Dilemmas of a Young Single, Indian Woman Looking to Settle Down in Singapore.

At the risk of sounding completely and absolutely cheesy, I really couldn’t think of any other title.
I’ve been wondering silently in my head the past few weeks, admidst conversations with my friends and family, how does one actually find someone to settle down with, being Indian, being a girl and being in Singapore?
When you’re my age, it’s no longer so simple. You can’t afford not to be for the long-haul. (I just realised that I’m speaking for myself of course.) It is no longer an issue of two hearts. You have to do so much thinking. Compatibility, families, the future, etc. You can’t be happily dating people after people whom you fancy for the heck of it. You have to think with your brain, instead of just the little muddled thing called the heart. When you’re younger, it’s more of a case of finding someone your heart fancies, and then making it work. This time, another situation arises, that is, you find someone things can potentially work out with and then your heart starts to love and care for them.

See the thing is, I’m in my early twenties, and quickly approaching the mid-twenties (or am I there already?) It is quite terrifying, to say the least. And you want somebody who is going to be your companion. Someone you can share your life with, and at the end of it, to be able to talk to. So needless to say, he has to be on your same wavelength, plus he has to be a good, normal guy. (I actually blogged about this briefly in one of my protected posts, but I found it necessary to air my views on this one.) And because I am not one of your feminist, independent sorts I shall shamelessly admit, it will be good to know that he will be able to take care of me when I can’t.

The problem right now, is that there are very few, good normal guys around. Scrap that, there are very few, good normal people around. And does anyone actually know how difficult it is to find normal people these days??? And how do you actually filter out the oddballs? (See, this should also work in the reverse. For example, if I’m an oddball to begin with, then I will be filtering out normal people, so that I will find a suitable oddball for myself. Am I making sense?) Okay, I digress. See the issue here, is this filtering process. The people in the West have it a little easier I’m guessing, at my age. Dating. You go out in groups. You think you see someone you may be able to clique with and potentially fulfil each other’s happiness. And then you go out for that one lunch or one dinner or one movie. And then you realise that conversation is as exciting as playing rock, paper and scissors with yourself. And usually, both parties realise it, and you part cordially as friends or at the very least, as acquaintences whom you might later bump into with someone wayyyy better-looking than yourself, and then you start feeling awful about yourself and you just want to disappear from the face of the earth AND throw water on his face but once again I’m digressing.

Well, seriously. Now the other problem. Your parents want you to find someone. To find a good guy who is kind, responsible, educated, well-mannered, polite and be able to take care of you and your family, and who will make a good husband and a father. How do you actually go about doing all this without dating? People behave extremely differently in groups, in smaller double dates, and on single dates. They also behave very differently over the phone, over the internet, and in person. So how do you actually get to know people? But because you’re Indian and you’re a woman, you cannot date. Because it is societally unacceptable. (When I say dates, I’m talking about harmless ones of course! Not where you’re all over each other in public. I’m talking about genuine ones where you want to get to know that one person, and not every random Tom and Harry.) Even then, god forbid you bump into your parents, or worse a relative. Being seen out with a guy seems to be a crime serious enough to call for beheading and quartering. So in this case, how do you find this right person without dating? Go out in groups and then just narrow him down, and ta-da, you become a couple? It is more difficult than said.

So what exactly are expected from women like us? Do we then, just settle down for arranged marriages? Or find someone for yourself without dating? (I dont see how this is humanly possible) You see, the very tricky thing here is that most of us, my generation at least, are treading that very complex third space between the spheres of modernity and tradition. It is almost as if parents want us to find someone, but to skip the whole process magically, and present their potential son-in-law all wrapped up with a red and gold lined ribbon. “I don’t want to know how you got here, or how you found him, and I shall pretend that you never saw this guy out alone, but thank you for finding someone good and responsible without getting to know him properly first.” I wish it was that simple.

The worst bit is I’m not getting any younger! And this very stark fact has hit my head a few times. And the thing is, I’ve never been the one to put career on top of everything else. My success in life would depend on whether I can have a happy family. And I digress. Sure. I can be in an arranged marriage. But what if that turns out to be a mistake? Who do you blame? Fate & destiny? I’m not arguing a case here for love marriages. I’m just wondering how does one actually go about looking for the right person without stepping on any toes? Do you date, and play hide and seek? And playing hide and seek at this age, just seems so wrong. Or do you just settle down for the arranged marriage? While I’m not against arranged marriages, this will definitely be a last resort. When my resources have been exhausted and I have not been able to find anyone who can put up with me. But how does on go about finding this someone while pretending you are not dating so you eventually end up lying? The problem with me is that other than the extremely personal aspects of my life, I want my folks to know who I’m with and where I’m at. Supposedly, this is a totally wrong approach as you make parents end up worrying, and ignorance for them, would be bliss. But not for me! Or are there any other plausible solutions?

Argh. I’m so flustered.

I have run out of things to rant about, so I shall stop.


14 Responses to “Dilemmas of a Young Single, Indian Woman Looking to Settle Down in Singapore.”

  1. wahahahahaha.
    that last paragraph was what i was trying to explain to my mother a few mths ago.

  2. Persephone Says:

    The following was a conversation between mom & I over the phone 1 week ago:

    Me: Ma, alot of my friends from pri/sec/JC school have gotten married. Can you believe A just had a baby, and B got married last weekend, and C is expecting her third child!

    Mom: So, when are YOU getting married, girl?

    Me: For as long as you’re in my life, I’ll never get married.

    Mom: HAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Why do say that? All I want is for you to marry a good boy who is educated and has a good job and takes care of you! If he’s Ceylonese, even better!

    Me: I HAD a guy who was all of that, even Ceylonese, but apparently he was too ugly for me.


    Me: It’s hard enough finding a GOOD man these days who is NOT gay, but on top of that, he has to be ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘the other’. There is just never a man good enough for you.

    Mom: Ya, that’s true. *giggle*

    Meera, I’m doomed to be an old maid. She thinks it’s funny, but it’s NOT. I am twenty-bloody-five and the entire world is getting hitched but me. If I’m not perfect, how can they expect some perfect man? And on top of that, to find him without DATING.

    I want to die lah.

  3. HOly shit did I just use the nickname Persephone.


    This topic has had more of an impact on me that I’d expected!

  4. Anantya: hahaha it really is very frustrating! like seriously. i cant think of a solution where everyone can be happy.

    Phoenix aka Persephone: hahahahahah! Girl, it’s okay. I’m just glad that I’m not alone on this. Sometimes, I think I’m doomed to be an old maid too. My friends are getting hitched too and having babies. In a few months, I’m hitting the age where more people get hitched. AHHH! It’s freaking scary! And thats so true, how do you NOT date and find that man? I dont get it. Just dont.

  5. The second part of my conversation with mom included me telling her to just step back and let me make decisions for my life. She’s had her turn already; that period of her life is over. She had her life to live already. She was 25 once. That’s over. Now, it’s my turn. I told her that even if she thinks it is a mistake, to let me make it. All she has to do as family is be my support regardless what happens. It is I who will be married to the man. Not her. I am the one who will wake up to him everyday; not her. I told her she’s had her chance, and to back off. She just kept quiet, then later said she just didn’t want me to regret anything.

    You know Meera, it’s hard enough finding a suitable man, be it in secret on in the open. But parents make it hard enough by imposing all these unrealistic expectations of their future son-in-law.

    I watched Miss Potter recently, and one scene had me in stitches.

    Miss Potter falls in love with her publisher, Norman Warne, and he proposes. Miss Potter goes to tell Millie (Norman’s single sister) and get her approval – since Millie’s two single friends are now going to be “leaving” her. This is the conversation that takes place:

    Miss Potter: You’ll be alone.

    Millie: You have a chance for happiness and you’re worrying about me? I wouldn’t worry about you if…if someone came along who loved me and whom I loved, I would trample my mother!

    Millie: Do you love Norman?

    Miss Potter: Yes.

    Millie: Then marry him. Don’t you dare think about anyone else.

    Miss Potter: But what about all the blessings of being alone?

    Millie: Hogwash. What else is a woman on her own supposed to say? You have a chance to be loved, take it.

    If someone came along who loved me and whom I wish I could say I would trample my mother, I really do Meera! Hahaha. It’s hard enough finding a good man!!!

  6. I know exactly what you mean. Forget good. How about normal? You know, normal men. With normal attitudes and normal feelings and normal behaviorial patterns and normal reactions. Ahh.

  7. The arranged marriage thing is not necessarily a last resort as there are some women…aka me…who see it as a better alternative then finding someone yourself. Of course i think it is to each his own, it wont work for some people, just like trying to find someone on your own might not work for some people.

    However, you are completely right on many accounts. We’re not getting younger, and dating seems to come with its own pitfalls. Maybe arranged marriage might not be a last resort for u? Hehe. ;)

  8. It would be a last resort for me, because in some corner of my heart, I still strongly believe in finding that one person.. to love, I guess. Instead of being arranged to love someone. There will be a case for and against love/arranged marriages, but I personally find the idea of marrying someone you don’t know about a little unsettling.. hmm.

  9. I know what you mean about marrying someone you don’t know…cos that is really frightening, and by the time you do find out it’s too late. But most arranged marriages these days are such that parents just find the person, and you do get to know them before anything is finalised. That is how it is with me and my other friends who are being arranged marriaged off. I have no fear that I will marry someone I don’t know.

    I hope you do find that one person, you’re a real romantic and I feel strongly that you are a good person and hence I think you deserve to find the right one in exactly the way you wish.

    So go get him Priestess! :)

  10. My parents have been bugging me to find someone too – of course they don’t allow you to date when you are in school but once uni is over they miraculously expect you to introduce them to their future son-in-law. Since I can’t meet any decent Indian men I’ve told my dad I was open to him introducing me to anyone he thought was suitable… let me just say, its not as easy as I thought it would be. *big sigh*

    p/s is there a club I can join? for potential spinsters or something?

  11. Queen of Drama. Says:

    wah so much bustling activity on this blog ley. =P

    i can’t WAIT to be arranged off. I think it’s the most romantic thing in the world. hehe.

    And music, i completely agree, that arranged marriages nowadays no longer have to be about being with someone u don’t know. It’s about getting to know someone your parents narrowed down for you. =) double filter, see?

    priestess, phoenix – for goodness sakes, stop TALKING like old maids. When you are both married, u two will say, sigh i wish i has let my singlehood last longer. go and enjoy your singlehood. and when it’s time to get married, god will get you married la. Let Go and Let God. *wink*

  12. check out an article on this subject at http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/single-marry

    it is difficult to find a good guy these days, so if your family is willing to assist, take it as your “right”. these days most women I know are are searching the net, the bars, waiting for someone to introduce them to guys… They have tv shows aping the “broker” in Asian societies (the rich guy getting shown 5 girls to choose from)… so why not look at arranged marriage as being not old fashioned but as a practice that was before its time… In India, the men are brought home.. in history you have the Swayamvar where the girl could check out a line of men who had all been vetted by her parents, relatives….etc… Take advantage of old and new practices, make a wise choice…and have a happy life…

  13. So i am not alone…
    Dont worry girl, you are very, i repeat, VERY young to worry about that just as YET.

    If you wish to feel better… i suggest u hear experiences of single woman like me :)
    I have listed my experiences in “Amusement Calling” series in my blog http://one-more-why.blogspot.com/

    Hope that makes you feel better!

  14. Hi, i have gone thru ur blog & its quite thought provoking,
    iam an indian male settled in singapore pretty much in early 30s, looking for someone close to around my age & believe me its really not easy, on one hand i have this sick reputation of loosing my impression on rejection & maintaining this goody goody public figure, trust me ive just started risking it now, dont know how long is all this going to take & really hope all this dating game works for all the good that we think & aspire for.

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