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Trials and Tribulations of Dating While Sikh

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by spnadmin, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    The trials and tribulations of dating while Sikh

    http://thelangarhall.com/general/the-trials-and-tribulations-of-dating-while-sikh/#more-11365

    A young Singh in the UK has been in the spotlight the last few days after his appearance on a dating television show called “Take Me Out.” I just heard about it a show on BBC Radio 1 hosted by Nihal, which you can listen to in its entirety here. Nihal speaks with Param, the dating show contestant, and takes comments from listeners, who discuss Param’s appearance on the show and more generally whether turban-wearing Sikh men are discriminated against when it comes to dating and marriage. As you’ll see in the clip below, as soon as Param comes out, 20 of the 30 women turn their lights off, indicating no interest in him. One woman who left her light on said she is interested in him because she could use Param’s turban to store her phone.

    I recommend checking out Nihal’s discussion on the BBC especially starting at around 44:00 into the show if you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing. One caller named Jasminder asserts that when Param came down, it became more like a comedy show and less like a dating show given how the women and audience reacted. He continues that turban-wearing men often feel invisible to women, not literally, but “when it comes to actually going out with someone.”

    Something about this discussion hit home for me. Back in 2011, I discussed some of my challenges when it came to dating and insecurity in my post about dharis:

    I was inundated with the voices of young women in my school casually referring to facial hair as gross or unattractive (with no intention to hurt my feelings I’m sure) and their preference for guys who were “clean-shaven.”

    CLEAN-shaven. The implication being that facial hair is…dirty?

    These are the messages we get from our peers and from the media every day. So naturally I assumed it was highly unlikely that any of my female classmates would ever be interested in dating someone like me. The combination of a dirty face plus a patka was enough to cause a whole lot of anxiety and insecurity for this angsty teenage Singh.

    The discussion on the BBC program resonated with many thoughts and questions that often swirl around in my head when it comes to the topic of dating for me, and perhaps other turban-wearing Sikh males:

    When insecurities creep up in my current romantic life, how much is it a product of the insecurity I felt as a young patka-wearing child who was bullied in school? Feeling like an outcast for most of one’s life most certainly takes a toll, even if the ways it manifests are more subtle in our adulthood. I’m no psychologist, but internalized oppression is very real, and as a community we probably need to take more concrete steps to address it, to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, as Bob Marley put it.

    Is “success” in dating for us directly linked to our level of self-confidence and self-love, or will there always be real barriers/biases/obstacles for us because of our kesh, dharis, and dastars? Let’s be real. Turbans and beards don’t exactly epitomize the desired male in the west or even in South Asia for that matter. Of course, many would never consider dating me/us as a result. I’ve found that many people, even South Asians and people from Sikh backgrounds, make all sorts of assumptions as soon as they see my khuli dhari and my turban, especially if they also learn I don’t drink. I must be someone who is extremely “religious” (a term that carries a lot of baggage), someone who is very “serious,” probably not “fun,” and certainly not attractive in the romantic sense. Of course I wouldn’t want to date anyone who is so quick to judge in this way either, but the reality is nevertheless frustrating. I suspect it operates in much more subtle ways too.

    Is it a growing trend for women from Sikh backgrounds to not want to date men who keep their kesh? This issue came up on the BBC program as well, and I’m not actually sure what the reality of the situation is. I have certainly observed Sikh women who see turban-wearing Singhs as more like brothers and less like someone to date, but is this really becoming the norm? Desire is a complicated thing, something that is deeply shaped by the society we live in. It’s clear that people in North America and the UK are not exactly socialized to find Sikh men attractive, so I’m sure that plays a role in who Sikh women in the diaspora find attractive. But as paghs and untrimmed/unshaved dharis become less fashionable in Punjab (and India in general), perhaps our own community is also socializing heterosexual women away from being attracted to keshdhari Sikh men. Of course it goes the other way too, with keshdhari and even amritdhari Sikh men having no interest in Sikh women who don’t shave or otherwise remove their body hair. (A friend has been doing some fascinating research on the subject, which I hope she’ll share on TLH some time). Strangely enough, I must confess that to date, I have never been in a romantic relationship with a Sikh woman, and not due to any conscious decision of my own. It’s hard to say exactly what this is about and how much of it relates to this trend, but it is worth noting.

    In writing this, I am mostly interested in opening up a conversation. What have your experiences and observations been? In some Sikh spaces, conversations about dating at all (and dating itself) are taboo, which only exacerbates these sorts of problems. For Sikh readers of all genders and sexual orientations, have you noticed differences in your experiences dating Sikhs and non-Sikhs, desis and non-desis? What barriers have you faced or what suggestions do you have?

    In the end, while I am sure my Sikh identity has limited the dating pool for me (not to mention fueled my insecurities, especially at a younger age), I can say with confidence that I have never sensed any lack of attraction to me from a partner based on my turban and/or beard. This is to say, of course, that many people indeed do find dharis — even khuli dharis — and paghs attractive.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    #2 spnadmin, Jan 9, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  4. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    90% of my dating was carried out before I cut my hair. If anything I had more success with my turban, having said all that, it works both ways.

    I think two very spiritual people would be unconcerned about whether their partner was clean shaven, or wore earings, I think they would be more concerned about whether they were spiritually compatible, whether they could both as a unit, express their love for Creator and do Creators work.

    As for two not very spiritual people, who just happen to look like Sikhs, who cares.....

    its all a compromise rather than a lifestyle.
     
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  5. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    If it helps at all....

    I was born and raised in the West (Canada) and I PREFER Sikh men WITH their beards and turbans :) Of course my own fear is that said turban-wearing kesh-keeping Sikh guys would not be attracted to a Gori (so I have my own issues, especially now that I also do not cut my own kesh anymore... how many guys actually like their women to have leg and underarm hairs??)

    So don't give up guys!
     
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  6. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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  7. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    I know many men that find hairy legs on a woman quite repulsive !!!!!
     
  8. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Exactly, and kesh is kesh right?? ... so we have the same issue as you guys... only we can hide it a bit more under clothing. A beard kind of stands right out there...

    I made the decision to not cut any more hairs when I made the decision to follow Sikhi. I plan to do Amrit in the next few years so I want to add the 5 K's one by one over time, so that they will be easier to keep rather than doing everything at once. Kesh was the easiest to start with because I didn't need anything but myself and the decision to stop cutting them. I have not had any bad experiences at all... mind you I am not naturally very hairy at all either.

    Honestly I never understood why women had to conform to this North American ideal anyway of being shaven to the point of having the body of a young girl... there is absolutely no reason behind it - except for looks?? Because it's what everyone else does?? I found out that it was a razor company that started the whole thing in the early 1900's when skirts started to shorten. They did it only to make money... Prior to that all women had leg hairs.
     
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    #7 Harkiran Kaur, Jan 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  9. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    It is not only women who adopted certain ideals.200 years ago men of different part of world had choice to wear what they want , how to keep their hair and what to do with facial hair.In last 100 years the only accepted image of men is a clean shaven man with pant shirt coat with short hair.No other image is acceptable to world as gentleman


    Here is Pic from UN

    Only 1 man without coat and he too is wearing pant

    [​IMG]

    Only 1 man without coat and he too is wearing pant

    I can understand countries which were colonised started copying west but i never understand why countries like China which were never colonised abandoned their clothes.What is so great in coat pant , shirt that the men around entire world discovered it in last 100 years lol.
     
  10. BlazinSikh

    BlazinSikh
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    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh!

    The question is what does dating mean to you? I mean does datings mean the same thing as it does to most people today, just another collection of boyfriend/girlfriend in your life, does dating help your urge of hormones, so you can just have endless sex, so you can look "cool" in front your fellow peer (people that you will forget as time moves on).

    For someone who has never dated, i personally i see dating as way for people to get to know one another. Dating however nowadays is a complete disgust, obviously people are brain controlled in to behaving uncivilized human beings. I mean i don't want to sound old fashioned (even though for an 18 year old, i am), I personally believe when something as dating should happen, one should be friends first, get to know one another as friends by doing that your able to know more about the person, rather then jumping in to dating where so much mess will be made, and will probably physcologically damamge someone.

    And as a Sikh are we men not meant to look at women much older than us as our mothers, women at the similar age to us as our sister, and young girls as our daughter/young sister vice versa for women. So another question is how is a Sikh meant to date while following these attributes, well the answer is well to go out as friends rather than how society as concieved dating, i mean no kissing, or another other form of sexual act, as all of this is a sign of lust, and doing this doesn't make look weird, it just make you look like a civilized human being, i mean if you date to look for that special person, you obviously wait until marriage so you show how much you love each other right.

    Well obvisously a man that does not appericate a women for her true beauty is not really a man then his he. I mean hormonoly/biologicaly he may be a man, but he also must carry a man behaviour and that is to love a women inner beauty, rather than outer. If it makes any women feel better, than i personally love natural women (no lies and no i am not a freak), to me a natural women look much better and looks more like a women rather than looking like a 6 year old. My friend society has done nothing but take control of how we think, before there was a time were bearded men was the look, and now the look is clean shave, because every "man" wants to look like a 6 year old kid, rather than embrassing the manly feeling of a beard. peacesign

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ke Fathe!
     
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  11. Brother Onam

    Brother Onam United States
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    It's called 'Cultural Imperialism'. One nation/race establishes their value system as the correct one, and other nations who lack faith in their own value or worth conform and submit. It is a sign of weakness to conform to the dominant standards, as dictated by whoever see themselves as 'calling the shots' in this world.
    "He, who is proud of his riches and lands; is an idiot, mentally blind and ignorant." (sukhmani, Astpadi12)
    To submit to such a nation's standards of propriety and success is embarrassing.
     
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    #10 Brother Onam, Jan 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013

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