Remember the good old days when the ‘chatting phase’ used to actually get over and you would eventually start dating someone? Or, at the very least, being ghosted by just one person. Now, in the dating Kalyug of quarantine flirting, things are slightly different. For young teens, particularly in India, dating apps are a big no-no. But clearly, teens are capable of finding a way around all such restrictions. So instead, flooded Instagram DMs and Snapchats are the new normal.

The way it works is that if you find a friend or a ‘mutual’ cute, you can text them and strike up a conversation. If they’re interested, you try your hand at some subtle quarantine flirting. If that works, you shift to Snapchat (wink, wink). But things aren’t that simple. Apart from the mainstream ego battle that boys have to ‘slide-in’ to DMs first, there’s also nude image leaks and the risk of being catfished by a person pretending to be someone else- the mutual’s hot cousin could actually be an old uncleji.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Instead of dating apps, teens are turning to the ‘safer’ social media flirting options.
  • Being locked in during quarantine makes them more vulnerable to questionable choices.
  • They need to be more aware of catfishing and nude leaks.

So how does one stay safe while scouring for dates online? The smart move thus is to ‘talk’ to only trusted sources. But even when everything works out well, flirting can demand an effort on your part which you may or may not be willing to put in. Digital flirting though, offers a rare benefit. There’s no need to keep it up if you’re sick of each other.

The downside, however, is the limited number of options that could only push you to make choices that you’ll end up regretting later. The pandemic of texting your exes or trying to escape the friendzone is spreading like a plague. The excuse of drunk texting is no longer valid, and all you can do is hope for the best. As my best friend says, “Bro, you have only yourself to blame- don’t be so thirsty. He shaved his head ya.” Quarantine flirting also tends to lockout one’s sense of taste.

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You know how it’s believed that the camera adds ten pounds? It doesn’t- but it’s uncanny how everyone always looks better in person. Being cute over Zoom is tough, and dressing up for your crush is difficult when you can’t wear your favourite top because mom and dad are home. On one call, a friend of mine was so shy he didn’t turn on his video in front of his crush- “Bro she looks so nice and I look dead.”

If quarantine flirting Holy Grail (i.e succeeding with your crush) is unattainable, most teens have to settle for the uncreative ‘hey cutie,’ ‘Sup’ and worst of all, ‘wyd’ messages. Tragic. Obviously, it’s not realistic to expect a frustrated teen guy to have the vocabulary of Shashi Tharoor, but a little variation wouldn’t go amiss.

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My advice is, wait for the real pandemic to be over before risking being infected by commitment. Do whatever you want (as long as the other person wants it too) but don’t get your hopes up. Also, check profiles to see if they’re legitimate. Having received multiple ‘sugar daddy requests’ from old white men across the seven seas that offer $2000 for ‘companionship,’ I can promise you that it’s not that hard to choose where your attention should be. Quarantine flirting is hard, but if done right, might just be worth it.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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