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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.
They also reported being flooded with matches and responses.
“I get very angry because you’d swipe through and you’d see all these shirtless guys with their guns and cars,” said a 27-year-old Egyptian lawyer.
“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.
For the now-engaged AUC graduate, her foray into Tinder began in 2015, when she and two other AUC friends started using tinder together as “a support group” when they were bored.
They would then go to dates at a popular hotel bar near their apartment.
“But whatever it was I didn’t find it.” In Cairo, where about one-eighth of Egypt’s 90 million people live, conditions are relatively freer relationship-wise than in other parts of the country.
And while in Egypt Tinder profiles advertising shirtless men with cars, police and military officers, and older men with rings on their fingers are standard, cases of swipes to the right turning to marriage remain rare.
“Some guy were nice and I’m still friends with,” she said.
“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.
Yet, despite this, Saleh noticed many of his friends and relatives unable to tie the knot in recent years.
“It’s become the biggest struggle in Egypt,” he says.