Today on Salon, there's a worthwhile excerpt from Marrying Anita: A Quest For Love In The New India, a book by Anita Jain. Ms. Jain's story is one of hope in a time of despair: The single girl who wants desperately to fall in love. Like Carrie Bradshaw, Holly Golightly and so many before her, Ms. Jain finds that New York is an incredibly tough town when it comes to dating. Parties have thirty women and two men; guys don't call back or call at all; online dating's a joke and men and women try and see what they can get away with: Affairs, fuckbuddies, non-committal relationships. A woman who honestly wants to fall in love and get married runs the risk of seeming like a freak, Ms. Jain asserts."To admit to others that I yearned for a long-term commitment or marriage… sounded regressive as soon as it emerged from my mouth," she writes. "It was atavistic in nature, a throwback to a time when women couldn't financially support themselves. It was a piece of treacherous anathema in the age of strong, independent working women." Ms. Jain came to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with her: There was something wrong with the system. "We are told that it's best to meet friends of friends," Ms. Jain writes. "We all think this is a brilliant idea, until we realize that we've already met all of our friends' friends ... two years ago." She lays the blame on Western culture, specifically the American pride in being the best:
For a decidedly unmystical society that seems to have the answer for everything else — the best medical care, cutting-edge technology, superhighways, and space shuttles — it seems odd that people are left to their own resources, casting around for another lonely soul, for what is arguably the most important decision of their lives.
And honestly? She has a point. In busting the retro ideas of what it means to be a wife, we don't seem to have focused much on love. On the easy, natural bliss that can come from two people connecting in a unique way. Not codependence, not socio-economic symbiosis. Love. Are some people just cut out to be in love? Jain writes:
Why do we have to be "perfectly sound" before we can meet someone? Why can't we be desperately alone and unhappy and become much more balanced or healthy after getting involved with someone? We've all seen this happen with friends — "God, Peter seems so much happier now that he's going out with Jessica. He's not drinking as much."
And so, Ms. Jain made a decision: She'd go to India, where men actually want to get married. "People commonly go to India to find themselves or to find god, but I went to India to find a husband," she writes. I don't know about the other single gals out there, but I applaud Ms. Jain's conviction and I'm in awe of her unapologetic decision to pursue her dream. Guys who move halfway around the world for a woman are romantic, but some would probably brand Ms. Jain desperate. But we're talking about an important, life-changing decision that affects the very foundation of who you are as a person: How you want to live. And if you don't want to live alone, why not do something about it? While some women excel and being single and are fine with whistling the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore show and focusing on career or friends, some women want to be in a long-lasting relationship. And if you've ever worked in an office for a few years or had a friendship turn into something more or seen the film Blue Lagoon, you know that just being near someone for a chunk of time can foster loving feelings. So why not go where there's a chance that the feeling is mutual? Looking For The Perfect Stranger [Salon]