Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Desi speed dating is tonight, at a bar near Rohit and Meera’s apartment.

When I arrive at the event I find the men huddled around the TV and the women in the back chatting. Immediately I am reminded of the Indian dinner parties I attended as a kid. The aunties used to gather in the kitchen cooking dinner and knitting sweaters. In the living room, the uncles told stories and drank Johnny Walker Black. We kids hid in the basement, girls to one side and boys to another. Flash-forward to now, and we continue to segregate along gender lines. Are we our parents?

After we all check in, the organizer explains how the rotation process works and the dating begins.

Date One: is heavily accented, does not smile or find me funny.
Date Two: wears a suit one size too big and says, “I suppose you’re like the other girls and want a doctor.” I reply, “if I wanted a doctor, I should hang out in an ER, don’t you think?” He laughs, grabs his drink and misses his mouth. “Why aren’t you married?” he demands. OUCH! I didn’t ask him about the drinking problem he so clearly has. “Because I was concentrating on work and grad school. And now I’m ready to focus on other life decisions,” I reply. “Life decisions, is that girl code for marriage?” he sneers. I don’t know if he’s belligerent or insecure, but this eight minute date is lasting a lifetime.

I happen to look up and spot Meera and Rohit sneaking into the bar. I told them I was here but never expected to see them. Are they seriously going to watch?

Date Three: nurses a Scotch and is a freshly fresh FOB (fresh off the boat). He sits down and WOW does he smell like funk and ketchup. He should rethink wearing a polyester shirt. It’s trapping the stink of his body odor at the table and I can’t hold my breath for eight minutes. “Do you bhangra dance?” he asks. “Yes,” I reply and practice nose breathing. “We should go some time,” he suggests. Not until he masters Speed Stick.

At the end of the dates I’m relieved to see friendly faces and go the bar. “How was it?” Meera asks. “My choices are Moody, Drunky or Stinky.” The bartender (a woman) hears me, laughs and sets a glass of red wine in front of me. “So I’m sticking with single tonight,” I reply. “For now, I agree,” Rohit says in his big brother voice.


Raji said...

This is hilarious. Never went to a speed dating. Date Two: Why aren't you married? Doesn't that question apply to him also?

How can anybody know a person in 8 minutes. Isn't that is too fast. Also can you request the service for NO FOBs (becos all of them smell like indian restaurant or indian pickles? Just ABCDs attractive, bright and sociable like you please!

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Raji...I agree, not being married applied to him, too, but I don't think the standard slices both ways, hence it is a double standard. An unmarried desi man at 40 is viable, oh he was busy with his career. His female counterpart is a pariah, there is something wrong with her. Maybe marriage is not for everyone or maybe all desis dont have to marry desis. We should not shun members of the tribe for being unique or wanting something else. And again, we should celebrate the woman warrior, bc it is true, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in heels!

starlight said...

You simply must do more of these speed desi dating. They'd make great fodder for your blog. Did he really ask "why aren't you married?" Wow!

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Starlight, I actually speed-dated three times. This was pretty much the way all three of them went. Except once I had 7 dates of 8 minutes ... aiy! Yes he did really ask that and Raji made the point of "he's not married either" ... I mean I can be spicy and sassy, but I see no need to be rude!

ashima said...

I know that indian universal formula for single woman hitting 40's is ---- something MUST be wrong with her, why ? and how can we change this perception , actually misperception a mum of a 17 year old girl , i do sometimes worry , what if my daughetr is caught up with other things and decides not to marry in her most eligible years.

Well, i do hope there are still a few good indian men alive somewhere . like they say , god made lots of good men, thats why he made the earth round , we just have to keep going round to find them .


101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Ashima, thank you for your thoughts, they are very thought provoking. My generation of Indian women is one of great transition. While my parents had a love marriage (a rarity in 1967) most of my aunts/uncles and cousins have had arranged marriages. For the most part they have worked out fine. So it is kinda weird to be in the West and exposed to free love while 98% of my family had arranged love on another continent.

But your point is poignant. I have several cousins on both sides of my family with daughters in the marrying age or coming into the marrying age from 14 to 25. And I just really hope they get good guys. And I hope my cousins dont get these girls married for the sake of marriage. If they haven't written me off as a freak, they draw inspiration from me, that life does not end just because you are a desi woman in your 30s getting ready to face 40 by yourself.

The girls, my second cousins who are really like nieces, are smart and they can be whatever they want, they just need someone to believe in the power of them.

Your daughter is lucky, like me. To have a mom / mum who gets it.

Anonymous said...

So, Ms. 101, this is simply hilarious. I literally could smell Mr. Stinky with your description!
I loved it.
I do think 8 minutes is enough to make an impression though. Hope you are using your sticky eyes!

101 Bad Desi Dates said...

Dear Anonymous ... Yes, use those sticky eyes, more teachings from "the book".

UGH! That guy was STINKY! LOL! I am sorry you could almost smell him, LOL!