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And evidently, I’m doing the same thing in my dating life.To put it simply, I’ve been the token person of colour at school, at work and in circles of friends. I think that’s why I find an innate sense of comfort and recognition with dating a fellow minority, whether they are a part of my culture or not. But because that need is mutual, it’s met with a distinct understanding that feels akin to seeing someone familiar across a crowded room.Last summer, I was on a date with a 20-something man we’ll call Trent. I had been explaining how my parents met and married through an arrangement, something that’s common in South Asian culture.At first, conversation flowed—we talked careers, food, travel, friends, family. He didn’t quite follow, which is understandable, so I tried to explain: “It’s a cultural tradition.” “They define love and marriage differently than the American way.” “It may not be for you or me, but it was for them,” etc.Each time, he had a rebuttal that probably sounded cleverer in his head. “You better not let your parents control your life like that,” he said, with a derisive laugh. Of course, I didn’t realize I’d made that choice until I reflected back on my last year in men. But it’s the latter who always seem to require an explanation for all of the above, and also for why I lived at home as long as I did and had an early curfew, and why meeting my parents isn’t as simple as pencilling in a Friday night dinner.“Don’t be like other brown girls.” This from a man who had opened the date by telling me he’d never been out with “a brown girl” before, so he was excited to check that off his list, as if I were an item on a sample platter. And it wasn’t entirely based on Trent; the long list of Trents, Daves and Andys who came before him contributed to my decision, too. As a Pakistani-Canadian woman in her late 20s, there’s a pressure to never move out of home, to have children, to opt for an arrangement, to maintain the “back home” quo, where dating of any kind and pre-marital sex is considered deeply taboo. Sometimes it feels like even the way these men say my name—the practiced pronunciation, and the inevitable request for definition—is a slight, and that’s not because it’s wrong to ask (it isn’t). I wouldn’t, after all, inquire about the ethnic origins of a James or a Michael. Something tells me those conversations aren’t happening in the same way with our other halves.I’d argue the connection can be more simply explained by the age-old notion of a midlife crisis.Sure, it manifests in different forms – sometimes Tory and toffy, where the dream woman favours wellies and bad pashminas and Joules travel bags, and other times faux-bohemian, where she, like Grimes, is a touch more gothy, opting for black lace and a burgundy lip over a peppy pink shade.
Laying down my baggage, then, takes trust and vulnerability, especially with the risk of being misunderstood.
Musk has taken to crying in media interviews and smoking weed live on camera (Grimes is undoubtedly ahead of him in emotional maturity, then). But how do such relationships stand up in the post-Me Too age, where issues of power imbalances are more discussed and understood than ever. Does the trophy wife – the young arm candy - reflect even slightly well anymore?
Women have always been skeptical, but now I’d say other men wouldn’t look at some 60-year-old with a 30-year-old girlfriend with too much envy either. Set your Guardian Soulmate settings to 32 and above.
Indeed, current developments haven’t been great for the reputation of May to September romances, so he’d have had plenty of mileage.
Nudging Johnson for top prize in ick factor is Elon Musk, who chose the ultimate bonfire of the vanities – The Met Gala celebrating the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion And The Catholic Imagination exhibition – to reveal his relationship with the electronic musician Grimes. She “once sailed a DIY houseboat loaded with live chickens and bushels of potatoes down the Mississippi River,” observed the in a piece dedicating to analysing "The Trouble with Elon Musk And Grimes:.
Sure, she’ll have skin like a baby’s bottom, but is that a big enough reward for looking a bit like Rickman? Apparently, luxury brands have seen sales flourish thanks to a vogue for younger women tasking older men with buying their handbags and high fashion in exchange for the pleasure of their company. Though the jury’s out on that last one – what average 32-year-old would want to date a man old enough to be her father unless she was getting a healthy amount of new season Prada out of it? Woke 35-year olds probably need no advice that dating anyone younger than your baby sister is weird. That said, as all of us who despaired at his Leave campaign lies knows, he’s always played fast and loose when it comes to numbers.