Yes, Indian Matchmaking was problematic at times, but there was also something lovely about hearing the success stories of those who were married in this way, as well as seeing aspects of Indian culture on the screen (representation matters). The affection and care that these couples were able to grow together is no mean feat and testament to working at it together. But let’s also cut the crap with the patriarchy, colourism and casteism please.
Introducing Deepa Aunty
Before I get all serious, Sima Aunty left the building and I’m stepping in (aka Deepa Aunty). She wasn’t quite ready to handle gay rishtas and marriages. But don’t worry, I’m here (and queer) to help you find the man of your dreams* and to make my best efforts in helping you get married. I have achieved a total of one marriage, my ex-boyfriend married one of my friends, and I’m not bitter at all.
*disclaimer: If the stars are not aligned, I can’t do fuck all.
Step I: Proper Marriage Criteria
The first step is to establish some proper marriage criteria - not the filters you boys use on Grindr (Daddy should only be used in affection for your soon to be father-in-law). There are some things you boys* are fixated on, which have no bearing on a good life partner. So here is my best advice to help you find this special person and to reframe the bullshit.
*beyond the boys, some of this could be handy for our wider queer family too
The (Goddamn) Bullshit Criteria
He must be a top or bottom. Beta don’t be so fixed and be more adjustible. Why would you only want them to be only one thing, when variety is the spice of life? This applies to the bedroom too - so let’s work on these faltu (useless) preferences. Ultimately, you have to be more versatile inside and outside of the bedroom and only then will you have a happy marriage. #BeMoreFlexible and trust Deepa Aunty 😉
Only fit (no fat). Beta, why do you want a man who spends more time at the gym than he spends on you. Does that sound like a fruitful marriage? Someone who is that obsessed with how they look will never develop their inner self. And soon all you’ll be eating is a no carbs, no sugar bullshit diet. Imagine, no murgh makhani (butter chicken) or kulfi (ice-cream). Fuck that life! And remember, when he gets old, those muscles will sag. Plus when the lights are off and you’re in the bed, it pretty much feels the same 🤷
Only masc4masc. Beta, why are you still carrying this internalised homophobia and gender policing? When we really get down to basics, he still likes a danda (cock) and the concept of manhood exists beyond the one model we’ve been taught and given since childhood. And straight acting is exactly that beta, acting. Leave that to Bollywood and just find a great person who is comfortable in themselves and makes you happy 💕
No bisexuals. Tell me beta what’s happening here? What is the issue with bisexual people? Why would you close yourself off to a whole pool of eligible partners. I mean you’re making it hard for me and my database to set you up with the right person. You also need to take a good look in the mirror, exfoliate and deal with your biphobia and stereotypes. Bisexuals can be loving (and monogamous - if that’s your jam) partners which is a key ingredient for a happy marriage (it’s the mirch to your masala). So cut the bullshit yaar and keep an open mind 🧠
No Asians, No Blacks. What is this? Outright racism in the marriage criteria beta? Are you a desi boy who's always running for White boys? If so, ask yourself why! Time to decolonise beta, because we already did it in 1947. Excluding the other Asians and Black boys also makes my database limited (and frankly means you need some help). Let’s get real with the criteria and don’t get me started on preferences. The queer community of colour is a beautiful rainbow, so why would you limit yourself? 🌈
Step II: The Search Begins 👀
If you are willing to be flexible and adjustable with your criteria, and promise to be a good beta (by that I mean no toxic masculinity, biphobia and racism) then we can get to Step II when I find you some potential matches - who needs Tinder eh? Otherwise, we must leave the rest to destiny, but also remember that my efforts are meaningless if the stars are not aligned.
Deepa Aunty 😘
* no refunds on any matchmaking service provided
** if you are racist, biphobic and/or suffer from internalised homophobia, you don’t my services - you need help
BONUS: Indian Matchmaking, Arranged Marriages and Queerness
While the show focuses on matchmaking, it’s also worth remembering that arranged marriages were very common throughout the world until the 18th century. It’s often perceived to be an Indian thing (and through a Western lens, a cute and/or archaic practice) but the reality is that arranged marriages existed even amongst British royalty. Yes, the specific rituals and customs may have varied, but the premise was the same - an introduction or arrangement entrusted to elders or those with a specific role in creating marital unions.
And there are multiple sources of data that indicate arranged marriages tend to be more successful than those that are not. Of course, you can unpick these statistics in different ways (e.g. the social stigma of divorce in certain cultures and whether that contributes to a lower rate), but there is also data that shows satisfaction rates in arranged marriages being at a higher level than those that are not. I guess it means that finding a partner requires more than just love.
So, what does all of this mean for queerness? Reeta Loi (with Vice) uncovered a scam in India that offered an arranged marriage service to gay men and women who are looking for love and partnership. That this happened is horrific, especially for a community that can often be ostracised and disowned by the very people you expect to love you unconditionally.
But imagine a world in which these rituals can have a place in queer culture too? A world in which as queer POC, we can be connected beyond looks and sexual positions, but instead on the basis of shared values. Imagine not having to explain basic aspects of your culture repeatedly, not being exoticised and seen as a full, whole person. I think that could be pretty magical.
Maybe we really do need a Deepa Aunty.