Dating can be a tricky endeavor for anyone. When you add potentially stifling culturally conservative viewpoints on top of the standard difficulties of dating, it can seem downright impossible. Middle-Eastern girls, whether they're dating within the Middle East or elsewhere in the world, must consider several key questions as they enter into the dating scene. Consideration of these questions will enable a Middle-Eastern girl to make conscientious, personal and independent decisions on whom to date and how to date.
The Preference Question
As with any woman looking to hit the dating scene, perhaps the first and most important question to answer is whom you are interested in dating. Your individual answer to this question will encompass a large range of topics such as sexual preference (gay, bisexual, straight), personality type, body type, profession, background and so on. Consider consulting a local relationship expert, searching for a dater's survey guidebook at your local library or using a free online dating service when establishing your personal preferences.
The Parents Question
Though often important for many daters, the issue of parental approval may be particularly tricky, depending upon your ethnic and religious background. For example, in more traditionally conservative Middle-Eastern cultures such as Jordan and Iran, parents -- particularly fathers -- may ask or even insist upon certain traditional courtship demands, such as adult accompaniment on any and all outings between his daughter and her suitor. Even if you decide the best "answer" to the parent question is an outright dismissal of outdated and traditional restrictions, you will still need to engage the issue prior to dating.
The Religion Question
Though the Middle East is incredibly diverse in terms of religion, it is also an area of the world in which many religiously conservative cultures are located. For example, large conservative religious enclaves exist in Israel (Hasidic Judaism), Afghanistan (Taliban) and Turkey (Armenian Catholics) have extremely conservative doctrines relating to women's behavior and even what women can and cannot wear, doctrines which could potentially affect who and how Middle-Eastern women date. Though all women are empowered to make personal decisions about who to date and how to date, the religion question could prove potentially problematic in a way quite similar to the parents question.
The Approach Question
Since the advent of the Internet, interpersonal communication devices and programs have opened up a multitude of ways all women can approach dating. All women, including Middle-Eastern women, can choose to take an "old-fashioned" approach to meeting and dating, or they can opt for a more contemporary method, such as the utilization of an online dating service or some other social networking service (SNS). Given some conservative cultural elements, however, utilization of SNSes or other online dating services could be problematic. For example, in the early 2000s in Iran, several dozen young men and women were arrested for using online matchmaking services.
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- Huffington Post: "Youth in the New, Trendy Middle East Break Dating Taboos"
- BBC News: "Iranians Arrested for Net Dating"
- BBC News: "Cairo Youth Break Sex Taboos"
- "The Date Book: A Teen Girl's Complete Guide to Going Out with Someone New"; Erika Stalder; 2007
- "Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender"; Nikki R. Keddie and Beth Baron; 1993
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images