Real-life Eggplant Emojis And Harassment: A Nigerian Woman’s Tinder Experience

March 19, 2019

Early last year, after an almost fairytale-like relationship, came to an abrupt end, I did what all movies recommend you need to do to move on from a breakup. I deleted his number (even though I had it memorized), Which didn’t stop me from sending long epistles at 2 am in the morning. I cried. A lot. I wallowed, sulked, and swore off men for all of 5 minutes (damn you heterosexuality). Then finally, I joined Tinder in search of the ultimate rebound who would set me on the path of finally moving on.

Before Tinder, searching for a rebound involved being set up by friends, who, even though they meant well, always managed to match me up with more frogs than princes. With Tinder, I thought I’d have more control. I had all the information I needed to do a Google deep dive. I’d stalk through all of his Instagram followers and those of his siblings. Search his name on Twitter alongside words that could raise red flags – ‘rape’, ‘sexual harassment’, ‘hates Harry Potter’.

I’d spend hours researching a prospect more than I did my final year project before deciding whether to swipe right or left.

For some, you knew instinctively when to swipe left. Profiles like – ‘ere 4 hookups only, no time to waste‘. Or photos of men clearly in their mid-40s posing as 20 something-year-olds. Or just pictures of penises accompanied by a phone number to call for a ‘good time‘ that you wish you hadn’t opened in public.

I got exactly eleven matches in the time I used Tinder, and the experience with all of them ranged from hilarious to angering.

First came Mr. Kpa Du Kpa, 26.

My first match seemed perfect. He was the right age, good looking enough for me to swipe right and his profile was devoid of catchphrases like ‘I like my women BBW‘. With Lagos being the size of a shoebox, turned out I was even casual friends with his cousin or family friend or something.

Following the rules of the Nigerian internet, I decided not to send a message first and neither did he. I checked back every day for two weeks, stubbornly refusing to message first. After weeks with no communication from either of us, I stopped imagining what our babies would look like. Mr Kpa Du Kpa was clearly ready to die on the ‘I won’t be the first to message’ line and so was I.

Then there was Mr Nice Guy, 27

The next match sent a message 2.5 seconds after I swiped right on him and we matched. The next couple of conversations were full of him proclaiming that he was a nice guy and had only ever been hurt by ‘girls like me’ in the past. That was my cue to unmatch, which was futile because I had linked my Instagram account to my Tinder account and Mr Nice guy decided to move our conversation there. He sent countless messages about how I had proved him right and how I must be an asewo looking for sugar daddies on Tinder because I failed to recognize what a nice guy he is.

Mr Not A Catfish, 26

One thing I found surprising about Tinder was the sheer amount of foreign men on it in Lagos. I was talking about this with a friend after matching with one and according to her, eighty per cent of any foreigners I saw on Tinder in Lagos where yahoo boys, and that I shouldn’t bother engaging. Even though Mr NAC’s profile seemed a little too detailed to be a catfish account, I ignored his messages.

Weeks after matching with Mr NAC, I ran into him at a party. We also turned out to have quite a number of mutual friends. ‘Hi we matched on Tinder but I ignored your message because I thought you were a catfish‘ didn’t seem like a great opener. So I avoided him all night and sent an enthusiastic ‘Hey!‘ back weeks after his initial message to me on Tinder. He never replied.

Mr Older Guy, 35.

After swiping left a thousand times in a couple of days with no rights in sight, I decided to widen my fishing pool. I set the age limit at 25 – 35, putting a twelve year age gap between me and the oldest guy in the range. It didn’t take me too long to match with a 35-year-old.

He was at the peak of his career, well travelled and seemingly well read. I envisioned gloriously long conversations that didn’t involve questions about my bra size (yes that happened) and polite, respectful dates. My lifelong obsession with Idris Elba is clearly to blame for this error in judgment. The first couple of conversations were spent ascertaining my age over and over again. Because apparently, I look older.

The last conversation was the one where we tried to plan a date. He wanted to meet at a hotel. I said I wasn’t comfortable with that and would rather meet at say – a restaurant. He replied that that was fine and we could head to a hotel later on. I expressed my confusion at this, he expressed confusion at my confusion. Turns out he only used Tinder expressly for hookups and expected anyone else on it to do the same. I told him he’d save a lot of time if he added that to his bio and unmatched.

Mr. Almost Perfect Match.

I gave up on Tinder for a couple of weeks and opened it on a random day out of boredom, swiping right and matching with only one person while wondering what way he was going let me down. Was he going to be a creepy paedophile? Or a sexual harasser? Mr Almost Perfect Match turned out to be a pretty nice guy. Nice enough to be the only guy I’ve ever gone on a date with off Tinder.

On our first date, he was polite and respectful. By the second date, some casual misogyny began to seep through the cracks. It was less than you’d expect from the average Nigerian man but more than I’d tolerate. Expressing shock at things at me stating that I don’t like to cook and retorting with ‘you just haven’t found the man to cook for‘. And saying ‘so you are one of those feminists‘ in a tone that was borderline taunting were deal breakers for me. We went on a couple more dates after and I stayed friendly but he was not the one.


After Mr. Almost Perfect Match, I put an end to my Tinder adventures and resolved to be matched by one of my friends the old fashioned way. And I did get matched with someone who was perfect for me at the time. I hadn’t given Tinder a second thought in months until a friend mentioned a new dating app she had just signed up. It was supposed to have finer pickings of men than Tinder and better user experience. Which meant I won’t be stumbling on any unexpected penis pictures as I swiped. So last week I joined ‘Bumble’ and I’m curious to see what rabbit hole of Nigerian men it’s going to lead me down.

Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

March 9, 2021

Have you ever wondered how a bride feels about her wedding day? Well, these five Nigerian women shared their wedding day experience with us. Abike, 30 I loved it, and it wasn’t the typical Nigerian wedding. There were less than 80 people in attendance, and we didn’t do any traditional ceremony. My pastor joined us […]

October 10, 2020

In different locations all over the world, people are holding protests to call for the end of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. During these protests, people are demanding their right to live freely without being profiled. However, female protesters are announcing incidences of sexual violence from protesters. Sexual harassment is one of the most prevailing forms […]

August 21, 2019

Navigating life as a woman in the world today is incredibly difficult. From Nigeria to Timbuktu, it’ll amaze you how similar all our experiences are.  Every Wednesday at 9 am, women the world over will share their takes on everything from sex to politics right here. In this week’s HER I had a conversation with […]

June 19, 2020

Periods are like unwanted visitors that we actually want. If you see it, wahala, if you don’t see it double wahala (at least for us single folks). Every woman is a love/hate relationship with her period. Here are 10 dilemmas every Nigerian woman faces during her period; 1. When you can’t find it.  Small play […]


Now on Zikoko

April 16, 2021

There’s only one thing more painful than stubbing your little on the sharp edge of furniture – watching other people take credit for something you worked really hard for. I spoke to four Nigerians who recount their experiences under glory-thieving bosses. Here’s what they had to say. Tola I was an assistant producer working on […]

April 16, 2021

If you enjoy any of the fruits on this list, delete every tweet that suggests you’re broke and stop lying. 1. Strawberries Everyone that makes strawberry flavoured snacks or beverages is a dirty smelling liar. Strawberries are not sweet. They are sour as fuck. In addition to being sour, they’re also expensive as hell. So […]

April 16, 2021

Everyone knows Nigerian universities are designed to break you. But when you’re the god of thunder, it should be easy, right? On this episode of #JustImagine, we reimagine Thor as a Nigerian student named, Tomiwa. Campus Hostel Bode, Tomiwa’s friend and roommate, is standing outside the hostel addressing a small crowd. The crowd is agitated. […]

Recommended Quizzes

October 30, 2019

2010 was a game-changing one for Nollywood, with our movies making serious cash and getting international acclaim. So, which of these hits released between 2010 and 2019 — from the pace-setting The Wedding Party to the divisive Trip To Jamaica — best suits your personality? Well, that’s what this quiz is here to answer:

November 7, 2019

These days, everyone is always talking about how much sex they’re getting, or how little sex they’re getting, or how disgusting sex is etc. There’s just so much talk about sex, it’s almost impossible to know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. In anticipation of our new series about the sex lives of young […]

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

More from Her

April 15, 2021

Ramadan is a special time for Muslims dedicated to fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. What then does this time mean for some Nigerian women? Bola, 17 Every Muslim no matter their spiritual strength works hard in Ramadan, the vibe is just different. Even though I’m not the strongest spiritually on a regular day, Ramadan makes […]

Receiving Sex Education
April 15, 2021

Do you remember when you received sex education? Was it in school taught by your biology teacher or at home, your mum telling you to stay away from sex in the middle of the night? In this article, we asked seven Nigerian women to share their experience receiving sex education. Here’s what they had to […]

April 14, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is Thelma Egbe, a 28-year-old woman who loves cooking. She talks about growing up in a family where the men and women cooked, growing a food blogging and catering business, and how adulting almost made her stop. What was your childhood like? I spent a part of […]

Experiencing puberty
April 13, 2021

Puberty is described as a gradual switch from childhood to adulthood and also one of the most confusing stages of being human. Although it is characterized by changes like periods, growing breasts and rounding hips, many women experience puberty differently. Here’s what six Nigerian women have to say about experiencing puberty. Fifi, 22 I was […]

April 12, 2021

As Told To Itohan For a while now, I had been asking people what the most interesting parts about their love life. So, when someone reached out to me and said she fell in love with her Uncle, I wondered if I was reading right. The person in today’s As Told To is *Anna, a […]

prayer house
April 10, 2021

As told to Mariam I travelled to Ilorin for an exam last week and on the bus, I rode in, I met Yoma*. Somehow the conversation of faith came up, and she told me she didn’t subscribe to the Christianity practised in churches. When I asked why, this is what she told me: I grew […]

workplace horror stories
April 9, 2021

Working in Nigeria is the ghetto. No shade to my boss. Last week, I asked Nigerian women to tell me the worst things they have experienced working in Nigeria. Here’s what eight of them had to say.  Jumoke, 25  My former boss used to gaslight me, to the extent that I began to doubt my […]

April 8, 2021

You want to know why the Nigerian women in your life do not iron clothes? Well, here are six very simple reasons. 1) Clothes Have you seen the clothes of an average Nigerian woman? Where do you expect them to start the ironing from? With all the ruffles, puffs and pleats. The clothes look like […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.