Repugnancy and the marriage market

As I had written earlier, my cousin is in the marriage market. She has been registered in a number of bureaus. Her father had started registering her on a few matrimonial sites, though I’m not sure that has been completed. Relatives and friends far and near have been informed that my aunt and uncle are on the lookout for a match for my cousin. And “if you know someone who you think will fit her”, they are supposed to inform my uncle.

Now, thing is that my cousin drinks (alcohol, i mean). While most of you might assume that there’s nothing abnormal in that, fact is that Kannadiga Brahmins are not supposed to drink. It is considered to be a major sin. And for Kannadiga Brahmin women to drink is even worse, in the eyes of the “people”. Even if you drink, you are not supposed to talk about it, and are supposed to take the stance that you don’t drink and drinking is evil.

I’m not trying to say that no Kannadiga Brahmins (apart from my cousin) drink. I’m sure the proportion of people here who drink is fairly large, maybe just a little less than other communities which don’t socially ban drinking. There are enough people here who drink. Just that they try not to tell their families about it. Parents usually find out, but don’t tell other relatives about it. “Out of shame”. There are numerous instances of cousins who go out drinking, and then trade promises to not tell any elders about it.

Coming back to my cousin, her issue is that since she drinks, she wants a husband who also drinks, and who will let her to continue drinking. As I’d mentioned earlier, there is no question that the market is quite big. There are enough and more people (in our community) who drink and who will want their wives to drink. Communicating this, however, is an issue.

It needs to be put across to the counterparty clandestinely. You can’t write “want a partner who drinks” in your profile at marriage bureaus. The bureaus might put moral issues and strike your name off their records (a large number of these bureaus are run by mutts). The bigger problem in advertising that you drink is that relatives will come to know, and the social status of you and your family will go down. So you can’t even put “drinking: yes” in

However, when it comes to sealing a deal, you are supposed to make sure that you and your possible counterparty agree on this matter. How do you bring it up? Especially if the counterparty looks like the “sadhu” types? How do you communicate it only to the “right people” that you drink? It seems more complicated than I initially thought.

Recently my cousin gave a negative recommendation for a guy because he “didn’t like to eat out”. People deemed this to be a frivolous excuse. Especially for “such a nice and disciplined boy”. I think the real reason was that he doesn’t drink. And this was the best “proxy” that my cousin could use.

Right now this is all a lot of fun for a third party observer like me, but it doesn’t feel so good when I realize that I’ll also be out in the market in a couple of years…

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