Can the Indian population accept dating – open dating – easily? I am not talking about the “Aunties & Uncles” or the religious and culturally defined mindsets. I am talking about the normal college going men AND WOMEN.
Apparently, no. Here is personal story of a girl who used to date freely and openly. She would interact and mix with guys easily – actions predicated on trust that the other person will have maturity. But it wasn’t so. Now, she is off the dating map and has switched off her Facebook account as well.
Worth reading and reflecting.
I am an Indian girl studying in a college in Delhi. Let me begin by saying that I am “very easy to date”. I socialize, interact with people, have loads of male friends, make the first move and have dated many guys. And I have broken up with guys and guys have broken up with me too. I move on and am honest about everything I do and feel. Neither do I get dependent on the person I am with nor do I cry and crib if they leave.
I study in a college which treated me well initially. I was popular. People liked me, asked me out, became friends with me. It did not make me uncomfortable. I was just fine with it. I never restrained myself. I did not shun anyone rudely. I did not refrain from being comfortable with guys. I did not hide my relationships.
And then things changed. I was labelled a whore, by girls and boys alike. Because, I “dated”.
People used to call me a slut because I used to accept their friend requests on Facebook without being good friends with them. Incidentally, Facebook is a “social network” that is meant for connecting better with people. But apparently only a girl with a loose character can add people from her own college!! And of course, if a girl who is your batchmate, with whom you have 60 mutual friends has added you, it means “Come have sex with me.” In no way does she mean that she trusts your maturity and finds it worth staying in touch with the so called ignited minds of the country!
I thought that like the popularity, the infamy would not affect me either. But it did. I used to cry. I decided to withdraw. Guys who asked me out went on to tell their and my (girl)friends to not stay in my company because that would ruin their image, and those “friends” took that advice. It’s ironic that the very people I politely said no to started saying that I would sleep with anyone. At a point of time, I actually started doubting my own dignity. Had I really compromised it? I stopped interacting with people. I am not on Facebook. And I no more feel like going out with anyone. Because I am tired of getting disappointed (from the reaction it generates from those around me). I am not open to dating anymore.
I realized that I had probably been wrong. Not because of my actions or lifestyle. But because of expecting more from the people around me, than they are prepared to deliver.
I have started rejecting requests for friendships, hiding things from people, “katao”ing (shunning) anyone who talks to me without having a solid work-related reason. Like my respected friends, I say that I never drink or smoke even though we girls do have in-hostel parties. Needless to say, I never masturbate (only guys are allowed to do that). I maintain that I hate casual encounters and everyone who has them. I use the phrase complicated relationship instead of fling. I now help us women fulfill the roles defined for us by others. I in fact, strengthen those expectations. I help our society move towards creating perfect girls i.e. virgin teetotalers who believe in finding eternal love in one or maximum two tries . Either by falling in love with the first person they kiss, or by gradually falling in love in an arranged marriage.
Our society is simply not ready for things like dating. It boasts of being modern. It is not. It judges, labels, concludes. Things like dating, sex and girls like me send a shiver down the spine of this society, which ironically, has proven to be spineless. It squirms at the thought of accepting sexuality.
I live in an environment where my dignity is thought to be less than the dignity of the girls who are not comfortable around guys. Those girls are said to be delicate, shy, pious and deserving of respect. Maybe they are. It is their way of life and it is perfectly fine. But my way of life, which is harmless but different, is blasphemy. My dignity can be compromised. People think it is okay if I am eve-teased, because I should be ready to take it. They think it is just okay to disrespect me. Because that is what I command. They confuse “easy to date” with “easy to rape”.
I do not blame them. This is how we are. Our stability gets disturbed when we move towards unconventional ways. It will take years for us to change. Maybe we never will.
So the answer to your question lies in re-framing it. It is not difficult to date an Indian “girl”. It is difficult to date a girl in “India”.
P.S. I DO NOT think that this is all about gender discrimination. It is deeper than that. It is not merely a bias. It is a mentality.
The important part : My answer is to the question “why” it is difficult to date. And not whether it is right or wrong/ how it should be/ how I want it to be.
I am not sad. I was. And then I stopped being sad and decided to stay away from all the mess. Dating was not a basic need for me. I just explained why I stopped. I still won’t restrain myself from doing something if I really want to do it! Let me get into the mood again. And let me find someone who is worth all the trouble!
Featured Image: Flickr
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