Dating in Dakar can be an amazing experience. It’s a beautiful city, with major romantic potential but let me be clear…..it can be a rollercoster due to cultural differences and expectations. Take this advice with a grain of salt, everyone is not the same and I know plenty of guys whose views on relationships and dating contradict one anothers so I will try my best not to stereotype.
5. Marriage Proposals Happen Alot
Senegal is a predominately Muslim country and most people are at least outwardly observant of their religion. Dating as most westerners know it is not prohibited in Islam. But honestly, a lot of people date. Especially in urban areas such as Dakar and especially among the middle and higher socio-economic class. In my experience, most of the men who rush into marriage proposals are either A. Very Religious or B. Looking for a way out. Don’t fall for the faux Ibadou ( literally meaning a person who follows the rules of Islam but slang for a person who is a veryyyyyyy strict Muslim). These are the types who say they can’t date but have no qualms about going to the club or feeling on your booty. Don’t fall for it sis. You’ve been warned.
4. Dakar is reallllly small when it comes to dating
Yup. Happened to me…more than once actually. Especially if you’re french is limited and you float around the anglophone crowd. Family ties are strong and you are bound to meet the cute cousin of a guy you went on an ice cream date…or the brother of the guy you just blocked on your phone *insert awkward true story of me almost getting caught up in some bs *
3. Many cute date spots
Don’t fall for the come to dinner at my house routine, be creative! The corniche (the beach strip along the coast) is a great place for a romantic moonlight walk topped off with coconut water. There are plenty restaurants, including those in Point des Almadies for seafood, La Fourchette (expensive), or the American restaurant Mawa’s Taste of America (reasonably priced). With all these beaches, you can even plan a picnic and enjoy the sun.
2. Listen to your friends
Now this, like many of my tips applies everywhere but living abroad makes it even more relevant. Love is known to be a magical potion that turns even the most wisest chicks into fullblown fools. With that in mind, be open and honest with your friends. Sometimes it’s not jealousy..sometimes it’s a reality. You will meet sweet and genuine guys but there will always be 15 more sai sais (trickster/playa in Wolof) I’ve seen too many girls get a boyfriend and fail to pursue friendships. When something goes wrong, they find themselves alone with no one to lean on. Don’t ever to get too comfortable that you think it could never be you. Physical and emotional violence, cheating, and getting taken advantage of happens everywhere.
1. Sex Sex Sex
Everyone loves sex, anyone who says elsewise is not to be trusted buttttt you must remember that culture here does not glorify premartial sex. Does it happen? Of course! But you’re a grown woman, sexually liberated about what you choose to do with vajayjay right? Well you are right..you can do whatever you want to do with your vagina. I am not a fan of slutshaming at all but honestly…being too friendly with the vagina here might put you in some undesirable situations. Even discussing sex too much might attract wierdos. The concept of sexual liberation is honestly not a trend here. Virginity is still prized and you will find that even your most coolest guy friend will admit that he wants his wife to be a virgin before marriage. Married women discuss sex alot, there loads of sex supplements, lingerie, and toys to be found throughout Dakar but hearing unmarried women discussing sex is taboo. Foreign women have a stereotype of being easy here. Men will defiantly test you but personally, I believe you should wait at minimum 2-3 months and realllllly long conversations before you share some of the honey pot. You might realize that he doesn’t deserve you or you may be able to meet more of his friends and see the real him come out. It also weeds out the guy just looking for casual sex. Remember STDs are everywhere, and although Dakar has one of the lowest HIV/AIDS rates in the world, I have heard a story about a girl contracting HIV through a local boyfriend. I’m not saying this to stop you from being who you are, I just want you to know the realities of reputation and sexuality in Dakar. In the end, you must be true to yourself 🙂