All posts by Anonymous Elaine

An Expat’s Guide to Dating a Local in Amman

Written by a local Ammanite girl whos seen it all.

**** Writers note: If youre the type that gets offended easily please stop reading now. This is my personal disclaimer to you. Everything written here is nothing more than a personal opinion. If you dont like what Ive written then go complain about it online and see who cares.

Going out to coffee shops, bars and lounges, we’re seeing ajaneb* everywhere. Different cultures and ethnic groups gather from every walk of earth: the humanitarian, the military man, the gap-year student to the old retired patriot. Some are aware of the social restrictions regarding our society and dating while others are completely oblivious to it.

* Ajaneb: (plural) foreigners, and in colloquial context, non-arabs. (Singular): Ajnabi

With the instability that’s surrounding the region, these ajaneb have multiplied in Jordan. If I were to be completely honest, they do have a certain allure that the local guys lack: they are not afraid to go up to women and flirt and by the end of the night, try to get a number or two.

That being said, after months of observing expats in action, there are a few points that I feel every expat should know:

1. Youre Not Everyones Type

This will not be you.
This will not be you.

When you’re checking out a place for potential targets, keep in mind that you’re not seen as a potential among most Jordanian women. The fact that you’re ajnabi (in spite of what you might actually look like) could be in itself unappealing. Sounds harsh? Let me elaborate:

  • Your stay in Jordan (most likely) has an expiration date.
  • You have different sets of beliefs and morals than those of Middle Eastern Arabs.
  • Different languages = problematic communication.

That doesn’t mean that dating a local in Amman is impossible, but it’s difficult. We’re not rude, we’ll take interest in you, but for the sake of cultural diversity in a platonic sense.

2. We Come in Different Shapes and Sizes


And I’m not talking about our physical appearance. Ammanite girls vary from the cool-yet-conservative hijabi to the middle-finger-to-the-world wild child. You’ll most likely find yourself luckier in a hipster tea shop, a bar/lounge or an ‘International (place type of art here) Festival’ instead of your traditional sheesha coffee shop. Conservative girls are less likely to take interest in you, and are also less likely to go to a place that serves alcohol.

3. (Its Easier to) Aim for the Open Minded Girl


Happy hour? A DJ Night? Dead Sea Dance Festival? You’ll likely find your target there. The Ammanite girl who knows how to party is more open to the thought of going out with an ajnabi. While this lifestyle may clash with the traditional Arab Middle Eastern mentality, keep in mind that we’re city kids. We’ve formed our own sets of ideologies that allows us to bend religious and social barriers to own our will. That being said….

4. Were *Not* Up All Night To Get Lucky

Probably the only kind of lucky you'll find us looking for
Probably the only kind of lucky you’ll find us looking for

I overheard an expat share this glorious gem to his friend: ‘No matter where you’re from, everyone wants sex. Keep it in mind when you go talk to that girl!’ – aiming for a local sitting at the bar with her friends.

Sex is a sin. It’s been imprinted in our brains over and over again that no matter what the situation is, we should never, ever, ever have sex before we get married because if we loose our V-Card, no one will want to marry us. From both a religious and a social perspective, that rule is rarely broken by Ammanite girls. So if you’re looking for one-night-stands, you’re out of luck. I’d suggest forgetting about the local girl and try hooking up with another female expat.

5. Get to Know Us

Yeah... No.
Yeah… No, Don’t be this shy dude.

Think you’ve found your target? Then go and strike up a conversation. Don’t be shy but don’t assume that you know us. Be flirty and polite and buy us a drink or two. If we like you, we’ll give you a number. Just be specific on why you’re interested. We might interpret this behaviour as your effort to know locals or find a friendly arabic coach, not as your attempt to ask us out.

But for the love of god, don’t treat us like something fragile and exotic. We’ll ex you out for being a moron if you give us that vibe.

6. We Know Youre Not The One

Even when things escalate to multiple dates, we’re realistic enough to know that you’re just a fling. We’re also in it to have fun. But be warned: you have to treat us with respect, we have a very ugly side if we ever feel betrayed. Never underestimate the wrath of a women scorned.

Last but certainly not least….

8. Were Diverse (And Slightly Schizophrenic)


We are city girls who grew up listening to Ragheb Alameh and Backstreet Boys while watching Bab El Hara and Friends at the same time. We’ve compared Amro Diab to Enrique Iglesias. We prayed religiously on the last day of high school for good grades then started getting ready to go to prom while wearing our overpriced evening gowns. We’ve dated and had a couple of boyfriends without going all the way. We love to party in spite of living with our parents and having strict curfews. We’re bilingual and can communicate with you at ease*. We (probably) know more about your culture than you know about ours. So if you’re aiming to date a local Ammanite girl, set all of your previous dating expectations aside, go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

* Fluent in Arabic, English and Arabeezi