Dear Parents, We know that our unmarried status generates its own trauma even beyond our respective communities. Accordingly, we feel compelled to tell you right here what we long to tell you at uncomfortable dinner table conversations, or on family trips where we are held hostage in the car to your lectures and emotional blackmail. Ready for our 'real' reasons for not tying the knotty knot?
1. We fear we might be gay or we are gay. The problem is that we can't tell you. You know why? Because there's no word for "gay" in our language. And if we simply say "gay" in English, we fear you'll think we're "happy" and press us further about why we're not married yet.
2. We are disgusted at the way the boy's family treats the girl's family even in the 21st century. The son's parents often act rude, obnoxious, or play dirty little games (even if they have unmarried daughters) during the "getting to know you phase." They act uninterested even though they are interested; they send third parties to give us mixed messages; they keep bragging about how tall their son is, and how fair he is. The shorter and darker we are, the more they must brag about their son's height and skin color. Shouldn't it be the other way around? A man doesn't give up much in a marriage. He just has to exist, and the girl's parents adore him, and feel grateful that he married their daughter. No matter that it's the daughter that works herself to the bone keeping up family obligations, cooking five meals a day to visiting relatives, putting up with their snide, irrational behavior, raising the children, or making her career the source of "flexibility" rather than his. Shouldn't the girl's parents be the ones playing power games with the guy's family, since she's the one providing not only the "goods" but also the "services?" We feel if it's this bad before "I do" what the hell will become of us after "I did?" Just ask our mothers and grandmothers for the answer.
3. The "attitude of gratitude" is not reciprocal. Let's face it: it doesn't take much for a young man to qualify as an "eligible" bachelor. And we use "eligible" in the best sense of the word. He just needs to have a job and have no felony convictions. And the bachelorette? She must pass "qualifying" exams to even get to the point of being considered. And the standards for passing are ever so arbitrary. She must have no sexual history (remember, rumors = truth), she must have the perfect family; if someone in her family was scandalous five generations ago, she's not in the running anymore.
4. Many of the men we have been introduced to have poor hygiene. The lack of attention to hygiene could be attributed to the man's assumption that he can rest on his professional laurels and family background to win us over. Times have changed. And how. Deodorant and breath mints are not optional. Bad hygiene is reason enough for us not to see one of your sons again.
5. Many of the men we meet cannot handle "dialogue." They wax poetic about how they want their partners to be their best friends, and how they crave "mutual understanding." This is often one-sided. One bachelorette found the young man across the table impressed with her until she mentioned she will keep her maiden name after marriage. At this point, even though our bachelorette had spent a lot of time and money traveling to meet this man, he nixed all plans (though she had taken unpaid leave from her job), hrefused to converse with her any further, and left her stranded in her hotel room for the three days.
6. Many of us have toxic parents, who are actively involved in selecting a groom for us. Many of our mothers are female misogynists, and our dads are the poster-boys for the "keep patriarchy alive" movement. These parents clearly consider everyone's feelings paramount - except for ours - even though we are the ones getting married, and we are the ones who will have to rough it out in our new families. The girl is supposed to acquiesce to any guy because of what the family thinks, or because the parents won't get sleep until she gets married, or because the parents don't want to insult a millionaire's son or because she has "no right to be selfish." Toxic parents will use any pernicious tactic to get their daughter married under the guise of doing "what's best" for her. We don't want the toxicity to leak into our marriage choices, so we dread going home for vacations, lie to survive, and keep meeting recommended men for coffee to keep our parents at bay.
7. Many of the men we meet aren't entering the marriage game conscientiously. We are especially suspect of the men who say they are doing this because they couldn't find anyone else, or because they want to please their parents. We'll never feel secure in this type of partnership, because we'll never feel he's marrying us for us. We could be "any woman" and we want to feel like the "one" or at least one of the few "ones" in the universe.
8. Some of us women don't believe in marriage, and we are going to keep avoiding it as long as we can. It is not a crime to remain unmarried. Kanya power lives!
9. Some of us are dating someone non-Indian. We want to take our time dating this person, because we grew up with the "wisdom" that these marriages spell "trouble" and will ultimately end in divorce. Hence, we don't want to reveal our love interest to you unless we have thought about the situation from every angle (including yours), and we are stalling for that reason. We ourselves are also struggling with the question of whether defying our parents is ultimately "worth it" or going to cause too much pain.
10. Some of us genuinely want to marry Indian men, but haven't found the right one.
Some of your Indian daughters