Dating in Doha: Using Tinder in Qatar
Dating apps can be useful for meeting people in cities like Doha, which have a strong expat population. However, are they safe? Are they legal? Should you approach dating differently?
Well, yeah. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dating people from different countries in a country like Qatar, where there are lots of expats and travellers hanging about. It’ll broaden your cultural horizons and it can be a lot of fun to meet people from different walks of life.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you fancy giving Tinder in Qatar a go.
Note: This article was written years ago, in the golden age of dating apps, when they were new and exciting and not the abyss of despair that I hear they are now. Above all PLEASE be safe and always organise to meet people in public spaces for the first time.
Vet people as you would in any other country
Being a social person, I felt like I was going a bit mad three weeks into my time in Doha – outside of work, I wasn’t really meeting people.
So, when I started using Tinder to meet people that I didn’t work with, I was careful not to go too crazy with it. As in, agree to meet up with people simply on the basis of wanting some kind of social interaction.
Normal rules apply. Aim to match with people who you’d flick a right-side like to in your own country. Talk to them, get to know them a bit, as much as that two-bit app allows.
Meet somewhere central, where you feel comfortable
When you’re feeling comfortable enough to go on a date, common sense applies.
Meet them somewhere where you feel comfortable – maybe invite them along to “Chilli-Dog Tuesday” at the St. Regis, for a cup of tea in City Center, shisha in the Souq Waqif or Trader Vics at the Hilton for a tipple.
Just make sure you meet on your turf, somewhere you feel comfortable. And preferable somewhere that is surrounding by people. In City Centre at the very least, this is more than easily done.
Respect the country’s traditions
You may be on a date, but keep in mind that you’re in a country where Sharia Law is recognised and upheld.
Men and women are unable to hold hands or kiss in public, which makes dating… interesting. Easy enough on the first date, but if you’re actually seeing someone, it can be difficult to restrain from touching each other entirely in public.
There were a few times where the fellow I was seeing and I may have resorted to covert games of footsies under the table at restaurants. It was fun, in a way.
The dress code in Doha for women is probably not as bad as you may imagine. You don’t have to cover up entirely or wear a headscarf. You essentially need to make sure your shoulders and knees aren’t on display.
There’s a lot that you can do within these parameters, if you want to look nice. Shawls and pashminas become your best friend. You can still wear long, flowy skirts and maxi-dresses, which can look pretty nice, especially with the right jewellery (and you can get some mighty nice bits of bling in the souq).
And as for heels… well, I once nearly got kicked out of a club for not wearing them. Make of that, what you will. (Needless to say, I was not impressed).
Don’t be afraid to use the apps to make friends
Personally, I like using dating apps simply to meet or talk to people. There’s often no agenda. You have to sort through some crap sometimes (and go on a few dud dates) but I’ve used apps to make friends and have had some really fulfilling relationships start from a simple conversation online.
And no matter what people say (ie “I want a story about how I met my true love!”) trust me – you’ll still come away with some pretty good tales (often best reserved for dinner parties).
All in all, I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with using Tinder in Qatar and it certainly was considered quite normal in 2014. I certainly didn’t meet the love of my life, but did get to spend time with some really cool people as a result.
I honestly think the experience of living in Qatar would have been far less interesting and ultimately rewarding if I hadn’t tried dating in Doha. Je ne regrette rien.
Just use common sense. Meet where you feel comfortable and safe. Dress conservatively. And stay within the law.
Have you tried dating in the Middle East?