American Muslims: The Politics of Dating

Continued from page 1

But, I was upset that this issue wasn't taken more seriously. What I mean is that we American Muslims should be talking about how we can solve this issue, not about fasting and marrying at the age of sixteen. So I had what my brother calls a "spaz" and let my feelings known over the Internet.



I wrote in a huff that I thought this topic was really important for a bunch of reasons that I hadn't coherently organized as yet. First of all, it would have been silly for me to get married as soon as I realized I was attracted to men. In the Prophet's time, 1,400 years ago in Arabia, people married around the age of fifteen anyway because they only expected to live to their mid-30s. Second, I want to marry a Muslim and have Muslim kids, yet most of the Muslim boys I met socially and actually had a chance to get to know were "players." I don't think their primary interest was marriage. Third, I wasn't meeting nice Muslim boys who weren't interested in premarital sex because at every event I went to at a mosque, where there might be such boys, we were segregated by gender! So what is a young Muslim girl to do?



Especially when, fourth, I had noticed that many young Muslim women I knew who had dated and had premarital sex with Muslims and non-Muslims were now marrying nice Muslim men. They became acquainted with these boys by dating them, and now they're marrying them. Good girls like me were, as Tom Petty once sang, "sitting home with broken hearts" and had little prospect of a marriage we'd be pleased with. Furthermore, some of the players, who were the children of immigrant Muslims usually, would eventually ask their mothers to find them nice girls from their home country, not girls like me who were supposedly already corrupted by American life.



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I had a few more thoughts that I didn't add, but my frustration was evident. I'm not yet ready to get married, but why shouldn't I develop relationships, maybe not more than friendship or dating without sex (if that's possible), that could develop into marriage? Why do I have to live like a nun with no companionship until I consent to an arranged marriage? Especially when many Muslim boys are dating and having sex with non-Muslim women because the community doesn't come down as hard on them. Many Muslims have a double standard in disciplining girls versus disciplining boys on such matters. Why should I marry young to fulfill desires but risk my education and career for a family? Furthermore, why is arranged marriage a viable alternative? I'm supposed to marry any boy who charms my parents enough?



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