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And then you have the opposite, where it’s like, you’re on these dating apps, and you have these hookups, and sometimes it works, and other times it doesn’t. But they don’t encourage ‘dating.’ They have encouraged me getting married. And you’re going to meet men — men who are not Muslim.And you know it’s difficult because I do see that men do want to start flirting with me.You want someone who is going to be able to enjoy sharing these experiences with you.And as much as a Christian guy might be able to support you, they’ll never really know what you’re going through.“Exactly. But if a guy is Muslim, he’s very quick to bring it up.
That's why, as part of It’s Not You, I'll be talking to people with a broad range of experiences to see how things are different — and how they're the same. I didn’t understand the politics of what 9/11 meant, and it was just a very tough time for Muslims in general.Even though I was born and raised in this religion, that was my own awakening as to why this was a way of life for me [and I decided to commit myself to this faith].”What does that mean to you and your faith? I had to go through a process of that, too, because you’re immediately recognized as a Muslim if you’ve got your hijab on. “For the personality type that I have, the hijab was very simple way for me to maintain a balance and a center and a sort of discipline that I needed and that I don’t seem to find in a lot of other ways in this world. But the hijab is as simple as putting a T-shirt on.”“If you’re a conservative Muslim, your family gets you some men, you pick and choose what you want, and it’s done in a really quick turnaround period. And I don’t knock any sort of trajectory or pathway to finding love or getting married or having a marriage. It blows my mind to know that you can try this conservative approach, or this non-conservative approach…”But there’s no full-on “dating” that goes on in your community?It’s not the same for men, now that beards are in style. And by ‘quick turnaround period,’ I mean that some people can be married in, like, a month. Because you have people who do this arranged marriage situation, and the marriages work and sometimes they don’t. “My parents know that I talk to men with the purpose of dating for marriage. Sounds like my parents.“I live in Chicago, and I live in this great neighborhood, so I meet people all the time.If nothing else, I just want something that has substance and is meaningful. You’re not even supposed to be touching somebody of the opposite sex.So I do tell the guy, ‘Hey I’m looking for something a little more serious, and I only want to date a Muslim man.’ And some guys are like, ‘I can convert! You’re just saying that because you have rose-colored glasses on right now.’”You have! Those intimate forms of touch are just meant for your husband or your family members or whatever, and not just for strangers.” So this guy, whatever, dream boat, finally comes and takes that next step.