As I’d mentioned in my last post, I used to be a big dancer and loved the high of performing basically more than any other feeling in life. So after attending 2 Subcontinental Drift Open Mic events and in light of all my “birthday – aka new year of me – resolutions,” I thought I should do something at the next event. Although people expected me to dance, dancing was something I felt comfortable doing in front of people and that I had no shame (even though I sometimes should) or consciousness about, so instead, I decided to do something that ever since a traumatizing moment in a random Miss India DC pageant back in 2003 (I will tell you about it later) I had dreaded doing… last night, in front of an audience of about 50 people – mostly South Asians & 80% of whom I did not know – I spoke about my 2 year blogging journey…
*Disclaimer* – As long as this is, you should know that I speak fast and that as far as I could tell based on how people reacted, which was positively, it thankfully did not feel painfully long. Or so I think. To those of you who I did not know that came up to me afterwards, thank you. What you said meant the world to me and not only reaffirmed my sentiments in my monologue but made me feel like 8 years later, I had finally overcome the fear of speaking into a microphone.
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Before I get started, how many of you are single?? Good, I just wanted to make sure that my performing – or more like “non-performing” b/c this isn’t a talent by any means – was relevant to the group before continuing. & since I am the queen of disclaimers and because this is a non-talent, if you’re not a fan of hearing long stories, I’m sorry that the weather sucks and you have no way to escape this monologue which may also suck considering I wrote it 2 hours ago.
So, anyway, as the host mentioned, my name is SC and for those of you who don’t know my alter ego, her name is Smile Moon. Smile Moon is the literal translation of my name, and I assumed that identity almost 2 years ago when I started blogging about South Asian dating.
Before getting into why I started my blog, I want to address the immediate thoughts that come to most people’s minds when they hear a “South Asian Dating blog.” Some people think of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex In the City chronicling her dating experiences and others think of a jaded girl exposing dates and going off on “I hate men” tirades. Although you’d have to read my blog to believe it, I do NOT – not not not (capital, bold & exclamation points) – NOT write about dates that I go on. I write about general dating topics and if an experience does come up it is one that the masses experience; for example, guys getting a girls # but then not calling her or girls giving their #s but not responding.
So what compelled me to start my blog? Well, 2 years ago, after infiltrating the Chitown desi scene, friends of mine told me they were going to the NetIP conference in Toronto. I thought to myself this would be a good opportunity to get to know my new Chitown crew better & maybe meet some new people. At that time, a month before my 30th birthday, even though I should have, I honestly did not have a single thought that I was travelling to Toronto to possibly meet my Jeevan Saathi.
The conference had almost 900 attendees 99.8% of whom were single and had come in from all over Canada and the US. Most were in their late 20’s to mid 30’s with a spattering of early-to-mid 20-somethings & late 30-somethings. Even though my intention for going wasn’t to meet a guy, once I got there, I assure you that my eyes were open. Everyone’s eyes were open – most people’s were nothing more than open (& aka awkward staring) & then came time for the Key Note speaker the last day of the conference.
Some of you may have heard of Vijay Uncle; I personally hadn’t but friends who had heard him speak before told me that I would “love him.” I heart most Uncles & Aunties so I thought of course I will. Little did I know that what Vijay Uncle would talk about for the next 45 minutes and the hyperawareness and crazy introspection that followed over the next 24 hours, would completely rock my world.
The theme of his talk was that we – all those attending this conference who were representative of the entire single desi population – are completely out of our minds when it comes to the goal that we say is of utmost importance to us in the grand scheme of our lives, finding our jeevan saathi. He focused on things like “curb appeal” and “check mark criteria” and how the majority of us are not actually looking for a nice desi guy or girl as we often say we do. If we really just wanted that, we’d all be married. So what did he say that we were looking for?
Well, let’s take for example the 27-year-old fairly attractive Gujarati girl who is seeking a Gujarati guy who is no more than 3 years older than her, is a physician (or someone comparable to her level of education & far exceeding her in income), who speaks Gujarati, loves Bollywood movies & garba, is fair, tall, handsome, fit, charming, has a great sense of humor (along with a full head of hair), likes to dance, loves kids and is also humble. & then the 34-year-old below average desi guy who is balding, looks like he’s 6 months pregnant, has a good job with a great income who would ideally prefer someone from his same part of India who spoke his “mother tongue” (for his mummy’s sake even though he doesn’t) but what he really wants is the hottest most trophy-like-potential future wife who looks great in a bikini and is most importantly, no older than 27.
A week later I started my blog. 12 people – all friends of mine – read it the first week and although I have no idea what readership has been in 2011, at one point last year, 4,000 unique visitors from 8 countries were reading and participating in the conversation. Unfortunately, that time was one of the most unpleasant times in my life… as desis, going against the grain & speaking up are not really the norm. In fact, South Asians who do so are often looked upon as troublemakers & if you’re a female, some might even deem you to be a B ! T C H or pass other judgments on you.
I knew that putting my opinions out there for people to see and comment on would elicit opinions but I was not prepared for the nastiness that took place; I was horrified by the capacity for evil that people could spew when writing anonymously behind a computer screen. & even more horrifying than the nastiness towards me was what members of each sex would say towards the opposite sex which made me feel like the 2 sexes that ultimately one day want to mate sadly hate each other. Comments towards me included “I assume from the long posts you neither have a job nor a gym membership. This probably explains why no one has committed to you. Tick tock there goes the marriage clock.”
Comments from readers towards other commenters included…
In general, though, Indian women have the same problem as Indian men – they are short, overweight, and have egos way out of proportion to what they have to offer… It’s just a known fact, indian girls are gonna have to settle like no other. The average Raj just can’t compete with the average Sita… The Gucci Prada loving, money minded Indian girls are rampant out there… You folks talk about a “short man complex.” But I think there is a “short girl complex.” As short as Indian men are, Indian girls are shorter. And the shorter the girl, the taller she wants her man to be. If you hadn’t already realized that, you are a moron. And that certainly isn’t going to help you in the dating market one bit. Women’s eggs might be expiring but their brains are not… If it was not for a dozen women willing to put out for a Desi boy it would not take him long to come to his senses….
Although the conversation became all consuming, I was proud of the hundreds of positive e-mails I’d received and especially the one marriage I was given credit for. True story, a guy who I have never met invited me to his wedding this past June; however, friends and family started having interventions saying that if “I wanted to meet someone one day” I should stop writing and who cares if it helped people if I was hurting myself in the long run b/c no desi guy would want to date a girl who blogs about South Asian dating, is opinionated & so on. All of these seemed like fair points.
At one point, I shut down my blog until 2 conversations. One was with Vijay Uncle and the other with a now celebrity chef you may know, one of my closest friends, SS. Both of them said the same exact thing which to some effect was: SM, speaking out about an issue affects so many people is who you are, & yes, most – if not all, desi guys might be turned off or intimidated by that or they might even be interested but upon simply hearing that you write a blog run in the other direction, but that’s okay because you’re not going to be happy with a guy who is so caught up in his head over what others think and the guy you do end up with will admire you for taking a stand for what you believe in. They also reminded me that there are plenty of single people who aren’t blogging so what was their reason for being single??
What they said resonated with me & I started blogging again, but I can’t say that I fully become carefree about my blog until recently. In the past few weeks, I heard some rumors about me – apparently, any guy I talk to for more than 5 minutes, I am either dating or hooking up with, and I also got a lot of unsolicited feedback about my blog. Once again, I let it all get to me until my birthday last week when I reflected back on who I was until I was 21 years old – someone who was completely free, not caught up in her head & blissfully unaware of what people thought. I also introspected about what gave me meaning in my life and the answer was the relationships in my life and knowing that I what I do matters. What I do for a living has always been fun but not necessarily the most fulfilling, so although I know my blog might only matter to some people, those some people are all that matter to me. So, on my 32nd birthday, I’m deciding once & for all to be over what everyone thinks b/c people thinking anything has no actual effect on me unless I let it & tonight is my demonstration of that in the most out there way possible.
If you are interested in checking out the blog it’s smitashares.com and in addition to dating, I’ll be talking about South Asians taking the path less traveled & other topics. Next week, I’ll be posting an interview with Sacha Dhawan from Outsourced as well as a post about a 25-year-old friend of mine’s battle with breast cancer. Thanks everyone!