The economics of dating

Two stories have caught my attention in the past two days, and both deal with everyone’s favorite subject: dating! Or rather, I should say the stories are more about the lack of suitable mating options that has resulted from the intersection of two topics we blog about quite often on SM: 1) the growing new economies of India and China; and 2) the messed up sex ratio resulting from female foeticide and infanticide.

Yesterday, PRI’s Marketplace sent a reporter in to the heart of “Parent’s Matchmaker’s Corner” in Shanghai. The corner is basically a trading floor where worried Chinese parents gather to trade biodata on their late-twentysomething children, mostly without the knowledge of said children. The story was set in Shanghai but it might as well have been Delhi, as almost identical market forces are at work. Among the many great insights (some humorous) in the radio story (please listen) are the following:

1) Chinese A-list men date B-list women because they don’t want someone as smart as them. They want a trophy wife.

2) Many Chinese A-list men go abroad to seek their fortune, thus restricting supply.

3) Chinese A-list women get screwed because they are in high demand (since there is an overall shortage of women), but only have B and C-list men to choose from.

4) A-list women throw themselves into work and/or fool around waiting for an A-list man that might never materialize.

5) B and C-list men grow increasingly bitter and frustrated because all the B and C-list women have traded up and the A-list women only want them for their bods.

This chain of events is set into motion for two reasons: 1) there is a skewed sex ratio; and 2) in the “new” economies you have as many or more educated women as men. Again, everything above seems to apply to India as well. You’ll also note that in America reason #2 is already applicable, but what saves us from the same spiral is that we don’t perform sex selection.

Here is another similar story:

It was midnight here in Hanoi, or already 2 a.m. back in Seoul, South Korea. But after a five-hour flight on a recent Sunday, Kim Wan-su was driven straight from the airport to the Lucky Star karaoke bar here, where 23 young Vietnamese women seeking Korean husbands sat waiting in two dimly lighted rooms…

More and more South Korean men are finding wives outside of South Korea, where a surplus of bachelors, a lack of marriageable Korean partners and the rising social status of women have combined to shrink the domestic market for the marriage-minded male. Bachelors in China, India and other Asian nations, where the traditional preference for sons has created a disproportionate number of men now fighting over a smaller pool of women, are facing the same problem…

After an initial setback — his first three choices found various reasons to decline his offer — Mr. Kim narrowed his field to a 22-year-old college student and an 18-year-old high school graduate.

“What’s your personality like?” Mr. Kim asked the college student.

“I’m an extrovert,” she said.

The 18-year-old asked why he wanted to marry a Vietnamese woman.

“I have two colleagues who married Vietnamese women,” he said, adding, “The women seem devoted and family-oriented.”

One Korean broker said the 22-year-old, who seemed bright and assertive, would adapt well to South Korea. Another suggested flipping a coin.

“Well, since I’m quiet, I’ll choose the extrovert,” Mr. Kim said finally, adding quickly, “Is it O.K. if I hold her hand now?”… [Link]

I’ve never taken an economics class in my life but the link between these “market forces” and deleterious effect it is having on the social fabric seems interesting to me here. There might be a Nobel Prize in economics for someone willing to tackle it. If you follow the logic you end up with a lot of really smart, un-married, bitter women, and not-so-smart young men who are angry at everyone (as all dateless men are…ummmmm…not that I would know). If these two contingents ever join forces it could mean the end for China and India. I exaggerate greatly, but I’d love to hear your thoughts :)

As for me, I’m more than ok being a trophy husband someday. As long as I find an A-list woman willing to trade down.

112 thoughts on “The economics of dating

  1. “Isn’t class the most important variable in the desi marriage market?”

    It certainly is, to a much larger extent than (at least) in the western culture. I think this is mainly due to the fact that desi parents still have a considerable influnce on who the 2nd gen desis marry. This also explains why so few desis marry outside the diaspora, even caste. Whats so strange about that? Parents are likley to be very practical about a marriage and only see the economic aspect of it. It certainly used to be that way in Europe/USA when the boys had to ask the girls parents for her hand.

  2. Don’t a lot of ABD guys do something similar? Go back to the “old country” to find a demure bride. I personally know of many such cases. Looks like ABD women prefer to date and marry white men over their own.

    Negative stereotyping in action here as well perhaps?

  3. Too much talk. I think us single folk would be better served if we stopped having lengthy discussions of why we’re single and instead close the laptops, leave the apartment, and actually interact with each other face to face.

  4. variant on a Chris Rock jock –

    When do b-list women have trouble getting dates? When they’re ugly. When do a-list women have trouble getting dates? When they’re ugly. And angry.

    (ok PC overloards… skewer me…)

  5. It seems like we are equating A list people with power and success and money and B/C list people with those who have not these things. Isn’t A list of B or whatever list supposed to be more a personality thing, an A list person is a smart independent and confident person (and in most cases it directly equates to money, success and all that mumbo jumbo), a B list one would be a little less of those things and so on. In that case you would obviously have exceptions where some A list kind of people probably do what they want and it does not pay and thus they wont be as rich or powerful, but personality wise they IMO would still fall into the A list smart people and would be quite successful in what they choose to do. And of course the converse holds. When we make these list divisions from that perspective, it does make sense and is not such a classist thing.

    Also, a woman who is successful wont date a person who is a loser because she has worked hard at her success and it is a big part of her life and so the way she can respect a guy is if he has a similar value system. In fact, if she equates success with money, thats her value system and thats what’s going to work for her and so it still makes sense that rich women go for rich guys. Of course a woman who thinks there is more to success than money, she probably even if she is rich, wont mind dating a guy as long as he is driven and eitehr successful or getting there. Why don’t guys feel similarly, I think they do – at least a lot of them from our generation where women have come into their own and are demanding and getting an equal footing as men. I think such guys wont be ok with a ‘take care of my house’ wife. Of course, the guys who think of a wife fitting in the traditional gender roles are also those who are yet to be open to the new woman who is redefining gender roles – after all to accept that, guys themselves have to redefine their own gender roles and it does not happen in a day. Needless to say there are plenty of women who still are ok with the traditional gender roles of family and kids.

  6. Whoo! So much to say!

    SST – haha. :)

    Bidi – totally agreed, I think there are some really messed up stereotypes ABD women (or ABDs in general) have of desi immigrant men. If it makes you feel better, I am generally under the impression that ABD men are also mama’s boys, if that’s any consolation ;) I’m kidding, a little. But come on, there are definitely archetypal stereotypes of desi men (e.g. the FOB, the spikeys, the mama’s boys, etc., etc.), that I do think are harmful, but these stereotypes cut both ways. I would argue that there’s a female counterpart for all of these stereotypes.

    Ennis,

    Doesn’t that have to do, in part, with the fact that there are many more desi men in the country once you count FOBs, and then desi men way outnumber desi women? Furthermore, although I don’t have numbers, anecdotally, many more of my desi female friends have married non-desis than my desi male friends.

    I’m with taz on this, and I’m fairly certain that in my age demographic (18-25), there are more female than male ABDs. Might even be true of “new” immigrants in this age category – I’ll have to check.

    Honestly, I don’t think ABD men go to the des to find a wife because they outnumber women in the U.S. I think many (not all) have specific expectations of wanting some virginal, intelligent, wife who will be at their beck and call and be Seema Home-walla for them. Someone who will depend on them, be all about taking care of them, and be some kind of “cultural holder” who will be all virtuous and impart deep ancient wisdom to their kids. Essentially a mother-figure. Maybe part of the reason desi women are more likely to “date out” is because they don’t have the same expectation of their male partners vis-a-vis cultural heritage, preservation, etc. (I guess a sexist stereotype working both ways, in that case).

    I think most of them know that really amazing ABD women generally have different expectations about division of work in the home, finances, how to raise their kids, values, etc. And I think that some guys just find this overwhelming, intimidating, and impossible to fathom. I also meet a lot more politicized desi women than men (no offense guys), and for those who value personal politics, personal values, etc., this could be a major deal breaker.

    Also, an aside, but when I refer to A-list I’m definitely not referring to class, education-level, etc. I’m talking about tool vs. non-tool. If it were all about class, then all highly educated hetero women would be content to settle down with a highly educated guy b/c that’s what was important to them (and the numbers of highly educated – meaning postgraduate degree holders – men and women definitely are in ratios that favor women). I’m sure this varies by individual, but I don’t care if you have a BS, an MBA, or an MD, if you are a shithead, then you’re not worth the time. And here’s where it goes back to negative stereotypes, but I meet a lot of desi men who are cool… EXCEPT in their personal relationships. It would be nice to see the genuinely cool guys come out of the wood work.

  7. A list in the desi world boils down to the dolla…

    A list= 90 grand a year+ B list= 40-89 grand a year C list= 30-40 grand a year D list= struggling rappers, beatboxers, painters, cellists, tabla players, writers…..

    So where do you fit in?

    Me…I’m a painter, started off dirt poor and now have gallery representation… so I’ve gone up the list over the last 10 years and I’ve seen the switch:) . As my benjamins increased I was astonished to see how many of my female Indian ‘friends’ seemed to be showing a whole lot more interest; especially as they moved past age 26 and the clock started to tick.

    The major turnoff here is how few of my desi sistas want to stick around during the hard times….

  8. I think a lot of men, whether desi or not, have reason to be pissed off at women who don’t want to be with a “loser” (i.e. someone who can’t take them out to fancy places, etc etc).

    But I don’t think that’s the main reason a lot of desi women I know wouldn’t marry desi men. It’s more the sort of thing that Camille talked about above. I don’t know how much the virginal stay-at-home factor has to do with it any more, but my limited experience wtih desi men, even ABD, suggests that they are pretty reluctant to let go of being “in control.” A cool, intelligent wife is well and good so long as she doesn’t upset his life pattern by expecting him to share in child-care or insisting that her career be given equal importance in deciding where they’ll live, and so on. Many smart, successful women haven’t gone as far as they have only to play second-fiddle permanently in a marriage.

  9. I am so glad for being completely dumb about dating and all that jazz.

    What I do realize is that, the inspirational adage ‘all you gotta do is ask’, doesn’t hold much water when dealing with women, desi or non.

  10. That youtube song is illustrative in some ways, in that its got both positive imagery, and imagery that is more indicative of sexism. The challenge I think is, how to find a way to be loving in ways that should be kept, but not be sexist about it. Punjabi culture, for example, has a way to go towards being less sexist. maybe we can use being in the diaspora to keep what is good and change what needs to be changed in that regard.

    I think a lot of what you say is correct, desi women are generally more likely to be politically thoughtful about personal choices and values. However, I think there are desi men who are willing to change behaviors, but are not sure how to go about it. There’s a lack of education or mentoring there.

    But, I would say, intimidation is not really a part of that, more like confusion or apphresion. And I think the ethnicity thing does confound some of this. Often Men in a given in-culture (for a lack of a better term) give men who are out-culture a hard time when they date out, and this makes it at times uncomfortable, whereas that is less so when women date out, at least from a male perspective

    Anyway, off topic, but shout out to clueless for holding the punjabi feet to the fire. let’s make our culture equal and free for the future y’all

  11. “desi women are generally more likely to be politically thoughtful about personal choices and values?”

    What does this mean exactly? Pyara? Camille? Desi women will long ponder the relative merits of abortion, IUDs, or Obama while the desi men tool away on computers searching for a chick to make flawless Idli Sambar?

  12. Uh…what’s wrong if both sexes do both? I’m pretty pissed about this abortion matter and I can definitely have MSNBC on while I’m making sambhar from a recipe my brother found online. Let’s not start bringing up gender roles.

    On the other hand, I think dating/marriage “politics” generally refers to the crap one sex experiences for not meeting its self-imposed demands or the expectations of the opposite sex. Like when my friend brought her white/caucasian/european american boyfriend to her high school graduation? That day, Congress terminated its recess early and litigation started up like a tornado while her rights underwent some slaughter from disappointed aunties and uncles. Then she found the bill she tried to pass go up in the burning, flaming passion of young love.

    I think about this sometimes and just laugh. Maybe you’ve finally gotten it right when politics has classified you as a C list but whoever’s standing by you will always find you an A.

  13. “Uh…what’s wrong if both sexes do both?”

    Nothing Antahkarana I just read that “some guys just find this overwhelming, intimidating, and impossible to fathom” (#59)…so in order to fathom I seek wisdom :)

  14. Maybe its not hard for you, but the changing gender roles thing has tripped up people who are between two cultures before. I wish there was some a priori way to get around it, but for quite a few people, it takes thoughtful work.

    Also, I think that the general trend nowdays is for mainstream american men generally to be less thoughtful about these issues, not just desi men. There just seems to be more acceptence of casually sexist ways of thinking in the last few years. I think these discussions at times become too specifically directed at the desi aspect of desi men, when we are often quite like other men socialized in the states. Also, there are times that desi men are less sexist too. Its not all binary and unidirectional

  15. I didn’t read through all the comments but I want to respond to what

    MoorNam

    said. Specifically: “Christina/Pam etc is in her late 30′s and has finally woken up to the fact that no man in the world wants to fuck her.”

    Maybe what we should be asking is for men to start waking up and realizing that things are changing for women and they will continue to do so. Also, that women in their late 30s are quite fuckable.

  16. :) Dude Mr.Pyara.

    This post is an open invitation to stereotype at the risk of not being non-PC. I dont think any of desi men need to defend in this particular thread. Let it slide, thats what I’d say. It actually gives a pretty good insight about how desi-sistahs think about us too, right?

  17. Honestly, I don’t think ABD men go to the des to find a wife because they outnumber women in the U.S

    I’m over 30, and at the last few desi social events I went to the single desi men outnumbered the single desi women by a significant factor. I brought this up with a friend of mine, and she said that she knew no single desi women, and that if I wanted to get married, I should have done so by 25 b/c after that the number of women out there would dwindle. I think she’s exaggerating, but most of my married desi friends have very few single desi female friends, but many single desi male friends.

  18. Bidi wrote:-

    Also, that women in their late 30s are quite fuckable.

    Hey man thats just starting. My Desi Shakkar Maiyyas are older :-)

  19. On a serious note. Men (Desi and Non Desi) have insecurities too about having achieved success, financial or otherwise

    Its bit hard for me to accept some realities. I spent 5 years working on a startup that got killed because of technical and non technical reasons. which means I am nearly broke as i am approaching 30.

    I have noticed that its looked down upon by some(ok most) women, that heres a man who has nothing.

    So thats life…

  20. So, Classical Liberal Warrior Against Terror, this interests me. How should, “ideally”, women respond to a man who has nothing?

  21. “The way a man should respond to a woman who is ugly.”

    That made me crack up. No objections.

  22. So, Classical Liberal Warrior Against Terror, this interests me. How should, “ideally”, women respond to a man who has nothing?

    Well if interested they will be taking me out for dinner, and if really feeling generous i’d suggest skipping few dinners and going gliding(hmm come to think of it i miss that more than any other indulgence/entertainment)

  23. sakshi wrote:-

    The way a man should respond to a woman who is ugly.

    No! Like how men would respond to poorer women, by trying to take sexual advantage of the situation. Thats how it should ideally be.

  24. No! Like how men would respond to poorer women, by trying to take sexual advantage of the situation. Thats how it should ideally be.

    LOL. Now you are talking utopia.

  25. But Classical Liberal Warrior Against Terror, I empathize with your situation. The dating game is totally rigged against broke guys like us (and ugly women too, btw). I am just starting my PhD and its likely I’d be penniless for a long time to come. My girlfriend makes way more than I do, it inevitably leads to all kinds of awkward situations where traditional concepts of chivalry and who-picks-the-check clash with the ground realities. She doesn’t seem to mind, but it keeps getting under my skin. Its hard to deprogram millenias of genetic wiring :) .

  26. Classical Liberal Warrior Against Terror what do you expect? Desi women will only look at a desi when he makes enough dolla to offset his brown-ness. A desi Yale Law-educated associate is approximately equal to a white McDonald’s manager with a high school education in this new calculus.

  27. A desi Yale Law-educated associate is approximately equal to a white McDonald’s manager with a high school education in this new calculus.

    Well thats good news ;-) I do respect a McDonald’s Manager over ANY Lawyer Desi or Not, Yale or Not.

    My rant was about my own insecurity nothing else. If some one is interested or not interested in me it depends on a whole lot of factors and to each their own.

    Folks in US(and for the most part globally) will not die of hunger but b/c of over indulgence…. I have some financial hardship but that pales in comparison to the opportunity i have, so we (or at least I) shouldn’t wallow

    There will never be a shortage of living being to share the emotion of love.

  28. She doesn’t seem to mind, but it keeps getting under my skin.

    That should read ‘She doesn’t seem to mind(God bless her for that)’.

    Really guys, after reading all the complaints here, I now realize I have a good thing going. :)

  29. The dating game is totally rigged against broke guys like us (and ugly women too, btw).

    yes we as men & perhaps society in general do pay a lot more attention to looks. In india thats more screwed up with skin color and what not… Ultimately its about happiness….both long term and short term, this is simple but very hard. Thats whats annoying, and mostlikely related to similar hardwiring to what you suggested WRT male chivalry.

  30. Well, I’m pretty new to the desi social scene, but let me put in my own two cents…

    I’ve met many singles (Bangladeshis, ABD and recent immigrants) who are single over 25, some nearing 30 even. This is the case in many upper-class and upper-middle class circles in Bangladesh also (many friends have said). I know b/c one of my aunties back in old desh (computer engineer) did now marry until 35 (this was back in the late ’90s). I think ALL the single people (esp. desi) out here need to be more hopeful! I am- maybe I’m a little naive or maybe b/c I haven’t had bad experiences (or much experiece ;-) ) yet.

  31. that men of great wealth and power attract beautiful women seems almost commonsensical. but anecdotally, i really can’t confirm it. i know many wealthy venture capitalists and hedge fund managers, and very few have extremely beautiful wives. the extremely beautiful women i know ended up marrying athletic and good-looking guys in mid-management type careers. And i know more than a few working class guys with really hot wives.

    but don’t take my word for it. look at the forbes lists. i know there are exceptions (berlusconi, trump) but most of them married smart average looking women. as for power, look at the last few white house staffs and tell me how many men of power have truly hot wives (Laura? Hillary? Barbara?).

    again, i don’t necessarily disagree w/ the premise that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac; but can anyone explain this discrepancy?

  32. “that men of great wealth and power attract beautiful women seems almost commonsensical. but anecdotally, i really can’t confirm it. i know many wealthy venture capitalists and hedge fund managers, and very few have extremely beautiful wives. the extremely beautiful women i know ended up marrying athletic and good-looking guys in mid-management type careers. And i know more than a few working class guys with really hot wives.

    but don’t take my word for it. look at the forbes lists. i know there are exceptions (berlusconi, trump) but most of them married smart average looking women. as for power, look at the last few white house staffs and tell me how many men of power have truly hot wives (Laura? Hillary? Barbara?).

    again, i don’t necessarily disagree w/ the premise that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac; but can anyone explain this discrepancy?”

    Remember how they say todays geeks will be tomorrow’s rich and powerful? Well, maybe the reality is todays geeks will be tomorrows’s rich and powerful geeks whether they become VCs or hedge fund managers or whatever else. You hit the nail on the head when you said “the extremely beautiful women i know ended up marrying athletic and good-looking guys in mid-management type careers”. Hot desi women go for the athletic, good looking guys who are reasonably successfully over the extremely successful one dimensional geek. There is a lot to be said about being well rounded in the dating world. This isn’t rocket science by any means.

  33. Social psych studies in the US actually show that most people tend to marry those who are their “equals” – in looks, particularly. I wonder if desis in the US really are any different in that regard, if they still hold on to old-fashioned ideas about marrying up or down according to gender.

    Sakshi – you offer an excellent example of the difficulty of breaking out of gender roles. Having a woman pay for you = ceding the dominant role. It works the other way too – us broke and feminist women can also be wary of dating a guy who makes much more than we do, because we don’t want to get into that (more traditional) power equation.

    As a side observation, among the desi men (from desh) I know whose wives make as much as they do or more, there’s almost a sort of overcompensation, they try to assert their dominance all the more because they feel “emasculated.” Why should an ambitious woman who’s proud of what she’s achieved have to feel she always has to walk on eggshells around her husband’s ego? I wonder if liberal desi/ABD men face a similar dilemma, if they’ve been brought up with more equal expectations about men and women both working outside the home, and then hesitate to marry a desi woman raised more traditionally who expects the man to be The Provider? Or do desi men still like that role, are they going to expect the woman to do all the cooking and cleaning and child-rearing while gazing adoringly and gratefully at them for earning the money anyway?

  34. It works the other way too – us broke and feminist women can also be wary of dating a guy who makes much more than we do, because we don’t want to get into that (more traditional) power equation.

    OH! You’re a woman, SP. I always pictured you as a dude, in a flannel suit, smoking a cigar.

    are they going to expect the woman to do all the cooking and cleaning and child-rearing while gazing adoringly and gratefully at them for earning the money anyway?

    she can gaze adoringly and gratefully all she wants…but hopefully it’s not for the money.

  35. What about the equal relationship within marriage Manju? Are you willing to do that? I think desi men have every right to bitch about everything else but they have to be honest about the reasons why a smart desi woman might not want to marry them, instead of blaming it all on “women just want money.”

    Oh, and neither Berlusconi nor Trump married an “average looking woman” – Berlusconi met his wife, a babelicious actress at the time, when she was performing (topless – welcome to italy) on stage, and Trump, when he achieved ultimate tycoondom, married Marla Maples and then that model babe he’s with now.

  36. What about the equal relationship within marriage Manju?

    speaking strictly for me, i’m not intersted in housewives. Dated many women w/ more prestigious academic degrees than mine. never dated a woman who made more $–mostly dated artistic and intellectual types– but can’t say it would be a problem. don’t like submissive types, prefer highly intelligent, witty, independent, fashionable, leggy, sexy, dangerous, and uncontrollable. equality? sounds like a failed political project.

    they have to be honest about the reasons why a smart desi woman might not want to marry them, instead of blaming it all on “women just want money.”

    nothing i wrote was about being desi per se….i was talking in universal terms. not particularly offended by women who are looking for $ or social status…just i’m not attrated to traditional types.

    Oh, and neither Berlusconi nor Trump married an “average looking woman”

    yeah i know. that’s why i labled them exceptions.

    we’ll have to smoke a cigar and drink some cognac next time you’re in NY, SP.

  37. Whatever gave you the idea that I was the cigar-smoking type? scratches head And as for this:

    don’t like submissive types, prefer highly intelligent, witty, independent, fashionable, leggy, sexy, dangerous, and uncontrollable. equality? sounds like a failed political project.

    And just why would such a woman want to date a man who could never bring himself to see her as an equal?

  38. And just why would such a woman want to date a man who could never bring himself to see her as an equal?

    maybe she’d like to be seen as unique.

  39. desi women are generally more likely to be politically thoughtful about personal choices and values?

    It means a) more cultural baggage b) if you are a desi dude, don’t expect sex anytime soon.

  40. Manju,

    Wow. A-list people, B-list. this is the most classist discussion i’ve ever encountered. and on a left leaning blog of all places. rush limbaugh never speaks like this…..hell is other people indeed. good luck with the social climbing.

    Manju, my sardonic brother whose badmaash posts always put a smile on my face regardless of how infrequently I may be visiting the SM party these days, remember one thing: When it comes to social climbing, many desis truly aspire to be Everest-standard mountaineers ;)

    On a slightly less tongue-in-cheek note, I think that one key point should always be kept in mind: Regardless of whether the other party is male or female, it shouldn’t just be about the brains and the beauty, or indeed the brains and the booty…..It’s about the brains and the beauty/booty and the heart.

    There’s no point getting involved with an intellectually brilliant, outwardly attractive individual if they’re not a nice person too. Smartness doesn’t automatically equal “heartness”. I think people sometimes forget this, especially in some quarters of desi culture where people can get so hung up on how clever they are that they don’t simultaneously place as much emphasis on whether they’re fundamentally decent human beings as well.

    This applies to ourselves, too, of course.

    Anyway, back to the entertaining tennis match on this thread. And for those of you looking for some irreverent music on the topic of male-female relationships, I strongly recommend a superb new(ish) award-winning British soul/jazz singer on the scene called Amy Winehouse. I suspect many of you will love her lyrics, especially the ladies. Links here (includes brief samples) and here.

  41. “And just why would such a woman want to date a man who could never bring himself to see her as an equal? maybe she’d like to be seen as unique.”

    Now I start on a serious note. Heh. Not that unique. There are reasons I’m proud to be of south asian origin, but there’s an equal amount of reasons I’m not. For one, the casual “joking” misogyny in these threads that no one ever really calls out because it’s not harmful…we assume that’s just how things are and “geez chill” is the only response you get instead of some indication of understanding. She won’t be seen as unique for dating a man who could never see her as an equal. She’ll most likely be seen as well behaved. At least consider what the underlying statements are from the women who post to this thread, instead of turning it into some kind of arm punching frat boy joke to either cover insecurities or misunderstandings (and if you don’t understand…just ask…people talk back).

    “Money grubbing status craving” women should be kinder to men with nothing? What if they really are simply not interested because the guy gives off these vibes of aggression towards them for having expectations (and then labelling them as such)? Why is it so bad, speaking from a natural selection standpoint, to not settle for one of the most transient and debatable of emotions, love when there are more concrete means of happiness for some people? I’m not saying I agree with that, but there are many individuals who do and they make it work for them. Plenty of people have gone after each other despite giant differences in “lists”, class, culture, status, etc. and occasionally lasted off of that…but is that really why everything ends in ‘happily ever after’? Maybe having more in common, than simply each other, makes things last a little longer.

    Maybe it’s time to shut up and sort of accept where you remain on the scale of attraction. Who’s honestly going to change? I don’t know many guys that willingly go for girls they consider ugly, no matter how attractive their personalities are. I know plenty of girls who’ve settled for less because they’re afraid they’ll be considered “golddigging bitches” if they reject the kinda funny, kinda cute, slacker who smells like pot and has no direction in life other than winning every World of Warcraft challenge that comes his way and eventually crawling out of the university with his BS (in more ways that one) or BA.

    Of course, someone’s going to say they’ve had the opposite experience, but I can safely say that whatever feels most real to each individual will remain true for us all.

  42. There is another aspect of the “Economics.” The Singh book- was trashy lad lit. However he articulated a market trend for “A list” in this case rich “1st world inhabitants”, who could import a younger, more attractive guy than they might pull in a closed market model.

  43. “desi women are generally more likely to be politically thoughtful about personal choices and values?”
    What does this mean exactly? Pyara? Camille? Desi women will long ponder the relative merits of abortion, IUDs, or Obama while the desi men tool away on computers searching for a chick to make flawless Idli Sambar?

    I think my comment may have been confusing – let me clarify. What I meant is that I meet more desi women who are politically active than desi men, and I also meet many more left-leaning desi women than desi men. And for many of these left-leaning desi women, politics is a major factor in their dating selection. I’m not trying to imply that desi guys don’t reflect on politics, the world, etc. or that this is across the board. Just offering anecdotal evidence and trying to make this idea of “they just want a rich guy” more complex.

    Sakshi – you offer an excellent example of the difficulty of breaking out of gender roles. Having a woman pay for you = ceding the dominant role. It works the other way too – us broke and feminist women can also be wary of dating a guy who makes much more than we do, because we don’t want to get into that (more traditional) power equation.

    SP, I find myself nodding my head like crazy. The whole dating scenario is difficult for men and women, but gender “equality” is still a working ideal in most societies, and unfortunately, a simple reversal of stereotypical gender ideas doesn’t necessarily imply an equal playing field.

    Jai, love Amy Winehouse. LOVE HER. :)

  44. Now I start on a serious note. Heh. Not that unique. There are reasons I’m proud to be of south asian origin, but there’s an equal amount of reasons I’m not. For one, the casual “joking” misogyny in these threads that no one ever really calls out because it’s not harmful…we assume that’s just how things are and “geez chill” is the only response you get instead of some indication of understanding. She won’t be seen as unique for dating a man who could never see her as an equal. She’ll most likely be seen as well behaved. At least consider what the underlying statements are from the women who post to this thread, instead of turning it into some kind of arm punching frat boy joke to either cover insecurities or misunderstandings (and if you don’t understand…just ask…people talk back).

    Antahkarana:

    i think you’re trying to call me out on my casual misogyny. and i do have a frat boy misogynist w/i me, but its mostly of the sexual objectification type. however on this thread i was rejecting traditional (desi or otherwise) roles for women though i balked at using the term equal, not because i think women are inferior, but because i think the term just doesn’t make sense in the context of romance. maybe it makes sense in the context of a relationship, which is kinda like a project (you work on it), but true passion has little to do with equality per se since men and women are so different. an apple isn’t equal to a orange and a donut’s not a bannna. maybe i can compromise and use a phrase like “seperate but equal.”

  45. I see a lot of my female desi friends chosing white guys much like some folks might go to the Gap..you know what you’re getting. Color coordinated, safe, docile men (kinda like what guys want in a wife from the desh….a mirror image). In addition a white male does not come with a clucking mother in law who continually hints at how her son is getting ‘thinner’.

    And really whats wrong with that?