Archive for the ‘Womankind’ Category

On Arranged Marriage

This ia guest post from one of the iBluebottle members. She is 22 and has just finished her degree from one of the better known liberal arts colleges in the USA.

At an age when most young women have had several ex-boyfriends and a current “it’s complicated” relationship, I’ve stayed surprising romantically un-entangled. I don’t date; I want an arranged marriage.

Of course, as a teenager I scoffed at arranged marriages, fantasized wild romances, waited to be swept away by my good-looking hero from foreign shores, our courtship involving secret kisses, convoluted misunderstandings and dramatic declarations of love, his name like a prince, from an improbable chick-flick, say Princess Diaries. But my only real exposure to romantic love came from my parents’ patently middle class, apparently boring and very much arranged marriage.


Arranged Marriage

I have since left home, gone to the States, studied and been alienated by the very entrenched and ineffectual western dating system and its soaring divorce rates. I have had some American friends express horror at what they viewed as forced marriage and others wish they were born Indian so that their parents and matrimonial websites could help them pick out husbands from a catalog.

The more I see the world and meet its people, the more I am convinced that falling in love is the easy part, getting everything else to fit is hard! (Sure, he’s gorgeous, but is he even interested in marriage? He’s smart, but does he earn enough? He’s sensitive, but will he support your career choices? He’s fun, but does he want to settle in India? He’s sweet, but does he want kids?) I see that all kinds of marriage work. (Introduced by a friend, met online, hooked up with at a college party, childhood friend reconnected; everything from Vivah type arrangement to Kannada serial shtyle elopement.)

And all kinds of marriage, arranged or “love” can fall apart because of dishonesty, abuse or financial hardship. If I can’t ultimately be sure of the outcome in any case, why not aim for the catalog of eligible marriage material to minimize risk rather than pub-crawling with potential dating material who might eventually turn into reasonable boyfriends and still later, decent husbands?

I believe that if all parties in the arranged marriage market are completely transparent about expectations and honest about assets, the probability of a successful match and enduring partnership is very high. My parents have the most beautiful, honest and caring relationship I have witnessed in all my travels. I’m optimistic and I know there’s someone out there who will make a great partner in the joint project of sharing a life and raising kids.

I’m realistic and my body’s on a clock. Expecting to bump into someone who ticks all the boxes, falling in love with, getting into a relationship with, moving in with, getting asked The Question, and getting married to that great person in the next two years is, without all other logistics under consideration, just mathematically improbable.

I returned home from college, older, wiser and so ready to meet some suitors. And what better in this connected world to meet someone with the purpose of marriage than online? I don’t know about expectations, but I sincerely hope that there are other people like me, educated and well traveled, who don’t dismiss arranged marriage and are willing to give it a shot. I did my research and calculate a high probability of success with iBluebottle.

So here I am, embracing arranged marriage, fantasizing a successful match, waiting to be swept away by my faceless hero from the shores of cyberspace, our courtship involving exchanges of photos, transparent credentials, business-like declarations of acceptance, and his name like a prison tattoo, from a probable profile designation, Profile Number D5620V09.

Is she the one ?

I like to reason. I like it when I can reduce all my decisions to an optimization problem. I can happily solve for the maximum utility function or for the least uncomfortable experience, given the constraints.

So it frustrates me no end when my life’s most important decision turns out to be an intractable, no-optimization-would-work-on-me problem. How do I decide if she is the right one? Even though I tried modelling it in an excel spreadsheet (inspiration here), the results were unsatisfactory.

Adding to the complication are a few missteps that have made me far more circumspect. Suffice it to say that I will no longer be eager to take a longish flight to surprise someone in a long-distance courtship!

Is she the one?

Having met scores of women with the explicit purpose of marriage, not only am I more confused now about what I am looking for but also have no inkling of the shape or form of the acceptance that would materialise once I met ‘the girl”.

Would there actually be a “click” sound when I finally happen to meet my destined life partner or would an audible “aha” escape from my lips? Would it be the mesmerising beauty of her lovely eyelashes or her Gladwell-esque intellect that would bowl me over?

See? I have no bloody clue what I am looking for.

For the first time when I went out on a date with the express purpose of finding a partner, I was determined to be positive and pleasant. She was a cousin of a friend’s friend and we started off well. But I suddenly realized that the weight of selecting ”marriage material” sat like a dead stone on my head and crimped my natural conversational style. Affectations took over on both the sides – mostly to appear cool and nonchalant. Pretty soon we became like two adversaries judging each other over coffee. I wanted to cry out loud that both of us were on the same side but of course I didn’t and neither did she. Tepid text about catching up again done away with, we continued our separate ways.

The story has repeated many a times since then. A few of the girls I liked chose not to go ahead, inexplicably, in my opinion. Some did string me along with gifts and long conversations but no cigar. Of course I am guilty of the exact same behaviour – ignoring perfectly acceptable matches in the hope that maybe a better one is just around the corner. And even though it gets tiring after a while, you don’t know when to stop.

My mother has continued sending me profiles with renewed fervour – filtering from many hundreds that she gets from the usual matrimonial websites. Someone told me about iBluebottle and I was curious enough to spend the better part of an hour completing my profile. I am hoping their personality based matching might help but the fundamental question still remains.

One charitable and encouraging view is that I would know it when I see her. In my heart. In an instant. And even though hope is not a great strategy, I have no other choice. Or I could be like the guy who decided that he had spent enough time looking and come what may, he would marry the girl whose proposal came next. And that’s what he did. I am not privy to how the marriage is going.

So the quest continues – kabhie toh milogae!

Would you like to marry a billionaire?

This way please…oh don’t be alarmed..this machine would record your heart rate while we ask you some deep, probing questions..and these guys? relax ..they are our plastic surgeon detectives who would check if you have had a face-lift…just one more thing…ahem…we need to check if you are a now..please understand that we have to be very strict when deciding upon the contest finalists…try to imagine your life if you married a billionaire….you have already scored highly on your looks, don’t screw it up now…

marry a billionaire

Thousands of Chinese women are taking part in a contest to be one of the 100 finalists who would get a chance to meet billionaire men looking for wives. Gold-digging it is definitely not if you believe some of the contestants – ” I don’t care if people call me a money-worshipper because I am not. It is fine for me to marry a normal man but it is better to marry a rich man.”

The degrading qualification process of this contest apart, who could fault these starry-eyed beauties, some of them from top universities? Most women marry for money, a consequence of prizing stability- for themselves and for their future progeny – over everything else. Some of us might not find the blatant quest of marrying-up very edifying but there is no denying this evolutionary trait.

Of course you could be one of those who do not care an iota about the pecuniary situation of their future husband. But you are probably an exception. And it is likely that even if he has no money now, your subconscious would probably assess his future earning capacity before marrying him.

There is this romantic notion that it is somehow ignominious to mention money in the matter of the heart and that true love doesn’t care about baser things like finances. In the stories and films of popular culture, nothing provides a better backdrop than the vast monetary gulf between the two protagonists in love. A rich heir or heiress always falls for the indigent and they get together (or die trying) irrespective of all the threats/pleas of their parents. We all know how that turns out in real life.

If you do not want to explicit chase money or be seen chasing money, why not fall in love with a billionaire? But for that to happen you would have to first engineer a meeting or at least position yourself in their general vicinity. The Chinese women described above are doing exactly that. There is a small hitch though – no one is sure if the Chinese men being touted as billionaires are for real because their details have never been released.

Exploring a woman’s heart

Our intrepid traveller was all set on a journey that could well turn out to be the most rewarding but he knew that it was certainly the most perilous. No man had ever been able to fully explore that treacherous territory – a woman’s heart.

The elders did their best to dissuade him. One old charlatan who claimed to have studied their soul for 30 years told him that even he failed to understand what women wanted. Another philosophically-inclined curmudgeon warned him that women were like elephants who everyone liked to look at but no-one liked to keep. It was impossible to convince a woman that even a bargain cost money, lamented another wizened soul.

And then there was the warning about the fearsome DMALBIT question which, unbeknownst to our hero, was potentially the most hazardous but which he, in the eagerness to start his journey, simply overlooked.

Our hero now carefully laid open the secret map of a woman’s heart to decide upon the best approach to the City & District of Love, situated roughly in the centre of the heartland. And then he clicked on it to see the details (which you can as well – it opens in a new window).

He could cross-over into the heart from the Country of Eligibleness but that would mean traversing the high grounds of matrimonial speculations – always a scary prospect. And there was a chance that he might get stuck in a male trap found in the Province of Deception. Even if he managed to get onto the fast railroad through Coquetry, he still could end up in the jilting corner for no fault of his. Didn’t look very promising.

Another approach was from the country of Solid Worth but this involved a never-ending passage through vast regions of Sentimentality, never our hero’s strong point, even though he had packed a few Mills & Boons.

The third option looked the most feasible and he decided to go for it. He arrived from the Sea of Wealth and swiftly made deep inroads through the Jewelry Inlet, thanks to a family trinket he had inherited. He was careful to avoid the twin rivers of Wilful Waste and Drain the Purse that subsume many unwary travellers in the Land of Love of Dress.

There were now only some Satin Plains to cross but this was the Land of Dress and pretty soon he found himself facing an interminable array of changing rooms. As he was plotting a swift escape, he was confronted with the dreaded question : DMALBIT ?

Our hero had no idea what the appropriate answer for this seemingly innocuous question was. He responded truthfully, believing it to be the best course of action. Before he realized what was happening he was flung violently out of the heart into the Land of Oblivion to crash and burn.

And the woman’s heart remained unconquered.

PS: Please scroll down for an important message.

DMALBIT : Does My A** Look Big In This ?