Never settle for what is…come tomorrow it will be what was

Tag: friendships

Hijabis are Women Too

So for the past month, I have challenged myself to a no-makeup rule. I do not apply ANYTHING on my face in my day-to-day tasks such as work, errands, gym, etc. I will wear it for special outings and occasions only. So far, I have loved the feeling of nothing on my face but skin, sun, and air. It’s given me more confidence in myself, and when people look at me, they are seeing the real me.

I am always pleasantly surprised when people compliment my looks. It takes me a few seconds to realize they are complimenting the real me, and not the made-up version. I was never big on heavy makeup application before, but even so, it is nice to see people appreciate my true beauty. Some people have said it makes me looks years younger. And while I always have been told I look young for my age, the no-makeup takes it a step further.

I have also been complimented and approached by members of the opposite sex as well, which is truly (to me) the test of this whole challenge. Women, for centuries, have done crazy things in order to make themselves more attractive to the opposite sex. From makeup, hair extensions, plastic surgery, and body-controlling items such as corsets, women have made themselves uncomfortable and stressed out in order to make themselves look a certain way. Why? Because that’s what we are taught from the time we are little (think Disney princesses) to the time we are adults (think magazine covers, actresses, models, etc.).

So you can imagine my surprise when in this last week, I was approached by two guys who complimented me on my beauty and asked me out. One was at the gym, so I was even sweaty and out of breath when that happened haha. To me, I was a bit taken aback when they approached me, because- duh!- I wasn’t wearing makeup or even a cute outfit. But clearly, something caught their attention. And while they both said I was beautiful, I took it to mean a little more than just the outer beauty. Now, I have seen plenty of shows where guys overlook the outer shell of a woman because her confidence outshines her looks. So I know it is possible that these guys saw something that I don’t usually see in myself. Nonetheless, it was a breath of fresh air.

I had to share my observations with someone, so I told one of my guy friends about it. I was excited to talk about my revelations of the no-makeup challenge. However, when I told him about it, his first reaction was that of shock. How dare a non-Muslim guy approach a Muslim woman, and one who is covered at that?! I was confused. Why was that shocking?

His response was that non-Muslim men should know to respect a Muslim covered woman. Approaching her is dishonorable, so how could he just ask her out? It’s outrageous! I had to almost laugh at his reaction. What was so bad about a guy approaching what he seemingly thinks is just another girl? Even if she is covered? So I had to defend the guys and explain why I, as a covered Muslim woman, was not offended.

We all know most Americans get their news from the media. And the perceptions they have about Muslims, especially the women, is skewed. However, all they see is the surface. So they really don’t know what is allowed and not allowed. And when they see a hijabi, what they really see is a woman, just covered up. And actually, because they don’t know much, after they initiate the first conversation, they tread lightly. They are hesitant to touch you, say inappropriate things, or ask questions. It’s sweet, really.

I think it’s great to have these encounters. Because while we won’t actually date them, these guys eventually muster up the courage to ask you questions about why you wear the hijab, what it means, and other things. As a hijabi, I would rather this happen than brush him off initially and have him revert to the media for the answers to his questions. And as a female, it is nice to be noticed for that- being female- just like any other woman. Because underneath the hijab, we are actually just women as well. Just like any other female in society, we like to be flattered. And there is no shame in that.

Next time you want to claim that non-Muslim men should be more respectful to Muslim women and not approach them, ask yourself this question: is it really a question of honor? Because many Muslim and Arab men have no problem approaching a hijabi and asking for a relationship. And what makes that ok, but not the same coming from a non-Muslim? Oh, and keep this in mind as well: not all Muslim and Arab men’s intentions are honorable either. So be sure to factor that in before you answer the question.



Online Dating Woes

So I have dabbled a bit in online dating here and there for the past 8 years. I initially joined one site just to network and meet people, and that proved to be fruitful. I am still great friends with a lot of the guys and girls I’ve met. Recently however, I activated my profile on Arab Lounge. Ok, so yes; you can tell just from the name of the site what kinds of people I will deal with. The thing is, this is not a social networking site; it’s strictly for dating. You can’t post blogs, you can’t friend people, and as a female, I am only accessible to males and vice versa.

So I am constantly getting messages from guys who find my profile “interesting.” Such a vague term. And when I click to see their profile, we have so much NOT in common that I wonder what it is that they find so interesting. I kept my profile short and sweet after a male friend read my previous profile and deemed it too aggressive. (There it is again, I’m “too” something. Sigh). So my profile just says that I want to meet someone, get to know each other, and see where it goes. Casual. Down-to-earth. Simple.

So please explain to me why I get marriage proposals within the first message I’m sent?

Can someone please explain to me where all the normal guys are? The following are excerpts from messages I have received:


“You are my goddess, please let me marry you.”

“I am your slave.”

“Can we marry? I make you much happy.”

“You’re face is like the moon.” (So, pasty and round?)

“Why do you only want tall guys?” (From a guy who was 5’4″. I’m 5’9″)


I get a few guys that just send “hi.” And a few that write me their life story. But I never get the guy who is nonchalant, collected, and just NORMAL. Is it that these guys online have no social graces that they resort to online dating because they can hide behind a screen? Look, people. I’m trying to keep an open mind that I will meet a great guy. But these idiots are making it very hard for me to keep that faith alive.

I know that at 32 I’m not going to get the pick of the gene pool lottery. That’s my punishment for waiting so long I guess. Although, in all fairness not meeting the right guy earlier is definitely not my fault. I did try; it just wasn’t meant to be I guess. So now the question is, do I continue this madness, or do I delete my online account and wish for someone to cross my path someday? On the one hand, it is amusing to receive these messages. On the other, it is discouraging and a waste of my time.

I guess only time will tell. On another unrelated note, last night I hung out with my coworker. Yes, the same one from last week. Just so you know, I am a very ethical and moral person. I would never act in a way that is inappropriate with someone who is engaged. I made sure his fiance knew we would be hanging out before we went out. I don’t ever want to be in a position where the guy lies to his girl just to hang out with me.

So anyways, we went to Pittsburgh yesterday because he’s never been and he wanted to see the stadium and all that hype. The weather was nice and we ended up having dinner by the water. Perfect setting…except I was with an unavailable guy. But he seemed genuinely interested in talking and getting to know me. We got on the subject of relationships and I asked him, from his POV as a male, why he thinks I have not had any success in relationships. He told me that my personality was great- I am fun, lively, bold, independent….but that when I meet a guy, I shouldn’t show that all at once. He said, and I quote, “don’t show too much of that right away. It’ll scare some guys.”

There it is again. That phrase, “too much.” Always too much of this, too much of that. I will never escape it! Of course, once he said that, I became defensive and combative. He told me that for a guy like him (meaning a coworker and friend) my behaving that way is fine. But for someone who I am in a relationship with it may come off as being aggressive. So basically I need to change myself when I meet someone, and lay it on them slowly, over time.

Is that right? Should I do that? I’m asking all you guys out there. If I did take his advice, won’t the guy later on realize that I was maybe hiding or holding back a big part of who I am? I don’t think that I could do that. Plus, I’d feel really awkward trying to hold back a part of me as I’m getting to know someone. Sounds cliche, but if he can’t appreciate all of me upfront, he doesn’t deserve me.

But that is exactly what I’ve done online. To the virtual world, I am not my typical self. I have scaled my profile way back so that I can appear as normal (relative term) as the other females online. Is that right? Should I showcase all of me right away, or should I take my friend’s advice and wait to show it?

I am so confused. Sigh.