Just Your Typical, Slightly Snarky Arranged Marriage Post

A column (thanks, Fuerza Dulce) from the women’s magazine Marie-Claire on Anjali Mansukhani’s enthusiasm for arranged marriages (including her own), didn’t really start in what seemed like the best possible way:

By age 26, after attending more than 150 weddings, I was fast approaching my “expiration date.” (link)

“Expiration date” at age 26? That’s pretty young; personally, I think women get “expired” these days at around 27 or 28…

But it gets so much better. Anjali, a Bombayite, meets a guy who seems like Mr. Right — a New York based banker — and moves to his 40th story Manhattan apartment after three dates (and a marriage). Life there is blissfully happy:

While I craved privacy in India, the lack of neighbors and family dropping in left a shocking void every day as I ate breakfast and lunch alone. My husband worked late most evenings, and I sat in front of the TV, unable to call home because it would be 2 a.m. there.

After a few weeks, I learned that I’d married a “jetrosexual.” He had an exhausting travel schedule (four cities in four days). I joined the ranks of corporate wives who saw every show, opera, and ballet in town, just to fill the hours.

To make friends, I joined a gym, went to the library, and took Italian classes. I discovered that having an arranged marriage was a great icebreaker, and my social circle mushroomed each time I retold my story.

Marriage, I soon learned, wasn’t easy — especially to a modern man. My husband had acquired a mistress, and her name was BlackBerry. She had the power to stop discussions midsentence, her red signal lighting up his face in the way I only dreamed of doing. (link)

Such happiness. It really brightens your day.

Off to a great start, no doubt. But Anjali’s new life really takes off when she learns to name-drop consumer goods and lifestyle choices like a professional New Yorker:

As peers in India opted for motherhood and worked on post-baby waistlines, I took Spinning and pole dancing at the gym to work off exotic dinners of sweetbreads, foie gras, chocolate mousse. After reading about America’s obsession with Venti decaf skim mochas, I went to try one — but came back instead with a spiced chai latte. Amazingly, Starbucks was providing my childhood drink on every corner.

I found a job as a financial consultant. The New York Times in one hand, coffee in the other, I realized that my saris of bright pink, violet, and salmon were not exactly subway wear. Quickly, I succumbed to Levi’s and Ralph Lauren.

I started to realize that I just might have the best of both worlds. I marinated my Indian marriage in the flavors of Manhattan. I kept the sari and bought the Jimmy Choos. I made fabulous curries, seasoned with spices from Dean & Deluca. And after months of enjoying decidedly non-Indian experiences of seders, Saks, and sake, I felt confident enough to direct Indian guests to a hotel, occasionally throwing in a MetroCard.

I’m not hating, really I’m not. In fact, I’m thrilled she’s so happy — with those Jimmy Choos that she got from Bloomie’s, drinking Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks (which is just like the Chai in India, isn’t it?), before her pole-dancing class, where she’ll burn off the foie gras from the night before. Arranged marriage can be great that way.

488 thoughts on “Just Your Typical, Slightly Snarky Arranged Marriage Post

  1. And the Onnassis thing? Not that HMF needs ammunition.

    now the intereesting thing is that onansis was interested in social climbing when marrying jackie, not her looks. ditto for joe kennedy, who pushed his son to marry her. in that sense, they behaved like women are suppossed to behave according to evo psy.

    i’ve also seen data that indicated that lesser attractive women are more interested in a mans social status than more attractive women.

  2. Quoting Snoop are we? Can’t imagine him getting all the game he raps about. He’s got to be one of the ugliest, most ignorant sounding, um, people, I’ve ever seen. How he got to be alph I’ll never know.

  3. OK, but why did Jackie marry Onassis (or JFK for that matter). For reasons that, at least on surface, make sense within the Evo Psy paradigm, right?

  4. Wait a minute, to say men are genetically predisposed to process females “visually” in the sense of assessing fertility, is not the same as granting them carte blanche to rape and explain it away with hardwiring. Doing so is an exercise in DL-style exaggeration, rape is a crime. No one claims that human beings also have physiological & hardwired sensors for “food” but that isn’t used as rationale to explain and exonerate every robbery where the robber claims he was hungry, and only wanted to buy food.

    I agree with you. There’s a difference between appreciating beauty and making someone uncomfortable. But the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality is still prevalent, in so many ways. If you want to proclaim your realness, you should know the extent to which others are real as well.

    There is another India out there where the joint family system is dead. Everyone leaves home once they are married. ‘Thani kudithanam’ as they say in Tamil.

    I think this is more dependent on economic opportunity. On my father’s side, many people still stay in the village and partake of ‘vivasayam’ (farming). On my mother’s side, many more pursue higher education, get jobs in the big city, and live away from their parents.

    nala, I think part of this is that you and I are in a completely different generation of women. We have different expectations of our partners, and we also have a different outlook on money and success — largely because most of us are already as “high powered” (or whatever) as we want to be.

    I don’t quite understand what you mean… I thought you were only a few years older than me? & it’s not like I don’t want a guy who is personable and with a steady job (I guess I ain’t nothin’ but a gold-digger after all) ultimately… I just don’t think I’d be able to marry a guy if there weren’t any sparks flying or if I weren’t able to talk to him, solely for his money (as HMF posits that women are wont to do). This isn’t to say that I haven’t seen ‘alpha male’/'queen bee’ divisions among my peers- usually this means that the prettiest girl dates the ‘coolest’ guy, but I think it has more to do with ‘bad boy’ behavior than anything else.

  5. OK, but why did Jackie marry Onassis (or JFK for that matter).

    oh yeah. jackie was notoriously big on money. but that could be attributed to her social anxiety , due to the fact that her family was prominent but poor, b/c her father’s (“black jack bouvier”) gambling. she adored her father and genuinely adored jfk, b/c she reminded her of him: both were extremely reckliess, charming, spoilt, risktakers. i believe reminding a woman of her father is also a big factor according to the science of attraction.

    as far as onasis goes, he actually had an affair with maria callas while married to jackie. maria was no looker but had a beautiful voice obviously. aristotle treated her so well that she quit singing, and then ari lost sexual interesting. so he was kinda like a groupie chick. of course, the poor guy was held as a sexual slave to a german officer during world war II so that may have messed him up.

    i’m huge on kennedy trivia. don’t know why.

  6. i’ve also seen data that indicated that lesser attractive women are more interested in a mans social status than more attractive women.

    well according to evo psych this might be b/c they are less certain of the fates of their more-likely-to-be-unattractive progeny, and need to make up for it by providing them more opportunities by marrying a richer guy.

    see, i can be a [armchair] scientist too!

    (and i’m an applied math major, so i’m totally allowed to make fun of scientists)

  7. i believe reminding a woman of her father is also a big factor according to the science of attraction.

    it works in different ways. if a woman has a positive relationship with her father, she will seek out those who remind her of him. if a woman has a negative relationship with her father, she will seek out men who are polar opposites of her father (but, according to many, still end up in a dysfunctional relationship with someone just like her father).

  8. also, i think the gist of evo psych is that men are wired toward cues to fertility (large eyes, hip to waist, etc) while women are wired to a mans ability to provide, which has come to mean $$, but could mean a woman is hard-wired to be attracted to tall men with muscles, even though these are no longer indicators of an ability to provide.

  9. also, i think the gist of evo psych is that men are wired toward cues to fertility (large eyes, hip to waist, etc) while women are wired to a mans ability to provide, which has come to mean $$, but could mean a woman is hard-wired to be attracted to tall men with muscles, even though these are no longer indicators of an ability to provide.

    basically. anyone using this theory to justify anything else is an a$$.

    also, men aren’t from mars and women aren’t from venus. we’re all from earth, and we’re more alike than we are different.

  10. Elders who do not have their son and bahu living with them are pitied.

    Really, by whom? I knew of many nuclear families in India including my own, when I was growing up and I was not aware that we were pitied.

  11. I agree with you. There’s a difference between appreciating beauty and making someone uncomfortable. But the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality is still prevalent, in so many ways

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here? ‘boys will be boys’ has nothing to do with rape.

    It’s not a question of appreciating beauty as some kind of “conscious choice”. If a woman wears provocative clothing whose purpose is to target the inherent male visual processing algorithims geared towards “attraction” that is where “boys will be boys” is applicable. In fact, “boys will be boys” doesn’t make sense, it should just be “boys are boys”

    But this has nothing to do with legitamite cases of rape! Those are crimes, acts of violence.

  12. while women are wired to a mans ability to provide, which has come to mean $$, but could mean a woman is hard-wired to be attracted to tall men with muscles, even though these are no longer indicators of an ability to provide.

    Manju, I actually think you’re right here. Physical strength, fitness, and symmetery aren’t necessarily applicable indicators of survivability as they would be, say 3000 years ago, yet they’re still existant within our “reptilian-brain”

  13. Nearly every convo around this topic, esp. with HMF, seems to come around this stupid fertility/attractiveness vs. money/shallowness argument with the punch line being, “Why aren’t women honest about being gold diggers?”

    At least I’m not a flip-flopper.

    Seriously though, I agree, that way back here, I used the wrong words “dig the gold” as it has other connotations that I didn’t intend.

    But the real issue I had with was the contention that qualities such as “drive, ambition, and perseverence will result in increased wealth, when those qualities were expressed in a general sense, with the obvious implication that lack of money means lack of these qualities (without the qualification that these must be applied in the direction of making money)

    Furthermore, I dispute the claim that when this financial success is appreciated & sought after, that it’s not the actually money, rather the drive, ambition, bla bla (again, this wasn’t qualified)

    Camille, as you’re normally one of the more sensible of the bunch, I hope you were being sarcastic with your “women won’t admit they’re golddiggers” exclamation.

    As for the “women here are honest” bit, women here are no more honest or dishonest than in real life. But truthfully I dont think it’s a question of honesty, rather, its a question of not wanting to look “superficial” and have what their desires are in a mate appear to be more sophisticated, mature or “well thought out” than they truly are.

  14. also, i think the gist of evo psych is that men are wired toward cues to fertility (large eyes, hip to waist, etc) while women are wired to a mans ability to provide, which has come to mean $$, but could mean a woman is hard-wired to be attracted to tall men with muscles, even though these are no longer indicators of an ability to provide.

    Fitness indicators in general are attractive for BOTH sexes. As Darwin famously said, the peacock’s variegated tail came about through the desires of the peahen. In the broadest sense, we are sexually selected by the opposite sex. Evol psych. has yielded some insights. So long as it doesn’t assume totalizing proportions, like Freud did for a while, I think it’s a welcome contribution to knowledge.

  15. I’m not sure what you’re saying here? ‘boys will be boys’ has nothing to do with rape. It’s not a question of appreciating beauty as some kind of “conscious choice”. If a woman wears provocative clothing whose purpose is to target the inherent male visual processing algorithims geared towards “attraction” that is where “boys will be boys” is applicable. In fact, “boys will be boys” doesn’t make sense, it should just be “boys are boys” But this has nothing to do with legitamite cases of rape! Those are crimes, acts of violence.

    LOL @ the use of the world ‘target.’ I spent most of adolescence covering myself up, but I still had creepy (yes, creepy) older men using their ‘inherent male visual processing algorithms’ on me. But what I’m saying is that though obviously your eyes may be drawn to a pretty face or a bangin’ booty or whatever, it is entirely within your control whether you want to keep looking or not. That’s what I mean by ‘boys will be boys,’ when people use the ‘hardwired’ excuse to excuse their inappropriate behavior. (e.g. a teacher may have an extremely attractive teenage girl in one of his classes that his eyes are drawn to, but it’s ultimately within his control (& it is his responsibility) to try to treat all of his students in an unbiased manner.) When this attitude is taken to extremes, that’s when it is used to excuse sexual assault and rape, along the lines of ‘he just couldn’t help himself, b*tch was drivin’ him crazy!’

    Personally, I’ve seen and heard ‘boys will be boys’ to excuse all kinds of behavior that ultimately holds boys less responsible for their actions, for various things, compared to the standards that girls are held to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard an auntie say something along the lines of, ‘Oh, Vivek/Neil/Ramachandra is so rowdy, he makes his sister cry all the time! But I suppose that is just how boys are, no?’ or ‘Oh, Vivek/Neil/Ramachandra doesn’t like washing the dishes, but I suppose boys will be boys!’ followed by laughter. HMF, I’m curious, do you have any sisters / are you an only child?

    Btw, Dean & Deluca does carry a whole selection of spices including garam masala & tandoori. A better selection, at least in my opinion, than any Indian store in Manhattan. Who wants to trek all the way to Jackson Heights to save a couple of bucks when you can get better quality here?

    Ha, yeah. Because it’s overpriced it must be better quality!

  16. I don’t quite understand what you mean… I thought you were only a few years older than me? & it’s not like I don’t want a guy who is personable and with a steady job (I guess I ain’t nothin’ but a gold-digger after all) ultimately… I just don’t think I’d be able to marry a guy if there weren’t any sparks flying or if I weren’t able to talk to him, solely for his money (as HMF posits that women are wont to do). This isn’t to say that I haven’t seen ‘alpha male’/'queen bee’ divisions among my peers- usually this means that the prettiest girl dates the ‘coolest’ guy, but I think it has more to do with ‘bad boy’ behavior than anything else.

    I am only a few years older than you. What I’m saying is that, the older I get, the more I realize that folks who are just a bit older (6+ years) have more varied expectations of what they want in their relationships and their partners. I think our generation is unique in the increasing number of women (who are in their own right successful) who seek relationships based on partnerships, not relationships based on the guy being the provider or breadwinner. The norms are changing. This explains, in part, why HMF is convinced that women are money-driven while women currently aged 18 – 30 may feel this is a misrepresentation of their own dating/relationship preferences.

    HMF, I wasn’t being sarcastic, but I was being facetious. If we map out what you just wrote, then drive, ambition, and perseverance are necessary conditions to achieve financial success, but they’re not sufficient. That’s all I’m seeing in this back and forth — one side says that they can appreciate guys with qualities X,Y,Z who are not rich, and you’re saying you cannot have X,Y,Z unless you are ALSO rich. I don’t think saying something to that effect makes women, or their preferences, superficial.

  17. But this has nothing to do with legitamite cases of rape! Those are crimes, acts of violence.

    also, HMF, violence is linked to testosterone biologically. and obviously men have more testosterone than women. what do you make of that?

  18. but I still had creepy (yes, creepy) older men using their ‘inherent male visual processing algorithms’ on me. But what I’m saying is that though obviously your eyes may be drawn to a pretty face or a bangin’ booty or whatever, it is entirely within your control whether you want to keep looking or not.

    And how pray-tell do you define creepy? by being old? Anyway, we won’t get into the correlation of creepy/not-good-looking. Likewise, I can say it’s entirely within the female’s control in choosing provocative dress. (again for the misrepresenters out there, I’m not saying a woman’s style of dress grants men carte blanche to grope, rape, assault, etc.. just trying to pre-empt the almost guaranteed fem-aggeration) Because whether you admit it or not, that style of dress (tight clothing, exposed cleavage, short skirts, etc..) is indeed a “sexual message”, transmitting “I am sexy” or “it is beneficial to have sex with me” That’s the underlying message. One cannot selectively choose to send that message to “just the cute guys” and have it not received by the ‘creepy’ one’s as well.

    You’re sending a multicast broadcast message rather than a single point-to-point.

    That’s what I mean by ‘boys will be boys,’ when people use the ‘hardwired’ excuse to excuse their inappropriate behavior. (e.g. a teacher may have an extremely attractive teenage girl in one of his classes that his eyes are drawn to, but it’s ultimately within his control (& it is his responsibility)

    Define inappropriate behavior? if you mean sexually charged comments, whistles, gropes, excessive leering then yes it’s incorrect, but its again not intrinsic male behavior, and incorrect to sweep it away with boys will be boys. But an extended look, more so than “average looking time” – that’s the hardwired algorithms kicking in.

    Besides, a teacher is a special case, it’s his job to teach and there’s a power relationship. Given those preset conditions, yes it’s his responsibility to treat them in an unbiased manner, but that has nothing to do with the choice of dressing provocatively.

    I’ve seen and heard ‘boys will be boys’ to excuse all kinds of behavior that ultimately holds boys less responsible for their actions, for various things

    Well, yes I agree, this is a problem. But its also a double edged sword, guys at a young age are taught not to show emotion, not to show weakness, never to cry, never to ‘complain’ about things, etc…

    The flipside of it, of course, is teaches women that they are more “mature” and “dainty” or whatever, which I’m sure contributes to the before mentioned point I made about women wanting to have their mate selection criteria appear “more sophisticated” or “more mature” If they’re taught they are relatively more mature from age 5, they’ll twist and wriggle words to fit that model, by any means necessary.

  19. I am only a few years older than you. What I’m saying is that, the older I get, the more I realize that folks who are just a bit older (6+ years) have more varied expectations of what they want in their relationships and their partners. I think our generation is unique in the increasing number of women (who are in their own right successful) who seek relationships based on partnerships, not relationships based on the guy being the provider or breadwinner. The norms are changing. This explains, in part, why HMF is convinced that women are money-driven while women currently aged 18 – 30 may feel this is a misrepresentation of their own dating/relationship preferences.

    This is true, but on the other hand there are still more traditionally feminine/masculine relationship dynamics, with things like the woman wanting to be seen as attractive, the man wanting to be told how strong he is, etc. (I don’t think humans will ever change in that regard; we all need our egos assuaged).

  20. women, it’s not your fault. you are naturally wired to be superficial and nurturally (let’s call that a word) taught to be twisty and wriggly liars. but why can’t you just be more like men, who have managed to overcome their genetic compulsions to become moral leaders who are able to bravely denounce rape, why, even sexually charged comments, as inappropriate?

  21. If we map out what you just wrote, then drive, ambition, and perseverance are necessary conditions to achieve financial success, but they’re not sufficient

    Wow Camille, I thought you read a bit more closely.

    if we map out what I wrote, I clearly state drive, ambition and perseverence are necessary conditions for making money when they are geared towards making money, but this doesn’t cover the gamut of drive, ambition and perseverence.

  22. If we map out what you just wrote, then drive, ambition, and perseverance are necessary conditions to achieve financial success, but they’re not sufficient

    by the way I think you meant the opposite. That my position is: drive, ambition, and perseverence is sufficient, but not necessary (as much earlier upthread, I gave counterexamples of being, a lucky dumb f*ck who happens to inherit lots of money).

  23. You’re sending a multicast broadcast message rather than a single point-to-point.

    Sorry about that. I guess my brain just isn’t wired for logical, detailed debate like yours is.

    And how pray-tell do you define creepy? by being old? Anyway, we won’t get into the correlation of creepy/not-good-looking. Likewise, I can say it’s entirely within the female’s control in choosing provocative dress. (again for the misrepresenters out there, I’m not saying a woman’s style of dress grants men carte blanche to grope, rape, assault, etc.. just trying to pre-empt the almost guaranteed fem-aggeration) Because whether you admit it or not, that style of dress (tight clothing, exposed cleavage, short skirts, etc..) is indeed a “sexual message”, transmitting “I am sexy” or “it is beneficial to have sex with me” That’s the underlying message. One cannot selectively choose to send that message to “just the cute guys” and have it not received by the ‘creepy’ one’s as well.

    Look, I’m not talking about clubs/bars/what have you. I’m talking about a girl just trying to get through her day. For a 15-year-old girl who’s thinking about her bio quiz or the cute boy of her own age she would like to pay attention to her, a middle-aged man leering at her on the subway is creepy. As for my argument being a ‘fem-aggeration,’ I think we’re just arguing over semantics here now. Obviously we agree that men are to be held responsible for their actions. But what I’m saying is that many, many people use the ‘men are wired for sex’ argument to try to absolve themselves of any responsibility.

    Define inappropriate behavior? if you mean sexually charged comments, whistles, gropes, excessive leering then yes it’s incorrect, but its again not intrinsic male behavior, and incorrect to sweep it away with boys will be boys. But an extended look, more so than “average looking time” – that’s the hardwired algorithms kicking in.

    Again, we’re arguing over semantics. It’s not intrinsic male behavior, but I have met guys who claim they ‘just can’t help themselves’ but stare (even past the point where they know they’re making a girl uncomfortable) and even grope, and use the ‘it’s our biology!’ excuse.

    Well, yes I agree, this is a problem. But its also a double edged sword, guys at a young age are taught not to show emotion, not to show weakness, never to cry, never to ‘complain’ about things, etc…

    Hey, I agree with you.

  24. women, it’s not your fault. you are naturally wired to be superficial and nurturally (let’s call that a word) taught to be twisty and wriggly liars. but why can’t you just be more like men, who have managed to overcome their genetic compulsions to become moral leaders who are able to bravely denounce rape, why, even sexually charged comments, as inappropriate?

    DL,

    you forgot that most scholarly of terms, “cock-blocking,” as an integral component of the female propensity for constantly lording the advantages of having two X chromosomes over the dateless and righteous XYers (let’s call that a word as well).

  25. Because whether you admit it or not, that style of dress (tight clothing, exposed cleavage, short skirts, etc..) is indeed a “sexual message”, transmitting “I am sexy” or “it is beneficial to have sex with me” That’s the underlying message.

    Ok, this is how men may interpret it. But when a girl dresses this way, she is not always (or even a lot of the time) consciously ‘targeting’ men. Dressing a certain way has more to do with fitting in than anything else. And sometimes the weather is really hot too.

  26. Likewise, I can say it’s entirely within the female’s control in choosing provocative dress. (again for the misrepresenters out there, I’m not saying a woman’s style of dress grants men carte blanche to grope, rape, assault, etc.. just trying to pre-empt the almost guaranteed fem-aggeration)

    Also, ‘provocative’ is relative. In Saudi Arabia, it might mean showing your ankle. In rural Kerala a couple of years ago, it meant wearing baggy shorts. Consider that a woman showing her abdomen while wearing a sari in India isn’t seen as deliberately trying to be provocative, whereas a girl wearing a cropped top showing her abdomen and belly button ring in New York is.

  27. But an extended look, more so than “average looking time” – that’s the hardwired algorithms kicking in.

    wait, wait, can’t believe I missed this before. How exactly do you discern ‘an extended look’ from the ‘leering’ that you condemn?

  28. For a 15-year-old girl who’s thinking about her bio quiz or the cute boy of her own age she would like to pay attention to her, a middle-aged man leering at her on the subway is creepy.

    I agree, as the man can (and should) make a choice not to look (beyond the acceptable visual processing time), the girl (or her parents in this case) can (and should) make a choice to not dress in a way to minimize the potential for these leers. (especially in a day to day situation)

    As for my argument being a ‘fem-aggeration,

    I didnt say yours was fem-agg, rather trying to pre-empt other contributions

    but I have met guys who claim they ‘just can’t help themselves’ but stare (even past the point where they know they’re making a girl uncomfortable)

    On groping, I’m with you, but stare I’m not, especially in a bar/club environment (when that’s obviously the purpose, to garner stares) If a girl is made to feel uncomfortable, she also has a choice to minimize what causes it (even if she believes it’s morally correct that she has no responsibility)

    It’s morally incorrect for people to not come and rob my house, but I lock the door anyway.

  29. It’s morally incorrect for people to not come and rob my house, but I lock the door anyway.

    This is a hilarious analogy. Where’s my chastity belt when I need it?

  30. RE: staring in club/bar environments, I can’t comment.

    I agree, as the man can (and should) make a choice not to look (beyond the acceptable visual processing time), the girl (or her parents in this case) can (and should) make a choice to not dress in a way to minimize the potential for these leers. (especially in a day to day situation)

    This may be difficult for you to understand if you’ve never been a teenage girl or even a woman of any age (I guess I’m pulling the biological sex card here), but no matter what you wear, there’s always some a$$hole who will make you feel violated. Like I said, I spent most of my adolescence covering myself up in baggy clothes (I was ashamed of my body partly because of the ‘power’ it had), but there were still a$$holes who leered, made ‘sexually charged’ comments, and groped.

  31. I am usually a lurker here:) But on this one, I had to comment on the views posted. To some of you, she’s lonely [well, she already admits that] and to some of you, she is materialistic. Again, a third segment wonders how such an arranged marriage can work out. Let me tell you that couple of my female friends who have completed their post-graduation in the US, do indeed think on the lines of ‘sex…err..pre-marital sex is a sin’. They are from Mumbai. I am sure, they do not belong to the majority, but let’s just say they do exist!

    She herself seems to be hailing from well-off background in Mumbai. In NYC, she found a job as a financial consultant. The complaints on her being materialistic gold-digger doesn’t quite fly, does it? I am sure her husband’s parents didn’t find a submissive girl off the Mumbai slums. Enjoying the finer things in life is only human if you can afford.

    Now, on arranged marriage– I have heard tons of people planning to marry for love only and the same ones went the arranged way. The reason varries from failed relationships to a changed mindset on what they believe to be the best fit within a changed context. My own parents had a love marriage, although they are no longer a happy couple – living with each other for the sake of family, society and children. Are there unhappy arranged marriages? Sure, there are lots of them too. My own long-term relationship broke down and the more I see it, I feel he was no longer the man I loved at the beginning and he might be feeling the same way about me. People change, so do their needs.

    What I didn’t like about this article is that she pulled a lot of statements off the air – attending 150 weddings by age 26, leaving sari only after her arrival, loving the Starbuck’s chai as a nice replacement for desi chai…the list goes on.

    Apart from that, I liked the honesty reflected in this article from her point of view regarding her own arranged marriage. Vapid or not, if she likes it, let it be:)

  32. For a 15-year-old girl who’s thinking about her bio quiz or the cute boy of her own age she would like to pay attention to her, a middle-aged man leering at her on the subway is creepy.

    i agree with nala. it is the responsibility of men to avoid being creepy. do not blame women. just follow these simple rules:

    1. be handsome
    2. be successful
    3. be tall
    4. be muscular
    5. do not be unattractive
  33. but no matter what you wear, there’s always some a$$hole who will make you feel violated. Like I said, I spent most of my adolescence covering myself up in baggy clothes (I was ashamed of my body partly because of the ‘power’ it had), but there were still a$$holes who leered, made ‘sexually charged’ comments, and groped

    Comments and Gropes I’m with you, they are incorrect, and shouldn’t be explained away with wiring. I had a friend, where one of her dates asked “to touch her breasts, because they were so nice” I was floored. (DL, have at it with this one, I tailor packaged it for you, I’ll take care not to offend your sensibilities however, blogspace is no place for spitballs laced with hate venom)

    However, looks or ‘leers’ if you call them that, I don’t agree with. Unfortunately, “I felt uncomfortable” is not sufficient criteria to exonerate the female dress code. You’re speaking anecdotally now, so I can’t challenge your particular case.

    I’ve known women that complain that ‘so and so’ was staring at them, then when I tell them to take a look in the mirror and see what they have on, then they wonder why they get looks? And that “so-and-so” that stared, usually isn’t very good looking either.

    This may be difficult for you to understand if you’ve never been a teenage girl or even a woman of any age

    Im sure it is, likewise my points, I’m sure are equally incomprehensible as you’ve never been a teenage boy or man of any age.

  34. We are all little dictators arent we?

    I demand women who like money not be labeled “gold diggers” by all humanity

    I demand women judge a man by the merits of his actions and not his wallet size

    I demand men to never make fun of my body and lack of boobies

    I demand hot women to give my poor ass a chance.

    I demand huamns to envy my husband’s use of cell phone technology.

    and on and on and on.

  35. But when a girl dresses this way, she is not always (or even a lot of the time) consciously ‘targeting’ men. Dressing a certain way has more to do with fitting in than anything else. And sometimes the weather is really hot too.

    Fitting in? can you be more vague? It’s again an exercise in female wordshifting. Fitting in to what? Let me give you an anecdote, I asked my six year old cousin jokingly, “why do girls wear fashion?” (Fashion was her word for “nice clothes”, like salwarz, etc…)

    Her answer: so handsome boys will marry them. Six years old.

    If my six year old cousin can admit it, I’m sure you have the guts to come out and admit the true intent of dressing in such ways. From my experience, you do it (at a gross level) to please us, and at a subtle level (like a blue bracelet vs a red one or whatever, or tying a ribbon vs a scarf) to make other girls jealous.

    Also, ‘provocative’ is relative. In Saudi Arabia, it might mean showing your ankle. In rural Kerala a couple of years ago, it meant wearing baggy shorts. Consider that a woman showing her abdomen while wearing a sari in India isn’t seen as deliberately trying to be provocative, whereas a girl wearing a cropped top showing her abdomen and belly button ring in New York is.

    Ok? so I never said provocative is some kind of absolute standard, only that when it’s practiced (relative to whatever that society deems provocative), it yields the intended results to “provoke”

  36. I had a friend, where one of her dates asked “to touch her breasts, because they were so nice” I was floored. (DL, have at it with this one, I tailor packaged it for you

    hmf, i appreciate the thought, but all you need to do to help me out is just keep talking. for example, when you say:

    I asked my six year old cousin jokingly, “why do girls wear fashion?” (Fashion was her word for “nice clothes”, like salwarz, etc…) Her answer: so handsome boys will marry them. Six years old.

    i have to ask: do you still believe in santa claus and the tooth fairy. (shh… i will let you in on a secret: they don’t exist.)

    and since you are being extra nice to me, i won’t even elaborate on the inherent contradictions on your “theory” of the exquisite interplay between hardwired leering and socialized provocation. with your wonderful constructions, you really should get yourself a daytime talk show on the spike channel to spread the wisdom.

  37. i won’t even elaborate on the inherent contradictions on your “theory” of the exquisite interplay between hardwired leering and socialized provocation

    perhaps because you can’t?

    i have to ask: do you still believe in santa claus and the tooth fairy

    I don’t know what this is supposed to elucidate or even comedically point out? That a child is incapable of intuiting social realities? If you’re not going to make sense thats fine, at least make comedic sense.

  38. Her answer: so handsome boys will marry them. Six years old.

    Are you saying lesbians have no fashion sense?

  39. No Jasmine, lesbians dress attractively to show men what they can’t have (and garner attention) and to make other (straight) women jealous.

  40. Nala,

    You had actually asked about “looking time” there is actually a psychological concept known as “dishabituation” and it works somewhat like this:

    If there is a response to a stimulus (let’s say your co worker has just changed his hair color to purple ), you will respond by looking (or commenting or whatever), now, after repeated instances of this stimulus, the response will be “habituated”, in the sense, it illicit the same level of response. Now, lets say he goes from purple hair to pink, the stimulus has returned the response back to the original level. The “looking time” has increased as a result of dishabituation.

    When women wear certain style of dress, ‘increased looking time’ will only result out of a dishabituation (with respect to whatever’s habitual in that society)… That’s why you have women trying to outdo each other over and over again, and Bill Maher’s joke,

    “If you’re a hooker these days, what do you wear to identify yourself to potential customers?”

    is funny.

    but all you need to do to help me out is just keep talking

    I thought I was just re-proving your hypocrisy by drawing out sarcastic remarks, then watching you coolly slip into “mr serious man on a mission to save all woman hood from the spitball shooter of death” who thoughtfully analyzes how I resort to snarkyness and while not debating the topic on hand.

  41. Jasmine,

    I don’t think the evolution of the joint-family system has anything to do with the scarcity of land. The joint family system is more an effective way of ensuring that property stayed in the family; in fact tax and inheritance law in India is based on the concept of the Hindu Undivided Family(HUF), in other words, the joint-family. Yes, land was a major deteminer, but not because it was scarce. The idea was to consolidate a family’s landholdings and ensure that all male heirs could claim a share of the family property. Like UAE intern explained a few posts ago, I too, wouldn’t overly glorify the traditional arranged marriage that keeps joint families together. Beleive me, arranged marriages actually work against women. Uxoriphobia, or a fear of the wife, is a widespread and well-known feature of Indian family life and is centered around a fear of the new bride’s potential for disrupting existing family relationships by strenthening her sexual bond with the husband. In fact, the friction witnessed in ‘saas-bahu’ relationship is an offshoot of the joint-family’s attempt to weaknen the sexual/erotic bond between a newly married couple in order to preserve the stability of the larger family unit. I’m assuming that you have never experienced life as a woman in a joint family, which is why you have such a nostalgic fondness for it. I am not denying the fact that life in a joint family can be frequently secure, emotionally rich and fulfilling for most of its members, but only if they individual are willing to subsume their identity and assume the collective identity of the family. Needless to say, autonomy and self-determination are pretty impossible for women to achieve in such a milieu. If you are genuinlely interested in understanding the psycho-sexual underpinnings of the Indian family, try reading Sudhir Kakar’s Intimate Relations, or any of his other books, for that matter. According to him, sexual relations in India are often based on hostility and ambivalence, arising from the anti-sexual nature of most Hindu traditions (Example: the Smritis, Upanishads and the Puranas). According to the more orthodox Hindu scriptures, married sex is only acceptable if procreation is a goal, and then too only on certain days of the month — little wonder then, that the sexual bond between husbands and wives has been so fragile and frowned upon. All this means that Hinduism’s official view of women celebrates their maternal aspect and denigrates and vilifies their identities as sexual beings — hardly very empowering as far as women as concerned.
    HMF, please stop ranting and raving about all women being gold-diggers. If this is so, and knowing how pervasive and destructive the dowry system has proved to be in India, what conclusions should one draw about men in the old country? Sexism masquerading as evolutionary biology/psychology is old hat. Most researchers in the field would not support the sort of sweeping generalizations that you have been making here, and I’m sure you know that.

  42. it illicit the same level of response.

    should read “it doesn’t illicit the same level of response”

  43. Oh, BTW, Dean & DeLuca does carry lots of spices. I’ve seen them in the store. She may buy them there for reasons of convenience, even if cheaper elsewhere. I have developed a bad case of “40th floor envy,” though, while reading through these comments!

  44. HMF – its elicit, not “illicit”… different word, different meaning…

    it happens to the best of us!

  45. HMF – its elicit, not “illicit”… different word, different meaning…

    damn homonyms. I screw up iminent and eminent also