Stop Striping Away Our Dignity

Blind Dates
Written by Aya Radwan

When I left college and started work in a government directorate. It took me by surprise to know there’s a sector dedicated to hooking up guys and girls, especially girls, outside dating or match-making sites online! I suppose it’s somewhat common in more open societies that these matters are carried out by the close friends at work or by both parties themselves.

Sick and tired of others always trying to set you up on blind dates–don’t accept it anymore if you are not interested. Aya Radwan shares her personal experience of her colleagues constantly trying to set her up on dates.   She’s tired of her dignity being stripped away and hopes that this article will calm those individuals that do the fixin’ down and those of you who are in the same boat as her to stand up and say “No Thank You.”

I came back from class one day to find my mother with a puzzled look on her face. After serious begging she finally told me that one of my aunts had called her about setting a blind date for me. It wasn’t uncommon for me to hear that any of our relatives were doing that, what was puzzling was my aunt refusing the date on my behalf without even asking what I thought, which put my mother in quite a haze. I never thought much of the issue, so I didn’t feel bothered because soon enough another one of my aunts tried to set me up with someone. Since I was still in college, my only interaction with the other sex was during class, so they thought I never really had any scope to deal with guys more, which explained the lack of suitors who actually knew me in person and not just introduced to me through someone.

When I left college and started work in a government directorate. It took me by surprise to know there’s a sector dedicated to hooking up guys and girls, especially girls, outside dating or match-making sites online! I suppose it’s somewhat common in more open societies that these matters are carried out by the close friends at work or by both parties themselves. Here though, anyone has the right to come up to you and ask to hook you up with someone they see you are fit for. It’s never about whom they think fits you, it’s always about whether you are fit for the person they tell you about. The way they handle the whole matter is undermining to women really, I’ve had people come up to me and state that they selected me from all the new employees at work because they saw I was fit for some guy they knew.

Blind Dates

Being the youngest female employee at my work place apparently made me a hot target. I haven’t heard any of my fellow older new colleagues complaining about older employees trying to hook them up or being rude to them about it but I’m just assuming they’d rather not talk about it. There’s also the fact that I live near work, my mother’s pharmacy is close by as well and the fact that all the people at work know that place just added insult to injury! So, if one employee couldn’t get a satisfying answer out of me, they headed directly to my mother’s work place and annoyed the life out of her.

Some employees are really subtle and sensitive in their ways, like they would try to talk to someone close to me to explore the atmosphere and whether or not I was already with someone. Others would also use a mediator – who isn’t necessarily in my circle of trust – so the mediator just ruins everything. For instance, a colleague from my office once came to talk to the one sitting right next to me, because she was older and apparently “more experienced” in the matter, saying :’I’m telling you this now because I will be out later on inspection duty, the woman from the our director’s side is coming to look at Aya. So, you’d know to be attentive to her.’ Oh, how dignified I felt!

Others would come right up to my desk, lean close to my ear and tell me they would like a word with me when I had time. Sure, that “word” could be about anything in the world but there’s this vibe that people radiate when they talk about match-making. One that I’ve become well-trained on detecting! Or they’d come up to my desk and ask me to show them my hands. I wished they were looking for candidates for the most beautiful hands contest, but no! They were looking for a ring on a certain finger.

Several of my friends who work in other directorates have also complained about the problems they got into because of this match-making mania. They suffered for weeks, if not months, from rejection and mal treatment from older employees who tried to hook-them-up and failed. I suppose all we can do is just handle it with grace. If you’re not thinking about getting involved at all or already are but you’re keeping it hush hush, then just ignore them. If someone talks to you about a suitor, just state you’re not thinking about commitment. That specific answer will not only send them away but will let the blood in their veins boil as they elaborate to everyone how ungrateful you were therefore you got refused, and not the other way around.

It saddened me, and it still does, that there’s such a sector here, a sector for match-making that undermines women and almost strips them of their dignity. It’s invisible to the naked eye, clear as the sun if you look closer. If you’re interested, just so you’d know where to look, head up to the nearest public sector directorate with your finest outfit and soon enough you’ll realize that The Hook-Up Sector has agents in every public sector office!

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?

That I was human, and I make mistakes. I recall my teacher back in prep school telling me to not carry guilt with me and not to be harsh on myself. I admit I still reprimand myself when I make mistakes but I learned that it’s necessary only to teach me the lesson and not to repeat it. The belief people had about me being an angel added insult to injury, everyone pictured me as the perfect girl and that put me in a struggle trying to balance real life with others’ expectations about me.

What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?

I appreciate my ability to love, I love people. Sure, we all have quirks but they don’t mean that someone doesn’t deserve to be loved. I also appreciate my bravery, I usually get put into the mediator position because people trust my opinion and thinking. I appreciate my family, friends, my work that’s driving me insane, everything down to the fact that I enjoy reading a book on candle-light when the power goes off for economic reasons.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?

It’s awkward to say it, but believing in myself and accepting that I’m actually a smart girl and that I could make it through on my own. For so long, my grades at school were fluctuating which led me to believe I was stupid. In college, I found myself facing a new world with new people, I got lost with distractions such as silly girls’ drama and lost track of my studies. Then I decided to get away from everything and detach from everyone. By the end of my second year, my grades rose up and I remember my confident walk into the first class of my third year. I graduated with an A!

My main goal is to make it as a writer, not for the monetary consideration but just to satisfy my pleasure when writing. I’m keen on achieving the learning of five foreign languages, keep on changing people’s lives and traveling to more great countries.

What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your identity?

I believe I’m not kind by nature, people around me would argue otherwise. I believe I’m kind by choice, in many situations I debate with myself the two options of good and evil and I find that either choice can actually be executed easily, the repercussions are what will differ. I see others immediately going for the good choice but sometimes I see that as being naive. My belief that I choose to be a good person even when I’m capable of being bad gives me a sense of achievement and that there’s more to me than what I, myself, know.

I also tend to imagine myself mentally writing about whatever is facing me or happening in front of me, so I could find a way to deal with it. If I ever tried to put these thoughts into words, I always fail. They either don’t come out or come out in the most awful expressions which ruins everything.

How would you complete the phrase “I love my_____”?

I love my smile, not necessarily a laugh but an-enough-wide of a smile to make others smile when I show it to them. I love how I can be this crazy person who makes others laugh without trying, I love and feel blessed for having such an effect on people.

About the author

Aya Radwan

Aya Radwan, 25, Masters' in legal studies, Writers' Bureau Student, no amount of books is enough, loves laughter, reading in the dark, chivalrous, struggling optimist and writing since age of six. Egyptian public sector employee, avid listener who has her most creative ideas right before sleeping.

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