Cultural acceptance towards modern-day dating and the apps that accompany it falls along a spectrum. In places like India, urbanization and increasing use of technology are catalyzing new social and romantic trends.
And in Saudi Arabia, companies like Whos Here are trying to tap into a new market that the society doesn’t seem set up for.
In their view, older generations are mostly unaware of such apps and disapprove of dating itself.
“Earlier, even Facebook was taboo,” wrote a 20-year-old Jeddah resident.
Kuwait’s divorce rate is about 50 percent, there are many more women in the workforce, and Kuwaiti women are now marrying foreign men—something that was completely unheard of 10 years ago.
Though young people no longer sneak around inordinately, she says, the concept of dating is still new.
Before one of the characters in "Girls of Riyadh" names "Sex and the City" as her favorite TV show, its influence upon Saudi writer Rajaa Alsanea's first novel is clear.
“Going anywhere outside of the compound would risk being deported.
Like "Sex and the City's" Carrie, the narrator of this novel takes turns telling her friends' stories -- and can peer into their minds and bedrooms.
She often sums up an episode by making pronouncements about the sorry state of relations between the sexes in Saudi Arabia.
According to Gupta, research shows that though young people in less urban areas of India are not as open to online dating, social attitudes are rapidly shifting.
“We have come a long way in the last few years and dating is slowly getting socially and culturally acceptable,” Gupta wrote in an email.