After a conversation on the dire state of my love life, my friend Jess suggested letting my friends introduce me to nice single men they knew.
Now, coming from an Indian family I am no stranger to the idea of relationship introductions. My Dad showed me a picture of my future husband when I was 11.
The image of a fat boy ramming an ice-cream into his mouth, as if it was the cure for ugly, made me burst into tears. As it turned out, he wasn’t my betrothed, but some random child who had wandered into the shot.
The arranged marriage ‘gag’ had been born. It would plague me all the way to adulthood.
Initially, there were some golden opportunities for a laugh. Like when my Dad signed me up to Shaadibride.com, an Indian dating website. We would sift through the applicants, who neither cared that I was an agnostic, nor that I drank and smoked.
“They’re desperate!” My dad would cry, laughing. Cheers, Dad.
But the fun would always be short lived. My dad’s thinly veiled desire to see me married to a nice, Indian boy always came out when an eligible candidate appeared. In this case it was a doctor, offering to fly me out to Frankfurt for a date. Then all I’d hear was:
“Why do you hate your people? Give him a chance!”
The doctors always made him crack.
Things haven’t changed. Only last month my Dad was waxing lyrical about the neighbourhood watch officer who had come to give him property stickers. Before him, it was the Olympian flautist he’d met at a wedding back home (playing fast and loose with the word Olympian there, Dad).
Occasionally, my mum will take over and dish out dating advice straight from the 30s.
No, I can’t keep quiet until the wedding day, mum. I don’t want to be a secretary and try to marry my boss. I will not learn to ‘talk nicely’ with ‘boys’. Thanks anyway.
They’re more bothered by me being single than I am.
I can only imagine that the sound of my biological clock ticking away like The Tell-tale Heart, is driving them to madness.
This is probably why I avoid any kind of spinstervention. Historically, they have ended in disappointment. My dad remains optimistic though. He still insists I don’t stand directly in front of the microwave in case I fry my eggs.
Hope never dies.