by RANDA ABDEL-FARRAH
We could have fooled around if we wanted to. There was nobody holding a gun to our heads to make sure we remained virgins until marriage. It was a choice my girlfriends and I were happy to exercise. And while we were big rom-com fans and each owned the box set of Sex and the City, our own search for ‘Mr Right’ played out in very different ways.
For starters, there was no sex. Or dating. While we had plenty of guys who were friends, we weren’t interested in having a boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong. We weren’t repressed prudes, and we didn’t subscribe to the patriarchal idea that our morality was linked to our sexuality. We were empowered and weren’t embarrassed by our conservatism.
We were all of us armed with our Mr Right wish-lists, although frankly they were wish-lists that seemed impossible to meet. Because our criteria (e.g: funny, smart, well-read, not too hairy, not a tight-arse, you get the drill) – also included wanting somebody who shared our faith.
Some of my friends were suckers for a real challenge and also wanted somebody from the same ethnic and cultural background, i.e. Indian and Hindu; Christian orthodox and Greek (some even went so far as to demand Prince Charming’s family hailed from the same Greek island as their parents).
Although I’m of Arabic heritage, I was happy with any ethnicity as long as Mr Right was Muslim. But not just a nominal Muslim. I wanted somebody with whom I could grow in faith and for whom religion mattered. It’s such a big part of my life and I wanted to share it with my partner.
But being part of a minority community means the sea in which your Mr Right swims is a lot smaller. Um, about the size of a baby bath, perhaps? There was fat chance of meeting my Muslim Mr Right in some romantic and random encounter with a man plucked from the general population.