When it comes to relationships, I can't commit to anything other than the "Hoe Lyfe." My first boyfriend was a homeless man who serenaded me with a Boyz II Men ballad on the streets of San Francisco, and for some unfathomable reason I thought it was a good idea to get wifed up by him. My second boyfriend was scammed into dating me when I trolled his Instagram and Facebook and commented on every single picture (even the ones he wasn't in) "hot" and sometimes the occasional "HOT." So to put it mildly, I really, really, really, really suck at dating or maybe I'm wiser than I think and have given up on the social construct everyone else seems to be hopped up and overdosing on.
On November 20, my parents celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary. It's a shame that I didn't inherit the "don't cheat on your mans" gene from my mom, because who knows where I would be today if that were the case. My parents had an arranged marriage. They had met one time before their wedding day. Thirty-four years ago somewhere in a little village in India, my dad's mom and his two brothers set out on a mission to find my dad his perfect bride. If you are not brown like myself, chances are the notion of an arranged marriage sounds insane to you. But love, oh… Yeah, that's some real shit.
I was talking to my dad and asked him how many girls he saw before he decided on wifing up my mom. He proceeded to go off on a 30-minute rant about how he couldn't give less of a fuck about getting married and how all weddings are just about the women of the family wanting to get dressed up and show off to their families. His mom and his broke-and-jobless brothers set out on a mission to find my dad his official Mrs. Nanda. They visited about 72 girls and shortlisted six for my dad to go visit and make the final decision. After eating my mom's home cooked Indian meal, the mission was complete. He chose her.
The match criteria back then used to be based on several things: caste and culture, religion, profession and status for the man, physical appearances for the woman, and your horoscope. For those of you who don't know, a caste is a form of social stratification in Indian culture, which is characterized by endogamy and is passed from generation to generation. In India castes are broken up into four categories; Brahmins (teachers, scholars and priests), Kshatriyas (warriors and nobles), Vaishyas (farmers, traders and artisans), and Shudras (service providers). The woman can usually marry up into a "better" caste, but in most arranged marriages people marry within the same caste. My mom and my dad are both considered the Kshatriyas caste. What happens when your family picks someone with all the same ideologies as you, similar upbringings, and similar family dynamic is that the way you see the world and the way you envision your future is usually the same.
This morning I was Facetiming my parents and asked them why their relationship works so well. My dad said, "Societal norms in India make it difficult to break up, and you stay in the marriage long enough to make it work. If both parties are regular folks and not abusive or insane in any way, then you become interdependent and loving/caring towards each other naturally." The relationship is more about practicality and not aggressive/abusive lust when you have a love marriage/relationship. My mom went on to say a similar thing, "First of all we don't come from a divorce culture, both our personalities are mild, and we are not self-centered. Because of our upbringing and caste, we are more evolved human beings, and we accept each other for the bad and good." Must be nice.
When I look at how my parents share their life together without being too co-dependent, but always being there for each other, it makes me realize I don't have to be in the fucked-up toxic relationship that I see all my peers and myself having. It took me a lot of self reflection this year to finally get to a point where I could see myself in the future having some sort of companionship, and lately I've been thinking an arranged marriage set-up doesn't seem so bad. That said, I don't have a "mild personality," and I'm 100 percent self-centered, so this might not work out.
I thought I was in love in my last relationship because I used to feel the most petty emotions. When I look back at the person I was in that relationship, I know I don't want to be that person again. I was a manipulative, jealous, selfish, and angry person. I would act overly supportive and loving just to make him feel like I cared about him more than he cared about me. I would make him feel dumb and inferior so he felt like he couldn't live without me. I would do reckless things just to see if he would be there for me when I fucked up. I didn't realize I was doing these things at the time, I literally just thought this is how you feel when you are in love; but in hindsight, I was actually being psychotic. Being so codependent really messed both of us up. When I am cynical about love, that's the type of love I'm talking about. The type of love that is so extreme, that one day your entire existence is them and only them, and then the next day you're blocking each other's phone number, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the classic petty break-up ritual—distributing your mutual friends evenly. I don't think I'm alone in feeling like this. I think a lot of women in cis relationships feel as if they have to be manipulative in certain scenarios to get emotion out of their spouse or boyfriend, because most men are used to suppressing their emotions so they don't have to feel rejected or dumb for feeling how they feel.
Right now in my life, the only time when I think I really want a relationship is when I leave the club alone crying, wondering where the fuck my hotel room is in whatever city I am in. But to be really honest, I think I lie to myself all the time thinking that I don't ever want to be in a relationship again, because it did hurt me so much the first time. But every now and then when I let go of my inclination to believe everyone is fucked up and love is fake, I look at my parents' relationship and wonder if an arranged marriage like that could really work in the world. Most of us are so self-involved, and there are so many options you can literally find "love" anywhere. Like my personal relationship guru, Gucci Mane, once said, "Girls (Boys) are like buses/miss one, next 15/one coming."
Follow Chippy Nonstop on Twitter.