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You're a Zero! What's Your Name? No One's Gonna Ask You - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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March 24th, 2009


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10:38 pm - You're a Zero! What's Your Name? No One's Gonna Ask You
It's a hodgepodge kind of day.

Caprica is in the shop. My brand-new fucking car has a leaky power steering rack that needs to be replaced. And something about a faulty O-ring, which makes me glad my car hasn't exploded. What the fuck, Mazda. At least they gave me a rental car. I'm zipping around in a Jetta.

My little sister got into Rice!! I'm proud of her and still baffled that my brother didn't get in. I don't know whether she actually gets to go, though, and I might not know for a while, given that my parents made me think they were sending me to UT until after the deposit was due.

No one seemed impressed that I was asked to be on another panel, but here is the bio I wrote anyway:
Polter-Cow, MS is officially a Drug Safety Associate but self-identifies as a Medical Writer, Drug Safety at EthicalMedical.net, where he began his medical writing career three years ago. Before landing his first real job, he sharpened his skills by writing science articles for the Michigan Daily while finishing his Master's thesis in pharmacology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Before leaving a prestigious doctoral program for the real world, he studied biochemistry and English at Rice University. You may remember him as the writer/director/producer of and actor in The Wrik*do. As far as you know from creative readings, he loves Gilbert and Sullivan and murder. He watches more TV than you.
And now, some linkspam.
  • Courtesy of cofax7, this is epic. Someone wrote a "tribute" sequel to Breaking Dawn (about Jacob) AND IS SELLING IT ON EBAY. And she sees nothing wrong with that. Nor does her publisher. It's astounding. The stupid, it BURNS.
  • Courtesy of miniglik, quite possibly the worst piece of writing I have read in my entire life. You've never seen so many ridiculous metaphors, I promise.
  • Courtesy of tiggz, a Supernatural/Chuck credits mash-up. Awesome and cute.
  • Check out Josh Schwartz's new web series, Rockville, CA, which highlights musical acts like the Kooks and Kaiser Chiefs. There is a cute brunette with glasses and Ryan Hansen being a douche. I reviewed the first four episodes last week, and the new episodes this week show improvement.
  • I have thrown my name into an anon meme. Some anonymice have already said very nice things about me. Be one of them? Please? For, lo, I am about to get all angsty up in this hizouse.
My family seems pretty determined to have my wedding in December.

Never mind that we haven't found me a wife yet.


I was supposed to be hooked up with some fashion designer weeks ago, but the family never got back to us or something? No one is biting. I guess I'm not that marketable. I am undesirable as a potential future husband to every Gujarati girl with a good family and a brother in America. This is just like selling my fucking car. Should I lower my asking price? ("You don't have to be super hot, just mildly hot.") Does my personality require a tune-up? Do I have too many years on me? Maybe I need to get my leaky self-confidence replaced.

My mom now predicts there is a 90% chance that she and a couple others will go to India in November to scout. I will be able to e-mail with the chosen potential future wives and then go to India in December to get married to someone or other. My mom emphasized that it would not be the way it was with her, where she talked to my dad for all of five minutes or something before marrying him; I would only go through with it when I felt comfortable and certain. "I don't want to get married for the sake of getting married," I said. She was all, "Well, you have to get married..."

My future is hurtling toward me like an asteroid, and I am nothing but an orbiting son. They've been threatening to send me to the wife factory for years, but it's never felt as real as it does right now. I need to do something, anything, quickly. miniglik wants me to ask out girls and go on dates, but I don't see the point in wasting anyone's time. I have to find and fall in love with a Gujarati girl with a good family and a brother in the next eight months. Casual dating is a luxury reserved for those without expiration dates.

No fate but what we make. Except I don't know how to make it.
Current Mood: stressedstressed
Current Music: AFI - Head Like a Hole

(54 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:miniglik
Date:March 25th, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)

FOR ALL WHO READ THE COMMENTS...

(Link)
GO. ON. DATES. With ANYONE you're slightly interested in and might be interested back. Have fun. MEET PEOPLE. Build confidence. Explore options, and allow yourself a little bit of freedom. Most dates don't end in marriage, so it's not a promise, goofball.

Anyone reading The Cow's comments here who agrees with me, say "aye!"
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 25th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)

Re: FOR ALL WHO READ THE COMMENTS...

(Link)
Most dates don't end in marriage, so it's not a promise, goofball.
Most people don't have a deadline for marriage! It seems unfair to string women along if I won't be able to commit. I am only good for one-night stands at this point. Which is all I've ever been good for, really.
[User Picture]
From:gymble
Date:March 25th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
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Courtesy of miniglik, quite possibly the worst piece of writing I have read in my entire life.
Ahem. She got that from me. Also: this, which gives the other piece of writing a fight for the title of worst writing ever if not surpassing it entirely. Warning: no pictures, but Not At All Safe For Work.

Except I don't know how to make it.
At the risk of getting preachy ... alright, let's just accept that there's no way to say this without being bossy and add the caveat that you're free to ignore me and/or tell me where to stuff it. You do know how to make your own fate; you don't want to deal the potential fallout. Let's start with the obvious - you don't want an arranged marriage. You've been clinging to the hope that you'll find someone on your own who also fits your parents' criteria, but this event has and always has had a vanishingly small possibility of occurring when you live in the States where there is not a ready pool of acceptable women. So now that you're coming to decision time, here are your choices: a) You tell your parents you don't want an arranged marriage at all and will get married on your own time or not at all. b) You let your parents find girls for you (in India, it looks like) and pick the girl that seems the best. c) You try and come to some sort of compromise involving your own criteria for your future wife and your parents' restrictions.

In the end, again to state the obvious, they can't make you marry anyone. They can make life extraordinarily uncomfortable, but then so can a bad marriage. Me, I'm willing to bet that a bad marriage is worse. Two of my cousins had arranged marriages; both ended in divorce. This is not to say that all arranged marriages turn out badly by any means, but I think that in your case, as in the case of my cousins, you're doing it not because of what you want but because of what others want and that sets things up for failure. Right now, you're letting your parents control everything, including the timetable. I think that you should sit down and figure out exactly what you want. Ignoring the unlikely ideal, is there any way that your mom (and aunts, I'm guessing) could find someone for you in November that you would be comfortable marrying in December? If nothing else, move the damn time table.

Alrighty, stepping back out of your business. Just remember that you have a lot of friends who care about you, okay?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 25th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
(Link)
Ahem. She got that from me.
I know she did. But you didn't tell ME about it, so NYAH.

You do know how to make your own fate; you don't want to deal the potential fallout.
I do also need my spine replaced.

Two of my cousins had arranged marriages; both ended in divorce.
Yeah, all the stories I get are about the ones who marry girls they find and get a divorce within a year (in the latest one, the girl was cheating on him) and then have an arranged marriage.

Alrighty, stepping back out of your business. Just remember that you have a lot of friends who care about you, okay?
Thanks, I appreciate it.
[User Picture]
From:punzerel
Date:March 25th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
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Aw, Sunil. *huuuug* I don't really know what to say, but if you ever need someone to vent to/commiserate with about family and tradition and not knowing even where you want to stand on it all - I'm always around.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 25th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
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*hug* Thanks, Punzie.
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:March 25th, 2009 11:52 am (UTC)
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I think that if you were dating an Indian girl come December time, your parents wouldn't make you marry her immediately or drop her and marry someone they choose immediately.

Which is why I think you ought to be dating. I mean, you want to find a girl to love and love you, don't you? So get out there on Indian dating websites (they have those, don't they?), or network, or do whatever. Start dating.
[User Picture]
From:soundingsea
Date:March 25th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
This deadline came and went once before. I know (I KNOW) how hard it is to say no to family, but they have to give you time! Do you really want to pick some girl off a vetted-by-Mom list and just hope that you'll be happy with her for the rest of your life? At least negotiate that you have to be able to completely want to marry a girl, and ask them to accept that it might not happen on an artificial deadline.

There's a huge spectrum between casual dating and marrying someone you've emailed a few times. They've got to meet you somewhere in between.

If the big rush is grandchildren, you can point out that, as a male, your biological clock has way more time on it, and getting more established in your career (and being on more PANELS) could make you more appealing to Parents of Girls.
[User Picture]
From:cadhla
Date:March 25th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
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1. That mash-up is awesome.

2. Do hot Gujarati girls advertise on Craig's List? Or Soulgeek.com?

3. My spellcheck knows 'Gujarati' but does not know 'spellcheck.'
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 25th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
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Ha, I've never heard of Soulgeek.com. I did a quick search and found no Indian girls. But I may just throw something on Craigslist out of desperation at this point.
[User Picture]
From:stephl
Date:March 25th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
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a Gujarati girl with a good family and a brother

I understand why she has to be Gujarati, and, really, coming from a good family is not an unreasonable stipulation, given that they'll be your in-laws. But why does she have to have a brother? I'm sure you said why previously, but I can't remember it.

I know that I don't understand what it's like to be in your situation, but I vehemently, 100% agree with gymble. Your family can't MAKE you marry anyone. Your refusal will obviously cause a shitstorm, but in the end, they cannot actually force you to marry anyone.

You might be facing the huge, ugly, angst-ridden decision of: do you want to make your family happy, or do you want to make Sunil happy? FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

It sucks, and I wish it were easier, but man, I want to see *you* happy, not miserable because you capitulated in order to make your *family* happy.
[User Picture]
From:pandarus
Date:March 25th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
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In this, as in so many things, Teppy speaks for me. But it's a bastard.

Wishing you good things, mate.

(...and, to reiterate: why is the brother a deal-breaker?)
[User Picture]
From:shpyum
Date:March 25th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
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INTERNET DATING, Sunil.
[User Picture]
From:harper47
Date:March 25th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. Well honestly, I don't know what to post about the marital situation. And since I'm a member of Team Divorce, I'm pretty sure my romantic advice is completely worthless.

But yea for your sis and Rice and yea for work stuff. Now the car stuff - grrrrrr. Cars are evil. And quite possibly terminators.
[User Picture]
From:daynr
Date:March 25th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
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Off dating topic, that bio is for a professional convention where you're a panelist on writing within the scope of your job, right? If so, I think it's too unprofessional and also vaguely smug. I know you're trying to show your sense of humor, but I think it would be better done verbally than in conference brochures, etc.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 25th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
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I know what you're saying, but AMWA is a fairly small organization with a very familial/friendly atmosphere. If this sort of thing would fly anywhere, it'd be there. And the moderator already accepted it, so it should be fine. Most other panelists' bios read like mini-CVs, and I don't have years of experience and publications to tout. I'm not sure what's so smug about it since there's nothing terribly impressive in there. I only called the doctoral program prestigious to make me look like a lamer for ditching it. And I did the skit at this conference last year, so it was worth mentioning.
From:dotificus
Date:March 25th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
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I met you so recently, it feels presumptuous to comment on your arranged-marriage woes, Sunil, but that part of your post wrenches my heart (nice writing, btw) and makes me want to say something in case it might possibly perhaps be a slightly bit useful.

I agree with you that casual dating in these circumstances would be akin to leading people on, IF you agree with your parents and are deep down on board with their ideas about your marital future. But I also agree with gymble that it sound like you are NOT in agreement with your parents. So maybe you should start dating and then that would change things. You might fall in love and that could change the way you feel about all this. And change what you think is the best thing to do.

I'm sure your parents desire what's best for you, but that doesn't mean they know what is.

If your mom really means it when she says you would only get married when you feel "comfortable and certain" then I think that should take some of this deadline pressure off you. Meet whoever, email them, be open to things working out, but if you feel like it's wrong, if you're not "comfortable and certain" then say no. Or not yet.

(I like your bio--it's fun.)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 25th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
that part of your post wrenches my heart (nice writing, btw)
Thanks.

So maybe you should start dating and then that would change things.
Stick that in my daily planner!

I'm sure your parents desire what's best for you, but that doesn't mean they know what is.
This is a good way of putting it.

(I like your bio--it's fun.)
Thanks.
[User Picture]
From:latropita
Date:March 25th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It seems like your parents have kind of an unrealistic view of how this whole thing should work - like, they don't seem to want you dating at all, but they're also disappointed that you're not married yet? K's parents had a similar position on not "dating" because they didn't want him going out with like, a dozen girls, I assume, because they don't really seem to have a problem with the actual situation. Though ymmv on the whole white she-devil aspect.

I don't really have any helpful advice, as dating is a sort of terrifying netherworld to me once you get beyond asking someone to the Sadie Hawkins dance. I do think you need to come to terms more with what you want, one way or the other, because if it's just "this is what my parents want" versus "this is what my parents don't want," then you really have no idea whether you'll be happy. But even though this all totally sucks, don't forget that you're awesome and we love you, because both are very true!

And I like the bio as well.
[User Picture]
From:bookie85
Date:March 25th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Date. Just do it. You have heard my stories, my CL experiences. It is an interesting ride that is for sure, but with each one I get just a little better at the whole thing. I never expect to meet the "one" on one of these excursions, I just expect to have a nice evening, or at least not an evening spent home by myself.
[User Picture]
From:gingerwood
Date:March 26th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
(Link)
If worst comes to worst, there are media geeks in India, at least in Chennai. I know this for a fact because just this morning one of our off-shore testers listed the x-men as patients in our test data. No one on my team could figure out why I was laughing.

Do you get to insert your own vetting points? You could make up a list of pop culture questions, if the girl laughs she makes the first cut, if she is clueless or disapproving, she's off the list?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 26th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
(Link)
I know this for a fact because just this morning one of our off-shore testers listed the x-men as patients in our test data.
That is awesome. I love doing that shit.

Do you get to insert your own vetting points? You could make up a list of pop culture questions, if the girl laughs she makes the first cut, if she is clueless or disapproving, she's off the list?
The problem is I don't think the girl even factors in very much. It's all between the families.
[User Picture]
From:queenal
Date:March 26th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
(Link)
Someone else said this down below:

They can make life extraordinarily uncomfortable, but then so can a bad marriage.

It's a very good point. Why go ahead with what your family wants if it only ends up making you miserable for the next fifty years? Not only you, but the girl you end up marrying. I have known people in happy arranged marriages, but they were extremely mainstream people who weren't that hard to place with another mainstream person, if you see what I mean, and they were (both man and woman) very happy for an arranged marriage to take place.

What if you ended up with someone who hated science fiction and thought the internet was all about porn, and couldn't be persuaded otherwise? Someone who wouldn't appreciate a line like 'My future is hurtling toward me like an asteroid, and I am nothing but an orbiting son'? Is that the sort of person you want to raise children with and then spend your twilight years alongside?

There are media and science-oriented women in India, of course, but they're as rare as they are in the US, and I bet women like that are all running scared from arranged marriages too. You don't need someone exactly like you, but you need at least some interests or attitudes in common.

You seem like a really, really lovely, interesting, caring man, and you deserve better than making do with someone who's virtually a stranger.

I know it's not as easy as that, but then 50 years with someone you don't get on with wouldn't be easy either.

You don't have an expiration date - you're not an e-number, you're a free man! :D
[User Picture]
From:ora_wai
Date:March 26th, 2009 09:22 am (UTC)
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Dude, there is a doco piece on Indian arranged marriages right now and how normal it is to the culture (Indians in India, and some American South Asian Indians). They are talking about how everyone is so much more invested in the process so a good match is paramount - marriage as a long term partnership not a way of completing you, only 7% of Indian marriages end in divorce, etc. It might not be the worse thing (I say as a kiwi with no experience of Indian culture beyond some Fiji-Indian friends).
From:harriettheelf
Date:March 26th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I have to find and fall in love with a Gujarati girl with a good family and a brother in the next eight months.

That's a ridiculous timeline, and I have to believe they know that. You can't plan a wedding that quick!

And I ditto gymble's wise, wise comment.

And I feel totally unqualified to comment further on this except that I'm so sorry this is out there and stressing you out.
[User Picture]
From:twenty8penguin
Date:March 26th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
First off - I made the mistake of clicking on the "worst piece of writing" link at work... I laughed way too hard. That's priceless!

Secondly, the chron.com (the Houston Chronicle's website...ugh) had a big feature on arranged marriages this morning. I guess spring is in the air and everyone's parents are getting antsy!

There were some good links though:
A modern Indian Woman's Struggle with Arranged Marriages
Lessons from an Arranged Marriage

[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 26th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, I really liked that first article. She's had a lot more experience than I have (and had more potentials foisted on her by her parents), but it rang very true.
[User Picture]
From:rachelmanija
Date:March 27th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
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You know I don't think arranged marriage is a terrible thing, but it's clearly a terrible thing for you, since you don't want to do it, and it's not being set up for you in a way that caters to what you want.

I think you should take some time to visualize two scenarios:

1. You get married. Two years later, you get divorced. How is your family going to react? How much of a pain in the ass is it going to be to do the legal stuff, move, split possessions, etc?

2. You tell your family they won't do it. How will they react? What will be going on two years afterward?

Really imagine what both would be like and how you'd feel. Then decide which is worse.
[User Picture]
From:ahtrap
Date:March 29th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
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given my situation...I've come close to feeling that I wish I let my parents handle things on the marriage front...but it never quite gets to that point.

not exactly helpful to your question/quest, I know, but it felt like it needed saying. I'm kind of in the "go out on dates, have a few interesting evenings" boat, but, as I'm rediscovering, it's not like I know a damn thing about how to go about doing that...
[User Picture]
From:foresthouse
Date:April 19th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Geez, I'm feeling stressed FOR you just reading about this. I wish your family wasn't pressuring you so much. :(

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