I like to think that I’m up to date with modern culture. For example, just today I found out what a Billie Eilish is: a device that mumbles so that 12-year-olds can feel something. But recently a friend mentioned the term ‘Dracula-ing’ in the context of modern dating, and I was clueless. My first thought was, “Is that a fetish where you get turned on by the sight of your lover in a coffin?” but nope, that’s just called divorce.
No, ‘Dracula-ing’, according to this young, forever-tormented generation, is when a romantic interest / future-therapy-topic surfaces only at odd hours of the night to text you the classic ‘hey u up?’. This text is seen as disrespectful to the English language and also to people who do not want to be treated like Orgasm Vending Machines.
There are other terms that I’ve learned recently: Zombie-ing, which is when a hook-up who had ghosted you ages ago, re-appears with no explanation or apology, asking to be let into your pants. There’s also ‘V-lationshipping’, which is when a long-lost ex contacts you around Valentine’s Day to see if they can cut open your chest and fill it up with excuses again.
There are a million such dating terms, because coining names is easy and adds a nice blanket of humour over the festering roadkill that is your love life. But in all our hand-wringing about modern dating, we sometimes forget a few basics.
First of all, we wanted this. We wanted to defy tradition and have the freedom to pick our next drinking problem. Even when we didn’t have the technology to simultaneously sext three people while taking a dump, we knew we wanted choice and that’s the weird thing about choice – it turns out that other people have it too. Someone could be your main window and you’d just be one of fifteen open tabs or vice-versa, and that’s just how it is, according to this browser analogy that I feel we should now minimise to avoid shitty puns.
And sure, tech is an enabler, but the core behaviours aren’t really new. Previous generations just called them ‘Trust And Communication Issues’ (and then went out and got scurvy or whatever they did for fun back then, I dunno.)
My favourite manifestation of these issues are the ‘No Label’ relationships. They sound great on paper, except you dig in a little (two drinks) and realise that one person would actually like a label but can’t really ask because the other person will leave and then nobody will ever love them and they’ll die alone and all their exes will turn up at the funeral to sneer and laugh and swap stories about their weird birthmark shaped like Rajpal Yadav.
Look, it’s not inherently cooler to have “no labels”. Being “Undefined” is also technically a label. And what are the rules? Are you allowed to hook up with other people? Will you meet each others’ friends? Do you go dutch on the abortion bill or is it like drinks – ‘I’ll get this one, you get the next’? Because it doesn’t matter what you call yourself – ‘Friends With Benefits’, ‘No Labels’, ‘Poly But Upvaas On Thursday’ – if you haven’t discussed the rules, then one of you will spend several nights sobbing along to the sad sounds of Kumar Sanu’s nose. (Spoiler Alert: It’s probably you.)
So is there a bright side to this nonsense or are we all doomed to spend our lives chugging from the Fountain Of Perennial Disappointment? Of course there is. This churn is good, because every Dracula, every Zombie, every Goblin (that’s when you date a tiny magic banker who’s a dog-whistle for the Jewish community) – every one of these encountered is a bad option eliminated, paving the way for better ones to come along and meet a smarter you. (OR you’ll just build an emotional Great Wall Of China and push away anyone who tries to get close, but hey, save that worry for the 2 a.m. internal monologue.)
In my personal experience, it does get better with time simply because you get better with time. I remember how frantic and hyper we used to get in our 20s, and how much garbage we would tolerate. We’ve all been on both sides of conversations like this:
Friend: Woe is me, why do I keep dating shitty dudes, why why why? This one keeps yelling his ex’s name during sex.
Me: Dump him.
Friend: Nooo, maybe it’s an honest mistake?? ‘Cos her name is so similar to mine?
Me: Is her name also Pooja?
Friend: Close. It’s Eyehfuwjjføjasihkhfhghyykshjull.
Friend: She’s named after that Icelandic volcano.
Me: So you gonna ignore my advice now or later?
Friend: Never mind, marrying him tomorrow!
Things improved only once we discovered this wonder drug called self-esteem. Oh man, you try it once, you never wanna go back. Sure, it’s not the easiest to manufacture, although society deals it to you quicker if you’re a dude. But take one hit and suddenly you’re doing things like “being confident” and “setting boundaries” and “not settling for bullshit behavior just because they have a nice butt that fills the parent-shaped hole in your heart.”
Don’t get me wrong – I’m still extremely single and my last intimate encounter was with a packet of Peppy Chips. But now there’s a certain equanimity about the situation, which helps tackle the biggest dating fear of them all i.e. settling down with someone only because you’ve hit a certain age and not because you feel, in every atom of your body, that this is the person whose adult diapers you would hate changing the least.
I know modern dating is way more complicated than before but we also have more freedom than anyone’s ever had. If we use it well and keep our spirits and standards high, then maybe one day it’ll work out. Yes, I know that statement makes no objective sense but neither does the assertion that ‘It’ll never work out’. Both are equally baseless from a logic perspective so why not latch on to the nicer thought? The thought that maybe one day, the universe will notice and it will give in and whisper in our direction those powerful magic words, ‘hey u up?’.
63 thoughts on “A Mostly Unhelpful Guide To Modern Dating”
Ashish Shakya has started blogging again. The internet is suddenly tolerable. Great day.
Haha thank you, just having fun with this format again 🙂
Laughed my ass off…dipped my leg into the dating pool recently this is soo relatable…loved it …good to have you back after a long break…
This was SO FUNNY!
omg omg. I’m so happy! I havent even read it yet.
Well, I read it now, and I loved it. I’m so happy that you’re blogging again!!!
Really appreciate the story arc of both your comments.
So happy to see your name pop up in the mailbox.
Thank you 🙂
Here for the first time. Read your blog. Now there’s no going back. When’s the next one?
Welcome back to blogging
So well written!! I literally LOLed over orgasm vending machine! Amazing blog!
An orgasm vending machine is a GREAT idea
Any vending machine is an orgasm vending machine if you’re hungry enough.
Yay Ashish Shakya is back again!
Read it in the Slim Shady tune obviously.
Nobody wanna see Marshall anymore, they want Shakya and that’s what I give ya
Oh my my! You’re back, and single!
Since my recent breakup, I’ve been looking for a poly-no-upvaas thing? Wanna?
It’ll certainly beat Peppy chips (such a 90s snack)
It’s grand to see you back coz your humour fresher than GuruPrasad samosas
Best comment, thank you *cue shy awkward face*
‘She is named after that Icelandic volcano.’ 😂 Loved it! I am thoroughly excited that you are back to blogging again.
Yayyy. You’re back! Gives me hope to know that there might be more people out there with a Rajpal Yadav shaped birthmark.
This was a great read. Thanks! 😀
Thank you, and yes, may everyone find their Rajpal.
Thank you for the wise words, and the hope that one day the universe (and not an actual person) will go ‘hey u up’ on me. Wow.
(LOVED IT THOROUGHLY)
OMG OMG OMG !! What am I going to do now ?! Addicted to your writing !! 😍
THIS WAS SO SO EPIC! LOVED IT MAN!
KEEP WRITING! 😭♥
Bhai, super duper relatable! Thanks for the excellent dose of quality blogging. Read it the second and it’s equally funny! Next one kab?
I’ve missed this! So glad you’re blogging again 💕
This was so goood!! 🤣🤣🤣
I wale up and i find this quirky yet blatantly honest piece.Yes releatable off course thats y i can leave a comment but its an amazing one Ashish.
Modern dating and this blog are both fascinating late entries in my life. Many thanks for enabling binge behavior across platforms! Warm regards.
Hahah anything to distract us from real life.
Ive been waiting five years for your writing to come back! Used to watch your standup in Canvas laugh club many many years ago before AIB! So glad to rediscover that the old gang is going back to basics. Would love for the OG podcast to be back too
Hah what a flashback. And thank you so much!
An absolute delight to read. I’d reckon you’d best not take a 4 year break again. Cheers
Yes, that’s the hope.
OMG. Youre backkkk.
Please say you’ll keep writing!
You have been missed and how!
bless the day you decided to come up with this.
i low-key missed you. this is amazing
Love it!!!! So glad you took to writing this and shared it with the world.
Can we expect a comeback on Youtube also 😅😅
Very nice writing. All the puns so apt. Thanks for writing 😊
wowww man , dunno last time i read this long … , great stuff.. I am copying and posting on my insta stories (don’t claim copy right)
Read your blog for the first time and it was such a delightful read which brought a smile to my face! Love it!
that fills the parent-shaped hole in your heart – HAHAHAHAHAHAH.
Glad you’re back shakya!
I am just dead !! Like the favorite indian blog is back ! Love this !! please keep blogging infinitely !! 😀
Yay, this blog is active again. For now, welcome back!
That was truly unhelpful but nevertheless entertaining. 🙂
Dude ! . This is the stuff we ve been missing so long ! .
Like meeting an old friend after 5 years..
Love it!. Dont keep us all waiting for the next one!
Love your work, Ashish! Great to have you back. How’s Mrudula? 🙂
Oh damn. Mridula! What a flashback. Not even kidding, she still pops up on the apps 🙂
Nice blog, the main problem with dating sites is Lots of fake profiles or false info on the profiles. This makes people really not trust anyone easily even if their own profiles are genuine.
Hahaha love this, especially the dialogue section – so true!
Wicked take on the dating world and it’s weird ‘trends’ 🙂
This was a breath of fresh air among all the boring, lifeless blogs I’ve been coming across lately. Funny and true, or perhaps funnier because it’s all true.
Nice of you to say, thank you 🙂
I just got ghosted after I asked to have a phone conversation before I met this guy. I got on my blog to write, couldn’t quite get around to it so searched modern dating on WordPress and voila!
The thing about how we are the generation with the most freedom ever, to not lose hope, and keep our standards really resonated! Merci!
Hah yes, when in doubt, write 🙂
Omg personal attackkk😭😂😂