Muslim Girl in America

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

ISNA (Male POV)

on September 18, 2013

So a reader to my blog (thank you!) sent me a link to another’s piece on the ISNA Matrimonial Banquet. (You can read about my experience at ISNA here). It was interesting to read about it from a male point of view (POV), though I feel I should point out the following:

1) Dress. The author spoke about how the men were dressed. Well, I have to say the same attitudes probably applied to the women as well. I was dressed nice, but others were dressed a little nicer (with eye make-up) and others were in traditional dress. Since I started with Muslim speed dating (oh, so long ago), I have come to accept that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Were you 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 appropriately.

2) The author spoke about Club ISNA – a late night gathering for those singletons attending ISNA. I did hear about Club ISNA (and the after party), but I made a decision not to attend though a few of my friends did. It was interesting to hear that the goings on were pretty much like the banquet (awkward, to say the least). And, as I am not a fan of hookah, I did not want to attend the after party (which took place at a hookah bar). Does that make me a fuddy-duddy? Some might say so, but I prefer to think otherwise; I know what I want, and what I need, and I didn’t think I’d find it at Club ISNA. Based on the article – I feel I made the right decision.

3) The author lastly talks about what to do now, and how to find the right person going forward. It was interesting to hear the male POV (I really liked his suggestion to other males to “stop being douchebags”). But I think he missed the point about the women. He suggested that women travel in smaller groups and to put away our phones, at least in regards to behavior at Club ISNA.

I will say, at the banquet when I was either on my own or with one friend, a few guys did approach me and speak to me. But I have tried making eye contact and giving a friendly smile (as the author suggests), to no avail. Some guys think I’m too forward, others think I need dental work done, and yet others give me a small smile back and go looking for someone else. Girls find it just as difficult for guys in those situations, sometimes, I think, a more difficult time than the guys do. Because while guys are not necessarily judged for going to these events (or even being a little older and searching for a spouse) women are judged. A lot. Every day. By everyone.

Every promotion an unmarried woman gets somehow becomes a symbol of her not wanting to be married. Every time she goes out with friends or makes plans, or is independent in any way somehow becomes a symbol of her not wanting to be married. Basically, almost everything she does gets twisted into a symbol of her not wanting to be married. It’s frustrating and annoying, and not at all true. Keeping busy doesn’t mean I don’t want to get married. It just means I’m keeping busy, period. That’s all. Simple as that.

And if we do look at our phone, it’s because we don’t want seem pathetic, just standing in a corner waiting for someone to speak to them. That’s why, in my opinion, most people are always on their phone anyway – they want to seem busy and in demand. So my suggestion to the guys would be to approach women who are looking at their phone. They’ll likely be pleased and put away the phone to speak with you. As the author puts it: “Take the initiative. Approach. Be friendly and inquisitive. If you don’t get the response you want, assume that the lady in front of you may be shy and new at this too. If she still doesn’t give you the interaction you’re looking for, then excuse yourself and move on.”

4) My follow-up. I gave my email to a few guys at the event. After waiting a respectable (i.e. not-desperate-seeming) amount of time, I emailed them. But, perhaps, this makes me too forward a person (especially I as received little response back). I like when the author said we should just admit we’re all looking for someone and, I would add, those that are looking for “fun” should just admit it, too (though I don’t understand what he means by “weird, Muslim game”). I’ll keep trying and praying (because what else can I do) and hope I find that person soon.

Here’s the link for the author’s post. Let me know what you think.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/altmuslim/2012/09/looking-for-love-and-finding-awkwardness-at-isna/

Thanks for reading!

-M

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