Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Dating Experiment – Online Dating for Egyptian Girls

This has been a long time coming. A LONG TIME COMING! Let me just give a bit of a backstory before diving into the details of the topic at hand. After my post a long time ago about my experience with arranged marriages, I decided to try the last available option to dating (journalistic integrity and all that) and write about it; online dating. This was back in mid-2013 so there weren’t a lot of people out there who would be into it as there are now, which I thought was fine, you never know what you could find. That was very wise because I found some weird.$h!t

The Journey:

Step 1: The Preparation

I was freaking out about having my private information so publicly paraded to strangers, but at the same time, this was supposed to be about finding a “serious relationship” so I still had to put a lot of thought into what I write on my profile. I decided to add a single photo and to make sure my profile, wherever it was, was as thorough as possible. Here goes nothin’!

Step 2: The Beginning

This was for the purpose of finding “the one” after all, not for hookups definitely which was really scary for me. So naturally, I thought the decent guys would be on the muslim dating sites, and this is where I started. I uploaded my photo and filled in every single nitty gritty detail with what I imagined was witty smart funny tidbits, aaaand confirm.
In less than an hour I had close to 1000 profile views, all very strange looking fellows with even stranger profile pictures, of all ages and from all over the world. I panicked and deactivated my account an hour later!

Step 3: To the books

Okay so maybe I panicked a bit too early and chose poorly. It was time to pick the best and brightest (website) out there for dating. So I went through reviews, testimonials, articles, blogs, you name it, and I came up with a shortlist. I stuck to at least 1 muslim dating site (whose name I cannot remember) and 2 others:
OkCupid -> their very long profile details schema makes it seem more serious, and it was free.
Tinder -> in 2013, it wasn’t hookup nation, and it had some nice reviews about how the whole process was simpler. Besides, no one can actually ping you unless you both like each other which seemed like a nice idea to filter out the obvious weirdos.
So, created my profiles, held my breath, and waited!

The guys:

With the exception of candidate #1, the guys are all the same with some variation. I added samples of the conversations I had and paraphrasing quite a bit, although looking back, I should have kept more accurate journalistic records!

The First Prospect

This guy was a mechanical engineer from Egypt living in another non-arab country when his family immigrated a while back. A couple of years older, cute, funny... looking good. He’d been on there (the muslim dating site) for about a year and I am thinking “and this catch is still single?!” we have pleasant ICQ-esque conversation for about an hour and then this happens:

Me: so how come you’re still single?
Him: I’m not exactly single, but not in a relationship either
Me: How come?
Him: Are you open minded?
Me: I guess
Him: I am not exactly straight
Me: You’re gay?
Him: No, I said I am not straight. I thought you were open minded?
Me: Not that open minded!
<End of Text, and of muslim site dating>

The Arranged Marriage Checklist

Him: Hello
Me: Hello
Him: Where do you live?
Me: Cairo
Him: Do you work?
Me: Yes I’m an engineer, what about you?
Him: (his job, don’t remember)
Him: What did you study?
Me: Engineering, and I’m doing an MBA now
Him: it’s great that you’re taking certificates to better yourself
Me: it’s not a certificate, it’s a degree
Him: you seem very studious
Me: … thank you
Him: What does your father do?
<end of text>

Rass-ElBarr Beauty Queen

Him: Do we know each other?
Me: I don’t think so
Him: I’m sure I saw you before
Me: Really? Where?
Him: You said you studied engineering, right?
Me: yes
Him: then this is how I know you! You studied architecture, class of ‘09
Me: no.
(similar conversations would be: I saw you yesterday with your friends.. I didn’t go out yesterday.. I know your brother... no that’s not my brother’s name, etc)

God’s Gift to Women

Him: What’s your number?
Me: I don’t give out my number
Him: But you’re going to give it to me
Me: … Not really, no
Him: You’re such a loser!
I get blocked…
15 minutes later…
Him: I decided to forgive you
Me: …
Him: Now are you gonna give me your number?
Me: I’m sorry, I just want to let you know that however cool you think you are, you are definitely NOT God’ gift to women, and I really do not want to talk to you again!
<end of text>
P.S. I’d closed off all accounts for a couple of years and then got back to it at the pressure of one of my friends. I ran into the same guy again, who remembered me, and I gave him the same speech!

You’re a desperate loser on tinder

Him: I think people should meet in real life and anyone here is just not able to communicate with real people
Me: you’re here…
Him: I can communicate with real people, it’s people like you who need help!
Me: Dude, you ARE in fact texting me on Tinder!
Him: Whatever!
<end of text>

The hook-up

(after some pretty nice platonic flirting)
Me: You should start a school to teach Egyptian guys how to flirt!
Him: So when are you coming over?
Me: excuse me?
Him: This is why you’re here right? To hook-up?
<end of text>

You should be ashamed of yourself

This guy had a profile that said he likes drinking, clubbing, and looking for casual sex, naturally I was not inclined to have a conversation with him (this is on OkCupid btw, which is considered a somehow serious website for dating), for some reason, I decided to be polite and respond with a no thank you. Big mistake!
Him: I saw your profile and tinder and here, are you on all the dating apps?
Me: some! Look, I saw your profile and I am not looking for anything casual and I am not ok with your lifestyles, so goodbye
Him: well you are a @!$#$%% and you give the world a bad idea about islam and muslim girls!
<end of text>

The Stalker

I met this guy on tinder and actually liked him. We texted for about a week and then I gave him my number to text on whatsapp. He used to text me constantly, asked to meet, found me on OkCupid, I asked for some space which apparently didn’t work. He followed me on facebook (I had my full name on whatsapp then, learned that lesson!), twitter, instagram, even LinkedIn! I could not block this guy enough!
When I got back to online dating the second time (which did not last long) he found me again. So boys and girls, please be careful!

The others (conclusion)

I got a lot of obscene texts and images, LOTS of drinkers, lots of guys looking for hookups, etc. I think the conclusion I came down to was that whoever is online is very similar to the guys offline. At the end of the day, they are a sample of the population out there, Egyptian or other. At the end of the day, they remain the same group of people on different apps, so one is not better than the other. To be fair, there are some decent guys out there, maybe none my type and vice versa, but just like the general population, they are hard to find and have different interests.
Nowadays, the guys looking for hookups are more (and maybe the girls online are just the same, I honestly don’t know), the stalkers are more, the obscene photos are WAY more. If you plan to go through the experience then by all means do that, just be prepared. In my humble opinion, it’s not a horrible experience but it personally stressed me out.

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