Relationships are interesting things. It’s hard to form them and even harder to get your mind wrapped around what the “perfect” one is. There is no secret formula and the couples that have been together for years only say things like it’s just love or something like that that gives no real answers. Matchmaking sites like match.com or Eharmony try to get the struggle out of this effort to not be alone. If you’re me then sites like Naseeb.com, SingleMuslim.com or the ever-popular ISNA Matrimonial’s site are viable options. Now, is when I get into the last item on this list.
This Labor Day weekend I attended the 53rd Annual ISNA Convention and I have to say that the content and speakers were great. My favorite was an all women’s panel featuring Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Mohammad, American pollster and Islamic scholar Dalia Mogahed, Linda Sarsour,the Executive Director of the American Arab Association of New York, and Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins.
That was the first night, the afternoon of the second day was when I prepared for this “speed-dating” event. There were some nerves and I thought I was late since it said 1:30 sharp, but when I got there everyone was just crowded around in the hall waiting for the doors to open. We didn’t start until a little after 2 PM, with the girls seated first and the guys directly across moving one to their right after three minutes.
The first guy seemed cool. I talked to him the longest since we were waiting for the thing to start. He was an osteopathic surgeon, I feel like I caught something about Harvard in there but maybe that was someone else. Did not seem interested when I asked for contact info. later though so meh.
I don’t remember the second guy, I think he was an engineer of some sort. He seemed cool from afar in his plaid shirt.
Following this was a series of fobby brown guys, mostly from India with one that barely understood English smh.
Somewhere in there was an ultra conservative man that was all up in my face, taking notes about “what I want in a spouse.” I don’t really know to be honest and said this. I hate being put on the spot for things I know nothing about. Another guy came in my face and asked me the same sort of question and I said “someone respectful, to me” and the guy looked around the whole large ballroom at all the tables and was like “all these guys seem to be respectful, don’t you think? Is that all you want?” What a jerk response. Like, I don’t know any of these guys, what do I know about their level of respect to women when it comes to being alone with them. It comes down to how women are treated in the home where they come from. I don’t need to give you any other answers if you can’t even answer that small bit about respect.
Then there were some engineers, sales guys, a restaurant owner (or employee can’t really remember), a muscle guy that liked to work out, a guy that loved Parks & Rec, like seven awkward guys that handed me their info sheet like it was resume, and one that asked where I planned to be in five years like it was a job interview. Then there was a food and I got food and sat in the same place I sat in before to find a random guy sitting before me. We talked for a bit, but I could tell it was weird for him so he straight up left to sit with his friends which I was cool with. For a lot of them, I feel like I did most of the talking. Telling where I work, with who I work with (ages 17 and up), and what I did before that (was a reporter, this got a lot of interest from most guys as I guess these guys don’t see a brown reporter often or something?) as well as hobbies (writing, reading, yoga), and maybe mention siblings. For some, I had to goad them to talk about themselves which made it harder for me because I’m really just saying the same thing over and over here guys.
This is tense enough without it the small talk. It’s a bit forced and some guys acknowledged that which was cool. It’s definitely a hard way to get to know someone. The mingle hour afterwards is probably more laid back in that respect.
Since we were given an info sheet, some carried it with them and simply passed it to me not saying a word. This forced me to glance at their info. and not really read it (sorry, don’t care, how about you talk instead) and say something random like “Oh, I see you like sports.” Others discarded the info. sheet completely and just went with regular conversation which also worked. One asked me where I saw myself in five years and it very quickly began to feel like a job interview.
Beyond that, I met some cool girls and we exchanged contact info. to try to keep in touch. The girl I approached and started talking to at the end outside the hall was basically awkward like me and I have her number and hope to keep in touch. That’s weird to say that you want to keep in touch with someone who is awkward like you, but she was easy to talk to and while I couldn’t find her on Facebook I hope that I don’t forget about her and she dissolves into the abyss of random people I met that night.
But, there were many females saying how they expected to meet more girlfriends than guys at this thing. While, I didn’t meet anyone particularly special or amazing, its probably one of those things that I can say I tried on the trials and tribulations to finding someone that will last.
And this is not to say that I am not hearing back from any of those “speed-dates.” To a few, I handed out a digital business card I made through an app called Kai Cards that included my name, address, phone number, and even twitter handle (I was running out of things and my Twitter is mostly news). I texted it to a few guys right then and one took it as a chance to text me again. A few times actually and an email from one today reminded what a mistake giving out some info. can be. I mean, really. I worried that some might be stalkers and might come to my house even (I know, kinda creeped myself out for nothing because as my sister reminded me probably none of them will go to the effort of doing that).
Anyway, a few months ago I did sign up for Shaadi.com but did not complete registration because a phone number was needed. I didn’t want to do this, but still got email updates about random people. So, a few days ago I decided to give the site another try and put in an alternate phone number so I could at least get through that hurdle. I don’t have a photo, but I put a few “maybe’s on some like it was a game. It this was Tinder feels like? Anyway, I decided to go with it and see what happened. Well, today I check my email to dozens of requests, some wanting me to upload a picture and maybe one that sent a message. I already forgot my login because I didn’t write it down so fail. I’ll hold off on this site for awhile, because I need to step away from matchmaking for little bit.
And get back into my writing. Because who needs guys right?
More blog posts to come on my adventures 😉
Cover image by Wyatt Fisher titled “couple” via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License.