“Dating is a part of the human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. It can be a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by the couple. While the term has several meanings, it usually refers to the act of meeting and engaging in some mutually agreed upon social activity in public, together, as a couple.”
Ah the world of dating- it seems exciting ,challenging,hopeful and filled with misadventures . Usually the act of dating can be daunting even in US or European countries. The first step of asking someone you desire out for dinner or movie in itself is horrendous – A “no” would leave you drowning sorrows in a glass of wine as you ponder over existential fears ,A “yes” would deliver a few butterflies along with the stress of choosing a place,leaving a good impression.
Once you are on a date the usual worry about keeping things interesting ,hope the conversation flows easily and at the end of it all a connection and hope for something wonderful to blossom. The expectations increase if the date goes well and then the man and woman fret over first kiss and intimacy.
This is my somewhat naive and simplistic view of the dating in those countries-there are more underlying emotions and complications based on the regional /cultural differences. In India the whole dating scene is vastly different.
As per tradition dating is not really permissible- we have parents who choose a partner for their children and they get married – all the courtship comes after the wedding, knowing full well that the couple can no longer escape if the “date” goes bad. However, in the past few decades the “western ” ideology of dating and couples meeting before marriage has emerged – much to woe of traditionalists. The Moral police cry foul over what they perceive as pervading promiscuity as a result of westernization.
Now enter me- woefully modern, filled with silly ideas of equality,love,romance and finding the “one”. I believe in falling in love then getting married as opposed to get married, have sex, two children, pay mortgage and then when it’s all done wonder about love.
Obviously life is going to be hard!
My experience with modern Indian dating scene is rather like a Final Destination movie, where you know that in the end there is doom ,death and gore.
Most of my so called dates have been after there was some interest in the beginning and we started meeting casually say with a group of friends and later moved to dinner or lunch together until one of us expressed the often overused “I love you” or “I like you”. The dates were most of the times casual ,in some inexpensive place and I have ,in the past, paid for the meal- this was no gender equality extremism- instead the boy/man was always broke due to some reason or other- yes, I know that should have rung a few warning bells.
Besides the few “serious relationships” which met their deaths just as brutally as in slasher movies, I have been set up on a blind date once.I could say that it was probably the only time I did not pay for my tea- the usual place for a “good girl” to meet a man is at a local coffee shop and preferable in daylight- which is the protocol I have followed as well. I didn’t want to give the impression of being a “bad girl” afterall.
Now to scintillating conversations- the most often question asked in order of their popularity:-
- How old are you?
- What do you do?
- What is your education qualification?
- Did you ever have a boyfriend? How many?
- Are you a virgin?
- Why do you earn when you can get married?
- Tell me more about yourself?( this question leads to if I am open to a one night stand)
If I answer “yes” to question number 4 the next one are:-
- What do you enjoy about sex?
- You are a nasty girl aren’t you?( said in a cheap pseudo sexy way to make me melt)
- When did you last have sex?
- How long ago was your last relationship?
- Why don’t you give someone another chance?( at sex not love , and preferably the one asking the questions)
Ofcourse , I have realized over time that the moment the questions 4,and 5 are asked- RUN!
There is no rule which demarcates a man you can consider safe in Indian dating(i.e tattoos,bikers etc). I am not generalizing , but , basing my opinion on what I have experienced. In India the very fact that you are on a date means the man will treat you as sexually promiscuous and available and hence will try to paw you.
Moving from 20’s to 30’s the whole dating scene changes. How you may wonder? How can this change?
Well, in the 20’s boys attempt to disguise their desire for free ,unattached sex with soft flowery words . However, when these same men reach their 30’s their tune changes considerably. Gone is the pretense to woo a girl- now it’s either full fledged sexual harassment or desperately pleading for sex.Even married men at this stage will at one time or the other proposition some woman for sex- she can be a colleague at work, a girl who was a friend or even someone you have met a few times and don’t really know that well.
This behaviour is an indication of the age old male-female stereotypes and concepts of “good and bad girl“. A good girl gets married and a bad one dates- simple! There are some more additions to the list like dress code,eating and drinking habits etc etc- for a complete list check this link or read this one. I ask those who married a complete stranger – wasn’t your first night similar to a one night stand only you cannot get up and rush out of the door? I’m told I need to get my brain examined for damage.
So, I have to survive the label of being the girl men love to date and hate to marry or even commit to- i.e Bad Girl.
Finding love in this vicious set up seems almost impossible- If I go the traditional arranged marriage route, even there these questions (I could blog on the matrimonial site disasters too)are asked as a way to determine my worthiness along with added questions of my or my family’s financial status( implied dowry), family’s social worth etc .
This is my penance for not marrying the first nincompoop right out of college!