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It’s Meeting The Man Of Your Dreams

April 26, 2010

…except he’s not. Because in your dreams, he is AVAILABLE.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Muslim girly approaching the age of twenty-million-squillion must be in want of a hubby. It’s already been noted that they are dropping like flies – and we wanted to know, why aren’t we? But that’s only one half of the question.

So we ask the real and pressing question – we ask it of our brothers and fathers and aunties and girlfriends – why are there no decent mens*? Where ARE they all? Even our non-Muslim fellow girlies are suffering from the same dearth of decency, and they’re not limited to a pool of, like, six villages in the Outer Hebrides of men related to their Grandma Joan. And it’s not that men don’t EXIST – they rather clearly do – but they are…are…well, just not there.

And it brings us back to the question of WHY? Why all the 404s?

In Real Life – isn’t it ironic? – you’re meeting the Man of your Dreams, and he is invariably one of four** things. Some poor lemmings may already be familiar with the Four States Model; like every robust scientific theory, it must be dressed in a certain amount of jargonese to pass muster for its validity (of course that’s the only criteria). And so, lemmings and jellyplums, I give you:

The Four States of Decent Men if you are a Single Muslim Girl trying to Get Married

1. They are TAKEN

And trust me, they are ALWAYS taken. It’s worst when it’s just a matter of someone getting there before you. Maybe they were simply BORN before you. And while spots #2, #3, and #4 are VACANT, they are also CLOSED.

2. They are NOT MUSLIM

Come on, you know if he was a Muzzie, you’d marry him in a second, admit it! If he asked. Actually, no, you know what? You totally would not wait for him to ask. You’d tie him up and drag him away by the ankles beard and subject him to a forced marriage, secure in the knowledge that nobody would believe him if he complained. Sorted.

3. They are FICTIONAL

Please wait while this list is being populated.

No, too much work. Let’s talk about, I don’t know, Mr Knightley. Although he also fits into #2. And then also #1. And actually, also in #4. XD Amanda Price nailed this one, though.

Zachary, then. Who cares if he’s a king?

I have pointedly left Edward Cullen out of this extensive (haha) list because I prefer even my fictional gentlemen to be – well, to put it delicately – alive***. Which takes us to –

4. They are DEAD.

Nuff said.


Over the years, the Original Big Four has been expanded to also include two sub-categories, which while they don’t meet the marriageability requirement, may account for some of the variance**** of a young woman’s unmarriedness.

5. They are MAHRAMS

i.e. not marriageable.

6. They are FEMALE

i.e. also not marriageable. And no matter how awesome she is, you just don’t swing that way. Sigh.


I have this very moment realised there is a third sub-category that we can add:

7. As Yet Unborn

My dad jokes that my hubby hasn’t been born yet. I’m in the general area of a full quarter-century, people. If he hasn’t been born yet, We’re Very Concerned. It means I will be a spinster for the next 20 years at least.*****

“Susan, Amy Taylor says you are an old maid. Are you, Susan?”
“Such has been the lot an all-wise Providence has ordained for me,” said Susan unflinchingly.
“Do you LIKE
being an old maid, Susan?”
“I cannot truthfully say I do, my pet. But,” added Susan, remembering the lot of some wives she knew, “I have learned that there are compensations.”

– Walter and Susan, in Anne of Ingleside

> Have I missed anything? If you’ve got a reason I haven’t, please share it! Let’s spread some of this spinster feeling around.

> Have you met the (wo)man of your dreams?

* With or without a good fortune, we are not fussy XD
** Gives ‘404’ a whole new meaning. Four, oh four! Four reasons why! Four, oh four…

*** This is obviously ignoring that Edward is, in fact, a bit of a numpty, as per this list.
**** Can you tell I’ve been working on my stats? The life of a research student is hard. Even harder than a fangirl’s.

And THAT’S assuming he’s born within the next year or so, since I have no intention just yet of doing the cougar-thing.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. Rivenheart permalink
    April 26, 2010 4:29 pm

    Wahoo!!!! Well Done Saya!!!!

    The funny thing is, that this is pretty much true for every religion. Scratch the Muslim part and add in LDS, and you have… yeah, the point is that it’s the same for us. There are of course some jokes that we have that come with this. Some single ladies like to say that their husband died in the War in Heaven, which is not true, but still, it makes for a good joke, and it says something about the lack of good men.

  2. Bryoninny permalink
    April 26, 2010 5:41 pm

    But-but- you’re MY wifey!

  3. April 26, 2010 7:33 pm

    Well, I certainly see your point, and felt exactly the same way before I married Captain Wentworth. I mean my husband. My husband Captain Wentworth. Anyway, my story is long and tragicomic and would bore everyone, but I would say my dude was hanging out in right in front of me the whole time. He liked me for FOUR years before we formally met. Sometimes God hides the beloved in plain sight and sometimes he trots him out when you’ve given up hope and become content with being a spinster. Happened to me. And really, I’m the last person anyone thought would get married, including my own family.

  4. April 27, 2010 12:45 am


    my mom used to always say to me and other people that the person we’re meant to be with is not ready yet. i’d think of that sooner than he’s not born!

    or maybe your future honey is busy growing up. that’s worth waiting for.

    … maybe he’s blogging somewhere about how there are no good book-loving muslim women to be found. think about that.

  5. Rrooo permalink
    April 27, 2010 5:47 am

    i agree with the others…the person you were created for IS out there! (i know, i know, insert eyeroll) trust me, however, i had seriously given up and SMACK! he arrived. it took us both simultaneously by surprise AND with a profoundly simple realization of, oh there you are. in order to recognize each other, though, we had to travel our own journeys so it would be glaringly apparent exactly who we were written to be with. until then, (and of course well after!) know you have all of us who love you and who you can share life with!

  6. fjafjan permalink
    May 1, 2010 11:48 am

    So what dead fictional Muslim man would you marry were he alive? Aladdin? Mohammed?

  7. May 2, 2010 4:54 pm

    Aww, you guys! Another friend, not knowing I wrote this, said a) ‘I am seriously offended’ and b) ‘I’m not desperate’. Then I got all defensive and ‘I’M NOT DESPERATE EITHER!!11’ at her and it was fun. But I do get asked a lot about why exactly someone as ancient and decrepit as me has failed at successfully contracting a marriage (don’t you love double-entendres?). And this is the answer to every aunty, well-meaning uncle, concerned cousin and Egyptian who has EVER asked me ‘why aren’t you married?!?!’

    Our in-jokes, Rivenheart, involve how you can marry anyone you like – just as long as he is a doctor (MBBS, none of this PhD-doc), comes from your village in Pakistan…and is your cousin Usman. (It must be noted this is cultural prejudice etc, not religious, but a lot of people have no idea there is a difference XD)

    Poppy, you crack me up – Captain Wentworth! Unfortunately, I watched the 90s BBC adaptation of it immediately after I read the book, and Captain Wentworth has been forever ruined for me. I want to know your long and tragicomic story, tell me tell me! You’re completely right about the contentment part though: it’s when you let go, and you realise nothing is in your hands, that it all falls into place and works out in ways you can never have imagined. Subhanallah! That is the monumental challenge we have to devote ourselves to.

    Maryam, if I were a man, I would steal you from your husband and marry you. Well, along with all the other ladyfolk I am marrying/am already married to (including all the ladies above XD). You somehow say the most profound thing in a completely offhand manner. I hope he is growing up! Because, you know, I’m not into cradle-robbing XD

    Rrooo tell me this story, I love all your stories, also please write a book so I can keep all your stories forever….and how do you girls do it? You’re all so clearly cut from the same lovely cloth.

    Bry, darn, you caught me trying to cheat on you?! HARAM.

    Fjaf, I never liked Aladdin. He was a numpty.

    • May 3, 2010 1:32 pm

      Oh, you asked for it. Yawn, here I come. I just want to start out saying that I never intended to get married – I know I’m difficult to live with and I had rarely (ALMOST never) met a Muslim guy I would even contemplate marrying. After college I had big plans. I was going to buy a truck and drive to Texas. Uh, yeah, those were my big plans.

      And then this thing happened. I sort of thought maybe I shouldn’t give up hope. I started doing Tahashuudd prayers every single night – not with the intention to be married, but that if I SHOULD EVER find the right person, that he be good: moral, right, practicing, respectful blah blah blah. Then, Captain Wentworth, who had been asking my wali about me for 3 plus years, asked again. At the right time. A time when I could say yes because my best friend, who had liked HIM for years, stopped talking to me and I no longer felt bound by loyalty to say no to this guy. I’d been saying no to this guy for 3 years. I had never even considered him because she had her whole wedding planned out with him! And then one day she stopped calling me. And visiting. And she acted cool and annoyed if I actually called her. No explanation, but with the benefit of hindsight, I believe college had made her a less strict Muslim, while I was going in the other direction. Strangely, I’ve never had an issue with friends who don’t practice like me, so I can only assume (since she has never, not even to this day, told me why) that she was uncomfortable with me. Almost a year later, Captain Wentworth made one last try, and I said yes. Her deliberate and unexplained de-friending of me, while it hurt and bemused me at the time, was the gateway to an awesome marriage. Alhumdullilah. And then I also had a lot of (sharia vs. culture) family problems over marrying him and it almost didn’t happen. So, this long and boring story? Sometimes it AIN’T the right time yet.

      • May 5, 2010 12:44 am

        Agh I didn’t reply to this?!

        I’ve been thinking about this a lot too – the tahajjud part. It’s like a magic formula, almost…I remember a rather crushing rebuke someone received from her father about how another girl had prayed of nights for months to deserve the match she made. And it comes up again and again – with every story I hear, tahajjud comes out in the same breath. As you say, not for the purposes of marriage, but because tahajjud does something…something…well, inexplicable.

        Thank you for sharing your story! I love that this jestfully negative post has given birth to all of these gems – we have so much to learn from you wonderful happy grateful women. : )

        * Tahajjud is a special and voluntary night-prayer done in the last third of the night (in addition to the five obligatory ones during the day-ish) – it’s difficult to do and there’s INNUMERABLE virtue for the person who can do it, even if sporadically. Sometimes it is the work of decades to be able to do it constantly. It’s kind of…spiritually cleansing and nourishing and many many other things all at once.

      • May 5, 2010 1:22 am

        There is an intimacy with Allah during Tahashudd that I’ve rarely felt before, and certainly not on a daily basis. More like on Lailatul Qadir or during Tarawih prayers or something, but yet with every Tahashudd it comes. It is inexplicable, it is mystical, it is transformative. I’ve never been able to keep it up the way I did in those days (pre-husband and children) but I will say that I believe it not only brought us together like the two halves of a walnut shell, but it also sustained me through the VERY difficult time with my family afterward. You can never lose with the Tahashudd.

  8. May 3, 2010 3:16 am

    I think the fictional was the one I faced the most growing up! Whenever my girlfriends and I would go around telling each other about our crushes, I would always secretly want to say “Aragorn!” or “Fred Weasley” or whatever dashing or adorable male was currently featured in my book of the moment. However, this was not acceptable (until about 11th grade or abouts) and so I often just repeated the name of the boy who was just said, which was bad because then that girl got mad at me, thinking me serious competition, when really I just wanted Aragorn to pop out of the pages and whisk me away from 7th grade drama.

    • Kaimalino permalink
      May 4, 2010 4:53 am

      *sigh* Fred is a crush of mine, too. The clever, funny boys always turn my head, even when they are ficitious.

      • May 4, 2010 12:20 pm

        I could never tell the difference between Fred and George…in fact, to me they were a single Fred-and-George-Gred-and-Forge entity. I didn’t even know there was a difference until I read about it somewhere, and I can’t keep the difference straight XD

        Winnie, it cracks me up that you unwittingly caused drama by going along with what everyone else said. That is awesome.

        You guys would really enjoy Eva Ibbotson’s YA books – my favourite at the moment being A Song For Summer (it was a little darker, with a more complicated man-character…and I think it has a different US title?). Also, if you read fantasy, Kristen Britain’s ‘Green Rider’ series – Karigan, the main character is a completely awesome butt-kicking heroine and you’ll find enough head-turners of both genders to keep you happy for a long long time ^_^

  9. May 3, 2010 3:28 am

    Also, what interests me a lot about your post is the idea that you would marry a man in a heartbeat if he were the same religion as you. Ok, bear with me as I hash out this idea just for the sake of hashing it out:

    If you would marry the man in a heartbeat, then doesn’t that mean you share all the same moral values and standards? And that you feel a closeness (or the potential for it) not blocked by the difference of religion? (If not, then my argument is invalid, of course.) Ok, then…what is the block with the religion-difference? Is it an issue of family angry-ness? Or is it that the cultural/religious barrier just seems too great to cross – too big of a life change? With such a diverse group, some who have traversed many cultures in their lives, perhaps we can all input on this idea a little? 🙂

    • May 3, 2010 10:00 am

      I will write a whole post about this (from my own point of view) because it’s a very valid question that a million people have asked – although this has been the gentlest and most insightful phrasing. I hope that’s okay?

      Also – Aragorn! That would have been so perfect for you in so many ways. Do you think there’s a spell that can animate fictional characters? ‘Ficta-hominem animatus?’

      • May 3, 2010 1:34 pm

        Looking forward to THAT post!

      • May 3, 2010 10:16 pm

        Oh good. I’m glad I wasn’t bombastic in my question. I would love to hear what you have to say about it. It does truly interest me very much – both in general and relating to one of my own experiences personally. I actually dated a Muslim guy in high school and I was always very resentful that he wouldn’t tell his parents about me. (We were a public couple to everyone but his parents; even his brother was supportive of our relationship.) At the time I felt that it showed he didn’t care as much about me as he proclaimed to; now I find myself wondering about it all over again, if perhaps we were doomed as a couple from the start. So, yea, I’m exciting to for your insights. 🙂

      • May 3, 2010 10:18 pm

        Also, I tried out the spell but, sadly, it did not seem to work. Then again, it may just be that am I a Muggle. -Sigh-

    • Kaimalino permalink
      May 4, 2010 5:32 am

      So interested to hear what others say about this.
      The world makes so much of the importance of physical intimacy, and sadly, so little of spiritual intimacy.
      Here’s where I get personal. . . .
      For me, marrying within my faith was more about achieving a loving relationship with no barriers to this intimacy than about cultural/family issues. To be able to pray together and have the same spiritual goals for our family is intensely unifying and intimate, but hardly the scintillating stuff of Hollywood movies and YA romance lit. (But really, those things are over in 90 minutes, and I’m still reveling in my outrageous good fortune 13 years into my marriage relationship. So there must be something to the un-sexy side of unity, although my husband, granted, is also a witty babe. 😉 )
      Many friends expressed concern that I was planning to marry someone from “the Mainland” who might not understand the cultural culture (as opposed to religious culture–how to make that distinction?) I had grown up in, so I was a bit against the grain there even though I was within my faith. Years before, my parents were oddly sad when I broke up with (for a variety of reasons)someone who was not of my faith; I think they wanted to adopt him themselves and imagined he would eventually convert, since he was charming and we got along famously. The dissolution of that relationship was brutal–but it was because of it that I was prepared to appreciate the man who would become my husband a few years later. (Insert lyrics of corny country music song here: “I would’ve never found youuuuu if he had wanted to stayyyy. . . Oh, he hurt me bad, in a real good way.”)
      I distinctly remember a conversation about religious difference with that previous boyfriend. I wondered aloud if I should surrender some of my commitment to my faith to minimize conflict. No, he (wisely) said, because that would be surrendering some of myself. He could not ask me to be less of myself and I could not ask him to be someone he was not. The affection was there, but that was not enough to sustain the relationship when there could not be complete spiritual intimacy.
      Just my experience.

      • May 4, 2010 12:30 pm

        I’m thinking I’m going to save my post about this for later rather than sooner (I am rather good at procrastinating on schoolwork XD), because I want to write it carefully and with as little stupidity as possible, because it’s a sensitive topic for a lot of people, and doesn’t bear overgeneralising about. So it will be forthcoming, God willing, but not immediately. Please bear with me ^_^

        Kai, thank you for sharing that! I’m still mentally digesting it, because there’s a lot to think about.

        PS, Winnie, the spell didn’t work because you have to say ‘ficta-hominem ani-MA-tus’, not ‘anima-TUS’. XD

      • May 4, 2010 7:33 pm

        Wow. Yes, this is quite enlightening. And I certainly agree that relationships are portrayed completely unrealistically in most types of media. I too am still digesting these thoughts…though I see that religious difference is still really a spiritual and moral difference. And of course, sacrificing any element of your faith would be a sacrifice of a very important part of yourself. Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing from your personal life.

  10. fjafjan permalink
    May 3, 2010 12:23 pm

    Re expectations and “meeting the man of your dreams”, I found this rather interesting.

    • May 4, 2010 12:39 pm

      Thanks for the link, Fjaf – it was interesting they spent so much time saying, a) men are more likely to judge a woman initially by her looks, b) women are not, c) what women find attractive about a man’s looks is not necessarily what she will respond to when looking for a partner, i.e. she doesn’t choose him based on his looks, so really b again…and a couple more things that I don’t remember now because I read it last night. But essentially, not surprising, and I’m glad this isn’t publically-funded research.

      (I use the word ‘research’ tentatively.)

    • May 4, 2010 7:20 pm

      Yes, I agree – very interesting. I was quite surprised to see that women were so much more superficial – though if I think more about it, it makes sense. Since women feel like their looks are so important, and spend so much time on them, it makes sense that they would (unrealistically) expect the same of males. And perhaps since guys don’t generally care as much about their own appearances as women, they are more realistic in their expectations OR maybe it’s that women generally look more attractive since they do spend all that time on makeup. Obviously, this is not nearly as simple as I had previously thought. At least I can honestly say that I thought those guys weren’t bad-looking at all. 😉

  11. fjafjan permalink
    May 5, 2010 10:00 am

    Saya; How we women not superficial when choosing a partner? First off you really think 80% of men are below average, or that this is not surprising? And what you probably then thought looked like a normalized graph (of who women sent their messeges to) was then not because distribution of men was so non-normalized. So when half of the messeges went to the “above average half” that’s the 20% of men who women found above average. So while the messeging statistics were both roughly as skewed (2/3 of male messeges to top 1/3 of women, 30-40% of female messeges to top 20% dudes) women believe they are fair/not so concerned about looks (you just said so!) while men know they’re going for the best looking. Of course what would have been interesting would have been to seen how the men and women appreiased themselves, which I suspect would have been revealing in a depressing way.

    So I think you should read it again if what you got from it was “Women don’t care so much about looks!”.

    Winnie: I don’t think women were actually more superficial, but they generally considered men to be less good looking than themselves, and I think you’re pretty much right as to why. Because the looks of a woman are generally considered more important and more social pressures there, women consider their own physical beauty important, and so might feel insecure dating someone better looking. That is a theory not that well supported by the data though.

    • May 5, 2010 10:21 pm

      I didn’t say they’re ‘not superficial’, I said women are less likely to judge a man initially by his looks. In fairness, that’s a slightly ambiguous remark, so let me clarify that: from the information provided, it seemed that the majority of women did not approach men on the basis of their attractiveness. That is, their assessment of a man’s attractiveness seems to operate independently of the function of selecting a mate.

      On the other hand, the male data shows a clear relationship between the level of perceived attractiveness of women, and approaching them, which suggests that those women were approached on the basis of their looks.

      That’s what I was saying. And that it didn’t surprise me.

  12. fjafjan permalink
    May 6, 2010 9:56 am

    But there WAS a clear correlation. The majority of women DID approach men on the basis of their attractiveness, there were more than twice as many messeges to the “better than average” side of the chart. The better looking you were, as a guy or as a lass, you were proportionally more likely to get approached by the opposide gender (and pressumably the same) and not by an insignificant factor. Now certainly men were worse, but where is the data that women were not selective on looks?

    • May 6, 2010 2:03 pm

      No, wait, I’ve looked at it again (I didn’t last time XD), and it turns out we’re both not exactly right.

      You said: …there WAS a clear correlation. The majority of women DID approach men on the basis of their attractiveness.

      Correlation, yes: between female-rated male attractiveness and message distribution it’s almost normal, but that’s not the same as ‘women approach men on the basis of their attractiveness’.

      If that were true, the line should have peaked similarly to the line in the graph of male messaging x female attractiveness, i.e. a lot more to the right, and men rated most attractive would have been messaged the most – but the graph doesn’t show that.

      The other thing I thought was a bit silly is that it makes an assumption that a woman’s rating of a man’s attractiveness is equivalent to a man being ‘good enough’ – completely spurious. Also, you can’t just assume that if a relationship exists, it must be WHY – correlation does not equal causation.

      What I was thinking of before was if you superimpose the line of female attractiveness as judged by males against the female messaging, it seems like women’s approach might be determined by an interaction of how attractive they find men, against how attractive they (women) are considered to be (there isn’t a self-rated attractiveness on this).

      If it turns out I’m completely wrong, then excuse me while I work on my factor loadings and multiple regression. XD

      I hate stats. Please don’t let’s talk about them.

  13. May 7, 2010 9:08 pm

    Hi Saya,

    I have another theory to add to your list of explanations for all the missing men: All the worthwhile ones have been abducted by space aliens and are now living on another galaxy.

    Lisa Marie

    • May 9, 2010 1:11 am

      Good one! That’s one – one! – that hasn’t happened to me.

  14. Anonymous permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:08 am

    they dont yet know it but they are gay or they do know… :s


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