The exterior of Park 51—you may know it from scandalized media reports as “The Ground Zero Mosque”—didn’t look promising.
Park 51 was supposed to be a 13-story community center featuring cultural programming, classes, and a fitness center. But after several romantic disappointments and increased parental pressures, I’m beginning to accept that life would be better if I could find a culturally compatible mate.
” When I ask my mom to resolve that contradiction, she says stuff like “Allah knows best” and “It is already written.” When I snarkily retort that I should rest and live my life until it happens, my mom insists that I need to put in the work.
Currently this means subscribing to sites like Single Muslim.com, attending mixers, or fielding e-mails from different aunties in the community with photos and “biodata” of their suggestions.
They reject me because I’m not skinny or tall or traditional enough. Going to public school made gender segregation difficult to enforce.
Working with a boy on a school project always required an explanation.
In that time, I’d have to extract enough information about them to determine if they had husband potential. With two or three physically attractive, well-dressed exceptions, these guys just weren’t my type. One or two walked out before the evening’s activities had begun. I sat in my traditional clothes and looked up at my parents, my face burning red with embarrassment.
There’s also the alternative track: a “love marriage,” in which two people meet, fall in love, and marry without any assistance or interference from their families.
Usually, I forward out the potential suitors to my four closest friends— collectively known as “The Committee for the Arranged Marriage of Sadia Latifi (CAMSL)”—to weigh in on the selection.
I reject guys who are too overweight or short or boring. Still, I’m more studied at the process of co-ed communication than most.
When we arrived, I signed an ominous waiver promising not to ask for a refund no matter the outcome of the event. I was also the only one dressed in a traditional Pakistani the invitation suggested business attire, but my mother insisted, and I deferred to her superior knowledge of arranged-marriage etiquette. One of the organizers kicked the whole thing off by telling us to smile and be nice, even if we weren’t enthusiastic about the person we were chatting with. The crew spent the rest of the time videotaping our backs. ” After an hour of small talk, the women were instructed to sit in a row of plastic chairs while the men settled across from us. She mouthed the words, “I know, I know.” The dating was about to begin. When you’re a kid, you’re taught that Muslims don’t date and that boys and girls should stop forming close bonds with each other after puberty.
She also informed us that a camera crew from Lisa Ling’s , a show on the OWN network, would be filming the event for an upcoming episode. To break the ice, we separated into small groups to discuss a few open-ended prompts like “A man’s job is to bring in the dough. Then you graduate college and your mom says, “Why aren’t you married yet?
Tall, lean, and sporting a soul patch I would have to remove later, Amir worked for the government and lived in the D. We bantered easily, exchanging printouts of our quick bios to scan and search for conversational topics. We both enjoyed arts and culture, and we loved city life.