Boys’ Night Out

When I was growing up, we would get together at one of our family friends’ house almost every week. Then, the men and women would split up into their respective genders and socialize until it was time to go home. That was what I grew up seeing. Men in the living room, women in the kitchen.

But when us children hung out, it wasn’t split up. Even though we all went through the “boys/girls have cooties” stage and the “you’re a girl, you can’t play basketball” stage (and let me tell you, I was a great basketball player, especially in fancy Indian clothes), we still played together most of our lives.

And now, when we all get together with our spouses, it is still more of a mix. Almost all of the women in our group work full-time which might be the great equalizer. Or maybe it’s the fact that we don’t see such a big difference whether we speak to one of our male friends or female friends. We consider our spouses our best friends and not someone we have to take a break from. Yes, we recognize that there is a difference and there are things you can talk to your own gender about (like giving birth) but overall, we all get together and just hang out.

So I thought that this was the way most people in our generation would turn out as well. And most of the time, this is what I do see.

And then I run across people here and there that will usually always want to be with his or her own gender. I’m not saying a girls’ or boys’ night out is a bad thing. It is definitely needed once in a while. But I was in a relationship for a very long time where I was excluded constantly because my significant other always (and I mean, always) needed a boys’ night out. I didn’t understand it. I thought I was with someone who considered me his best friend and yet, I was treated like I wasn’t a friend, but a hindrance to his social life.

Needless to say, that relationship did not last. I was glad to finally be out of it and to find someone who likes having me around. My whole social world shifted when I realized that there aren’t too many people who still have to be separated from their female counterpart in order to have fun. In fact, most of the people I know have more fun with their significant others present.

But it is interesting when you do run into those types of people again. I see it all from a different perspective now since I am not the one who gets pushed to the side because my significant other needs boys’ night all the time. I’m not the one who gets left at home because the boys are more important. I’m lucky enough to be someone’s first priority and not in a line after every friend he has ever had.

It does make me wonder how that relationship functions now though. When I see these girls and guys segregate, how does it make the girl feel? Does she know she is with someone who will always put her needs second? Or is it by choice and she would rather be with her girlfriends than her significant other as well? Would she rather sit next to her husband/boyfriend or with the girls?

I know that different perspectives exist and I’m honestly curious because it’s not something I’ve ever understood. So if you have an opinion or can explain it to me, please comment below. I’d love to discuss why this whole thing is what it is.

Just Because I’m American Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Indian

You would think the typical problem for someone first generation born in America would be racism against the fact that you are Indian even though you’re as American as the next person. I do know that this is the case for a lot of people throughout the country. It’s a sad fact and hopefully, we are getting to a point where people are enlightened enough that this isn’t an issue anymore.

My problem is a little different from the typical racism. I want to talk about the stereotypes I dealt with growing up. From other Indian people.

There was an Indian movie that came out in the 90s called Pardes. It basically told a story about a girl from India who was marrying a boy who grew up in the US. This boy was a horrible human being. He drank, he smoked, he had girlfriends prior to marriage. All of this was a direct result from the fact that he had grown up in America.

Seriously??

I’m not going to comment on the fact about whether all of these things are right or wrong. Instead I’m going to focus on the fact that all the “bad” stuff happened because a person wasn’t raised in India. And if you think this is just something that was portrayed in a movie, let me tell you that it actually happens.

When I was 19, I brought a guy around to our family parties. This was someone my parents had met and liked and they were fine with him coming with us. All of a sudden, as of that day, I was a bad influence on the other children within our group. Because I had a boyfriend. And this was the type of guy who the same people would have been trying to set me up with maybe 2-3 years down the line. Same nationality, same religion, good family, etc. I couldn’t understand it. I was a super nerd in school. I didn’t drink, I didn’t really have many boyfriends, I had been teaching dance to their children, I had good grades, and was attending college on a scholarship. Yet, all of that history wasn’t enough. I was now this American girl who was going to take everyone else’s children down the wrong path. I was lucky that my parents stood by me and stood up for me. Now, as I watch all of these people’s children get married to people that are not the same heritage as we are, I wonder if they realize how unfairly they judged me back then.

There was a friend I had whose mom did not like me because she felt threatened or something by the relationship I had with “her little boy”. We were just friends but for whatever reason, I wasn’t a good person. One day, she saw me wearing a sari. She asked me who tied the sari for me (it takes a lot of practice). I told her I did it myself and I’ve known how to do it for the last 7 years. My friend later told me that his own sister-in-law from India can’t tie her own sari. Why did this woman assume that I was so American just because I was born here that I didn’t know anything about my own culture?

Most of the people I have been friends with here can speak more languages than just English. Most of them can understand at least 3 languages. I have friends who have been born and raised here in America and friends who have been born in India and came over after spending their childhood there. My own husband came to this country at the age of 11. Yet, there’s not really a significant difference between us. We are both proud of our culture and we share it. We also adopt parts of the American culture that are more progressive and really have been creating a new culture in which future generations will be a part of.

So, Indian people who think that they are better than I am just because I was born here and not there, get over it. We are all the same. The sooner you start thinking that way, the more we will all get along.