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Commentary: Tinder not for Indonesian women

Jessicha Valentina
Jessicha Valentina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, July 11, 2018  /  11:36 am
Commentary: Tinder not for Indonesian women

Tinder offers instant connectivity, but Indonesian women are not looking for that. (Shutterstock/File)

In the 20 years since the start of the Reform Era Indonesian society has changed. Indonesian women are more open to participating in politics, pursuing their careers and more. However, despite the changes, most Indonesian women are still traditional when it comes to dating.

I was stunned when I read the news about a 21-year-old woman in Bandung, West Java, who said that she had been raped by her Tinder date. The report mentioned that the girl connected with the guy via Tinder and had a WhatsApp conversation for around one week before agreeing to meet him in a café. After the meeting, she was forced to go to a hotel where the attack took place.

I felt sad for the girl, but at the same time, I saw the evolution of dating in Indonesia. Online dating has become an option for singles, but are Indonesian women ready for it?

I installed Tinder in 2014 and got a few matches. I decided to uninstall the app after a guy sent me a photo of his penis. Back then, I realized that deep down I was still an Indonesian woman looking for a stable relationship. Believe me, I was not the only one.

At the same time, my other single friends also installed the online dating app. Compared with females, the percentage of my male friends that used the app was higher. Many of my male friends met their Tinder matches offline and one of them briefly dated his match.

Meanwhile, only two of my female friends admitted that they had installed the application. One went out on a date and asked me to accompany her, while the other one was lucky enough to marry her Tinder date.

Read also: Dating app Tinder goes wild at Pyeongchang Games

Currently, I have a single sexy friend who spent her childhood overseas (you can email me if you are interested), but she has never installed the application. Similar to most Indonesian women, her ideal date is someone she meets at work or through friends and family.

Although Tinder offers instant connectivity, most Indonesian women are not looking for that. We don't mind the long courting process, several dates and talk non-stop on messaging app to get to know one another. In fact, some of us are hesitant to show our eagerness to guys, assuming that it will make us look cheap and desperate.

Furthermore, we’ve been brainwashed that we need to look for a guy’s bobot, bibit and bebet, Javanese principles that say an ideal husband needs to be of a good class, background and rank in society. Obviously, Tinder is not the right place to check those requirements.

Lastly, meeting a stranger for a date is still a scary experience for some of us, as we cannot predict what kind of person our matches will be. We need our friends or family members to give us the person's background and reassure us that he is a nice guy.

Based on the reasons above, I came to the conclusion that the majority of Indonesian women are not ready for online dating. The process is confusing for us, we don’t want to look desperate and we’re not looking for sex. You may call us naïve, but we want someone to love. Hence, we still rely on the traditional dating process. 

As for my friend who married her Tinder date, well, it’s obvious. She wanted a stable relationship, and fortunately, her Tinder match felt the same way. If her Tinder match only wanted sex, I guess she would be still swiping left and right. (wng)

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