Muslim Girl in America

I'm an American girl, born and raised, and a Muslim.

Speed Dating: The Sequel

on June 8, 2012

So here I am again. If you think all my blog posts will be about this, rest assured they won’t. There will be a fair few on the whole process of finding a “match” as they call it. Finding a match for a Muslim can be such a time-consuming, onerous, albeit quite amusing and fun at times, process. And in today’s modern world, a process steeped in tradition from the Eastern world must adapt and blend with Western culture and opportunities – hence my foray into the world of speed dating and even matchmaking for Muslims online (though that’s another blog post).

As you can tell, since I’m doing this again, no one worked out from the last one. Here’s a follow-up to “Round 1.”

So, I ended up emailing first, then meeting with some of these four gentlemen from my previous post: Mr. Nervous, Mr. Coincidence, Mr. Straightforward, and Mr. Possible. Here’s what happened.

Mr. Straightforward was indeed straightforward, but just not for me. He had indeed been drinking at the bar. We never got past the email stage. He made some … crude … jokes and when I asked him if he drank, he said he did drink “socially” – definitely not the guy for me. Plus, he used a LOT of emoticons in his emails. I don’t mind emoticons at all (I use them myself), but let’s be realistic – there’s a limit to amount of emoticons a grown man should use. Does that make me picky? Too mature? No fun? I don’t think so. It was the drinking/his moral compass I didn’t agree with, not really his overzealous use of emoticons instead of words.

Mr. Nervous and I met for coffee at a mutually agreed upon location which he said he knew. Evidently he didn’t know where it was and showed up at least 20 minutes late – the latest of all my suitors. I can look past that (apparently I can look past a lot) so we continued with the coffee “date.” We were in line to get coffee and he asked if he should pay since he was late. I tried to hold back the look of shock and amazement on my face, but I don’t think I was successful. Of course you should pay! You showed up late to a “date” with a cute girl (that’s me, if you were wondering) and then don’t want to pay? It’s not a four-course meal, it’s a $3 latte. Anyway, I don’t usually mind going dutch and I thought maybe he was just nervous again, so I said that was fine. He must have realized his social faux pas or realized that I was surprised by his request, though, because he did end up paying when we got to the counter. We then sat down to chat and found we had things in common (though I think that you can find things in common with anyone if you take the time to sit down and talk with them). At one point he started talking about how he partied in college, so I asked him if he drank. Just like Mr. Straightforward, he also drank “socially” – Not again! I thought. At least Mr. Pompous (remember him?) was up-front about his love of fermented fruit – these guys are lurking drinkers! Anyway, we kept chatting for a little longer and talked about his family who live several hours away. He was VERY happy about this fact. Not that he didn’t like his family, he said, but he’s glad he only has to see them once every few months.  O-kay. If he doesn’t even like spending time with (or even seem to respect) his family, how would he treat my family after we’re married? Or me for that matter? I was pretty much done after that. I made an excuse about meeting family and needing to leave, and then left. On the positive side, I did get a free latte at least.

Mr. Coincidence turned out to be Mr. Lazy. He showed up in ragged, dirty jeans and an oversized, stained hoodie. I should point out he was dressed fine during the speed dating event though then he likely came from work. I don’t mind dressing casually for a first “date” at all (I was wearing jeans myself), but this was essentially our first “date” and if you can’t put any effort in now, what would it be like after we married? In any case, I decided to give him a chance, though – he was the only guy I met with who showed up on time.  Our conversation went really well – we found we had more in common and some similar interests, but he was definitely lazy based on some of his life actions. Still, at the end of our coffee “date” I suggested we meet again and he agreed. He’d contact me, he said … but he never called or emailed again. Lazy.

And then there’s Mr. Possible. He only showed up a few minutes late, after which we sat down with some tea (my caffeine of choice). We talked a lot about so many different things – travel, life, religion, family, and more. We found we had a lot in common and not just superficial things; we had similar views about our religion, culture, and tradition, and respecting others. He did let me know there was another girl he was speaking to (points for honesty there) though he did ask if I knew the girl who’d sat next to me at the event (and points taken away for that one). Toward the end though, there was a moment where we both paused and just looked at each other across our cups of tea, and I knew … I KNEW then that he was NOT interested in me anymore. I could feel his thoughts across the table, if that makes sense. He felt that we were, in a way, unequal. He was very business-oriented and ambitious and I guess he felt that I wasn’t ambitious enough, or maybe he thought I wasn’t as smart as he was (Because earning 4 degrees, spending most of my adult life working 2-3 jobs, and traveling extensively clearly makes me lazy and stupid). Maybe it was a combination of both. I actually felt small sitting across from him – as if he was some larger than life figure (though he really wasn’t). He never called or emailed again, so I can’t say for sure that’s what he felt, though I feel pretty positive about it.

And so here we are again. Well, here it is – Speed Dating: The Sequel.

So this time I didn’t have a chance to go home after work and change so my clothes were a little wrinkled but overall I felt more relaxed this time around. I was wondering if I’d see any repeats, and there were a few – both men and women. Last time I sat next to a lady who was a very attractive doctor (see my recount of Mr. Possible above), so this time I sat a little off to the side next to a very lovely girl who was wearing glasses (which I also wear). I felt on somewhat more equal footing. I realized last time I would compare each guy to the one I met before him, so I figured the guys are probably doing the same. Might as well even out the playing field a little. Anyway, here’s how the evening went.

Bachelor #1, Mr. Potential – So as the ladies sat down, several guys chose seats across from the girls they fancied at first glance. No sat across from me, so one of the event coordinators led one of the gentlemen as they came into the room toward my table. I think this was divine intervention because I really liked him (although I probably just jinxed everything by saying that). He was nice, kind (he was worried about his friend who came with him who was really nervous), and we had similar interests. Plus, he was tall. I should point out that I’m on the tall-ish side, so it’s nice to find a tall guy. He seemed to radiate goodness from within and that really showed. Stay tuned.

Bachelor #2, Mr. Evasive again – So the first repeat bachelor. He was nice, just as he was the last time, but we spent most of the time talking about his recent trip to Haiti. Honestly, I felt like a reporter interviewing him, asking him questions about his trip and the state of the country. It wasn’t a bad conversation at all and it definitely was one of the most interesting conversations of the night. Am I more interested in him this time around? Not really. He still didn’t really seem interested in me, nor did he ask me questions (which I had seen him do with other girls in whom I suppose he was interested). And he still didn’t really talk about himself – after two meetings all I know is his first name and that he’s a nurse who went to Haiti, which isn’t a good sign if you ask me.

Bachelor #3, Mr. Relaxed – This guy was really nice and we chatted easily about a few topics. He didn’t stand out as much as others, but he seemed relaxed and was easy to talk to. I would want to talk to him again.

Bachelor #4, Mr. Close-Talker returns – So, the second repeat bachelor. He was still nice and we chatted about our return to the speed-dating world. He also spoke about speaking/meeting with a girl until a “red flag” ended things. I can relate – that’s why the other guys didn’t work out for me. So we spent our conversation discussing the whole “dating/matchmaking” process. It was another most interesting conversation. And, while I wouldn’t mind talking to him again, I still can’t see him as a potential spouse. Is that bad? Beggars can’t be choosers, they say, and some consider my speed dating the action of a desperate beggar. But I just can’t see myself compromising marriage to make everyone else happy – I’m the one who has to live with him every day for the rest of my life, not everyone else. And, truthfully, I almost made that mistake once and I don’t really want to do it again. No, I think we’re better off parting ways, and may God forgive me if I’ve turned away from something I shouldn’t have.

Bachelor #5, Mr. Possible returns – Awkward moment, as you can imagine. I had seen him in the restaurant before the event started seated in a dark corner at the end of the bar (not drinking alcohol though). I caught him looking at me a time or two; probably coming up with some excuse – and I was right. He had barely sat down in his seat before he spent 2 of our 4 allotted minutes telling me how busy his new job was keeping him, all the business travel he had done recently, how he’d gotten my last email but didn’t even have time to read it, etc. I get it, guy, no need to pour it on so thick. Anyway, he asked me how I was doing and I told him that since our last meeting I had also started selling jewelry to supplement my income. After I said this I could literally hear crickets chirping (even in our incredibly noisy room) he was so silent. Sorry my hard work to become financially independent and leave my current horrible job is confusing to you. Then, when he got up to leave, he winked at me. Winked! What does that mean?! Ugh. I keep thinking about that movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” and if a guy’s interested in you, he’ll let you know it. Well, this guy is just not interested me, and I’m really not that interested in him.

Bachelor #6, Mr. Surfer Guy – Aptly named not because he surfs, but because he acts exactly like most stereotypical surfers from movies (which I realize are not how most surfers actually are). Anyway, he was smiling the whole time. He didn’t talk a whole lot, but he was friendly. I actually thought he might have been a little high, which is concerning since he’s a doctor. Maybe he was just exhausted from a crazy 36-hour shift. Or maybe that’s just his personality. He certainly loved being a doctor, and spoke passionately about that. I’ll want to find out more about him before deciding anything.

Bachelor #7, Mr. Short-Term – Another nice guy, but ultimately mentioned he only wants to spend a few years here before heading back to his home country. Unfortunately, I’m an American girl born and raised and it would be very difficult for me to adapt to life in that country, especially with someone I don’t think I could see myself with in the first place.

Bachelor #8, Mr. Easy to Talk To – We both enjoy music, although he seemed to look down upon my choice in music (which is pretty diverse though mostly Alternative and Rock) was a bit dated and immature – he used to listen to that stuff when he was younger he said. But he was very easy to talk to and I would want to talk to him again. And, might I add, COLDPLAY 4-EVER!

Bachelor #9, Mr. Inclusive – This guy was similar to Mr. Not-For-Me from last time. A nice guy who I guess felt excluded (he was the only Taiwanese Muslim there) and spoke about how being Muslim is being Muslim, no matter your cultural background and that as Muslims our values are the same and that’s what is really important – it was a great sentiment. He also spoke about how he’s VERY comfortable living where he is and implied he’s pretty inflexible about moving or compromising along those lines. Nice guy, but I just don’t think he’s the guy for me.

Bachelor #10, Mr. Homesick – I think this guy was the friend of Mr. Potential. He did seem nervous, but also nice. He mentioned he might go back to his home country and that his life was a little up in the air right now. I think he was just homesick. I’ve seen it before – it takes a while to assimilate to life in America and, if you don’t have many friends or family here, the transition can be a difficult one. I don’t think he’s the guy for me.

Bachelor #11, Mr. “Man” – This guy was friendly and nice, but he had the habit of saying “man” a lot. As in, “Yeah, that’s so true, man” or “You know it, man” or “Man, you know that’s right.” Not a horrible trait, especially when you consider what some of these other guys are doing. Do non-Muslim people do that, too? Compare the person they’re talking to/”dating” now with people that have come before? In any case, I wouldn’t mind talking with him some more.

Bachelor #12, Mr. Judgmental – This guy seemed nice in the beginning. We spoke about different things and seemed to converse easily. He asked me my hobbies and when I said I love reading (well, the word “love” does not do my passion for books justice, but you get the drift) he automatically got a disgusted look on his face and said, a bit disdainfully I might add, “What books do YOU like? You’re probably reading Fifty Shades of Grey.” Okay, first of all, you took one look and 2 minutes conversation with me and suddenly decided that my literature of choice is BDSM erotica? What’s THAT about? Am I putting off some vibe I don’t know about? Second of all, books are a completely acceptable topic of conversation at a Muslim speed dating event. Pre-judging someone’s taste is NOT, nor is discussing erotica – BDSM or otherwise. Got that? Books=yes, BDSM=NO. I’m not seeing him again. And, just so you know, I, at this point in time, have no opinion – good or bad – of Fifty Shades of Grey or of its author. I try to never judge a book by its cover.

Bachelor #13, Mr. Second – So, this was the second guy with the same name at this event which can make things confusing. After the event is over, the organizers send you a link to their online website, where you can securely chat with others from the event without giving out your email address or your last name unless you want to. So, when two guys have the same first name (spelled the same, too) things can get confusing. Anyway, we chatted easily as well. He seemed relaxed and I wouldn’t mind speaking with him again.

Bachelor #14, Mr. Party – The final bachelor of the night. He was really animated and talkative, but spent 3 of our 4 minutes talking about himself and how he likes motorcycles, and loves NYC (which I do as well), and how he loves to “party” with friends in NYC (which is not me). I’ve learned that when these guys say they like to party, they seem to mean it in the traditional Frat-party kind of way.

All in all, not a bad evening, but I really hope I don’t have to do this again. I really hope and pray something works out this time. I remember a line the character of Charlotte said on Sex & the City – “I’ve been dating for 15 years, where is he already?!” Well, I haven’t been doing this for 15 years, but I can relate. Plus, it’s really hard coming up with original nicknames for these guys.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Please leave your comments below – I love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading,



4 responses to “Speed Dating: The Sequel

  1. […] an American girl, born and raised, and a Muslim. « Speed Dating: The Sequel Jul […]

  2. […] #3, Mr. Nervous Returns. I met him in the first event and also met him for coffee (see the second Speed Dating post for details on that. It was a bit awkward seeing him again, but we chatted amiably for our allotted time, until he […]

  3. […] again. For those of you keeping track, this is Round #7 (read up on the past events here: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6).  I don’t know why they decided to hold it over a long holiday weekend. Because […]

  4. […] dressed nice and “presentable”? Yes, to both of those for me. As I have met with people who were dressed not to impress at times, everyone at the ISNA banquet seemed to be dressed very […]

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