In Part 5 of our series "Help! I'm 30, Tamil... and Not Married", a guest writer shares her advice for Tamil women. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect TamilCulture’s editorial policy.
You are an independent, professional, educated Tamil woman. You are intelligent, well-read and well-traveled. And you have something your mother and grandmother likely never had – you get to choose your own life partner! Yet despite all this, you can’t seem to find a husband. Why?
As a Tamil woman, you were likely told from a young age by your mother to stay away from boys. You were never taught by your mother about how to find the right man for you. And with the rapidly growing cohort of unmarried Tamil women and men, it’s clear that this mindset has failed our community.
As an educated, happily married Tamil-Canadian woman and mother of a newborn daughter, here is my advice on how to successfully find the right man for you. Be warned that some of my advice may not be politically correct. But it is raw, honest, candid, and based firmly on my experience as well as those of my friends and family.
1. Stay away from bad boys
If you are a young Tamil girl, you likely have a fixation with bad boys. You like the "thug" Tamil guy. You like his blowout hairstyle. You like his earrings. You like the cut of his jeans and his shoes. And you like his swag. Never mind that he’s failing out of school. Or that he can’t seem to kick his ganja habit. Or that he’s been in trouble with the law.
Ladies, don’t confuse love with lust. You are not in love with a person; you are infatuated with an archetype. And you will get your heart broken by going for such men.
Far too often many women get trapped in a vicious cycle, repeating the same mistakes over and over again. As a result, I've seen many once idealistic young girls morph into jaded, cynical older women with emotional baggage, embittered by past negative experiences and mistrustful of men. And while I am sympathetic to their plight, I have also seen these women pass over perfectly decent men while going for men who are wrong for them.
Understand that there are many good decent Tamil men out there who will treat you like a princess. Don’t waste your best years with the bad boy with no future.
2. Make the most of your university years
In university, you will be surrounded by ambitious young men who will be future doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, teachers, academics and professionals in their fields. And never again will you be in an environment with bright young people of the same age as you.
Many of the most successful marriages I know of are between a husband and wife who met while in university. They grew together during their formative years with shared experiences and a common circle of friends. Studies show that one’s ability to pair-bond and form emotional attachments weaken with age. So make the most of this opportunity!
3. Be mindful of your reputation
Many young Tamil women are of the mindset that they can have their "fun" with "hot guys" in their teens and 20s, and find a loyal rich man to settle down with in their 30s. And while some liberal women of other ethnicities are able employ this strategy with success, the Sex and the City lifestyle isn't feasible for Tamil women.
The Toronto Tamil community is extremely close-knit. There is very little anonymity as everyone knows everyone. Often, the Tamil women who have the most difficulty finding a husband in their 30s are those who had a reputation for being “loose” in their 20s.
Let’s be mindful that that our generation still has one foot firmly planted in the “Old World” with conservative Tamil parents, the vast majority of whom are products of arranged marriages. We still have a ways to go until we become open-minded towards sex, and it will likely take a generation for mindsets to change (I credit some of TC’s writers for challenging the status quo).
Perhaps our own daughters will experience true sexual liberation. But until we reach this point, Tamil women should be advised not to be promiscuous. In our insular Tamil community a woman's reputation will follow her, limiting her prospects for marriage.
4. Be weary of non-Tamil men
Many Tamil women – frustrated by their dating experiences with Tamil men – eschew Tamil men altogether and rush into the arms of non-Tamil men. And while it may be “fun” to experience the novelty of dating a partner of another background, seldom do these relationships morph into anything more serious.
Over the years, I have witnessed many interracial relationships dissolve due to irreconcilable differences in religious and cultural values. Furthermore, online dating surveys show that white men and women are the most ethnocentric in their preference for long-term partners within their own race. Moreover, white men who marry outside their race tend to be the "nerdy” men whom Tamil women rarely find attractive in the first place.
From private conversations, several white men have confided to me that they are only interested in a sexual fling with an ethnic girl whom they fetishize as “exotic”. Few are serious about making the commitment towards marriage. Similarly, East Asian men and non-Tamil South Asian men seldom express interest in marrying Tamil women (often based on prejudice towards darker skin tones). Therefore, it is advised that Tamil women seek out Tamil men for a long-term partner.
5. Be realistic with your expectations
As a young woman growing up in the West, you were likely told that “you can have it all”. You’ve fantasized about being swept off your feet by the 6 foot muscular hunk who looks like a Bollywood actor, makes six figures, and drives an Audi. Yet there are few of these guys to go around. And unless you look like Shriya yourself... it’s likely not going to be happen.
Be realistic about your standards. Yes, he may be a little on the short side and he may be a little awkward. But he’s kind, decent, faithful and will treat you well. Isn’t that all that matters in the end?
6. Don’t wait too long
As women, the reality is that we are slaves to the biological clock. We are much more limited in our window of fertility than men. Far too often, those of us who wait too long for "Mr. Right" never find "The One”.
Moreover, many of the best men are snatched up in their 20s. By the time you reach 30, most of what remains in the marriage market are men who are “players” who cannot commit to a woman, men who are divorced, and men who cannot find a woman to commit to them! Furthermore, many single Tamil men in their 30s will opt for a younger partner, preferring a wife of 25 over a wife of 35. So leverage your youth and beauty to find the best partner while you are in your physical prime!
Follow the six pieces of advice above and I assure you that you will find a good man and a great husband. Ladies, here’s to a happy future of marital bliss!
- A Happily Married Tamil Woman
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