Heartbroken after my first breakup, I tried online dating to remind myself of the many fish in the sea. I made a profile and waited for the magic to happen. But what followed wasn’t magic, it was close to witchcraft. Almost every guy I had swiped right on had matched with me. And almost every single one of them had left me a text.
While some were sweet, welcoming texts like “You’ve a cute smile”, others were reminders of the 2012 Facebook era of guys asking “Hi Princess, Wuts up?”
My phone kept flooding with texts. I replied to some, ghosted others, and plain ignored the rest. While the ego boost was fun while it lasted, the process started getting tedious. It was always the same— guys texting, and not engaging. I kept waiting for the cute ones to text me, and the wait didn’t seem to end. So I took matters into my own hands, and decided to hop on to Bumble.
And I am thankful to myself I did. For those who don’t know what Bumble is, it’s a dating app that lets women make the first move on their matches. Each match lasts 24 hours, and can be extended by either of the two people if a conversation hasn’t been initiated.
Once I decided to switch to making the first move, things got a lot simpler. It seemed like the ball was moved to my court, and I could toss it in whatever non-creepy, ambitious, intelligent with good grammar guy’s court I wanted. Since I was the one texting first, I could filter out which guys I wanted to talk to. Instead of having twenty odd guys asking me how my day was, I could just let four of them know it sucked.
There was a downside though— I recall texting a guy and him initiating a slightly racy conversation. Once I hinted that I wasn’t up for it, he remarked he just assumed I was since I made the first move. Except for the testosterone-charged men looking at the first move thing as the way women signal ‘availability’, making the first move is a complete yes.
The power dynamic of making the first move
I posted a question on my Instagram profile to invoke a response on who should make the first move, and quite a pot was stirred. While most of my female responded saying it made them feel more empowered, others said it was unwelcome since they’re accustomed to being approached. One of them had a very interesting observation: “Men swipe on multiple women, while we take some time in swiping. If a guy texts me, I know he is interested in me. So I don’t end up texting the guys who swiped on me mindlessly. I can simply respond to the ones who started a conversation.”
Another one remarked she loves making the first move because it is akin to taking matters in her own hands. It also lets her matches know she’s “bold and confident”, so they tread accordingly.
What do the men have to say
Tired of texting women first, men are ready to let the former take charge. Most of the men are happy with women making the first move. It takes away the pressure of texting multiple women and waiting for them to reply, and allows them to have conversations with ones who might actually want to talk.
It also tips the scale in their direction, since they don’t have to be the ones approaching anymore, believe the men.
While one of my friends said, “I love it when a girl makes the first move or compliments me. Humme bhi attention chahiye”, another one said “I like making the first move. But if a girl is interested, she can text too.”
On the other end of the spectrum sat my lonely friend who aggressively responded with a “NO!”.
When prodded, he said “Accha nahi lagta. A gentleman should always text first.”
While the jury is still out on who should make the first move on dating apps, women are taking on the dating world by texting first. For long, dating apps have been reduced negatively to hookups, flings, flirtations and ephemeral relationships. But with women taking charge, there’s a finer balance. Are these spaces becoming women-forward? That’s a long road. But are we moving towards a slightly safer dating setup? We’re at a start.