Allow me to set the scene: it’s April 2020, the entire city of London is in lockdown. You’ve clocked Netflix once, all the COVID memes have been shared already – what’s a girl to do? Download Minder, of course.
For those of you that don’t know: yes, that’s Muslim Tinder. Let’s be straight; the app developers did themselves no favours with that name. Pronounced ‘Minn-der’ not ‘Mine-der’ – although I recommend you mind yo’ self when using this app.
I’ve heard the stories of couples who’d met online and run off into the sunset together, but my question is how did they do it? Black magic, by the sounds of it, or them du3aas (prayers) are coming through mighty strong. Because let me tell you, it is slim pickings out there. At the risk of sounding overconfident, the calibre of eligible bachelors using these apps is not high. Or perhaps my standards are too high? Nowadays us western-raised millennial Arab women are checking our own boxes – so we’re not looking for guys to do that. Mama says “bring home a guy who will take care of you” but mama, let’s be real: I’ll take care of myself. I just need someone who can keep up.
So anyway, these are my confessions (of a serial left swiper). Just when I thought I saw all I could see…
I am sure this applies to most people using dating apps, but the volume of cringeworthy chat up lines I’ve come across is shocking. Here are some of the greatest hits:
‘I’m interested in leaving the single market before the UK does.’
‘Are you an appendix? Because I wanna take you out.’
‘I’m still a virgin because I don’t like losing.’
Nothing quite like a bad pun to completely eliminate any chance of allure and attraction.
Brothers, please try harder. Now I know us Arabs are funny (we got that childhood complex of needing to impress everybody to fit in), but these guys need not quit their day jobs just yet. As I said before, I know this is something many deal with on and offline, but there’s something about a pickup line being Islam-inspired that makes it even more sordid.
‘Are you from Mecca? ‘Cause you Mecca me weak.’
‘When I saw you, I said Mashallah, then I said Inshallah.’
‘Is your name Ramadan? Because I am hungry for your love.’
Do guys really think these work? I hate to break it to you, but they don’t. And for you gals out there falling for these recycled lines, don’t: you deserve original material.
If I see one more guy with frosted tips say that his likes include travelling, food and Netflix, and puts down his love language as an actual language (facepalm), I might spontaneously combust. Then there are the guys who don’t write anything on their profile, have a generic name they think is sexy like ‘Midnight Wolf’ or ‘A’ (what is this, Pretty Little Liars? Because, no thanks.) and answer all the questions with ‘just ask me’ because they think their photos speak for themselves. Newsflash habibi, they don’t.
Conversely, there are those who could do with saying less. There was one guy, who I think meant to say he was looking for his partner in crime, but instead his profile said he was looking for ‘a serious crime partner’. I was like damn bro, what kind of serious crimes are we talking here? Money heist, some cheeky tax fraud or are we hijacking a plane? He’d also included that “the key to [his] heart is…under the carpet”. Like okay Aladdin, come through with your magic carpet vibes.
One profile read ‘I am looking for someone who…can be the second applicant on my mortgage application because I’m looking to buy a house’. Romance may be dead but the property market is alive and kicking. Another guy said he goes ‘crazy for blondes with beautiful feet soles’. What else kind of soles are there? Needless to say, that was an immediate swipe left, but I do hope he finds his ‘sole’ mate.
Countless swipes later, I couldn’t help but think how sad it was that the most promising swipe that day was for a guy who said his ideal first date would be at Poundland. Are there no regular men out there who use dating apps? Is it naive to think that I could find someone cool, since I myself use the app, and the laws of probability suggest that there’d be a chance someone equally as cool as me was also using said dating app?
Now, I just want to be clear I’m not trying to bring anyone down. I know it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and create a profile only for people to reject you, and let’s be fair, the chances are you are going to get rejected more than you’ll be accepted. I just have to make light of it because if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry. I’m not perfect, (pretty damn close, though), and in my opinion it’s less about the content and more about the effort. I mean, if I swipe right, I’m expecting better content than ‘what’s my favourite colour?’. Seriously? Like try harder, dude. My back hurts from carrying this conversation alone.
They say you need to kiss a couple of frogs before you find your Prince. Well, guess what? It’s like the Plagues of Egypt out there; all I see is these damn frogs. Tune in next week for another episode of the least romantic telenovela you’ve ever witnessed.
By Susan Al-Safadi