Dating trends: Speedy, conscious, blindfolded...

The dating scene in Bengaluru is taking exciting new forms, and matchmaking companies are innovating in a big way
Last Updated : 21 July 2023, 05:00 IST
Last Updated : 21 July 2023, 05:00 IST
Last Updated : 21 July 2023, 05:00 IST
Last Updated : 21 July 2023, 05:00 IST

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Dating culture in Bengaluru is experiencing a transformation with online dating ceding ground to innovative personal experiences. Professional Cupids are deploying a host of new ideas. from blindfolds to secret codes, to make dating more fun.

Saurav Arya, founder of Small World, says the digital dating surge of the pandemic years has given way to a craving for in-person connections. “With ‘Zoom fatigue’ setting in, real-life dating events are now sought after, not just for potential matches, but also as a social antidote to prolonged isolation,” he says.

Fast and furious

Speed dating and blindfold dating are gaining in popularity. Entry to such events costs between Rs 99 and Rs 2,500. The concept of speed dating is still new to the city, says Om, co-founder of Unfoldlove, a speed dating platform. “But people are warming up to the idea and there has been steady growth,” he tells Metrolife.

His company has hosted 40 events so far, with each event drawing 30 participants. Speed dating is a social activity where people seeking romantic relationships have a series of short conversations to get to know each other.

SayHeyy is another dating platform launching in Bengaluru soon. According to their website, all members of their community receive secret clues, using which they get to spot other singles in the city amidst the regular crowd.

Joy of slowness

But not everyone feels comfortable in “extremely fast-paced social settings”, says Ekta Singh. The 37-year-old runs Ektas Gatherings, an event organising company. Earlier this year, she started organising ‘conscious dating’ events.

What is conscious dating? “It is a step away from all the mundane conversations and mindless swiping. With the help of art therapists and interesting mixers, it gives an opportunity to actually get to know the people around you,” she elaborates. She has hosted three sessions so far and has been noticing an increasing demand for conscious dating, especially among women.

“This came as a surprise to us. More and more women are participating as they are interested in the concept of slow dating. There is more scope for meeting someone like-minded and building a bond,” she adds. Conscious dating is popular among those between 25 and 30.

A session lasts about 90 minutes, after which participants get the opportunity to network. “During the 90 minutes, they gather in a nice cosy place. First, we play icebreaker games and do the introductions. We try to understand what each person is like and their expectations from the event. Next, we do a grounding exercise and meditate. The participants take part in collaborative art. The entire experience is therapeutic,” explains Ekta. Beunic, a community-oriented e-commerce initiative, hosts networking events, but has been getting requests to host dating events. “Dating culture has been thriving since the pandemic broke out,” says Ashish Chopra, co-founder.

Why is it free for women?

While the dating scene is growing well, event organisers need to be fair with their pricing, says Radhika Mohta, matchmaker and relationship coach. “Some give free entry for women and charge up to Rs 1,500 for men. How is this fair? How can you be sure about the intentions of the people coming for free? And what do you make of people willing to pay Rs 1,500 when others are coming for free?” she says. Radhika believes unequal charges set wrong expectations.

Shubham Aggarwal, founder of Fyndflow, a social and relationship platform, says, “Many women hesitate to participate in dating events. That’s why event organisers offer them free drinks and such benefits. The ratio of women interested in these events is low. It is one of the greatest challenges for the organisers to get women on board,” he tells Metrolife.

Hello meme saab!

A meme-based dating app is coming up in Bengaluru next month. Called Schmooze, the app was launched in the US by Vidya Madhavan and Abhinav Anurag. “Unlike other apps where you swipe on people, on Schmooze you swipe on memes. The memes you swipe on help us get a better understanding of your likes and dislikes, and then we provide you with potential matches,” explains Vidya.

As the app grew popular online, the duo started receiving requests to launch it in India. “A majority of the requests were from Bengaluru. Even traditionalists who weren’t in favour of dating apps were willing to give Schmooze a try because they found the concept fun. Everyone likes memes!” she says. Since the launch of a demo app a few days ago, they have had over 5,000 downloads from Bengaluru.

Over the past few months, dating apps in Indian languages have also been gaining in popularity in Bengaluru. “Neene, for example, is a dating app for Kannadigas. I get to talk to people from my community and even have discussions about Kannada movies and such which wasn’t the case before. The other apps like Tinder and Bumble have all become very generic, and it is the same crowd everywhere so the conversation has become very mundane,” says Rashi (name changed), 33, who has been using dating apps since 2017. Fluttr is another such dating app in town.

Published 20 July 2023, 18:36 IST

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