(How Not To) Talk Dirty To Me


When it comes to online dating, women are no strangers to lewd comments, specifically those coming from the notorious keyboard warriors, hiding behind their screens from the comfort of their homes. And the funny thing is, it’s us women who are left with the shame of these derogatory remarks. Almost always unsolicited, I guarantee you every woman has received at least one message from a guy which should have remained unsaid and buried deep in the depths of his twisted mind. A guy can go from making unwarranted innuendos to bashing your appearance all in one breath, simply because you turn down his advances. Some of these men are absolute zbala (trash). So then why is it us ladies who are left feeling uncomfortable, unsure whether we can share these horror stories with our friends and family, uncertain how this might reflect on us? In my experience with online dating, when it comes to proverbial pillow talk, these guys never quite manage to strike the right balance between being flirty and being creepy. So here’s a little insight into (how not to) talk dirty to me. 

I could sit here and list out all of the crude messages or advances I or my friends have received online, but we might need several posts. In fact, I was hesitant even writing this post out; I was almost ashamed to recall to my friends the words that had been said to me. What would they think of me? But then I reminded myself that I’d done nothing wrong, and it was the boys casually spewing this garbage out that should feel ashamed. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a cheeky innuendo every now and then, but there is a time and a place, and I can tell you that your opening line to a stranger on a dating app is not one of them. Of course, the normalization of this behaviour stems from the longstanding objectification of women throughout society. We live in a world where men think it’s okay to say things like ‘what that mouth do’ and ‘is it rude to say nice jugs?’. Habibi if you have to ask then yes, it’s rude.

I’ve listed Netflix as one of my interests on my profile. I had a guy message saying, ‘so you like Netflix, how about chilling?’. I bet he thought that was real smart too. ‘Depends what we’re watching’, I respond. You might ask why I’d even engage in the conversation, but I for one am sick of seeing these creeps go unchecked. Clearly this is not going to end up with us walking down the aisle, so I may as well get some blog content while we’re here. I’ll stick to watching Netflix solo. Onto the next one. 

‘Hey, what’s your shoe size?’

‘Erm what kind of question is that?’

‘I have a foot fetish, so I need to know.’

Ya zalameh, that is the kind of information you hold onto until much, much later down the line. Also, I can tell you right now if that’s the case, you and I definitely won’t get along. Block. 

I started speaking to what seemed like a normal guy the other day. The conversation progressed and we ended up speaking over the phone, which then led to a FaceTime conversation. All very PG. But now that I see his face, I can tell this guy isn’t actually listening to what I’m saying at all. I’d make a comment and his eyes would just be completely glazed over. An awkward silence arises. ‘Sorry I wasn’t listening; I keep imagining you sat on my face’. Akhi, you kiss your mama with that mouth? How did we go from a completely platonic conversation to this? ‘Okay well stop’, I respond. He says he can’t help it, and that he ‘has a boner now’. I am shook. We all know whatever a woman wears does not give a man the right to comment on or assume anything, but at this stage I’m really confused. Yes, we’re on FaceTime but literally all this guy can see is my face, with my hijab on. And I’m no Angelina Jolie. ‘Is this really doing it for you?’ I ask, genuinely puzzled. ‘It’s not that, your personality is really attractive’. As IF this guy has just said my personality had given him an erection. I mean damn, I know I’m good, but no one is that good. Hold on to your seats because the next 5 minutes is such a rollercoaster, you’re gonna feel like you’re riding the Tower of Terror at Disneyland. It’s just as scary too. 

‘It’s not that, your personality is really attractive’. As IF this guy has just said my personality had given him an erection. I mean damn, I know I’m good, but no one is that good.


I try to change the subject but then I notice the camera moving. Yes, it’s what you think, and yes, I was horrified. I realise what’s happening and go to hang up, but he says ‘no stay, I’ll only be 2 minutes’. The audacity. First of all, 2 minutes? That’s not what a girl wants to hear. Second, you do you boo, but I am not getting involved in this Shakespearean tragedy. Third, and most importantly, I’ve just told you I’m uncomfortable with whatever was going on here, and yet you continued, and then instructed me to stay for your pleasure? Where is the consent here? Again, I go to hang up, and suddenly he says, ‘I’m just joking, I wasn’t doing anything’. Well let me tell you, the Oscar for best hmar (donkey) goes to you. ‘Honestly, I wasn’t doing anything, I was just testing you’. Ah, the classic ‘I was testing you’ line. Men have been using this one for centuries and unfortunately natural selection has yet to weed them out. So this test, did I pass? ‘No, you failed the test. It was a test of trust and clearly you’re not open minded enough for me’. I can’t win. Had I hung up immediately, I would’ve been labelled a prude. Make a daring comment and you’re a whore. So how are we expected to respond? Because if you’re going to make a crude comment, I’m going to call you out on that. Is this dirty talk meant to have me fall at your feet? Let’s be fair, if you talk dirty to me 5 minutes after we’ve met, there’s a slim chance I’m bringing you home to meet mama and baba.

I wish I could tell you that was where our story ended. This guy proceeded to have what I can only describe as a psychotic breakdown, right there with me on the phone. We went from (how not to) talk dirty to me, to how not to talk to me, at all. He started ranting about how toxic all dating apps were, deleted his profile, and whinged about how he was going to die alone. He then grabbed a bumper packet of pills, which I now know were tramadol. Tramadol is a strong opioid used to treat severe pain, and not freely available over the counter here in the UK. He then pulled the blister packs out of the box and proceeded to rub them over his face, asking me if he was scary. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised; his short intro on his profile read ‘if you’re into personalities, you’re in luck because I have multiple…’ Needless to say, I was done speaking with Patricia.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised; his short intro on his profile read ‘if you’re into personalities, you’re in luck because I have multiple…’ Needless to say, I was done speaking with Patricia.

Susan Al-Safadi on her dating encounters that never cease to surprise her.

So there’s a prime example of (how not to) talk dirty to me. As much as I hate to retell this sordid tale, we need to talk about these things because they’re still so taboo. But that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Your sister, your cousin, your friend – they’re all dealing with this. Right now, Muslim girls don’t even talk to each other, let alone their families, about dating in any form; it grants guys an invisibility cloak to hide beneath, knowing a girl won’t say anything to her parents because then she’d have to admit she’d been talking to him in the first place. And I suppose that’s the real reason for this post, for this entire series in fact. We need to destigmatize these issues and educate both our daughters and our sons on how to have these experiences without being disrespectful of others. I really dislike the whole concept of shame in the Arab culture, but I am sure we all have to agree on these guys: that’s straight up 3eib.

by Susan Al-Safadi

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