Bali has expats from all over the world, including what I sometimes refer to as local-expats. People from Java, Sumatra and other islands, come here for work and that adds another dimension to the social scene. For a westerner thinking about dating a girl from Java, there are a few tips you should know. Her understanding of western culture is going to be skewed by TV and living in a holiday environment, where everybody is a ‘rich man’. Expectations can be wildly out of whack. I know expats who have started dating a new girlfriend, only to have her quit her job and try to move in.
When dating a girl from Java, you have to remember her situation. She came to Bali for work, sometimes that might be a job in a hotel, restaurant or shop, other times it might mean being the full-time girlfriend of a westerner. There are plenty of girls over here, who have no interest in a regular job, realizing their best chance in life, is to find a western guy to look after them. The best strategy is to avoid girls without jobs, if you are planning on a relationship that lasts longer than a weekend. The ones who work generally are honest, and expect to pull their own weight.
Regardless of what any Javanese girl says about food, she prefers rice with everything. Do not waste time taking her to Bali Bakery for breakfast, wait until 10am-11am and go over to Warung Batavia on Jl. Raya Kerobokan, she will love it. Warung Batavia serves distinctly Javanese food, and you will get no complaints. Javanese girls often catch a lot of flack from Balinese locals, who attach a label to them, of being bed-warmers for bules. A girl who works in a regular job, may feel uncomfortable accompanying you, in an environment where there are a lot of Balinese locals, especially men.
If you date a Javanese girl, and she starts waving to other customers in the restaurant / bar, that is a heads-up that she has been around. You may not want to pursue that situation too long. In Indonesia, ‘decent girls’ don’t hang out in bars, drink, smoke or have tatts. Sure there are tourists from Jakarta, out here in Bali to have a good time, that’s different. In general, you’ll get a good idea about a Java girl, by her dress style, drinking and smoking. Do not offer to buy drinks for a new friend, and all her companions. Latching onto a friendly tourist is a sport out here. If you do get someone a drink, make sure its either a Coke of a small beer and order it yourself. You do not want the waiter arriving, with a tray of cocktails with your friend saying, “Sorry I thought you said my friends could have a drink.”
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The positives of dating a Javanese girl, are related to the fact that she is away from the constraints of home and family. She can do what she wants, and no one is going to expect you to commit to marriage anytime soon. Many Javanese girls are Muslim, but unless you ask them you probably will never know, as the form of Islam over here is moderate. Many Javanese girls will be more familiar with the party scene, than a Balinese. Bear this in mind if you are looking for a partying companion.
A while back I was sitting in a bar and 3 older American guys, who turned out to be college professors, came over and joined me. One guy leaned over and said in a totally serious voice, “Do you think its possible for me to get a girlfiend while I’m over here.” Yes it is possible, in many fashions. There are great looking girls around, who will date a foreigner for a week or however long, on a ‘mutually beneficial’ understanding. You’ll have to work it out yourself, maybe your personality alone will be enough.
Girls wearing the traditional hair covering, will not date you so do not bother. If your girlfriend is Muslim, try to respect and support her in her religious commitments especially during the month of Ramadan. Dating a Javanese girl can be an interesting experience, if both parties are open and relaxed.