Meet the Patels

Just saw Meet the Patels at a recent film festival–good stuff.  It’s a familiar topic, but with an entertaining perspective that I think readers (do I have any readers?  a reader?  bueller?) of this blog might appreciate.  The film favors humor over a comprehensive treatment of arranged marriage’s complicated dynamics, so it stays light yet thought-provoking.  Check it out when it hits your city or PBS in the next few months.

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Which Pantone color is Wheatishbrown?

This is truly beautiful–a celebration of all of our colors.

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Fuck you, cosmetics industry

Which Major Cosmetic Brands Say White Skin Is More Beautiful and Perfect Than Dark Skin? All of Them.

Full article here.

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The base of the totem pole

OKCupid has published some very interesting studies based on the analysis of a massive collection of data-mined information. This one is a couple of years old–a study of how your race affects response rates on OKCupid. I’ll let you read the results yourself, but the relevant findings (at least for myself and this blog) are:

  • Of all the races, Indian dudes get the lowest percentage of responses from the ladies (all races)
  • Of all the races, Indian women get amongst the highest percentage of responses from the dudes (all races)
  • Of all the races, Indian women respond the least frequently to Indian dudes.
  • Of all the races, Indian men respond the most frequently to Indian ladies.

Brown sisters, where’s the love?

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Move on, crackah

In today’s inbox from a “very fair” complexion girl from down under:

Not interested in marriage, however interested in getting to know someone, preferably of pale complexion, and relatively well-educated. And hopefully someone who can dance without knocking me out. It would be good if you could sing \”salaam-e-ishq\”.

if you are looking for someone of pale complexion, go check out j-date (or any of the other dating sites). what are you doing scoping out guys on shaadi.com. brown people are….brown.

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Brown fetishists?

OK…maybe fetishist is a bit strong, but I’ve been getting a lot of “matches” sent to me from shaadi.com that appear to come from white women.  Racial dynamics and dating have always been interesting (baffling?) to me–but I might say that there are two types of white women: those who don’t date brown guys, and those who exclusively date brown guys (brown in the general sense, and maybe not exclusively, but at least significant over-representation of men of color in their dating past).  Don’t believe me?  Search the w4m personals on craigslist for “indian” and you’ll get hits that fall into one of these categories:

  • I like indian food
  • Do not contact me if you are indian

So I’m curious to know what someone is trying to achieve with a shaadi.com profile [ very fair skin, mother tongue is English] that says this:

Hi I am a lady looking to marry a rich and traditional indian boy, feel free to reply me.
Thank You

Hmmm…

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BadIndianGirl.com

Now this is the kinda girl I can get down with.

Unfortunately, she’s a shame to her IT-gifted people–fix them links, girl!

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Now I ain’t sayin she’s a gold digger…

In today’s inbox–apparently a match for me:

I’m beautifully perfect – that’s all you need to know, really about me.

What I’m looking for in a mate: he must be tall, dark, and handsome, confident, with a sizable bank account.

I guess I appreciate the honesty, but I’m curious to know if she really expects any hits on that one.

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Words of Advice

My parents just went to the wedding of a family friend.  Afterward, my dad sent me this e-mail:

Hi
You all just might wonder how [family friend] found his soul mate, [family friend’s wife]. He was looking for a loan for his business, and went to [bank in our home town] in town. talked to the loan officer, got the loan and a DATE. and yesterday on july 24, they got married.
moral of the story, to [me]: go and get a loan.
love
achan

It’s that easy, people!

UPDATE: Comment from my brother-in-law:

That’s a whole different level of usury, right there…

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Awkward!

So my parents started this online adventure on keralamatrimony.com.  At first, the profile ID they created was my last name–hell no!  I told them not to put any personally identifying info on there–my dad says “it’s my last name, not yours”.

So they changed it to “gopinathan”.  Who the hell is gopinathan?  My parents just made it up.  No good, I say–names are important and gopinathan ain’t my name.

So they switched over to shaadi.com and used my mom’s name + their wedding year as the profile ID.  That would be Shyamala69.  Sixty-nine.  Hello ladies, we’re looking for a girl for our son.  He’s a woman.  A slutty woman.

I find this out and call my dad to explain the many ways this is wrooong.

Achan: Have you heard of M. Knight Shyamalan?

Me: Yes.

Achan: He’s a man.  “Shyamala” is ok–it’s not just a girl’s name.

Me: That’s M. Knight Shyamalan.  And that’s not the problem.  Do you know what a “69” is?

Achan: No.

Me: Well….uhh….

I’ll spare you the uncomfortable details of the rest of the conversation.  Good news, though, my profile ID is nice, generic, and doesn’t portray me as a slutty woman.

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One in A Billion

Looks like someone is making a film of their own brown little marriage-seeking adventure.  Check it out on Sepia Mutiny.

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Better than being in the Platinum Club

Saw this from a “match” sent to me–a flight attendant from the UK:

im naturally beautiful, am looking for true love in a man, who likes beautiful women. i hope to be accepted by future husband and to live in happiness in any country of their choice. i want man who has muscles, and macho type, who will be good enough for my class of looks. after marriage you may fly in first class. hoping to love you soon, [name redacted].

Now those are some perks I can get down with!

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Pounding the pavement

So my folks aren’t just scoping out potential wives on the internet–they’ve been hitting the streets too.  An e-mail from my dad after they went to a wedding:

Hi monu
here we are in [podunk city name redacted], we already attended a vietnamese wedding and pre-wedding celeb. the things we were looking for you were very rare. some were good looking, but as they got closer, they started becoming older. most of the times, they were followed by a guy with a baby in his hand. so far no luck. sunday there will be bigger crowd, we will see.

how are you doing?
that is all for now. hope to talk to you soon, and see you soon.
take care, amma [mom] says love to you.
love,
achan

That’s ok, Achan, I dig older women too.

Ha, apparently, my dad has enlisted the help of other friends & family in this project.  And, apparently, these other dudes are quite enjoying keeping their eyes open for single Indian women.

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Oh. My. God. Becky.

An e-mail from my dad (no doubt, with calculator in hand):

Hi Monu [that kind of means “boy” or “son”]:

I was going thru to see who all have been going thru your profile. One is a girl [profile name redacted], who 5′-3″ and 152 kgs. how much is that in pounds?, 334.4 pounds.?

Or was it a typo?

love
achan [dad]

That’s ok, Achan, I can dig a girl with some meat on her bones.

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Subservient woman looking for dominating husband

Another excerpt from a “match” sent to me:

I want a boyfriend caring and understanding, I move to accept the parents of my husband, and I obey him above all.

So for you dudes looking for a wife/maid and are hoping to save a dime on a retirement home for your parents, here’s the one.  As for me, I’ll pass.

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Looking for a dahktorr

So I’m getting updates from shaadi.com about potential matches now.  Here’s an excerpt from one of my “matches”:

Born and brought up in USA, looking for US citizen, good looking, tall, well educated person. Please responde only US citizen physicians…

I’m generalizing, but male Indian doctors are in hot demand–at least in the eyes of girls’ parents.  I crashed an AAPI (American Association of Physicians of India Origin) conference a few years ago–that place was crawling with Indian girls looking for physician husbands.

So according to this ad, all of us from janitors to lawyers–move along, you ain’t good enough for this girl.

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Tamil American man seeks wife

So my officemate has been traveling to Malaysia to work with a factory where apparently a lot of South Indians work.  He threatened to put up this [mostly inaccurate] sign in the factory for me:

Hello,

I was born in Kerala and moved to the United States when I was 3 years old.  I am now 30 and am the President of an Engineering firm and living in [the city that I live] in a 3-bedroom apartment.

I have a car, a motorcycle, and a granite block.  I would be a very good Husband, although I am afraid of spiders, even small plastic ones.

I am looking for a wife who is:
•    Tamil
•    Can hold her weed
•    Not  some fucking psychopath

Please email me if you are interested in marriage.

Surprisingly, no hits in my inbox yet.

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Why “Wheatish brown”?

Well…for those who are not in the know, a little background…

Just like dating sites such as match.com and OKCupid.com, us brown folks have matrimonial sites like shaadi.com (shaadi is sanskrit for wedding). The difference is that these are matrimonial sites, not dating sites.  I’d say that shaadi.com makes eharmony.com look like craigslist’s casual encounters.  Frequently the profiles are put up by the parents of the marriage-seeker.  In the brown community, this isn’t so odd–I’ve got tons of otherwise eligible friends whose parents have put up profiles for them.

And just like other dating sites, the matrimonial sites have offensively superficial criteria by which to categorize, filter, and sort prospective mates…income, education, age, religion, etc.  But we’ve got our own cultural contributions to add.  Things like caste, which we say is a relic of the past, but these damn matrimonial sites still enable caste prejudice by including it in your profile.  And equally offensive is skin color.  Us brown folks span the spectrum in skin color…and sadly, too many of us are hung up on the color of one’s skin.  The matrimonial sites give you the option to select options like “fair”, “wheatish brown”, “dark”, etc.

Anyhow, my folks put me down for wheatish brown.  And I’ve come to learn that wheatish brown is what you indicate when you are dark, but to ashamed to admit it.  I’ve asked them to fix this (’cause I’m dark, dammit!), but this is their little project, not mine.

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