In the Meantime, I Thrive by Karen Leslie Hernandez

Let me tell you, the dating world is a whole different universe. Especially for a woman my age and who do what I do. I am sure many reading this can relate.

Here are some comments I have received from men after they find out what I do:

“I hope you don’t try to convert me.”

“I don’t date girls smarter than me.”

“You are gorgeous, those green eyes! Why can’t you find anyone? Do you not like sex, or something?”

“Do you say, OH GOD! During sex? Has a whole different meaning with you, huh?”

“I’m not sure I can handle dating someone who is getting her Doctor of Ministry. Are you a Pastor? What do you do exactly?”

“I have a problem with religion.”

“You’re sexy for a theologian!”

“You are fiercely independent.”

“Wow, you are confident…”

“You went to Wellesley? Did you become a lesbian when you were there?”

“Are you a feminist?”

No joke. So real, so outrageous and so ridiculous. Although comical over a beer or a glass of wine, in reality, these comments are obviously a reflection on the men who said them to me, rather than on me. I have also encountered some scary dates, but, those are not worth mentioning here, except to say, that while navigating the dating world can be seriously challenging, it also has a treacherous side.

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Breaking Down the Concept of Arranged Marriages by Vibha Shetiya

13327613_10208448645447348_6913754683590458893_nOne of the first things my American friends and family ask me when they learn I used to be married to an Indian man is: was it an arranged marriage? I understand the intrigue, the bewilderment and even horror that the phrase “arranged marriage” can conjure up in unfamiliar Western minds. Images of forcing women to marry strangers encountered upon the street or child betrothals or women being dragged to the wedding site to be married off to mustachioed men are likely to flash before one’s eyes. While such incidents may have occurred from time to time, and in the past, as with child marriages, the long-established concept of “arranged marriage” is very different and not as frightening as may seem.

Traditionally speaking, proposals materialized through word-of-mouth – family and friends recommended a good alliance, or a parent would approach someone directly or indirectly to ask for a daughter or son’s hand in marriage. Even then, personal histories were well researched into, before both parties decided to “see” each other. Marriages in India continue to be alliances between families, and so it is important to check into family background – what are the parents’ and siblings’ occupations? How much does the prospective groom earn? After all, he may be the sole earning member of his family and may not be able to provide for his own family once he starts one. Is there a history of crime or mental illness? This investigation makes perfect sense in a society that is community and family-oriented, and wherein joint family situations are still the norm, especially in smaller towns and villages. It is thus imperative that everyone try and get along. “Arranged marriage” is certainly not synonymous with an “Oh-let’s-just-get-rid-of-our-daughter” arrangement.

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