Headscarf encounters

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Salaam’s new blogger Ms Anona starts her account

PART 1

Since the age of about 21 I’ve been feeling a slight underlying pressure to get married. It’s not so much that any of my family has ever forced marriage in my face…well not till recently! But more the fact that as a young Asian Muslim girl there is an expectation to be married in your early 20’s or you start being considered ‘past it’.

Now I never thought I would be branded by such a label but recently on my 26th birthday my dear grandmother (may Allah give her long life) and bless her cotton socks informed me that I now fall into this category. At 26 I was ‘past it’. Now I tell you – some of you may already know this from experience – but hearing that term is not the nicest of things at all and can bring your spirits really down.

When I heard it, I felt like a piece of cattle that had been left behind at market for just not being good enough, cos if I was good enough surely I’d have been snapped up by now. Call me a bit melodramatic but its like I may as well be walking around with a tattoo on my head saying ‘Desperate, Single and Lonely’, just to add to the whole ‘I’m ‘past it’ hype. But you know what just to make it clear, people ‘I’m defiantly NOT PAST IT’ and haven’t given up on meeting, ‘Mr Right’ for me quite yet. So please all pray for me that Inshallah I do meet someone sooner rather than later.

Anyways so going back to the family this is where it gets CRAZY. So as you’ve all gathered by now they want me to settle down, so they start arranging what I call Rishta meetings –  to introduce me to who they consider to be suitable husband material. And this is where I have to laugh,  as It’s amazing how the people who should know you the best can get it so wrong sometimes!!

PART 2

Let me tell you about candidate number 1. I refer to the guy in question as candidate number 1 as for the life of me I just can’t remember his name.I think half of my memory lapse is due to the sheer trauma of the experience.

On a warm day last summer, my Nani invites me around for tea with the request that I dress up for her…as she says it makes her happy to see me make an effort with my appearance. Now at this point most people’s internal Alarm bells would start ringing with suspicion,. but mine unfortunately were fast asleep that day. So I go to my Nani’s place all dressed up only to be informed by my younger cousin AKA ‘Gossip Central’ that the reason I’m round for tea is because some guy is coming with his mum to meet me. So here I am, unprepared with no where to go and left to make the best out of a situation.

To get a heads up I decide to keep a watchful eye from the living room to get a first glance at this guy, as I know nothing about him and just want to get a sense of his style before I’m expected to spend an afternoon in his company – and wow what an insight it was.

I know it’s not fair to judge people on physical appearance alone but when an Asian guy pulls up and gets out of his car with spiky hair dyed orange and a equally colourful box beard you have got to wonder what person in there right mind would think that colour looks good. People lets not get this twisted. We aren’t talking Ginger or a natural Henna orange but like a blazing orange like the sun. Now I’d like to think I’m a fairly trendy and open-minded person when it comes to personal style but this really was too much. And yes it only got worse.

So I take in a deep breath and head downstairs to open the door. Candidate 1’s mother seems fairly pleasant and conservative besides her experimental son and lo and behold it is there that I notice some of the little details. Not only is his hair horrendous but he’s wearing a frilly white shirt and a black velvet, suit jacket. Yes guys, I was in for an afternoon with the Asian Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, (fans of interior programmes will know who I mean). Not only had he taken fashion inspiration from the interior designer in question but he had apparently also caught the design bug and attempted to pass himself off as trendy young Property developer. After 2 hours of him suggesting design ideas for my Nani’s house it all got a bit much. It’s easy to see a self absorbed fake designer from a mile away and his apparent enthusiasm for the field was about as passionate as an IKEA catalogue (apologies IKEA but there really is nothing that sets you apart).

In my opinion when fashion and design becomes such an overbearing part of your existence its hard for others to see your essence, the simple things that make you tick. So on those grounds I had to tell my Nani he definitely wasn’t the man for me. Out of curiosity I asked why my Nani had wanted to meet this guy. Her response was because his mum said he was a high achiever, bright and had passed his degree at a young age. If only I knew then that I was to hear this line again in the not so distant future. (267)

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