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The good, the bad, and the cringeworthy
Let’s face it: we live in a hijab-obsessed world. In between religious fanatics who use hijab as a way of categorizing women into good girl vs. bad girl, or right-wing politicians who see hijab as the death of Western values, everyone has an opinion that they are a little too comfortable sharing.
And in the middle of it is your average hijab-wearing girl who just wants to listen to some trap music, contour like a Jenner, and not be asked her political views or ISIS every time she leaves her house. Can a girl breathe — or better yet, can she get a date? Sometimes, but the results can be cringeworthy.
When you wear a hijab, something as simple as getting a cup of coffee in the morning can turn into a political statement, and navigating romance isn't much easier. So what’s a first date like when you're Muslim? I mean I wouldn’t know I’ve never been on one — hi, mom — but these five young people below have, and they've lived to tell the tales.
"My first boyfriend was an all-American guy — think red meat, hunting, and football. Cue me, a little vegetarian hijabi entering his life. We somehow dated for two years, but the first time I had Christmas dinner with his family, his father asked me what I thought about Hamas. How about you just ask me what I want to be when I grow up instead?” - Zahra, 25
“I think the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me is getting a Facebook message from this guy I met at a Muslim Students Association’s event. 'You’re like the hottest Muslim girl on campus. Wanna hook up tomorrow in the library? I’ll book a room,' he wrote to me. Here I am at my first week of university after spending 12 years at an all-girls school, thinking I am finally going to have my Princess Diaries moment, and instead I get this fool. Before I can answer him, he sends a second message. 'Never mind, I forgot tomorrow is Friday prayer and I would feel bad getting jiggy with it during prayer time.'
The best part is that he’s now married and I’ve always wondered if he met his wife using those smooth lines. And no, my Prince Charming has still not arrived.” - Anonymous, 23
“We had known each other for years. I met him at 18, liked him, and thought of him as a brother. We picked up Chinese food together, shared hoodies, and went out dancing. Years after we had moved to different cities, we had deeper feelings. We ended up reuniting in his hometown. He was insistent that his parents were away visiting his brother for the weekend, and I could stay over. I was hesitant: I knew his parents’ vibe, and finding me in their house would definitely kill it. But, I took the chance, and of course they ended up coming home early. My reaction? Don’t worry, I’ll hide, which I did while he distracted them and I sprinted from the basement to his bedroom. When he came up he said: 'Would you be comfortable in the closet?' I heard myself say: 'Of course!' And there began my first and last 12-hour stay in a boy’s closet. It was hilarious, until it became pathetic; and at some point it got pretty damn uncomfortable. The best part? His parents re-activated their front door security cameras when they got home. So my escape route the next day was that much more interesting. Suffice to say, lesson learned.” - Rayaa, 25
"It was our third date and things were going pretty well. I’ve always felt more comfortable dating non-Muslim guys, because it comes with fewer expectations. I wear a hijab, but I don’t think people realize that wearing a hijab doesn’t mean you have a pre-determined personality type. Anyways, he was walking me to my car and he was being super touchy feely. I’m not an affectionate person, so I was slightly cringing. And then he dropped this line: 'I can’t wait to have you tie me up with that thing.' He was talking about my hijab. He never texted me back, but that’s probably because I burst out laughing for about five minutes straight. What a weirdo.” - Iddel, 24
“On my third date with a non-muslim guy, he took me to the movies. 'I might try to steal a kiss,' he warned me via text. 'We'll see,' I responded, hoping to come across as coy, when I was actually terrified. When the moment of truth came, he touched his nose to my cheek, waiting for me to respond. Scared, I ducked and pulled away. 'Sorry,' I apologized, feeling stupid. I was 24 and couldn't even kiss someone without feeling like I was going to hell. Sunday school teaches you things you can’t unlearn, no matter how badly you want to. 'It's just a kiss,' he said, as if reading my mind. 'Maybe to you,' I replied.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Muslim World Today.