That advert was the most honest I have ever been: I was looking for an Asian Zach Braff type, intellectual and artistic, who would finally allow me to be myself.But here’s something no-one wants to hear – woke brown men like white women. Instead, my inbox was flooded with a mixture of white men fetishising me, and culturally diverse lonely hearts looking to also “do the right thing”.They couldn’t understand why I felt obligated to spend a lot of time with my enormous family, or that I couldn’t see them at the drop of a hat because I needed time to construct a credible lie. But if you’ve never felt guilt, you won’t understand what it feels like to continuously disappoint people, to live with the feeling deep inside that your entire existence is a lie.Their friends joked about getting used to eating curry and I lost count of the times people asked why I wasn’t having an arranged marriage. So I did what every utterly desperate person does – put an ad on Gumtree.My mother and I butted heads constantly about what I was up to.Looking back, if I’d just told her that I was only trying to find someone that made me feel like a real person, and not sleeping around, she might have been more understanding.I desperately wanted to be able to conform, but I couldn’t find even a fading ember of faith to rekindle.As an adult I persisted with white men who were inevitably caught off guard when I displayed very brown qualities. “Man up.” “Just live your life the way you want to.”.
Together we’d ignore the fact that I was literally the only brown person at a Silverchair gig and found innocent teenage love hiding in random parks.
, I once found myself staring at a computer screen considering Halal Speed Dating.
I was desperate to find a way to bring together the disparate aspects of my personality and thought the best way of doing that was by presenting my parents with a man who would not only meet their expectations, but also make me feel better about being a complete cultural cock-up.
While white men wanted to enjoy the fact that I was exotic but recoiled at my ethnic practices, brown men wanted to control me or tell me how I should be, and feel.
One guy ordered my food for me and then told me I’d eaten enough and couldn’t have dessert.