Dear Muslim Men, 

 

Dear Muslim Men,

You keep asking me why I’m not married yet.  The truth is,  there are a plethora of reasons.   What it really comes down to though is the men I meet behave more like boys than they do men.   So what can you do to win my heart?   Here are a couple of things:

1. Chase me.

Yes,  you heard me right.  I don’t approach men, I am approaced.  You see, I’m old school like that. So if you’re expecting me to come to you,  it’s not going to happen.  Befriending me is only going to get you in my friend zone.   And if you don’t step up and say anything, except subtle or ambiguous clues of interest,  then it’s not happening.   You really need to man up brother and say what it is you want.  There’s nothing more attractive than a man who goes after what he likes.

2.  Be a gentlemen.

As I said in the previous point, I’m old school.  I like men who hold open doors for me, cover the bill when we’re out, and if we’re not in the same city,  make efforts to visit me rather than asking me to come visit them – especially the first time.   If I’m going to be carrying your baby,  I need to know that you can take care of me and I can depend on you.

3.  Show me why you’re my one.

If you’re head over heals over me,  it doesn’t mean I am.  While the fact that we’re “courting” shows that I’m interested in you,  don’t expect me to start writing you poems and tattooing your name on my heart after a week.   I’m flatteted you feel the way you do about me,  but if I don’t feel the same way,  you have to give me time,  and show me why I should feel the same about you too.  There’s nothing more frustrating then a man forcing you to love him at the same level that he loves you.   Love can’t be forced, it’s sown and needs time to grow.  Water it, shine sunlight on it and then expect to reap the rewards, not before.

While it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words,  actions are what’s needed.  Painting a picture for me of how our marriage will be won’t make me ready to say yes.   You haven’t even bought me a cup of coffee yet and I’m supposed to believe I can depend on you?  You see, while yes – our biology dictates that words work magic for us (women i.e), you’re forgetting we’re not teenagers in the heat of our emotions. I look at your words + ACTIONS.  And actions is capitalized, underlined and in bold face here.  So yes,  please show me rather than tell me.

4. Don’t expect me to emotinally commit to you without a ring on my finger.

I think this is one of the most frustrating things I find with Muslim men today.  They expect you to emotionally commit to them from the second you start talking to them.   They keep asking questions like,  “what will you do for me?”, “what are you willing to sacrifice for me”, etc.  It’s all about me, me, me.  Meanwhile,  they haven’t done anything for you yet except talk on the phone with you.  I’m sorry brother,  but I don’t need to be  at your every beck and call,  your daily cheerleader, stroking your ego,  etc before you’ve even shown any real commitment.  Don’t expect me to play “wifey” or house with you if we ain’t even married – and this includes emotional support.  You want emotional support,  put a ring on it,  or keep moving.

5.  Please work on yourself

Let’s be real here.   You’re interested in me because you like my figure,  how active I am and that I take care of my body.  Meanwhile,  you don’t hit the gym,  don’t do any exercising,  and eat everything and expect to be with a model.  Really bro?   It’s not only men who find fit woman attractive,  but us woman do too – especially guys with six packs 😉. Unless you’re driving a maserati and live in a mansion, I suggest you buy that gym membership and start eating healthy.  Saying things like,  “You’ll be my motivation to start working out and we can do it together when we’re married,” ain’t gonna cut it.  Neither will,  “You’ll be in charge of what I eat at home and pack my lunch,  so I’ll eat healthier then and lose weight in the process.”  Need to see you doing it now to know that you’re about that life.  Besides, I’m interested in marrying the better version of yourself,  not creating it for myself.

So,  when I find a man who:

– Isn’t shy to approach me and make his interest known
– Treats me like the lady I am
– Shows me why he’s the one
– Doesn’t try to take advantage of my kindness while not giving anything but words in return
– Works to improve himself

Then, I’ll get married.   In the meantime,  I’ll continue to be happily single and dodge bullets.

Sincerely yours,

The Hibster

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34 and Never Been Kissed

wedding-rings

So I’m 34, still single, and a virgin. Yep, contrary to popular belief, those of us still exist – I owe it to my faith and my human biology background (well, the virginity part i.e.). I’m sure you’ve heard that in Islam, we’re not allowed to engage in pre-marital sex before marriage. I take that to heart. Moreover, I’ve studied the effects of different hormones on our bodies and mind from sexual intercourse, and thus, don’t want to offer the cookie, so to speak, unless he’s the right one, which I’m on the look-out for.  Besides, I’ve seen way too many heart-aches to want to intentionally put myself through it.  I’m not ready to start writing poems about it either. 😉

This year, I’ve had better prospects when it comes to love and marriage. (And no, I don’t do that whole arranged marriage thing.  That’s not even from Islam, it’s more of a cultural thing – the subcontinent to be more specific.)  I’m meeting better guys (thankfully), however, I still haven’t met the one that I’m willing to sacrifice the rest of my life and happiness for.

While they teach you that marriage is happily ever after, it’s truly not. It’s a roller coaster ride where half the time you’re preventing yourself from killing this other person whom you somehow once loved, and trying to remember why it was you loved them in the first place. So, if I’m going to put myself through that, then he’d better be the right one. While marriage has it’s challenges, it’s also equally as amazing, wonderful and rewarding too, making that sacrifice worth it. As with anything in life, it has its pros and cons.

Getting married is easy. It’s the staying married part that worries me, especially in our society today where most people carry divorce in their back pocket. People no longer try to fix a relationship. And with Muslims, marriage has become synonymous with having sex. If you want to have sex, get married. While it is one of the perks, marriage is more than sex. Many divorces have happened because couples realized they really weren’t a good match and were merely driven by their hormones. Generally though, many people jump right into marriage blindly to begin with, not really realizing what they’re signing up for.

I guess for some people, it’s just one of those stages of life you’re supposed to go through. You go to school, you go to college, you get a job, and you get married and have children. So, they end up getting married to the first person they fall in love with and figure that love is enough to maintain a relationship. If it’s love as in the verb where you’re constantly working on it, then yes. But if it’s love as in the abstract noun and infatuation, then you’re going to need a little more than that to sustain a relationship in the long run. Many, unfortunately, had to learn this the hard way.

And then of course, you have that pressure from others who expect you to have that box ticked by a certain age or stage in your life. When are you getting married? You can’t keep saying no. You’re clock is ticking. If you want to have kids, you better get on that soon. And even worse, you’ll get these: Don’t worry about finding the one. Just get married. If it doesn’t work out, at least you have a child out of it and you can raise him/her on your own. It’s no biggy. It’s kinda the norm now. And sadly, it’s not only older women who are saying this, but younger ones too.  So, the whole purpose of getting married, apparently, is to have a kid? Not to have a life partner, nor to love and be loved and share your life with someone you consider not only to be your lover, but friend too.

While I love kids and would love to have them, I’d rather raise my kids with a loving husband, who will be there till death does us part (and no, I don’t plan on killing him ;)). I won’t rush into marriage just because my clock is ticking and I want to have children. I believe that every child deserves to be raised by a mother and father and it’s healthy for them to see their parents modeling how to be a mother and father, and wide and husband. I want to marry a man who I’d want my son to grow up just to be like, and my daughter wanting to be married to a man just like her father – setting her standards as high as they should.

Now, because I’ve had many prospects, people assume that I’m just picky. But that’s far from the truth. Every time I sit with someone and go over my mental list (I’ve never written it down), they agree that I’m not asking for too much.

And no, I’m not a gold-digger nor high maintenance.  A man with good character who is kind, generous, educated, puts in effort and chooses to put me as a priority trumps a man with fancy cars, loads of money who pampers me with gifts but doesn’t have character and puts himself first. Well, while I’m at this, I’d also like him to have a fun-loving personality, a good sense of humour, to be athletic/active, family-oriented, and intelligent – yes, I’m a saposexual. Feed my brain and my heart, and I’m sold!

Then, once I’ve established that I’m not picky, I get the… but men are intimidated by you. Look at all the places you’ve been to. Where you’ve lived. What you’ve accomplished in life. To that, I’d have to say, boys are intimidated, but not men. Moreover, it’s also those who come from a different paradigm than me.

While I travel a lot, I’m not rich. For the love of God, I don’t even have a car or house. Women who travel, believe it or not, are actually less materialistic than women who don’t.

While I’ve always been a strong woman, due to my life circumstances, I’m actually not as intimidating when people do get to know me (outside of all the boxes they decide to put me in). Because of my job and where I’ve lived, they assume I was this STRONG BLACK WOMAN, until they speak to me and realize I’m this big kid in a woman’s body – lol – not but seriously, I am.  The Toys R Us commercial jingle was made for me – I never grow up.  Unfortunately, if you’re a single woman and successful (and black in my case), you’re automatically put in the STRONG BLACK WOMAN or the “she’s definitely out of my league” box, shooting themselves in the foot before even trying – smh.

Thankfully, I know who I am, and what I want in life. I won’t rush into marriage, nor settle, just to be married and have kids. Yes, I want to love and be loved, but that’ll just have to wait until I find my Mr. Good-enough. I know he’s out there somewhere; our paths just haven’t crossed yet.  Or as one of my good friend joked, “he’s busy trying to figure out which countries you haven’t been to.” 😉

Marriage to me is a serious commitment, one were both parities have to equally invest in. And, until I find that person who is willing to put me first (as I would him), and puts his words into action, then I’ll continue my life as a happily single woman who lives life.

And to all those 30ish single women who have yet to find their one, don’t rush and give into fear. You’ll find him; he’s out there somewhere looking for you. In the meantime, live your life, follow your dreams, and do anything and everything you wouldn’t be able to do once you get married, settle down and have kids. That’s why I travel a lot. ☺

Who am I and Why am I here

profileSo who am I?  Well, I’m a third culture kid (TCK) – born in one country, raised in a second, and ethnically from a third.  Subsequently, I speak multiple languages and am familiar with different cultures. I have been blessed to be able to travel quite extensively – with family, friends and solo too.

Not only have I traveled to various countries, but I’ve also worked as an expatriate in four different countries so far. How or why? You guessed it – I’m one of those ELL teachers – you know, one of those global nomads who just hop onto a plane and go and immerse themselves in unfamiliar territories and post awesome beach and travel pics with random people. 😉

While images of bar hopping in Rome with hot Italian men, or dancing in clubs until the wee hours in the morning in Thailand may come to mind, that’s definitely not my scene. I’m more of a spiritual person – and no, not the sunrise yoga meditation and vegan lifestyle kinda spirituality. My spirituality comes more from my faith – Islam. With that being said, there are certain stereotypes that I won’t fit in, since my values are different and quite unique to the single female globetrotting population – well at least from my age group.

Often when I travel or work abroad, fellow travellers and expats don’t really know where to place me. While I’m Canadian, clearly I’m also… Muslim… so… hmmm? Some get shocked to see things that I do – like scuba diving, or the fact that I travel solo. While others wonder why I don’t drink beer – like seriously, how can I live without drinking beer?

And thus, being a visible Muslim woman who wears a headscarf (hijab/khimar), I automatically become an ambassador to Islam and have realized, that many people have so many misconceptions of Muslim women. Then of course I also have to deal with the misconceptions from Muslims too. Clearly, a girl who travels like I do is not family-oriented and is not interested in settling down. Through my travels and just talking with people, like when I would share my travel stories with a group of terminally ill cancer patients as I would visit a friend of mine who recently lost her battle, I break those misconceptions one person at a time. Which got me thinking, why not increase my audience and connect with more people?

Part of the reason why people know so little perhaps, is because they don’t know any Muslim women, and clearly, if you were to base your idea of Muslim women on what is portrayed in the media, then you’d conclude that we are an oppressed uneducated bunch who are at the mercy of men. And thus came the idea of – The Hibster – sharing my narrative to the world. We all have unique narratives of course, and I feel getting mine out will help debunk the myths about Muslim women, especially single ones, while also sharing my crazy to the world.

So what will I write about? My traveling experiences, probably share some narratives of fellow friends as well, and give people my perspective – that of a single, globetrotting, TCK Muslim woman on various topics, from traveling, culture, religion to politics.

While my writing skills are slightly rusty at the moment, I hope by writing daily, I’ll be able to get back in the saddle so to speak, and perhaps, fulfil my dream of becoming a best-selling novelist one day.

In the meantime, take a seat and relax, grab your cup of coffee/tea and enjoy my nuances.