Kiss and Tell7 May 2019
Tinder. The dating app we hate to love and love to hate.
Women’s experiences on Tinder tend to be pretty similar – generally, quite terrible. I should know, I’m a woman myself. You download the app – often fully aware that you’re doing so out of boredom – get into the trance of swiping and end up matching with a bunch of people. Some you end up going on a date with, some you unmatch for being slime balls and some you just never get past the initial ‘Hey’. Typical, right? As if navigating the disgusting and occasionally entertaining world of Tinder as a woman isn’t hard enough, try being a Muslim woman – one who wears the hijab.
Gasp. Such controversy. A hijabi on Tinder? What are you doing here? What’s that like?
Well, let me answer that.
Firstly, a quick disclaimer. I’m not stupid. Tinder is where people go to get laid. I know that. But I also know that I’m there for shits and giggles, free meals and to meet cool friends to chill with. Yes, I’m one of those people who go to Tinder to look for friends. Actual friends. Making friends in university isn’t exactly the easiest, especially when you’ve got people running from tute to tute or people who live two hours away from university and aren’t going to stay longer after a late tute to get to know you. Organising a meetup on a free day or a weekend seems like quite a big commitment (to me at least) and I’d much rather do my first phase of sussing people out from the comfort of my own bed – dressed in pyjamas and fingers ferociously hitting the screen of my phone. If we don’t vibe, it’s no big deal, I haven’t spent that much time or effort on it anyway. If we click, we’ll meet up. Some of these people from Tinder turn out to be amazing friends that I still have and cherish now. Some of them I’ve dated or have been in a relationship with, though these are rare.
My Tinder profile is pretty simple. I list a few fun facts, my sexual orientation and casually mention that I’m polyamorous. I also blatantly state that I’m a chatterbox looking to talk the ears off someone – nothing more, nothing less. Sad to say it doesn’t manage to keep slime balls away.
“Do you know who Mia Khalifa is?”
“Yes,” I said.
“So, can you keep that on during sex?”
I clutched my pearls. Assuming I’d want to sleep with you is not cool, but what else can I expect from being on a dating app? But asking me if I can “keep it on” is downright disrespectful to my faith and what I believe in. So is saving my number in your contacts as ‘Haram Snack Pack’ because I’m a snack you’d love to taste. Me wearing a scarf around my head is not a fashion accessory and has meaning to me. I know my pornstars, but I’m not keen on being one for you. Don’t cast me in your fantasy – I’m not a fetish, I’m a woman, a person.
Apart from being fetishized, I often get sweet messages from men of my own faith.
“You’re haram (sinful). You’re going to hell.”
“Nice. I’ll see you there,” I replied.
He who plays with fire gets burned and I get unmatched immediately. Dear fellow Muslim men on Tinder, get off your high horse. You’re on the app too. I get policed on a day to day in the real world, I don’t need hypocrites in the online world trying to right my wrongs.
Do I have to deal with this kind of nonsense? No, not really, but replying to stupid questions and requests does bring me some joy and entertainment. On days when I don’t reply to messages from interested parties, I get the occasional: “Reply me you Muslim bitch.” But some days I get a casual “ISIS” or “Terrorist” instead of a ‘Hey’ and my response to that is always the easiest.