“If we called it speed dating, it will end up with real dating,” said Shamshad Hussain, one of the organizers, grimacing. ~The New York Times
Strange as it may sound (and my readers may not find it all that strange if they have been reading my blog long enough), and as laughable as calling a speed date a “matrimonial banquet” is (for starters, it doesn’t do much for the reputation of real “matrimonial banquets”), I can appreciate the idea behind it. Though I cannot speak from experience as a parent, I think there are a lot of parents who would appreciate an organisation like Mothers Against Dating. For those who like euphemisms, “assisted marriage” is as nice a way to describe arranged marriage as I can think of. You’re not being forced to marry someone–you’re being helped along the way!
Why this aversion to referring to dating, even for these limited meetings? Well, for a different generation the reasons would have been obvious, and the reasons are actually even more compelling today in their way:
Basically, for conservative Muslims, dating is a euphemism for premarital sex. Anyone who partakes risks being considered morally louche, with their marriage prospects dimming accordingly, particularly young women.
The sad thing is not just that it is often a euphemism for that, but that there can sometimes be nothing more to it than that. Is it any wonder that traditional, morally conservative immigrants have to concoct things as odd as speed “matrimonial banquets” to cope with the age of hook-ups and Promiscuous Girl? As I read over these sorts of stories, I have to ask: why should these people want to assimilate to our society, when it genuinely does appear to be something of a moral wasteland?