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Dating in Bangladesh is no easy task. The lack of activities, social restrictions, lack of familiarity between the sexes, the 2-degrees of fraternity between everyone, the moral police in parks, and of course the traffic, are all definite setbacks. Do any of these barriers translate into the digital dating playground? A cousin is still a cousin, and a married man is no less married on Tinder, but does dating-tech make it easier to find love in a city that is brimming with lonely people tucked away into social norms?
The basic idea of the Sexual Economics theory is that sex is a female-controlled commodity that is used to buy non-sexual materials from men. The rate is set by the attractiveness of the women, and while the exchange is not money directly, it can come in the form of access, status, favours and gifts. In Bangladesh, the price of sex for the majority of the heterosexual population is set pretty high at marriage. We use the word sex here loosely to mean anything from an intimate emotional commitment to intercourse.
However, for a small, but growing number of women and men in urban centres, sex is becoming more accessible via dating tech. Five years since Tinder entered Bangladesh, there are plenty of stories- good, bad and ugly. These are the awkward teenage years where all interactions between the sexes are marred by misunderstanding and anxiety.
There are endless ridiculous profiles, scams, sex, wrong swipes, and, of course, love. It is by far not perfect, but human interactions rarely are. Thrust into Tinder by his friends, Bhaia was compelled to stay on by all the unusual things that kept happening. In his early days of Tinder, he literally matched with the Doitto from Alif Laila. Unfortunately Ms. What attracted him to swipe right? Fair enough. This was not the first instance of identity swap that he encountered while using the app.
Another match turned out to be more talkative, but a completely different gender. Some Tinder interactions will forever be a mystery, like the time he matched with a girl and she asked him how long he had been single. When Bhaia replied that it was about a year, she unmatched him.