Dating in Dubai on the surface sounds like such an exciting experience with the available mix of different nationalities working and visiting Dubai.
However as a young black woman whether Nigerian, Ethiopian or Caribbean, the case seems different. This is our 18 – 26 years old version of dating in Dubai as a young black woman. We will definitely cover other age ranges.
Read the Nigerians In Dubai Podcast Episode 1 here
Demi A, a young Nigerian student in Dubai takes us on her journey in dating in Dubai as a young black woman.
Who is Demi A?
I am 21 years old, 5 ft 7 inches tall, outgoing and a lot of fun. I love to talk but I can be quiet for weird reasons. Getting to know me you will discover both good and annoying points.
I would say I am a normal curvy Nigerian girl. I am from Akwa Ibom in the South-South part of Nigeria. There is a saying about Akwa Ibom women that if they catch your man, he is hooked forever.
Demi’s First Impression.
Dating in Dubai is quite different from my experience dating in the UK where I just completed my first degree and it will definitely take some getting used to.
I had some difficulty getting into the dating scene in Dubai and discovered two dating apps; Tinder and Bumble which I hoped would help me meet people and hangout in Dubai. I created profiles on both apps hoping I would meet cool guys to chill with but the next message I got on one of the apps was “how much” implying that I was on the app to exchange sex for money.
What are your dating goals?
Honestly, I am not going to bullshit or lie but I don’t have any dating goals. I have gotten to a point where I am fed up and tired of guys so I am just taking my time to go out and have fun. I don’t think I am mentally ready for any relationship.
The dating goals of any young black woman is to find a man she can be herself around; someone that can be her best friend and know how to treat her right.
It’s a bit difficult to meet these goals because most guys you meet are jokers and just want to mess up with your heart. I have had my heart broken and it hurts when your feelings are toyed with.
Demi’s Tinder experience
Everyone knows Tinder. Tinder is used worldwide and it was the first app I downloaded. On Tinder you have different registration options, you can decide to sign with your email address or your Facebook account. I don’t use Facebook so I signed up with my email address. On Tinder you have to create a profile, upload a picture, set your locational preferences and write a bio if you want to.
It provides up to 10 picture slots, allows you to set an age and geographical location range, add your job, education and possibly an interesting enough bio. There is a Tinder pro paid version that gives you more specialised features like super likes, featured profiles, etc that can help make the dating process easier but I didn’t sign up to this.
I decided not to put up a bio but chose a nice and smiling picture. Tinder allows you to swipe right or left on a person’s picture. You and the person you’re interested in need to both have swiped right or left signifying mutual interest or not respectively for Tinder to match you and allow you to chat. There are no rules on who should text first but most Nigerian/African women prefer to be texted. I don’t like texting first, I prefer the men texting first.
It’s a really simple way technology is changing how we date or meet up.
My initial Tinder experience like I said before wasn’t so good. Most of the matches I got texted me first but most of them were asking me “how much per night?” and I got really upset. You barely know me and the first thing you are asking is how much per night. I went off on most of them because they didn’t know me and just made a horrible assessment.
From my assessment a lot of black women use Tinder for commercial purposes even though sex is illegal in Dubai. I got tired after a while of all the back and forth.
I did meet some people on Tinder and we became good friends.
I went on only one date on Tinder in March with a very stylish British guy who I didn’t like because of his height- about 5 ft 4Inches. He had a muscular and chiseled body. I like tall men and so he didn’t do it for me. I stopped responding to him after a while and allowed things to fizzle out.
Demi’s Bumble Experience
I found Bumble through an Instagram advert. Bumble advertises on different social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. They also use #Dubai hashtag to take advantage of the Instagram hashtag algorithm.
Profile creation on Bumble was pretty much the same as Tinder. However, on Bumble you meet a lot more professionals and the profiles are better thought out as it’s a more professional platform.
Bumble has predetermined goals- friendship or relationship and you can pick Bumble for friendship or Bumble for relationship.
I picked the option for a relationship and started swiping. Bumble brought up the guys, their professions and locations. The app is set up such that the women have more power and have to chat the men up first and if after matching you don’t say anything for 24 hours, the man disappears forever. This wasn’t something I liked at all but I had to put my pride aside and just do it. The average Nigerian/African woman is used to being chased or only expressing interest after the man has shown significant interest.
Putting my pride aside I texted a couple of men and I noticed that after texting if they didnt reply in 24 hours they disappeared based on the app settings. I got a couple of replies and I finally found someone I wanted to go on a date with.
I agreed to go on a date with this Palestinian guy and we agreed to go out on a Thursday and he suddenly didnt say anything and only sent me a message two days later apologising and asking for a second chance. As a Nigerian woman, I am not big on second chances. I don’t appreciate my time being wasted at all and if I judged based on this missed date, he seemed like a time waster.
I was bored and decided to give him a second chance. The date was a lot more fun than I imagined it would be. The weather is quite hot in Dubai right now so I wore bum shorts, a shirt and sports shoes. He wore a shirt jeans and dress shoes.
We went to an indian restaurant and he said he would pick my food even though I told him I am very picky about my food and wanted it very spicy. He was very attentive and gave the restaurant pre instructions and the food was really spicy.
At the end of the day, we went to Marina Walk, a 7km waterfront walkway. It has lots of global cafe, food outlets, restaurants and yachts. It’s a beautiful scene and you should definitely visit the Marina Walk if you visit Dubai. We got Ice cream and we started planning his 25th birthday. It was interesting that in such a short time we had started talking about something that serious. At the end of the date he dropped me at home and we have been talking for a bit longer. He is out of Dubai on holidays now but we still chat.
I have met a few other guys on Bumble but haven’t gone on any dates with any of them, I met one 4 days ago and we have been chatting and I finally decided to go out on a date with him tomorrow.
Other Dating apps Nigerians visit
Badoo, Tagged, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are some other platforms young black women use.
Problems for young black women dating in Nigeria
Perception on Tinder is the only problem I can think of. Beyond that, I believe they worship black women a lot more. We are more enticing, catchy and interesting. According to a couple of them, we are the best in lovemaking. This might be why they keep aking on Tinder if black women would like to have sex with them. They might also have black women fantasies.
Where to go for dates in Dubai
Most black women are self conscious about their safety but in Dubai with all the security measures put in place, women can feel a lot safer.
You can go to restaurants and pubs. There are so many pubs and restaurants from different countries you can visit.
Advice for Young Black Women looking to date in Dubai
1. Be your authentic self because there are people here looking for that. Be as free as possible.
2. Be able to deduce what a guy actually wants…some people are looking for adventure or a black woman experience while others are looking for something more serious.
3. Test all spirits and still be safe around the men. As safe as Dubai is, it’s important that you still be watchful
4. Don’t compromise on your standards. You can find that standard here. You can also find out what visas they are on here because lots of people are on tourist visas and just looking for a quick run.
Ifeanyi Abraham is a creative storyteller, life hacker and Digital Influencer.
He is a Public relations & Digital Marketing executive that helps companies, government agencies & NGOs leverage the power of marketing & communications.
He is the Founder of NigeriansinDubai.com, a knowledge sharing and transfer platform focused on harnessing the lessons, spirit and power of Dubai to the benefit of Nigerians. We tell the stories of Nigerians living, working and visiting Dubai.
He is also the Co-founder of The Beverage Room, a digital community for Beverage Lovers.