Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happily Ever After

Looking for a spouse through internet dating is like looking for shells on a beach in the morning. There are hundreds of them, all interesting and pretty, some are crab parts that look like shells, but there are only a few that really catch your attention.

If you type Muslim dating websites on Google, you will find thousands of sites and if you leave the Muslim part out, you will find even more, that advertise you finding your soul mate. There are sites to meet millionaires, disabled people, married people and if you have any other fetish, I’m sure it’s out there somewhere in cyberspace.

As I looked for my shells, I found myself on the internet constantly. I was sick of staring at a computer screen but I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to see who showed interest in me or who sent me messages. But after a couple of weeks all the interaction died down (which I expected). And when I logged on and saw no action, I was disappointed. For the first time I realized the allure of ‘dating’. It was exciting to meet new guys, who were completely different to the last one I spoke to. And the international guys always had the best stories. The high of finding ‘the one’ was much more exciting than actually finding him. Which left me with a very big question, can you really find a partner on the internet?

The thing is that your profile is one dimensional. It’s no better than a piece of paper with information or stats on it. A person’s height, weight, ethnicity (which they even have mixed as an option, whoo hoo for the mixed breeds!!) is placed on view in an attempt for people to find a common ground which might spark interest and then conversation. To add to the statistics the description of yourself, so that it can help the reader find out more about you and the description of what you’re looking for, to describe your intentions on the site, try to give a better picture of who you are. All good and well…in theory.

The whole idea of a Muslim woman looking for a husband denotes a certain level of desperation in ‘modern’ society. If she is seen on a website, it complicates things even more because in Islam, women are not suppose to be put on ‘display’. And there is no bigger display than on the internet. It is this idea that I think is the major reason for many of the girls that are on the dating sites, (especially to not to complete their profile, leaving only essential details, and not adding a picture to their profile. The problem with this is that males are highly visual creatures. If they don’t see it, they don’t believe it. And if they do talk a girl without a picture, it’s because he has talked to all the girls with pictures already and lost interest or he already made a picture of the faceless girl in his head from the information that she gave.

The guys are no better. Women tend to be less visual. I am not saying that women are not lured by good looks. All the good looking guys I saw, I showed interest in, even if they didn’t speak English. But in reality I knew that that was more of an indulgence than a possibility. Most of the time us women tend to rely on the description of the man. Men, especially in South Africa don’t fill in all the detail that they should, especially who they are, and what they are looking for. Some men (mostly international) show how much they earn, which I have to relate to some primal instinct of theirs to demonstrate that they can take of the girl (which I actually find sweet). And if they do put a description down, they spend three sentences describing themselves and the rest of the 20 describing what they want. And the WORST mistake of all that guys make, is in writing…I’m looking for a beautiful girl. Some release how shallow this sounds and add both inside and out. Now gentleman. Please take my advice today. If EVER a woman responds to something like this, she is saying one of two things. She is either conceited and thinks that she is beautiful (which in my experiences means that she actually looks the opposite) or she wants you to think that she is beautiful, but in reality she knows it’s a lie. So you have a choice between a girl who is conceited or a liar. Mmm…which one will you choose?*Sarcastic tone*

In both cases, this is very bad. Because as humans we are multifaceted and a person’s perception is rarely ever reality. What is beauty anyway? Is it not defined by the eye of the beholder? Put that together with the fact that people are not honest to themselves let alone to other people, the situation can become very complex.

We use a one dimensional description to describe something that is multidimensional. The reader often uses his or her own experience to interpret what they are seeing and reading. For example, they use their own scale to define what is beautiful or what is ‘good’, in the I want a good person description. But it does not matter how much description you give or how many questions you answer. Nothing can prepare you for seeing someone’s manners. A girlfriend of mine described this guy who was prince charming on the phone, but once she went out for coffee with him, he was untidy. Messing sugar all over the table and being rude to the waitress. This to her was a big no no, because she valued respect and manners higher than anything.

Likely, all my meetings have not been that bad, but paying for the coffee as well as giving the guy a lift back to his house, in my book is a huge no no. Not because I didn’t sympathize with his broke situation, but because I think if you really liked a girl, you would not want her to know things like that about you. Needless to say, I haven’t found a partner yet. But, I have learned a lot about guys and people in general.

The one thing I learned is that as a Muslim, we are very aware that nothing happens without the will of the Almighty. I know someone who never went anywhere in his whole life. He would always sit at home, with his father. And how did he meet his wife? She moved in, next door to him. So the whole putting yourself out there thing…in my opinion (while it can be fun at times) is a lie. If you are meant to get married, you will. It will not happen a second earlier or later than God wills it to.

So after all that, I ask again. Can you find a partner in internet dating? I think yes. The key is how we go about doing it. Here is a couple of things that I learned:

  1. Always fill in every single inch of the questions that are posed by the site. They do it for a reason. Trust them.
  2. HONESTY. No sense is filling your profile with a lies.
  3. For women, put the best picture you have on the internet. Besides the pouting sex kitten. Don’t worry about your neighbor’s aunties, cousin that might see you and think you desperate. The world is a different place than it was a couple of years ago, and this might be safer than accepting any creep that gives you his number in Mr. Price.
  4. For Men, DO NOT say you want a beautiful woman! Describe qualities that you think is beautiful. And if you want someone that is physically beautiful, then describe those too. And good luck with that. Two seconds on your shelf, and both you and her will be fishing in the married and looking sites, oh and keep the what your wearing questions for after the wedding
  5. Look at your profile and ask yourself, if this had to be an opposite sex’s profile, would you take the time to read it? Would you be interested?
  6. Meet as quickly as possible. If you chat to someone nice on Monday, meet them the Saturday, and if they can’t make it. Move on. Because your imagination will run away with you, and any chance s/he might have had is lost. Because no one can compete with your imagination.
  7. Ladies…always take someone with you no matter how big his beard is. Get them to sit at a table in eye sight of you, and try not to show that you know them. No decent guy would like to know that he is being watched by your uncle. If you don’t have a guy you can trust, take more than one girlfriend. Never let your date see what car you drive. Once your date is over… have a meeting spot with your friends, walk around awhile, then leave. MOST importantly…pray, and always trust your instincts.
  8. This one is difficult, but NEVER give all your contact info. Don’t give your facebook, gmail chat, cell number, email and home number. That’s just stupid. Choose one, and only give your number right before you meet. If they find you on FB without your permission. Accept, then block as soon as possible. You can always explain, and unblock at a later stage. Besides no one likes a stalker, and with FB’s new settings, they can add all your friends, before you get a chance to get to know the freak in them, and you blocking them will not help, because they can ask your friends about you, without you knowing.
  9. I don’t like the idea of lying about your name. I feel like, I liked a Muhammed, I want a Muhammed, not an Ebrahim. Simple solution for FB stalking…don’t sign up with your surname.
  10. Don’t try and find your husband or wife. Get to know the person. And then decide if this person will be a good partner for you. Because often, our idea of what is good for us, and what really is good for us is different. Physical chemistry, how you feel when your around that person…comfortable, excited, disgusted…is what counts 90% of the decisions we make. Even if we don’t admit it.

In life, you just never know. For years and years, you can go on, doing the same thing and then one day your life has changed forever. The key thing I think is to make sure that you are okay. Think of it this way, would you walk into a shop and buy something that is broken? No you wouldn’t. No matter how beautiful it is. It is the same thing with people. Nobody wants someone who is broken. People go through shit every day, its what makes us strong, unique even. But you want to know that the person your interested in has learned from his hardships, and is not defined by it. If your still hurting, if your still broken. Fix yourself before you go and look for a wife or husband. In my experience you get exactly what you are.

So from all the guys I have attracted, the one thing I have learned is that I need to fill my kitchen, before I go and invite people for supper.


Azra said...

I can tell that you typed this out in 10 minutes :) But you're kwaai like that.

Definitely one of the best posts I've read from you.

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

You're a brave and sensible girl.

KiLLa said...

Do you think the older generation will approve of these 'girl-finding' methods..

Like will your parents be kewl if you tell em you found somoen on the internet ?

Love this post btw

KiLLa said...

*tagged for post of the month segment

Trinity said...

@ Azra, more like 5 :)

@Saaleha, I am sure, one day I'm going to say...'why did I do that?'

@Killa, I think its important to note that there is a difference between having a cyber-relationship and using cyberspace as a tool to meet people. I think the older generation's match maker (you know that aunty that knows everyone and your mother calls to tell her your looking), has basically been replaced by internet dating. Cyber-relationship…not so much.

My parents knew about my exploits and were actually very happy about it.

KiLLa said...

My father once came home with a printout saying i should register with "these guys".. It was hilarious.. I thik i blogged about the experience sometime back..

I meant it in a tool-using way.. Cyber relationships are just sad if not sick.. I would neva have a relationship with someone i havent met..

I agree to it being a tool.. U can meet someone.. FOllow protocol to get to know them.. Go for coffee etc or whateva it is people do these days..

I dont think my parents would be to chuffed about it tho.. It would be a frowned upon event.. Like using a Macbook.. However i think if u explain it to them correctly, it will sell..

Trinity said...

I think it goes back to that whole, Muslim women are not suppose to be on display thing...and if they are then they must be like 'loose' or something.

This can never be used for the research, but I did try, creating a different profile, and trying an 'online relationship', the problem was that I couldn’t lie straight, every time the guy asked me something, I told the truth, even giving him the link to this that didn’t work out too great!

Waseem said...

I think you are right that there is no point in looking really because only once Allah wills for you to find someone will you find them. Sometimes you can't help it though.

Really great point on the imagination thing as well.

I also agree with Saaleha, you are very brave and sensible girl.

Trinity said...

@Waseem …well my sensibility just failed now. I just a got a message from one of the guys that I spoke to and gave him the link (that was not very sensible). And guess what he tells me? That I'm male bashing...does anyone agree with him? Sorry for the inconvenience my changes has caused anyone...its so that I don't get people shitting all over my stuff right now ;)

saveyoursoul said...

Great post girl. Love the shell analogy.

KiLLa said...

I linked this post here...

Hope you dont mind


Lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trinity said...

Dear Lucid,
I am an academic at heart and profession even though my spelling (due to laziness) might indicate otherwise. I don’t really respond to blobs of shit that is left as a comment s but I feel the need to respond to yours.

Firstly, Facebook is officially a social networking site. is an official dating site. However a person chooses to use Facebook is up to them. I for one do not use it as a dating site. It was not part of my research because on a dating site everyone knows why they are there; on FB the reasons are often hidden.

Your comment was that“once you get married you will find out all sorts of things you didn't know, whether you like it or not!” Like I have said, in previous posts…that there are things about your partner that they hide during the courtship that you only find out once you are committed to them.

Flinging sugar all over the table and being rude to a waitress is not one of them. This says that ‘if s/he can act like this is public, what is s/he like in private?’

I am not your sister, and if I was, you would know how to make an argument.

This is my research, observation and opinions. You don’t have to agree with it. But its mine!

Azra said...

“once you get married you will find out all sorts of things you didn't know, whether you like it or not!”

Lets all take a moment to sympathise with Lucid's unfortunate state of affairs. When people have serious marital problems, it often has a way of filtering into other areas of their lives.

Jennifer Innes said...

Excellent post. Full of wisdom. :)

Trinity said...

Thanks Jennifer ;)