So I recently went on a date which was going swimmingly until the guy said I’m looking for a “homely and traditional girl like you”. Straight away my internal alarm bells went berserk and I was thinking – WHAT THE FUDGE did you just say?
It was wrong on so many levels, but what was scary was the fact it was said in complete earnest. Now the purpose of this post isn’t to go into a tirade and bash the guy for what he said; although I did have the urge to bash him over the head when he made that comment. But what I want to do is address the real issues here – to me it boils down to the prevalence of double standards and gender stereotypes within the South Asian community.
Now I’m a first generation British Asian (so basically I am the first in the family, along with my siblings, to born in the UK as opposed to India). This guy was a second generation British Asian (one of his parents was born in the UK) so his comment took me by complete surprise. In every other regard he seemed forward thinking, so I was pretty disappointed when he spouted this nonsense.
I think I can pinpoint some of things that might have sparked his comment – none of which have anything to do with being homely or traditional might I add. I’m teetotal, my relationship history is pretty non-existent and I prefer nights in to nights out.
Let’s break this down a bit more. My decision to be teetotal is health related; I don’t see the benefit of drinking. If I wanted to do some calorific damage, I’d rather eat a shit load of cake. That said I have no issue with anyone that chooses to drink – it’s a personal choice after all.
My relationship history is pretty much non-existent because I haven’t met the right person. My parents were pretty strict on the no dating thing when I was younger, but into adulthood it’s just not happened. I’ve been on dates, but for one reason or another it’s never progressed beyond dating. And in terms of preferring nights in to nights out – well I love sleep. I’m usually fast asleep by 10:30pm and I’m not really keen on the club scene. I have two left feet which are better utilised in the gym. None of my lifestyle choices should be interpreted as homely or traditional.
The problem is, the things I’ve mentioned above are considered permissible when it comes to men, but not necessarily women in the South Asian community – depending on your background of course. Now there are some South Asians who wouldn’t be able to relate this because they may have grown up without their parents distinguishing ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in relation to gender. But for those who have grown up hearing “well it’s different because you’re a girl” or “you can get away with it because you’re a guy” – you’ll definitely be able to relate to this. This shit just isn’t right. At the end of the day each person should be able to do what they want without judgement (within the limits of the law of course). Sadly that isn’t always the case, and I can relate to this.
The thing is, if this guy has grown up around discourse about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in relation to gender, his comment should be placed within that context. That said, I’ve also grown up with that discourse, but I refuse to accept it or use it, and I most definitely could not foresee a future with someone who thinks along these lines.
But perhaps, I’ve read too much into it – what do you reckon?