Being a Muslim girl is hard if you’re part of the dating pool. It’s hard for various reasons but the foremost probably is that I’m saving myself for after I get married. It’s tough for me and my date. I realize that.
But even though I won’t give myself up physically , I’m not weird or ashamed about it. It is what it is. It doesn’t mean that you get to take me to Applebee’s just because there isn’t a chance of sex after the date. I have some expectations of you even though I am different from some other dates you’ve had. And some things that you might end up doing, inadvertently or knowingly, can be deal breakers. A few are,
1. Don’t ask me about what my parents allow or disallow me from doing. Islam is my religion. Being Muslim is my choice. I don’t forcibly follow Islam. I am of an age where I have had a chance to process and understand my religion. Just because I “look” conservative to you doesn’t mean that I’m a conservative person in how I view equality, feminism and education. I’m also not your standard “patriarchy celebrating”, “misogyny endorsing” girl. I’m a Muslim girl who is living in the 21st century. Please open your mind to me. Don’t pigeonhole me.
2. Don’t do double takes when I express my views on sex, sexuality, fluidity of gender and sexuality, gay rights, some people feeling trapped in their bodies, infidelity, open marriages and atheism. You probably thought you were going to get “your perceived Muslim version” of a woman but here’s the deal! I’m a supporter of equality and people living lives without judgment. My religiosity doesn’t extend to what people do in their personal lives as long as they’re not harming others.
3. Don’t think you have to park your car twenty feet from my home. You can meet my parents. They don’t bite. My dad doesn’t speak with a thick Arabic accent. He talks like a person who has full command of the English language. Speaking louder and over-enunciating your words makes you look like an idiot. It doesn’t put my parents in a questionable immigrant light.
4. Don’t comment on my clothes. It’s not necessary. Don’t comment on “how they can get in the way”. Let me assure you that Muslim women are great bed partners with their husbands in the same ratio as any other religion, race or culture. We don’t follow a hijab with our husbands.
5. Conservative isn’t a word to describe me. I have a set of self-defined and some ordained values that I find myself in and like to follow. Calling me conservative is like calling me someone who is stuck in old traditions. That’s not true. Covering my body or avoiding sex before I get married are as much my choices as is your choice to be with more than one partner. When you use the word “conservative” I feel like you’re gagging my choice. Don’t do that.
6. Asking repeatedly what “halal” means and how my halal is different from your other Muslim friend’s “halal” is exhausting. Asking why I don’t wear a hijab while the other Muslim girl is your class wears one is hard for me to explain. There are a lot of resources online and in libraries to elaborate on the Muslim culture and its diversity. Muslims weren’t manufactured in a factory in the Middle East. We come from different backgrounds, follow different norms and have different convictions for things that matter to us.
7. So why is a Muslim girl dating a non-Muslim guy? Because I like you. Contrary to the common concept, Muslim girls routinely fall in love with non-Muslim guys for their looks, kindness, intelligence, compassion, like-mindedness and all else that goes into identifying our mate.
8. Don’t discuss “Muslim politics” with me. Trust me, I don’t know everything that is going on in the Muslim world, whatever that means. I know about a lot but I can’t answer all your questions about political and social things happening in countries outside of the USA. It’s frustrating when people assume that I would know what is happening in the country of my parents’ origin. I know almost just as much as you do. Would it be fair to you, a New York City boy, if I asked you what white Christian men are doing in Wisconsin, Idaho, Illinois, California and every country in Europe? This is a turn-off and doesn’t help start the evening on the right note.
9. I listen to music. May be I don’t dance in public and may be many Muslims don’t listen to music as it can be part of their religious belief but I do. Just another example of how I can’t be put into the hole that you’ve identified for me. I’m from a diversely diverse culture and can’t answer for why other Muslims don’t do certain stuff.
10. And lastly, don’t ask me repeatedly how I’d be able to find sexual chemistry with my future spouse if I don’t “check the goods” before getting married. It’s insulting and makes me run away from you. My sexual chemistry with my spouse is my problem and shouldn’t concern you unless you’re so interested in me that you’re considering a proposal. If and when you propose, please know that a promise of a marriage might not sway me into sleeping with you. Sometimes with Muslim women who follow religious sex-related rules, you won’t be able to sleep before getting married despite all the love and camaraderie. If this is something very close to your heart and you really want to experience sexual chemistry before going too far romantically, be upfront in the beginning. We won’t be shy in being honest with you about our limitations.