I had yet to see anybody drinking or smoking and, so far, the only girls I had seen had been hidden deep within the endless black folds of heavy chadors. I messaged her with the best chat up line I could think of. We sat in a cafe, her blue hair peeking out from beneath her green hijab; a compulsory garment for all women in Iran.I expected to have to keep my head down, and to abstain from sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. So I turned to Tinder, curious to see if any local girls would be online. Esme told me of her adventures backpacking in the Philippines, of her career as a vet, of her hopes that a softening of laws and attitudes is coming to Iran.“Given the immorality that often applies to this, it is not permitted,” Khamenei answered.But a religious ruling does not an official ban make.Had we initially met in person, this would have been very unlikely." But, most young, tech-savvy Iranians who have found dates through chat rooms, continue to frequent these online spaces and enjoy chatting, even if it doesn't result in a real-life meeting or a serious relationship.Match-making and dating websites are deemed illegal by the administration, so almost all the Iran-based websites for meeting people are chat rooms and not designated for match-making.
And it’s just routine now, a fact they have become used to over time.
Fariba, 31, is a newly divorced attorney living in Tehran who, in a phone conversation, tells Al-Monitor she blames her divorce on online dating.
Fariba found her ex-husband in an Iranian chat room and met up with him after four chatting sessions.
I lingered, unsure what to do, aware of the many people around us and the police just across the street, before thinking ‘fuck it’ and pulling her into an alleyway for a cheeky kiss.
She had to leave, of course, and I had plans to check out Iranian Kurdistan.