“It’s everything I hate about [Egyptian] society condensed in an app.” She asked Vocativ not to use her name because she “manage[s] a lot of young boys at work.” Still, after first trying out Tinder in Canada, she’s continued to use it in Cairo on-again off-again to expand her dating circle, with some successful romances along the way. “But in Egypt it’s used for many things.” Traditionally in Egypt sexual relations outside of marriage are taboo — in fact, any dating that happens is generally short and geared towards getting engaged.Sexual health education, meanwhile, is practically non-existent, and nearly all Egyptian women have experienced sexual harassment.
“The spaces available for upper and middle class Egyptians in relationships are very different than for low income young people,” who are the majority in Egypt, she told Vocativ.
Prolonged engagements can serve as a dating-like get-to-know-you period as it provides legitimacy to the relationship (and can be called off), Ghannam said.
They would then go to dates at a popular hotel bar near their apartment.
“Some guy were nice and I’m still friends with,” she said.
Open up Tinder or Ok Cupid in Cairo, and you’ll still only find a specific subset of the population: upper- and middle-class Egyptians who are not super religious and usually with varying knowledge of English.
All Egyptian women interviewed using these sites had either lived or traveled abroad and in Cairo met up with both Egyptian and foreign (often Western) men.“Some guys were like all over you, which is not okay.” She and her now fiancé casually dated, including sex, for about six months before they began formally dating and then got engaged after a year.Another friend in the circle, however, felt less satisfied with her dates, casual sex, and few relationships through Tinder.Many young Egyptians now have secret boy and girl friends through Facebook and Whatsapp.There remains a thriving underground queer community in Cairo, despite the dangers.In highly conservative and religious families and communities, dating — at least as it looks in the West — remains highly taboo.