“This is a stupid f*cking idea!” That’s what my best friend told me when I made my first online dating profile. I was only doing it to inspire more articles… well, that and I was actually pretty curious. So I tried it, I tried all the apps you could possibly imagine: OkCupid, Happn, Bumble, Tinder, Minder, etc. My phone was the Pokemon of dating apps… gotta download ’em all.
Each one had it’s own formula to calculate romantic matches, and each app brought lessons about romance and life in general. Here are my takeaways from being an Arab woman on a dating site:
1. Everyone is using dating apps, and I mean EVERYONE!
I’ve seen just about everyone, including co-workers, friends and cousins on dating apps. Weird? At first, it freaked me out, then I realized: these are guys I know, and they’re are decent guys. So, hopefully, that’s an indication that the guys on this site aren’t total creepers.
2. On that note: There are some serious creepers online
Duh, when I say creep I mean contacting you via text, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Viber, Skype and WhatsApp multiple times to ask when you to go out again. It happens, but don’t entertain it, just block and move along.
3. If it’s too good to be true, it’s because it is
You’ll meet guys who are ridiculously perfect: suave, sexy and successful. Dates will feel like something out of your favorite romance movie, complete with flowers, cheesy lines and a private jet. Then later, you uncover prince charming has a criminal record, six other girlfriends, a sex addiction and a baby mama. Just be skeptical! At the end of the day, they’re still a stranger.
4. Middle Eastern women are highly sought after
A study done on racial preference on online dating found that “Middle Eastern women are overwhelmingly the most popular group, 1 in 2 men write back.” Also worth noting, “Middle Eastern men are the least picky, responding 49.7% of the time.” The 3atash is real.
5. You’re allowed to be ‘picky’
You went on an app because you weren’t finding the right person in person, so why settle? The cool/weird part about these apps is you can select who you want to meet based off of their education, geography, height or taste in music. You’re essentially crafting your dream man, but be careful what you swipe for.
6. You live and learn
You may start the online dating escapade as wanting to be in a relationship, then realize it’s far from what you want. You can’t even commit to one pizza topping, how are you going to commit to one person?!
7. You should have a game plan
You should be a bit narcissistic and a whole lot of prepared. Don’t go out with someone without informing a friend/roommate that you’re going to be out with a complete stranger… so you don’t end up on the evening news or a body bag.
8. You don’t have to try so hard
After you go on a few dates you realize the performance is totally overrated. Spending time and energy on your appearance is awesome, but when you continue to go on disappointing dates, you come to understand that impressing someone isn’t worth your energy if they’re not worth a second date.
9. Online dating has a cycle
For example, you match with three different guys at different times. I have them ranked how eager I am to meet each of them. When one falls through, I have two others to bounce back on. What this does is desensitizes the significance of going out on a date. It has its pros and cons.
10. Cultural differences
While living in a racially diverse city (San Francisco), I had the advantage of dating both Middle Eastern and non-Middle Eastern men. While you can’t make generalization about an entire group from your experience with one person, I will say I was a bit surprised regarding my personal experience.
There were definitely the “normal” Middle Eastern and non-Middle Eastern men that were aware of my culture’s traditions that tends to be more old school. However, I ran into more non-Middle Eastern men who were more respectful towards my cultural norms than Middle Eastern men who were more pressing on *ahem* certain matters. Again, this is based off of my own personal experience.
11. Dating sites aren’t just for hooking up
Many women are skeptical about online dating because they’re expecting to be bombarded with advances from guys trying to get in their pants. Although you will get a fair share of “we should bang” messages, ultimately it is a stereotype. Damn horndogs.
12. It’s totally OK to refer a friend
You go out with a guy, sparks aren’t really there and half way through you realize, “OMG, he’d be perfect for my girlfriend.” So why not make it happen? If approached honestly and delicately, the situation has potential to work out.
13. You appreciate organic relationships
After my personal stint with online dating, I have a new found appreciation for my organic romantic experiences. It could be science or fate, but nothing really beats meeting someone the old fashion way. Does that mean you can’t find love on an app? Nope, at the end of the day you never know who you’ll meet, whether it’s at the grocery store or while you’re on your phone pretending to be working.
Have a crazy online dating story? We want to hear about it! Send us your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published on Scoop Empire December 11, 2015