CON­FES­SIONS OF A TIN­DER TOUR GUIDE

Some peo­ple swear by Tin­der, some ab­hor it, but our friendly neigh­bour­hood Tin­der girl is on a mis­sion to bring tourists around her favourite KL hotspots. Bonus: Witty ban­ter and sex­ual chem­istry

Marie Claire (Malaysia) - - News - By Daphne Ng

Our friendly neigh­bour­hood Tin­derella talks about her favourite KL hotspots and favourite men (ranked by coun­try).

Tin­der isn’t ex­actly a place where some­one goes look­ing for a monog­a­mous re­la­tion­ship. Pulling up the dat­ing app, Pauline* shows me the num­ber of matches she’s got­ten over a year – one thou­sand matches and count­ing – it’s a won­der she can keep up with all of their names. “Oh I don’t go out with ev­ery­one,” she clar­i­fies. “I have a way of keep­ing track of who’s who: the ones I’m at­tracted to, the ones I fall into bed with,” she says with a saucy twinkle. She nick­names the men she has slept with – with their coun­try of ori­gin and date num­ber. For ex­am­ple, a French­man she brought out for lunch at Pan­tai Dalam’s in­fa­mous Ke­lan­tanese restau­rant is called France 19. Ger­many 17 used to be a Hugo Boss model. Ger­many 15 is hot, but a bit on the psy­chotic, overly-ob­ses­sive side, she con­fesses with a shake of her head. Hol­land 16 is a Dutch pi­lot based in Abu Dhabi that she has an open re­la­tion­ship with – “He’s like an ex-boyfriend that I can sleep with, you know?” Swe­den 18, a soft­ware en­gi­neer ex­pat she fell in love with.

France 19, she ad­mits, has been her best date so far. “The thing about him that I re­ally like, when it comes to sex, is the fact that we re­ally talked about it. He loves to con­nect. On our first date, we spent so much time talk­ing and wan­der­ing around KL un­til it was 4am, I didn’t even know where the time went. There’s the

play­ful­ness, there’s anticipation, and of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s beau­ti­ful and well-en­dowed. He would send me pho­tos of his abs as well, and I would think to my­self, ‘When was the last time I had abs that de­li­cious?’” She laughs. “The most im­por­tant thing for me in sex is the con­nec­tion – fun sex in­volves se­duc­tion, flir­ta­tion, and the fi­nal act it­self. Ger­many 15 would al­ways try to fin­ger me or make me squirt, but the thing about

try­ing to make a woman squirt is that it’s painful. I know my own body, and I don’t eas­ily reach or­gasm, but as long as my part­ner reaches or­gasm, I’m happy.”

Be­ing one with a flair for catch­phrases her­self, the term ‘Tin­der Tourism’ was coined by Pauline. Hav­ing worked in the travel and tourism sec­tor prior to her cur­rent job, she knows her way around town, and she knows most of Malaysia’s best kept se­crets. “When I started bring­ing my for­eign dates out, I told one of them about a hid­den gem, a his­tor­i­cal site in Pe­nang,” Pauline says. “When you talk about tourism, ev­ery­thing can get a bit too main­stream. Some­times you need a lo­cal in­sight, and that’s the part I play.” She asks her dates if they want to hang out where the lo­cals do, and like any other cu­ri­ous trav­eller, the an­swer is al­most al­ways yes. “For con­ve­nience, I bring my dates out to my favourite places. I took one date to a sa­tay place close to where I live. I brought another along to my favourite mani-pedi hair­cut place. Most of them live in the city cen­ter, so I bring them out for a late night sup­per,” Pauline says. The hotspots she fre­quents range from Ta­pak food truck park; a non-night mar­ket ur­ban street food jaunt through KL’s Hamp­shire Park to RSMY Cheese Naan; famed and known as the best cheese naan joint in town.

“One of the rea­sons I love be­ing on Tin­der is be­cause I don’t bump into peo­ple I know. Be­fore this, I met most of my exes through work. My ex-boyfriends have prob­a­bly all met each other, it just goes to show how small the so­cial cir­cle is,” Pauline laments. “It’s ex­haust­ing – when you’re dat­ing some­one from the same line of work, when some­thing goes wrong and you break up, you know sooner or later you’ll bump into each other, and sto­ries spread… you just want to get out from that cir­cle.”

Is it a co­in­ci­dence that none of the men she has men­tioned are Malaysian? “I’ll tell you some­thing about Tin­der,” Pauline says to me in a low­ered, con­spir­a­to­rial tone. “Most [lo­cal] men on Tin­der are sneaky.” On Tin­der, her age pref­er­ence is set from 30 on­wards, so it goes with­out say­ing that most of them are al­ready mar­ried or en­gaged. “One man I was talk­ing to told me about how his fi­ancé left him – but when his Face­book popped up (he links Face­book with his phone num­ber), his re­la­tion­ship sta­tus clearly stated ‘mar­ried’. In fact, I’ve came across three pro­files of my friends on Tin­der – friends who are hap­pily mar­ried – and I know their wives!”

“I re­ally like Euro­pean guys and ed­u­cated peo­ple who travel a lot,” Pauline says. “I speak a bit of Ger­man, so I like meet­ing Ger­man men. Aus­tralians and Ki­wis are fine, but I don’t like the way they joke be­cause they can be a lit­tle crude. I don’t like Korean or Ja­panese guys, be­cause they seem to have a su­pe­ri­or­ity com­plex. I like Scan­di­na­vians, be­cause they have bet­ter cul­tural tol­er­ance and have a more open mind. I also like Dutch guys be­cause they are very tall. Rus­sian men – de­pend­ing on which part of Rus­sia they come from, in this case Moscow – are trained from very young to cul­ti­vate an open mind. When I went out with a date from Moscow once, I loved the fact that he picked up a bit of our lo­cal lan­guage, he would tell me, ‘perem­puan tidak perlu

ba­yar apa-apa!’ (women don’t need to pay!) I was so im­pressed be­cause he re­ally wanted to learn. There’s the at­ti­tude: whether you want to learn Malay or not, it’s the ef­fort he made that counts.”

One ex­cep­tion to the ex­cess of open-minded Scan­di­na­vians is a sin­gle Dutch fa­ther she had matched and met up with a cou­ple of times. “Bluntly put: He’s a racist ass­hole. He posted a lot of racist anti-Mus­lim and anti-black pro­pa­gan­das on his sep­a­rate Face­book ac­count. When I called him out on it, he called me a whore, among other nasty names,” she waves the bad taste of the mem­ory away. “I never replied to his mes­sages or his pa­thetic at­tempts to backpedal for a meetup again.”

Although her friends love hear­ing about Pauline’s Tin­derella sto­ries, they are not too keen on ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it them­selves. A large rea­son is be­cause of our up­bring­ing in Malaysia – par­tic­u­larly for women’s safety – we’re told not to meet up with strangers with ro­man­tic in­ten­tions, or at the very least, ex­er­cise ex­treme cau­tion when ap­proach­ing peo­ple from the in­ter­net. Pauline thinks safety is para­mount, which is why she al­ways meets up with her dates at pub­lic places: shop­ping malls, brightly lit places, and lo­ca­tions that she is fa­mil­iar with. “You would think that KLCC Park is dan­ger­ous at night be­cause it’s so dark, but there are ac­tu­ally a lot of se­cu­rity guards pa­trolling the area. I make sure I know all the quick­est es­cape routes wher­ever I am,” she tells me. “I also make it a point to ex­change busi­ness cards by the end of the night, at the very least. I Google them just to make sure there’s noth­ing sus­pi­cious, and that what they tell me ac­tu­ally checks out.”

On the off chance you de­cide to take up Tin­der Tourism, re­mem­ber, ladies: safety first, both in and out of the be­d­room.

*Names have been changed to pro­tect the iden­ti­ties of those men­tioned in this ar­ti­cle.

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