real life

"Are my dating principles bigoted?"


Last night Husband and I went to see The Hobbit. Actually, I went to see The Hobbit and Husband took the opportunity to have so many micro-sleeps, it was more like a 2 hour nap in Middle-earth for him.

During the film I had a moral and conversational conflict (with myself) I want to share. Please note that my use of the word “dwarf” in this post is a reference to the dwarves of Middle-earth, one of the many races that inhabit it.

During The Hobbit, I found myself attracted to one of the film’s protagonists, Thorin Oakenshield, the dwarf leader who embarks on a quest (of course) to reclaim his lost kingdom.

As the film progressed, I became increasingly distracted from the plot and instead, attracted to Thorin’s piercing blue eyes, his dark flowing hair and his admirable skill with an axe. There was something about his voice and accent that was familiar too.

My first thought, as Thorin argued passionately with Lord Elrond and the wood elves of Mirkwood, was that I had the serious hots for him.

Thorin from The Hobbit.

My second thought was, “Hmm, that’s not like me. I usually go for the Men of Middle-Earth (ie. Aragorn) and sometimes the Elves.”

My third thought was, “I am actually attracted to the dwarf. That’s interesting.”

My fourth thought was, “Why is that any more interesting or different from being attracted to a Man or an Elf? Oh my God, am I bigoted?”

I am sure that when Husband reads this post his response will not be, “Oh my God, is she bigoted?” but:

“Oh my God, does she fantasize about Aragorn and Elves instead of me?” or


“Oh my God, how is it possible that she could have so many inane thoughts during this movie and still follow the plot?” or

“Oh my God, how did she manage to stay awake and why oh why is it another trilogy?”

Eventually, as this moral conflict raged in one part of my brain, I realised that Thorin Oakenshield was played by the British actor Richard Armitage, who I loved in Spooks. He has this deep voice and Northern accent. As a result, I have this whole ‘Me and Richard Armitage Stuck in an Elevator’ Fantasy (doesn’t everybody?).

Richard Armitage. Fantasy-worthy, right?

But for some reason I just couldn’t see me and Thorin Oakenshield stuck in an elevator. Maybe it was because they don’t have elevators in Middle-Earth (they have other amazing things though, such as gigantic talking eagles). Maybe it was more, I’m not sure.

And so, I am asking myself again – are my dating principles (fantasy dating or real dating) bigoted?

As a child I grew up in a conservative ethnic community (in Australia) that encouraged marriage within the community.

As a parent living in a wonderfully multicultural country, I hope that my children will date people who are kind and respectful. Full stop. I haven’t given much thought to the race or gender of those that might one day date our children. Partly because my children are still in primary school and so badly behaved I wouldn’t wish them on any man, woman, elf or dwarf. And partly because I know I don’t care.

But I still challenge my own reactions in the film and would be interested to hear yours.

Shankari Chandran is a recent returner after ten years in London. Formerly a social justice lawyer, Shankari chronicles the day-to-day of her family’s return on her blog.

Do you date some races and not others? What does that say about you (and me) – are these preferences bigoted or are they acceptable?