Dear Straight Up!
I’m a Tamil male (past mid-twenties) living in Toronto. There has been something on my mind that you've probably experienced or will experience. Yes, you guessed it. I’m still single! And the thought of meeting that special someone and not having met that person yet is plaguing me.
My parents insist that I have an arranged marriage. However, I don’t agree with arranged marriage. I think of it as buying a product on eBay by looking at a picture and a hyped-up description of it. But then the alternative of meeting a Tamil girl and getting to know her and then committing myself is not an easy task in our community.
I’ve been trying to meet that special someone on my own in vain. There is no place to meet Tamils of the opposite sex. I find that our two thousand year old culture has stacked barriers to prevent Tamil guys like me from seeking a partner on our own. I’m in a dilemma. Should I keep looking on my own or should I agree to an arranged marriage?
Single in Toronto
Dear Single in Toronto,
Arranged marriages are not everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you are having difficulty finding a Tamil partner then think of it as a way to meet people. Remember, you are not obliged to marry the first person your parents introduce you to. Modern arranged marriages pretty much follow the conventional dating method of getting to know someone, except that it’s initiated by the family. The rules are much the same: get to know someone and see if there is compatibility. The only difference with arranged marriage is that if there is a connection, then you know what the end goal is whereas with conventional dating we just hope that it ends in marriage.
The plus side is that if you do meet someone and you’re not feeling it, then you can tell your parents to do the dirty work and tell them you’re not interested. Just make sure when you do go and meet them that a whole horde of relatives don’t follow suit on both sides. I’ve had that done to me once where 80% of Tim Horton’s was filled with relatives from the guy’s side and I was left feeling like a deer caught in the headlights. Not fun.
Another thing – if you do decide to take this route, don’t find someone based on horoscope. Find someone based on similar values, chemistry and compatibility, and not a 4x3 grid that tells you which planet and stars are where and how that will affect your love life. That’s all hogwash.
However, if this is something you are still not comfortable with and you want to find someone on your own, start going to Tamil events. Not the events held by old-fashioned aunties and uncles, but events hosted by the younger generation such as formals, galas, social networking events and so forth. There are plenty of single girls there who you may or may not want to date – but it's always worth giving it a shot!
I understand what you are saying about our community making it difficult. However, I find that with most young Tamil professionals being liberal-minded, they won’t be shocked at the idea of you dating. Our community knows that finding a partner can happen either via arranged marriage or by looking on our own. Should you choose the latter, there is a certain process you need to go through. You are not the only one, so don’t let your concern of what our community will think be an obstacle towards finding the right partner for you.
Dear Straight Up!
I am writing to you because I am very angry and upset and I don’t know what to do. You see, I was dating this guy for about nine months. I broke up with him about a month ago. Now I am hearing from my friends that he has been spreading lies about me. Some of these lies are very hurtful. He has given my cell number to other guys and I have strange men calling me and asking me rude things! I’m not that kind of girl and I feel that my reputation has been tarnished. Should I confront him? Our break up was messy and I don’t really want to see him again. What should I do?
Mad in Markham
Dear Mad in Markham,
You have every reason to be angry and upset, but don’t let your emotions get the better of you. If you do engage in a confrontation, make sure you do it in writing so that you have a written record. As for your tarnished reputation – what lies is he spreading about you and how has that affected your reputation? Are any of the lies published where it is accessible to the public? If it is, then you may have grounds to sue him for defamation of character (although the margin for what is considered defamation is relatively high within the legal context). If you can prove that your ex is giving out your number to random strangers, then take it to the police. Otherwise don’t assume.
Legalities aside, if this is a route you do not want to pursue then change your number. Going forward, make sure that you only give it out to people whom you completely trust and who will not give your number out to anyone without your permission. If his lies have not harmed you professionally, then go about your own life and let people say whatever it is they want to say.
Rumors are a form of social bullying. If that is what he is trying to do, then it is important for you to not give him the power to do so. If someone confronts you about it simply deny it. Don’t defend yourself. Otherwise, you will seem like you are hiding something. Don’t partake in spreading rumors yourself; if he’s spreading rumors about you then more than likely he has or will do it to someone else and when he does his credibility will go down the drain. Avoid spreading rumors about him – when you do that you lose your own credibility.
There are some people who thrive on putting others down – especially within our community as it seems to be a South Asian pastime. Don’t give them the power to do so. Any reaction on your part will only negatively affect you because that is exactly what he is looking for. Eventually people will move on and find something else to talk about. Until then, hold your head up high and be strong.
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