsu instead?
It’s 2020 but we’re still not over Ross and Rachel’s ‘break’. In fact, millennials are bringing back the ’90s with this dating term wherein you’re dating someone new, but find out that they’re still on the apps and hooking up with other people, even before you’ve had the chance to define your relationship. On to the next one, we say!
Keanu Reeves, he who can do no wrong, unknowingly sparked a new dating terminology when he made his relationship with Alexandra Grant red carpet official in November last year. The internet went into a frenzy with Helen Mirren comparisons and debates on how it seemed like an unexpected match; giving birth to this term which refers to the coming together of two people that takes others by surprise.
If you’re wondering why that cutie you matched with is taking eons to get back, whelming is the explanation you could be looking for. It’s where someone takes an inordinately long time to reply (or doesn’t even) because they have one too many matches which they can’t keep up with.
If you think you just met the holy grail of forward-thinking guys, think again. Because, wokefishing. It’s when someone pretends to hold more progressive thoughts than they actually do; either as bait for more matches, or because they just don’t know any better. But hey, at least it makes their bio look good! See also: dogfishing, which is using one’s pet to reel in more matches.
We may have missed the memo on monogamy going out of style. But seems like some of this generation prefer their fur and relationships faux. Enter: faux-nogomy, where someone pretends to be monogamous with their romantic partner, but is actually dating several people at once.
13. New dawn daters
Refers to people who are newly single following a pandemic-induced break up, according to Bumble India. They added that over 46 per cent of their users in India parted ways with their partners, either driven by the inability to see their beaus due to the lockdown or because of the pandemic aggravating existing issues.
It’s always confusing when someone posts group photos on their dating profile. Swiping through a sea of (un)eligible singles is hard enough, and now we must don our Sherlock hat too? Turns out, enough people are guilty of it, for the practice to be designated with a term of its own, aka Waldo-ing.
What is micro-cheating? All you need to know about the latest in dating
What does dating in 2020 look like?
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