Sepia Destiny Part II: Dating while Desi

Much like the girls on Sex and the City would get together to dish, my girls and I will get together and dish about the dilemmas of Dating while Desi. Yes, girls do talk, far more than we blog about. And Dating while Desi ain’t easy, as the mutiny has informed us on Sepia Destiny Part 1. In these talks, we girls will touch on questions such as, “Do you date desi only or non-desis or anyone but white boys? Do your parents sneak around behind your back with biodata and pictures? Do your parents give out your numbers to guys that call and don’t leave messages – from obscure area codes? Do your parents even know that you date? Where do you find desi guys that haven’t gone back to South Asia to get their bride already?” These questions (and more) are indicative to the plight of the single, 25 yr.+, independent-thinking desi girl and is why I love to find solidarity with my single desi sisters – whether over chai, or virtually by reading my favorite desi gal bloggers ( Rupa, TheBarMaid, Chick Pea, brimful, SP, to name a few).

Saturday night while I was surfing on YouTube alone in the North Dakota bunker, I came across this episode of Desi OC – after watching the video I thought to myself, maybe I’ve been playing the game all wrong…

The Desi OC episode above comes out of production company Raising Desi, and one of the film maker is Los Angeles comedian Tarun Shetty. (You may also recognize the gal pal from Timberlake’s Senorita music video.) All of Tarun’s addictive mini-movies are far more polished than the typical YouTube video, but the thing that struck me about this episode in particular were the rules they had for Dating while Desi. We all know the general “Dating Rules” — Wait three days before calling back, never talk politics or religion on a first date, and never say yes to a guy that asks you out the day of.

But I realize now after watching the video, that there are a whole different set of dating rules set aside for Dating while Desi. Who would have known? I certainly didn’t know the rules changed between dating desi, and dating non-desi. So, to summarize what I have learned so far…

Dating While Desi Rules (For Guys)

  • If you get a desi girl’s number – three day rule is out. Call the next day if an ABCD girl. But if a FOB girl, you have to pace out with e-mails and phone calls.
  • If she asks you what you do, where your family comes from and stuff, she’s no good. She’s grading you to see if you meets up to her social standards.

Dating While Desi Rules (For Girls)

  • Make sure to make the guy chase you a little bit and space things out accordingly.
  • Go to the bases three times slower with a desi guy than you would with a non-desi.
  • Never tell a desi guy that you are really a doctor (or an engineer, or a lawyer). Instead, lie with a less ‘threatening’ career.
  • Don’t date a jobless bum. Or desi doctors.

Maybe if I had known these rules, I could have figured out the desi dating game a lot sooner. Hence, I make an appeal to you, oh mutinous crew. Are there other rules to Dating while Desi that I don’t know about? Is it really harder to date us desi girls? (Not that dating you desi guys are any walks in the park.) Or as Tarun says in the video, “Desi girls are hard, man. Stick to dating goris…”

Let the Sepia Destiny virtual dish begin.

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates and blogs at Follow her at

413 thoughts on “Sepia Destiny Part II: Dating while Desi

  1. Sahej:

    because indian women are so hot and all

    Damn skippy!

    What about what non-desis expect from us because of our desiness? Men always assume my parents will hate them because they’re not doctors, or that I’ve been fighting off an arranged marriage for the past ten years.

  2. Having met lots of desi women across the spectrum, and finally meeting and marrying my mrs., I can safely that in matters of dating and love, the only rule is that there are no rules. Maybe another rule is that if rules are that important to you, they’ll come and bite you in the ass when you meet that perfect gorgeous someone, only to find that their rules cancel you out of the running. so why bother with rules?

    i do think rules and games and the like become trivial when you reach your 30s like me and my mrs., because by the time we met we had gone through the rigmarole of meeting all kinds of crazy people we could never be happy with… a result of thst process was total clarity of purpose. we knew what we were looking for, what we could tolerate, and what we wouldn’t put up with. and when we met everything went like clockwork — no mess, no drama, no mind games etc. it was amazing and i’m glad i met all the goobers and weirdos along the way because when my mrs. came along, i could really appreciate her for the wonderful person that she is. maybe this might shed some light on the mysteries of desi dating??

  3. The guys are trying way too hard to overcompensate in that little YouTube video — maybe that’s why they find themselves single. Ugh, tools.

    As far as the 3 day rule goes, you play it by ear. We’re all ridiculously impatient these days — so I think after one day has passed, a text message is a safe bet. Then a phone call. And then you skulk around outside his apartment and hope he doesn’t file a restraining order against you…ermm…

  4. a text message is a safe bet

    Arrrggghhh…I recently had a conversation about communciation in dating with a date. We’ve replaced real human contact with the virtual kind. We don’t write letters or cards anymore instead we send emails, text messages and ecards. Email and text messages have really fucked up the dating process IMO. Emails/text messages should be used occassionally or in addition to real communication never in place of it.

  5. The older you get the less important sex becomes Regardless of whether or not this is true, I think it’s pretty sad to start a relationship with that disclaimer. Maybe you should hold yourself to a higher horizontal standard.

    OK, its not a theory, its a conjecture or a hypothesis. Happy? Especially since I have no idea what I am talking about πŸ™‚

    As far as horizontal positions are concerned there are no standards, only standard bearers.

  6. The older you get the less important sex becomes and more important other things like money become.

    Money and sex…hmm… O Romeo, Romeo…wherefore art thou Romeo…

  7. The older you get the less important sex becomes and more important other things like money become. Money and sex…hmm… O Romeo, Romeo…wherefore art thou Romeo…

    Hey, dont hate on me. Its not like I am saying its true, I said its a theory. Its a cute one though, no?

    And, Romeo is a wuss. Call me Kris

  8. they should have a bachelor like show for desis only. one guy gets to makeout with numerous girls and keeps eleminating them one by one and picks one at end

    will this fly with desis?

  9. I’m not dating while desi… though a lot of these issues echo in the black community… but at 20 anos, it’s really sad to see that even past the age of 30 people are still playing games with each other and following stupid sets of rules.

  10. I love that TheBarmaid speaks up on the 300+ post only when it comes to horizontal positions… πŸ˜‰

    …and I hate the way that comment reads and or makes her sound, emoticon or not.

  11. well, i resisted posting for one whole work day. my 2c—for fob straight males—don’t chase after abds. one exception: the remarkable ones in some real—and not exceptional based on popularity, if you know what i mean—way, and i am not talking abt looks here.

    the problem is that most regular abd women (and men, and non-abds, and fobs, natives and pets of every nation i am sure) are looking to “trade up” the pop-culture ladder. if you don’t look like you are a bargain in some very obvious superficial sense, you are out, even if you are bach, davis or tyagaraja (eh? doesn’t count obviously).

    the really exceptional ones don’t need to trade up. they are content in themselves. go for them. it works.

    so you see fellow fobs, you need not complain, you have it made. the rotten ones eliminate themselves :). you need not have a filter, nothing.

    of course if you want to be a player, get yourself gel, roll your tongue. or just bleach it the michael jackson style. but i get carried away with the analogy, i was talking of getting adult women here..

  12. I love that TheBarmaid speaks up on the 300+ post only when it comes to horizontal positions… πŸ˜‰

    Thank you, Beige Siege, for seeing my larger point. Horizontal positions weren’t what my comment implied, but I suppose others will take from it what they want to read.

    I should have known better, I suppose, than to contribute to the navel gazing and all-around donnybrook this comment thread has become.

  13. Good morning!

    Beige Siege #302:

    There is a difference between being opinionated and having opinions. Former bad, later good.

    Eh? What’s the difference, and why’s one good and the other bad?

  14. they should have a bachelor like show for desis only. one guy gets to makeout with numerous girls and keeps eleminating them one by one and picks one at end

    Flavor Flaaaavvvv

  15. Had to see how it turned out,


    You’re wrong. a) He’s not my boyfriend, we’re just dating. We’re really not that serious yet. (Yes. You can go out on dates with someone without being their girlfriend.) b) We were just friends when I went on my speed dating thing. In fact, after not having spoken to him for about a month, I called him up right after speed dating because I knew he would appreciate the humor of the situation, and that started the ball rolling. And…now we know all the details of my love life. Carry on.

    My bad on that.


    amen to that.. i’ve seen it time and time again.. not with just my own experiences but tons of other fantastic females that roam this planet we call earth..

    I think when you say you know a lot of fabulous women who are being shot down by men you think are intimidated by, I think its more likely, you are friends with them, you see their good sides, and you wonder why the hell they haven’t found someone nice yet.

    BUT, I don’t think, speaking as a guy, the intimidation thing makes any sense at all. I think the two don’t go together. I think moreso than that, life and dating does not give you what you put into it. Totally douchebag guys get a lot of play all the time. And anyone who tells you its not fun to get play has no functional genitalia (sorry to be gross). Just because you are motivated, wordly, smart, and kind does not mean you will find a person who appreciates you. Every nice guy without a woman could say, oh its just because women don’t like nice guys. Thats as non-sensical as statement.

    Has any man ever convinced a woman that the whole problem with dating is that women don’t like nice guys? Probably never. So analagously, maybe you look at your friends who you care about and all that and you wonder why they are single, but its not because men are intimidated by the fabulousness of the whole situation.

    At the end I don’t think what I said will really fly but hey, just another set of words.

  16. Shout outs to Ashi (#114) for doing such a nice marketing job for us FOBs!

    Taz, if you move to nyc, and are willing to ease off on rule #3 then i’ll be dateable. I’m 28, and look the average of Cruise and Goundamani (imagine..). or if you want to stick with LA then you’ll have to settle for my younger bro, who looks the sum average of Spacey and Clooney. needless to say, he already has a cbd gf.

    nice post.

  17. Sahej’s anology makes a lot of sense to me – Indian/any women do not like nice men VS Indian/any men are intimidated by strong women

    There is a kernel of truth in both views, but their correctness and value is limited

  18. ylrsings: As a kannada man, I object to your tirade. I don’t mind any of the things you do and am not intimidated by them. Ennu hanige matarti? To the rest: Or by any of the things women on this page say men are intimidated by. Succesful career woman = she got money; smart, confident = you seriously want a dumb, docile bid? I mean…girl; tall = kid joins the NBA (at least by 2020, I’m taking over and unders); opinionated = where you been all my life?; big booty = big booty. Uh, ignore the last one. Damn, my backspace doesn’t work.
    I’d date any one of you, hell, all of you at once. Bring it. I ain’t hiding.

  19. You guys have it so easy. I’m in the icky space between FOBdom and CDiness leaning. There are so few people of my type and I don’t connect with either extremes.

    Also, this site needs a better commenting system. Something like the one used on DailyKos.

  20. Alot of women seem to use the “Im to opinionated” for guys to like me excuse for not being able to find a guy.

    People in general dont like people who are to opinionated because everything is a debate with them and nothing seem’s to be pleasant about being in there presence.

  21. Whaaaa? 1.5 Gen is an actual known term? I independently coined that sometime last year!

    The common thread we all share is that we’re all confused. Whatever rules we make, we have to start from there.

  22. I would like to open another topic for discussion, if anyone’s still following along. I mentioned this earlier, but I feel like when you’re desi there’s no such thing as casually dating (no I don’t mean casual sex), and I’m unsure why. I don’t assume that all desi men are intimidated by me (I’m not that full of myself) but I do think that maybe in both of our heads there’s this unspoken automatic long-term potential there because you’re both desi “suitable life partners.” Well, not in my head because I actually believe in the old-fashioned notion of dating, but maybe the guys feel that way? I’m not sure.

    Is it because of the way we’re raised? My parents never had much to say about dating except that I couldn’t do it, until one of my cousins went through a nasty divorce and my parents suddenly had the lightbulb flash that unless they encouraged me to get out there and play the field, figure out what I needed to be happy in a relationship and what it meant to be in a healthy one, the same thing could happen to me. Now my mom thinks I’m a loser and don’t date enough. [I’m so not joking. She’s like, “You need to put on some lipstick and go talk to boys.”]

  23. Sahej ref : your post in 276

    Not sure about the ABD chicks but I can say this about high flying FOB chicks.

    I graduated out of IIT & IIM. Propositioned a few Mckinsey / I-bankers in Desh about the option of me being a house husband – I got blown off πŸ™‚ They wanted guys who make more money than they do – dont see the point really – they make more money than one could spend in a life time πŸ™‚

    now happily married via “arranged marriage” and the primary provider πŸ™‚

  24. but I feel like when you’re desi there’s no such thing as casually dating (no I don’t mean casual sex), and I’m unsure why.

    I believe someone above mentioned the “we’re of the same kind” argument above. Also, as an extension to that, I think you have to be cognizant of the possibility that there’s more to it than just you “2” dating. For example, boy and girl are dating, and girl’s parents know that boy and girl are dating. Of course to many of the parents, they assume that if the kids are dating, they are well on their way to a relationship…and whammo, marriage (I apologize for my pronoun antecedent usage…hopefully it was clear). So, if the guy breaks-up with the girl (it could be the other way around…), the parents will often bad-mouth (I’ve seen this happen numerous times) the other party often to other people outside the family, and voila…a reputation develops.

    Also, what do you consider dating? On one hand, I can see dating veering on the border of casual sex all the way to being in a relationship, yet still doing the things you did in the “happy happy joy joy” phase, to just going out every once in a while and making out (say 2nd base).

    Re: Intimidation – I’m surprised to see that noone has mentioned the converse – women being intimidated by guys.

  25. We ABCD’s are a fu**ed up race, high achievers on one hand, and deeply mutilated by shame on the other. So much for being yourself.

    Oh, the angst!

    I dunno about casual dating between us deeply mutilated folks…what I’ve seen between desi couples I know is more almost-dating but with dramas. So if they just relaxed then they would be casually dating.

    And there are a lot of Indian parents who let their kids date nowadays, aren’t there? I’ve been allowed to date since I was around 15. A wise move on my parents’ part I think as I didn’t turn into a drama-loving boy-crazy girlie sneaking behind their backs.

    I dunno, where I live, there isn’t really a dating culture. Maybe it’s because I’m from a different age group and I picture dating as something people in their late 20’s/30’s do. I’m seconding Meredith Grey by calling for the old fashioned concept to return.

  26. God Almighty. So much stereotyping. So much “what’s wrong with them, why won’t they date meeeeee ?!”. So much angst. So much confusion.

    Joking aside, for the record I think Sahej is spot-on in many of the things he’s said, including his concerns about some of the stereotyping and hidden prejudices which are being demonstrated by many here. GujuDude too, and in my view these two guys are amongst the most accurate people on this entire thread. I also agree with CinnamonRani in post #267.

    I see that there are some issues you appear to be having to deal with which are specific to American society (including American desi society) and which I’m not in a position to accurately comment on. However, there is some overlap with various things we in Britain have to deal with, so I’ll just give a few thoughts as follows.

    GUYS: Grow some frikking backbone. Don’t be threatened by a woman who is intelligent/smart/educated etc, but simultaneously don’t assume that all the fault lies with you. And bear in mind that blindly agreeing with an excessively outspoken desi woman who may get a kick out of how self-consciously “unconventional” she is ain’t going to get you any action from her, unless she has some kind of “Queen Bee” syndrome (probably not even then). But stay the hell away from men who treat women like dirt, regardless of how much “fun” they may represent themselves as having and how much they may try to drag you into the same kind of behaviour. Also, get rid of the patriarchal baggage which is blindly propagated in some quarters of South Asian culture, especially the aspects which condone men behaving as overbearing, bullying jerks towards women. It requires a lot of self-awareness to deprogramme yourself about all that, but you don’t have to go to the opposite extreme and become a doormat. Matriarchy is no better than Patriarchy.

    LADIES: There is a difference between being “strong and opinionated”, and being a loudmouthed jerk who is constantly shooting her mouth off as though she has something to prove. As Kush T accuately said earlier, someone who really is strong and sexy doesn’t grandstand about the fact. The person’s qualities speak for themselves, regardless of whether we’re talking about a man or a woman. Don’t fall into the “women versus men”, “gender wars” trap — we’re all in this together — and for God’s sake don’t behave like those characters in Sex & The City where the reason they frequently sabotaged their relationships was because they were not “friends” in the real sense of the term with the men they were dating. Be as decent to the men in your life as you are to your girlfriends. And get rid of the misogynistic regressive cultural influences from South Asian culture, but simultaneously have the presence of mind and independent thinking to not blindly accept every trendy extreme left-wing fashionably-PC theory which may be propagated within American culture. Sometimes the “right path” lies in-between the two extremes or is something different entirely. And again to paraphrase SATC, “Yes, sometimes he’s just not that into you”, and “Yes, sometimes the problem does lie within you”.

    BOTH MEN & WOMEN: Don’t be a jerk towards members of the opposite sex, and simultaneously don’t tolerate anyone from the opposite sex being a jerk towards you. Self-assurance is great, but don’t let it spiral into arrogance — South Asians do frequently have a tendency to go extremes in their thinking and behaviour, and don’t know when to “apply the brakes” — so have the humility, the honesty and the integrity to be ruthlessly frank with yourself about your own behaviour and ideas. Admit when you are wrong and/or hypocritical about something and try to rectify the problem. And again, don’t fall into the trap of “Men versus Women” which is propagated in many cultures, including some sections of Western/American society; support each other whilst being honest about what may be the other party’s failings, but do not think about the other party as being someone who should be manipulated or exploited and do not take advantage of their good nature. If everyone acknowledges that they are on the same side (both on an individual level and with regards to the genders as a whole), and certainly not separate “species”, then it’s much more constructive and amicable. It also neutralises the tendency for unnecessary gameplaying. Both men and women need to try to imagine the other party’s perspective and how it feels to be “in their shoes”. It’s not as difficult as you may think.

    Now if you don’t mind, I have to get back to smoking my hookah in my harem. Some of my concubines have bought some delicious grapes they’d like to feed to me. GujuDude, you have an open invitation to join the party — I’ll keep a Persian rug unfurled just for you.

  27. I haven’t had time to read any of the comments so forgive me if this has already been covered, it probably has, but for a person who has only dated desi men in India, I think two of the most obvious questions that come to mind are;

    1. how are American desi men’s skills in the bedroom, and,
    2. what about lingam size

    Just last night me and two girlfriends (one desi, one pardesi) were discussing these very things, as often women do when they get together, conversations turn to sex – both the quality and quantity – that we are either getting or not….. or that we got in the past and still hanker for now…. yada, yada, yada.

    Basically we formulated this in fun;

    Penis Size East to West

    The Orient – Small South Asia (Desh) – Small to Medium Middle East – Medium to Large Africa – We’ll be moving there soon (ha ha ha)

    Remember, this was all in girly fun and we know theoretically that region has nothing to do with size, variants and variables are everywhere.

    My Desi girlfriend said her Indian men were large lingamed but not good in bed. Whereas my experience has been they were small lingamed but pretty OK in bed as far as skills go.

    But her Desi men were English Desi and mine were Indian Desi and we are very curious about American Desis.

    Anyone care to indulge me on this?

    What are some of your experiences? Dharma Queen? Are you there?

  28. Whereas my experience has been they were small lingamed but pretty OK in bed as far as skills go.

    Why skip the whole of the Western hemisphere, Pardesi Gori? Anyways, a trip to the gym is always enough to reassure me about the size issue, stereotypes be damned πŸ™‚

    And hell, a penis is just one of so many things a guy can use, no?

  29. HMF- all you gotta do is add those delicious desi babes to your blog reader and you’ll have more than enough proof of dating desi from the women perspective. Rupa’s speed dating blog is the best example “intimidating women” off the top of my head.

    It’s not that desi women are intimidating, it’s that ALL women are intimidating, and it’s not even the woman that’s intimidating, like I said before, it’s the dating process that’s new and uncharted. Everything we know, we know from Full House, Growing Pains, and Family Ties. Not exactly an accurate resource.

  30. Boys: Really stop being such wimps!! All I hear is, Γ‚β€œbut why donÂ’t they like me, why why why.” Grow up and be men, Γ‚β€œYou donÂ’t like me, well tough sister, your loss.” That will juice up any girl, we donÂ’t have any balls so we like it when you show us you have some (hey take your mind out of the gutter)

    Ugh. I was with you until the “show your balls” and “grow up and be men” comment. I mean really. it’s not just you that does this, at what point did women get together and decide they can have the run over what manhood is? That they can question the essence of a being because of behavior they find objectionable? If men were to define womanhood and request woman to “show they have ovaries” (which many often do) it’s met with labels of sexism. Seriously, I pose this to question to the women out there, if it makes me look like a wuss so F’n be it.

  31. Is it just me or is comment #350 extremely ban-worthy? If guys on here had made any similar conjectures about desi women, several of the girls in here would have already torn their heads off a la Tig. I guess the desi guys are just “intimidated” by these strong women.

    A similar comment was made yesterday on this thread by (I assume) a guy about desi “lingam” size, and I noticed five minutes later that it had been deleted. I suspect PG’s puerile comment remains thus far because the SM Intern is asleep on the West Coast.

  32. Oh, I’m awake. Whenever I get tired the monkeys pelt me with fruit rinds. You have no idea what it’s like here in the bunker. But to answer your question, sometimes statements are so ridiculous that it’s better to just let them stand in their complete, dare I say naked, preposterousness.

  33. Is it because of the way we’re raised? My parents never had much to say about dating except that I couldn’t do it, until one of my cousins went through a nasty divorce and my parents suddenly had the lightbulb flash that unless they encouraged me to get out there and play the field, figure out what I needed to be happy in a relationship and what it meant to be in a healthy one, the same thing could happen to me. Now my mom thinks I’m a loser and don’t date enough. [I’m so not joking. She’s like, “You need to put on some lipstick and go talk to boys.”]

    Totally agree, it goes from zero miles an hour to mach 5. I think there’s a lot to the idea that dating for desis comes with as much drama potential as fun potential. I think if there was more “just dating” it would work out better. However, I think that kind of thing is hard to accomplish. I actually have written it off as a possiblity unless very specific circumstances which include meeting someone drunk at a bar (not a club, a dive bar) and not realizing they were indian until 2 hours into the conversation. It seems like the only way I can get my casual on….sad perhaps but true

  34. Or more likely, that sort of thing is expected and laughed off. It reminded me of when Jeremy Glick tried to sue Bill O’Reilly for slander, but couldn’t because the case couldn’t be built that O’Reilly intended to slander Glick, O’Reilly is such a pathological liar and slanderer, his behavior couldn’t be proved as premeditated against Glick persay.

  35. i just ignore all of PG’s comments. it’s better that way… why feed the fire… let it ride alone..and eventually it will extinguish itself..

  36. Tourists.

    That could be the new desi slang term for FOBs JoJs, especially if they don’t intend to stay in the US permanently.