One of the perks of being Marriage Broker Auntie is that I stay abreast with all the social faux pas in the marriage market. I get lots of dope on arranged marriage dates and pre-date conversations, that are both hilarious and insightful. One thing I have realised is that irrespective of age, religion, caste, education, etc, there are a few common faux pas in arranged marriage dates off late. As a dutiful auntie, I thought I should list them down for the benefit of those yet to massacre their own dates. I will do this in two parts – One for men and another for women. Here’s my list of top ten faux pas by men in the market –
1. Talking about work
Unless you have a start up and the woman is a high profile investor you wouldn’t get a shot at pitching to if it weren’t for this date, DO NOT talk about work. It’s just really boring and you will either come across as a brag or a whine depending on whether you have good or bad things to say, besides seeming really one dimensional. And going onsite-offsite is also considered work talk and does not qualify as “travel” talk.
This is a common complaint I hear from most women. Men do most of their shortlisting pre-date and hence think of the actual date as a sales pitch. They don’t bother trying to learn about the woman since they think she is anyway going to do most of the compromising bit (pun intended) post marriage anyway. But you know what, women like to be heard too, and you will learn this the hard way after you get married. *grin*
3. “What else” level conversations
The most common phrases exchanged in the days leading upto a date (chances of which are bleak after this) are “What did you have for dinner?” “How was your weekend?” “How was your day?” “What else?”. Honestly, how do you care what the woman ate for dinner unless this is some sly way of knowing if the girl knows how to cook?! This is the sort of conversation women like to have with the beauty parlour lady, not a potential spouse. Besides, there is the rest of your married life to have such mundane conversations anyway! If you need help on how to spice up your conversations, I recommend that you check out what popular behavioural economics professor, Dan Ariely has to say about this.
4. Fwd messages as conversation starters
People receive good morning forwards from old relatives, random colleagues you once worked on a project with and creeps only. So, the normal protocol is usually not to respond to this. If you thought such forwards could be conversation starters, BAD idea! Also, if you are a budding poet/ stand up comedian/ dude with a Facebook photography page, send the girl a link once, but she doesn’t need to get a copy of every poem or photo you have up there. Relax!
5. Failing to make date plans
Chatting on WhatsApp or Telegram is a means to an end but not an end in itself. So, save yourself and the lady some transaction cost, be a man and suggest meeting up. While I always encourage men to take the lead on organising the date (it’s kind of sexy this way!), be mindful/ flexible about the woman’s convenience as well, but not to an extent where you ask the woman to decide everything and just show up like the chief guest at the stipulated place and time.
6. Showing off terrible fashion sense
If you thought only men cared about looks in a woman, you are wrong. Women care too. Surely, its not top of their list but it’s third on their list (Results from a survey conducted across India by a popular dating app in India). How you turn up for a date says 3 things – How interested you are in meeting this woman, how desirable you are to the opposite gender (aka market value) and another big one, your willingness and ability to spend (both, because there is a big difference wearing diesel and deisel!).
7. Diving into interview mode
Given our social construct, women usually move in with the guy after marriage if not with the guy’s family and hence, men treat arranged marriage dates as fit interviews. This involves asking women if they know how to cook, clean, etc. Women on the other hand, want even an arranged marriage date to seem like a scene from DDLJ (if that doesn’t happen, there’s always some random Facebook candid photographer who can take care of that in the pre-wedding photoshoot) and so they are not pragmatic enough to see the value in these fit interviews. So, they find this format too stifling and unattractive.
8. Your mother will talk to her later
The latest epidemic in the marriage market is men asking women how religious they are and their willingness to participate in religious ceremonies and celebrations of festivals. I should have probably put this one on top as the #1 faux pas because these are men who belong to a cult inspired by Ramesh Arvind in the 90s Kannada movie “Thuttha Muttha” trying to play monkey between the mother and the wife and hence, filtering for an ideal daughter in law rather than an ideal partner. Evaluating for fit with family is important but this is optimising a little too much and so, I only have one thing to say – Worry only about yourself at first, your mother will talk to her later!
9. Going dutch on date
Women surely want men who are feminist, but if a guy by any crazy chance suggests going dutch on the date, he is just plain cheap. Double standards you think? Yes, that’s right. But women are like that wonly.
10. Never ask a woman how she plans to manage both work and home after marriage
All women are feminist, and more so on an arranged marriage date. So, don’t you dare ask them questions that you men don’t expect to be asked just because you are men. Running a home of two different individuals is as new to a woman as it is to a man. As husband and wife, you will have to figure this one out post marriage anyway and even if you are curious to know if this woman is going to be an equal partner, there’s surely a better way to find out than sounding like a shady boss/ HR in her firm!