There's an utterly befuddling conundrum afoot in the desi community. To explain you must first understand that for whatever reason desis typically marry other desis, and marriage is valued to the point of obsession. I'm not saying its how it should be but it is what it is and within our insular communities Jane Austin novels are played out in a different tongue on a daily basis. Curiously there seem to be more marriageable girls than than males. How can it be? girl + guy= marriage? The numbers must be somewhat equal. Why is that NOT the case?
Before I begin, please note 1) If you disagree please do so respectfully 2) I'm speaking in general terms, there are exceptions to each situation 3) This is a cultural not religious issue 4) If you're unsure why desi marriages are unique read here first.
#1 Desi men have more options. Desi men can a) marry a non-desi and not face too much flack though his sister would likely be nearly disowned and gossiped about extensively b) marry a girl here c) go back to the motherland. There's a lot of guys going back home to marry. Yet the same parents preferring this for their sons insist on boys from here for their daughter. Why the disparate treatment? The traditional girl from back home is raised to adapt while the man from back home is raised to be the one adapted to. Theoretically, a traditional girl from a village in Pakistan will make parathas, accept the superiority of her inlaws and adjust to the needs of her spouse. But a man from back home expects the same in his American bride. ABCD girls can compromise but we'll have a harder time saying "as you wish" to his and his parent's every wish, its hard to reconcile.
#2 Its a buyers market and he holds the purse strings. The girl waits. He'll go with his family for a dinner prepared painstakingly for him. And some men are so damn cavalier traveling cross-country, eating at their homes and then dismissing her for one hurtful reason or other. Even aunties I grew up with who I expected more of, say "oh the house was too small" or "she seemed taller in her picture." I know more than a few who've gone to the hopeful girl's home with zero intent on marriage insisting "dekhne me tho nahin hurj" (no harm in looking). Oh auntie, but there is harm in turning a girl, a woman like you, into a slab of meat.
#3 Superficiality reigns supreme. Men can be picky about looks while women are admonished for such thoughts. (which I wrote of here) Pics of girls sent to guys can get rejected for reasons like not being light enough, or smiling too much or too little. I guess if you're shopping for meat you may as well buy the best cut?
#4 The doctor expectation. Guys take a breath, I'm not blaming you here! Here, the blame lies with the parents who demand doctor son-in-laws as a value prized above all others. I'm so tired of the mothers of daughters telling me, humko doctor chahiyai (we wanna doctor). Most infuriating is when these same people boast how religious they are, shoving it down the throats of others yet smiling with their prayer rug still in their hands as I tell them about a pious brother interested in their daughter, repeating the refrain doctor chahiyai
#5 God forbid she be intelligent or make more bling. For just as many doctor hunters there's equally as many men who dont want a doctor wife particularly if they themselves aren't. The same prejudice prevails with women with PhD's or are financially successful. How many times have I mentioned a terrific girl to hear "Bobullah doesn't want her to make more money than him" So a girl with financial success or striving towards her intellectual potential is misfortunate indeed. This one's utterly befuddling to my spouse who reassured me 'feel free to make all the bling you want, I'll suffer the exotic vacations and villa in Fiji, I'm selfless like that.
#6 Desi men don't have to conceal a past for it wont be held against them. A girl with a "past": used goods but a man with the same past: Boys will be boys!
#7 Desi men can wait longer and then insist on a girl under a certain age I have single friends in their 20's, worried and men in their 30's not one bit flummoxed at their single status. A man at 22, a baby. A woman at 22, a quickly turning spinster who must be wed off lest she own twenty cats at the bitter old age of 24. A man at 32 is an eligible bachelor who can marry a girl of any legal age though will likely be uninterested in one his own age or shall I dare say a few months older than him!
*** To conclude, there's no denying parents want the best, but sometimes in their well intentions, they end up doing a world of harm. Looking at the pain of people like Enyur's touching comment, how can one say this way is most certainly better? Its not a hate on parent involvement it works for some, it worked for me, but the general sweeping assumption, that this is the noble way is simply untrue. There's nothing noble in treating our daughters like cattle.
For the counter argument to mine (and the post that actually sparked this one) please see Mezba's blog where he wrote about this from the other perspective.