Networking Events = Marriage Events?

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Networking Events= Marriage Events?

*Written by the WhereArtTho Muslimah No2 that makes up this blog*
Ok so WhereArtTho Muslimah No1 asked me to write a post about my experiences with the whole ‘marriage’ lark. I obviously refused because I was a self respecting female with far too much street cred…*checks anonymity of article*…to become  one of those moaning single muslim women who annoy me so much.
I had heard of these weird marriage-crazed people but never had the misfortune of meeting any til, at the age of late 28 and starting (ahem) to feel the pressure, I thought i’d check out a ‘networking event’.  I was encouraged to attend, by tales of free food, and well, what real woman can resist such an offer?! I arrived to a room, with a bunch of not necessarily handsome guys sitting at one part of a restaurant room, and some lasses at the other.  A weird dodgy bloke got chatting to me (twas forced upon me, believe me!), and over a dinner of forced amicability, I chatted to a cupla females who really, would do nothing other than talk of their marriage woes over the table.  At the other side of the table sat the chaps having ‘normal’ convos, and in the dire context of the
situation, I died a few deaths of embarrassment.  Never  again i tells ya!

So what’s wrong with us normal women folk then?  Are we too fussy?  Surely some of are for sure.   I for one, simply want a practicing normal fella, who looks fairly decent.  Surely, that isn’t too much to ask?!

Muslim Marriage Event Number 2

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I realised from the first event that I went to that the key was to be confident, talkative, charming and make an effort with the guys. Yes I know common sense to most but hey better to learn late than never.

The event I went to this time was in a local community hall, not one of the bigger more established marriage events.

I arrived in a slightly more casual outfit (I wanted to wear something I was relaxed and comfortable in, and bit more ‘me’) with a cool Palestinian scarf wrapped around my neck . I was met at the door by two women dressed in wedding lenghas , yes actually full-on Green Street stylee lenghas with ghulaab ke phool ( those rose flower garland things) in their hair. I thought there must have been a wedding going on at the same time! But no, these were actually the organisers! Feeling completely underdressed; I quickly went onto to take off my coat, Palestinian scarf and rushed to sit at a table so my untied shoe-lace trainers could also not be seen.

Back straight, big smile, hoping I looked somewhat graceful and lady-like.

The format for this one was different from the last. All the girls sat around tables with 4/5 other guys and just had a chat about whatever they wanted. On one end there were also some parents that had come too who were just staring at all the girls. I think I was glazed over very early on as a no-no. Oh well. I guess I didn’t have on enough slap or bling-bling.

This particular event was made up of mainly very cultural oriented mummy’s boys and lots of those city-types that wanted a trophy wife. The former was not right for me and the latter I was not right for.

The only thing that would have made the whole thing bearable was that the event included a 3 course buffet meal.  Yum! Unfortunately I was sat opposite a guy with no table manners who was talking and stuffing his face at the same time whilst half his food fell on his shirt. As if that wasn’t enough he proceeded to noisily lick all his fingers (Eurghh). Yes I know its sunnah and all, but just looked so wrong.

Lesson learnt: Wrong type of event for me! Next please!

Muslim Marriage Event Number 1

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Muslim Marriage Event Number 1

So in attempt to be proactive and explore all avenues I decided to try out one of these marriage events. Having heard them described as everything from meat-markets to more positive terms in which sisters actual met and married guys I felt I should give them a go anyway and make up my own mind.

I arrived in a more colourful hijab than usual and wearing a nice simple dress rather apprehensive about what to expect. I was greeted by a bubbly smiley sister who gave me a sticker with the number S14. All the girls were S-something (S standing for sister) brothers were B-something. I walked in slightly deflated that was what I had been reduced you to, a number but I guess it was more practical then having your name with names like Aisha and Mohamed being so common! I reminded myself to *Be Positive*

The ‘event’ started with an intro talk about do’s and don’ts of the day. Some rather amusing like ‘If we see you are a time waster  or making inappropriate comments about peoples appearance or age you will be kicked out and believe us we have asked people to leave in the past’ to ‘ Think about yourself, not the friends you are with! If you like someone and your friend likes him too,  just go for it!’

We were then split up into smaller groups of equal number of guys and gals with a facilitator in the middle to have a group discussion which was basically opportunity to check everyone out and who you might be interested but without it being too in your face. Questions we were asked included ‘What do you think is the foundations for a good marriage? (to which people replied with usual cliché answers about it being a compromise, understanding, patience)to describing your personality..Now this one was an interesting one as all the girls replied saying how amazing and funny and great with kids they were. Whaaaaaaat?!!!  I guess you gotta play the game and it probably wasn’t the best time to let them know about fiery temper, bossy streak or that as much as you loved you planned on paying someone to change their dirty nappies.

Moving on…

To the 1-1 sesssion. Everyone had written a short profile about themselves beforehand about what they were looking for and a bit about themselves. These were put on a wall for all to see. I having not realised this would be shared with all and had thought it was like an admin form that I didn’t really need to fill out properly had just written I was looking for a practising guy and under describing myself as a graduate who loved to travel (yawn, how boring I know). When I saw everyone else’s profiles they were looooooooong essays. Oops.

At this point I have to say those that had described it as meat market, really didn’t get it wrong. There was suddenly lots of noises, numbers being called out, people going in and out the room and chatting to others.

I then heard this loud voice shouting out S14, where are you?? B** wants to see you. Arghhh S14 was ME. Wow, some poor guy had managed to look past my terrified-what- am- I-doing at this event look and wanted to see me. At the same time I had one of those moments where your whole face goes red and you just want the earth to swallow you up. I turned around to face the facilitator and said I was S14,he told me to have a look at B** profile and see if I was interested in meeting him. I had a look at this profile, he was a 45 year man (20 odd years my senior) divorcee (alhumduliah, nothing wrong with that) and had a 65k salary. How do I know? Because he had actually written it down on his profile! The evening didn’t get any better and I ended up meeting no one! The whole experience had been rather weird and surreal but I could see how these events were a good way to meet people especially since we all lead busy lives. I learnt quite a few lessons from and would give it another try ,being a bit more wiser.

My Top tips for attending a Muslim Marriage Event will be coming soon!

To Marry a Freshie or Not to Marry a Freshie

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To Marry a Freshie or Not to Marry a Freshie

Being a born and bred London lass I always thought I’d marry a guy also from here. You know someone who knew the lingo, grew up watching Transformers and Thundercats, ate fish and chips… Marrying a freshie always conjured up images of bad accents, red-passport lovers and language barriers.

However I think I’ve painted everyone with the same brush. There are decent educated guys who have come from places like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, especially over recent years.  Many of them are far more mature than guys we get in the U.K and generally more responsible, committed and understand marriage. God I sound like my mother! They don’t have lots of unrealistic expectations. I know many friends who have ended up marrying guys from ‘back home’ and alhumduliah are happy. Communication barriers can be worked on and the accent is likely to fade over time (or maybe that’s wishful thinking! Lol) but either way it’s workable, no?

Although I haven’t met a freshie as such for marriage purposes  I think I’m definitely more open minded to it and wouldn’t turn someone away just because they didn’t have the same passport as me!

 

The problem with Aunty-jees and Me

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I have met a few guys through the middle-woman ristha aunty jees that pass on your amee-jees number to another fella’s amee-jee who then rings your amee-jee says she got your number from the rishta aunty-jee , asks  a few questions and if all is ok you meet.

The problem is every time I seem to meet guys and their mothers I just don’t ever seem to get it right! The aunty jee never like me! Generally amongst my mum’s friends I’m liked and I get on with aunty jee’s but never potential honai walli saas-jee’s! In a bid to understand that problem I have decided to dissect and analyse and hopefully come to the solution!

Problem 1: My Kaprai

If they don’t have a problem with me wearing a hijab, they always seem to have an issue with my general clothing.  I think they expect me to either be glammed up in a sari on their arrival or be wearing a shalwar kameez at least. I do wear shalwar kameez sometimes, but it’s a sight best avoided, as the shalwar usually drags at my feet and I’m constantly pulling them up. Making me  look the epitome of grace and elegance. Not.

Problem 2: Gori and Lovely = Beauty

Aunty-jees have a problem with my skin complexion and height. Now although I am not some complete kali-kaloti and even if I was there would be nothing wrong with but they all prefer some that is fair and lovely. It’s not just a myth that Asian mothers prefer that for their sons, they actually do! And in terms of my height, I’m usually the same height as the aunty-jee, so if it’s good enough for her why not for me?!

Problem 3: Mujhe Urdu nahi athee thi..I mean hai….Erm yeh balle balle                         

My Urdu isn’t very good, it doesn’t come naturally therefore having a full-blown conversation in it is rather difficult for me. This in turn makes me little bit quieter and reserved as I actually don’t quite know what to say to the aunty-jee. I don’t think that’s a big problem, her son and me will be speaking in English. I actually think it is probably best if communication is minimal between  the daughter and mother –in law is minimal…that way all I ever be able to say is, hai-aunty-jee, beshak, bilqul, wah aap nai kiya bhat kariyee! And all will be well!

Solution: Unless you are a fully-fledged Pakistani with the correct hand gestures and facial expressions and can say you made all the pakoras and samosas that you present to them on the first meet along with being whiter than white then it’s probably best to have the first meeting without the mothers!

Do nice guys finish last?….

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I was thinking today of all the guys I have met for marriage through friends, family and work over the years. For some reason anyone that I met over a year or 2 ago I don’t remember their names or faces. But a few I do remember. They were the nice sweet guys. The ones, who were really nervous at the first meeting, didn’t know where to look or quite what to say.  And like a typical girl in her early 20’s I ended up saying ‘No’ to them. Why? Because they just didn’t seem ‘man’ enough and were all awkward and not cool enough in the first meeting.

When I look back I realise actually they were the type I should have married, they were ‘husband’ material. They would have been responsible, considerate, caring husbands and great fathers. Sighs. I’m sure you know the ones I am talking about… We have all probably let a few like that slip by…

Instead I was too busy going for the over-confident, funny, bad-boy type. You see I realised that those sweet nice ones that I put a big black cross through , they didn’t quite know what to say because they hadn’t met many girls, they were the brothers who were ‘saving’ themselves for that special someone, the ones you would have grown and learnt together with.  The charming confident ones who knew all the right things to say were like that with experience, the same things they said to me they had said to a hundred other girls…

As for the statement that ‘Nice guys finish last’…….I don’t think so. I reckon a smart, intelligent woman came along saw what he was worth and snapped him right up.