The trials and tribulations of dating while Sikh

A young Singh in the UK has been in the spotlight the last few days after his appearance on a dating television show called “Take Me Out.”  I just heard about it a show on BBC Radio 1 hosted by Nihal, which you can listen to in its entirety here.  Nihal speaks with Param, the dating show contestant, and takes comments from listeners, who discuss Param’s appearance on the show and more generally whether turban-wearing Sikh men are discriminated against when it comes to dating and marriage. As you’ll see in the clip below, as soon as Param comes out, 20 of the 30 women turn their lights off, indicating no interest in him.  One woman who left her light on said she is interested in him because she could use Param’s turban to store her phone.

I recommend checking out Nihal’s discussion on the BBC especially starting at around 44:00 into the show if you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing. One caller named Jasminder asserts that when Param came down, it became more like a comedy show and less like a dating show given how the women and audience reacted.  He continues that turban-wearing men often feel invisible to women, not literally, but “when it comes to actually going out with someone.”

Something about this discussion hit home for me. Back in 2011, I discussed some of my challenges when it came to dating and insecurity in my post about dharis:

I was inundated with the voices of young women in my school casually referring to facial hair as gross or unattractive (with no intention to hurt my feelings I’m sure) and their preference for guys who were “clean-shaven.”

CLEAN-shaven. The implication being that facial hair is…dirty?

These are the messages we get from our peers and from the media every day. So naturally I assumed it was highly unlikely that any of my female classmates would ever be interested in dating someone like me. The combination of a dirty face plus a patka was enough to cause a whole lot of anxiety and insecurity for this angsty teenage Singh.

The discussion on the BBC program resonated with many thoughts and questions that often swirl around in my head when it comes to the topic of dating for me, and perhaps other turban-wearing Sikh males:

When insecurities creep up in my current romantic life, how much is it a product of the insecurity I felt as a young patka-wearing child who was bullied in school?  Feeling like an outcast for most of one’s life most certainly takes a toll, even if the ways it manifests are more subtle in our adulthood. I’m no psychologist, but internalized oppression is very real, and as a community we probably need to take more concrete steps to address it, to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, as Bob Marley put it.

Is “success” in dating for us directly linked to our level of self-confidence and self-love, or will there always be real barriers/biases/obstacles for us because of our kesh, dharis, and dastars? Let’s be real. Turbans and beards don’t exactly epitomize the desired male in the west or even in South Asia for that matter. Of course, many would never consider dating me/us as a result. I’ve found that many people, even South Asians and people from Sikh backgrounds, make all sorts of assumptions as soon as they see my khuli dhari and my turban, especially if they also learn I don’t drink. I must be someone who is extremely “religious” (a term that carries a lot of baggage), someone who is very “serious,” probably not “fun,” and certainly not attractive in the romantic sense. Of course I wouldn’t want to date anyone who is so quick to judge in this way either, but the reality is nevertheless frustrating. I suspect it operates in much more subtle ways too.

Is it a growing trend for women from Sikh backgrounds to not want to date men who keep their kesh?  This issue came up on the BBC program as well, and I’m not actually sure what the reality of the situation is. I have certainly observed Sikh women who see turban-wearing Singhs as more like brothers and less like someone to date, but is this really becoming the norm? Desire is a complicated thing, something that is deeply shaped by the society we live in. It’s clear that people in North America and the UK are not exactly socialized to find Sikh men attractive, so I’m sure that plays a role in who Sikh women in the diaspora find attractive. But as paghs and untrimmed/unshaved dharis become less fashionable in Punjab (and India in general), perhaps our own community is also socializing heterosexual women away from being attracted to keshdhari Sikh men. Of course it goes the other way too, with keshdhari and even amritdhari Sikh men having no interest in Sikh women who don’t shave or otherwise remove their body hair. (A friend has been doing some fascinating research on the subject, which I hope she’ll share on TLH some time). Strangely enough, I must confess that to date, I have never been in a romantic relationship with a Sikh woman, and not due to any conscious decision of my own. It’s hard to say exactly what this is about and how much of it relates to this trend, but it is worth noting.

In writing this, I am mostly interested in opening up a conversation. What have your experiences and observations been? In some Sikh spaces, conversations about dating at all (and dating itself) are taboo, which only exacerbates these sorts of problems. For Sikh readers of all genders and sexual orientations, have you noticed differences in your experiences dating Sikhs and non-Sikhs, desis and non-desis? What barriers have you faced or what suggestions do you have?

In the end, while I am sure my Sikh identity has limited the dating pool for me (not to mention fueled my insecurities, especially at a younger age), I can say with confidence that I have never sensed any lack of attraction to me from a partner based on my turban and/or beard. This is to say, of course, that many people indeed do find dharis — even khuli dharis — and paghs attractive.

 

 

 


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82 Responses to “The trials and tribulations of dating while Sikh”

  1. insect says:

    This is a very interesting article, thank you for writing it.
    I also appreciate that the issue at hand is whether or not Sikhs should be dating.
    As a Sikh woman, it makes me sad to hear or read that Sikh men are looked at differently than someone without a turban and beard. I really commend you for staying strong and by doing so, inspiring others~men and women! And if I could throw out a genuine compliment, I think turbans and khuli dharis look wonderful. I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinions and preferences, but it's particularly strange for Sikh women to prefer "clean shaven" men over ones that wear a turban and have a beard. It doesn't make sense at all. I know that this next point is also not the point of this article, but since the focus is on the experience of Sikh men and how/what women think of them, I think it is fair to bring up how Sikh women who keep all their hair are looked at by Sikh men–I think there is some common ground there between being looked at as the opposite of "modern," whatever that even means. There is lots more to say but I am short on time. Thank you for writing this article, and once again, major kudos to you and other Sikh men who done their turbans and embrace their dharis with love and pride. More power to you!

    • brooklynwala says:

      definitely an important conversation as well. as far as sikh women and body hair is concerned, i think there are double standards in our community. i'd guess that women who keep all their hair face a lot more b.s. than keshdhari men when it comes to dating, inside or outside of the sikh community. it's super complex, as matter of attraction and standards of beauty usually are, but it's a discussion we definitely need to have.

  2. Kaur says:

    I am a Sikh girl, and i do find Sikh boys with turban very attractive, and i believe the reason being that i am proud of being Sikh, and want to be recognized that way. As a girl my identity as a Sikh is not revealed when i walk down the street, but it is when i walk with my Sikh guy with turban. And i love that because i am proud of being Sikh.

  3. Nisha says:

    "Is it a growing trend for women from Sikh backgrounds to not want to date men who keep their kesh?"

    As a Sikh woman, i would say No. I primarily look to date a good person – and we know good people come in all shapes and sizes. There are plenty of women (including me) who find sardars very attractive – i guess we should be more vocal about this! For both men and women, there is nothing more attractive than confidence in an individual. I've always been surrounded by men who wear their turbans with confidence and pride and have never used it as an inhibition. However, i also understand that experiences with bullying and other forms of discrimination impact an individual's self-confidence, so i wish there was a way to address that in the community.

  4. Shamsher Sandhu says:

    Yes, wearing a turban and keeping your kesh is a huge barrier when it comes to dating within the Sikh community. Right off the bat, 99% of Sikh women will not be open to talking to you in the context of dating or exploring a relationship. Of the remaining 1%, most of them will be "open" to a full sardar, but not "prefer" one. In other words, they probably don't view kesh and a pag as something that is desirable but it's not a deal-breaker and they are willing to "overlook" it. The percentage of Sikh women who actually prefer a sardar is negligible. I am sure that there will be many posts after mine claiming that my assertion is false. But keep in mind that most people who read blogs like this are people who go out of their way to connect with other "religious" Sikhs. They then think that their social circle reflects the larger reality, and they lose sight of what the majority of the Sikh community is really like.

    • Gunita says:

      Your comment makes too many assumptions! Over-generalizations such as yours (notably, the "99%" comment as well as your presumption that the individuals who read this blog are going "out of their way" to connect with "religious Sikhs") are not grounded in reality, but in petty speculation. I understand that your personal experiences shape your consciousness, but may I suggest that it is your experiences which are rendering you incapable of seeing just how diverse and genre-defying America's Sikh community really is. I read this blog because I am deeply smitten with a thirst for knowledge and because I love exposing myself to a wide spectrum of beliefs and opinions, and I consider myself extremely open – I am confident that I am part of a demographic much, much larger than the 1% you arbitrarily mention.

      • Shamsher Sandhu says:

        Perhaps it's not 99%. Maybe it's 98% or 96%. Obviously, nobody knows exactly what it is. (Sometimes people use numerical terms to make a point and it's understood that they are not exact. For instance, "I've seen that movie 100 times".) But I'm positive it's not something dramatically different, and the point still stands that the vast majority of Sikh women will not think twice about talking to a Singh. I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that most people who read this blog are more connected with Sikhi (whether that's in a spiritual or nationalistic way) than your average Sikh. That connection often shows up in the company we keep. Anyway, I think it's great that you are somebody who might have a different background than I'd assume of most readers of the blog. I also think it is great that you are extremely open. But please understand that, while I don't have any exact numbers about anything, the overall conclusion I've reached is something that's come from lots of experiences. Not just my own experiences, but those of guys like me. They won't admit it openly (nobody wants to be deemed unattractive). They won't even admit it anonymously on this blog for fear of perpetuating a damaging image. But behind closed doors, they'll admit to the reality out there.

  5. Shamsher Sandhu says:

    The fact is, the vast majority of Sikhs living in the west come from families where no men keep their hair (expect maybe a grandfather). When Sikh women from such a background see a sardar, they don't see him as one of their own. He is some strange, backwards "other." A sardar will get no more consideration from a typical girl from this background than he will get from a typical Christian or Hindu girl. Yes, there are exceptions. You will occasionally meet a girl from a "clean shaven" family who is exceptionally open-minded and will be open to talking to a Singh. What I've usually found though is that the kesh and dhari is the "elephant in the room" and the girl never quite feels 100% comfortable about it. It's amusing how it will be brought up during a conversation out of the blue. And the questions the girls usually ask make it seem like they are interviewing an alien from another planet. I'm not trying to be critical of such girls, as it's not their fault they haven't been exposed to sardars, and it is commendable that they are being open-minded. But it just goes to highlight how differently they view you. That is a big hurdle to get over if you are trying to establish some sort of relationship.

  6. Shamsher Sandhu says:

    So that leaves girls from "sardar families". No problem right? I always hear from people, "why are you considering girls from non-religious families?" (as if a person's level of religiousness is solely determined by what they choose to do with their hair!). They just say "find a girl from a sardar family." If it were only that simple. First of all, "sardar families" are far and few in between in America. Second, if you look around, you'll notice that it is very, very common to see a "sardar family" where the father and mother and sons keep their kesh, but the daughters have cut hair. You see this all the time. Such a girl is going to attract attention from sardars and clean-shaven guys alike. She doesn't keep her own hair, so she doesn't feel restricted to looking for a guy who keeps his. And she's going to notice that every Singh living in the area will seem to have interest in her, since she's such a rarity (a girl who, by virtue of the fact that her dad and brother keep their hair, might just be open to dating a Singh). Consequently, she will likely form a less-than-favorable view of Singhs. Why would she want to give the time of day to the kinds of guys who seem desperate and are lining up for her? Anyway, what people often overlook in their criticism of sardars who consider girls with cut hair in their search is that there are a lot more guys in the west who keep their hair than there are girls. Where are all those guys supposed to look?

  7. Ravinder Singh says:

    I grew up in Central India, but perhaps first time experienced the repulsion from women of all ages when living in Bombay, including at my work place. I should say that after my colleagues came to know me their behavior changed dramatically. So I believe women who have not come across Sikh men do feel intimidated by the mere appearance of Sikhs. However things may be changing in India as several young men (all Keshdhari) of my extended family have married to Non-Sikh girls. On the other hand one comes across several young Sikh women, whose father and brothers are Keshdhari, opting for clean-shaven match.

  8. Kaur says:

    Having been brought up in a western culture, my parents have taught me well about my culture and I'm proud of who I am. Having read everyone's comments it comes across girls are only being blamed for not considering men that wears pugs when it comes to dating or marriage. I beg to differ. I belong to a Sikh family and no men in my family wears Pugh or has dhari. When dating I never differentiated, as it was more important to me that I find a partner who is honest and genuine. Everytime I got introduced to a guy with a turban, he always felt the need to confirm if I was aware he's not clean shaven- to me that's already him feeling inferior even though I had no issues. Whilst engaged to a guy from a Pugh family I was constantly looked down, reminded of that I didn't come from one, to a point that I was asked to get the men in my family to keep kesh. This was just so that they can show off in the society that they got a girl from a similar background and to more so to keep them happy. Eventually the wedding got called off due to the differences. Not all the girls are the same- we shouldn't go around painting them with the same brush. If we can accept you regardless of what image you have, we should also equally be accepted regardless of which family we come from.

    • G singh says:

      Do you think it's easy for Sardar guys to be confident when all of our lives we've been made fun of, clowned on and made to feel different? You girls think everything is so easy. I didn't have confidence in high school or college with the way I looked based on my personal experiences growing up. It wasn't easy to grow up sardar. Stop blaming sardar guys for "lacking confidence" with girls because you have no idea what it feels to be a sardar. It took me a while but now I am confident about who I am but it was not an easy process. I'm just tired of Sikh girls blaming us guys for everything when you have never spent a day in our shoes.

  9. Jatinder says:

    It's an interesting one. Many factors come into play from being brought up in a western country to what is shown on TV/media and what the community project turbaned sikhs should be. In most cases the first time people (outside the community) meet a sardar some freak out but as you get to know them the perception changes, they are wonderful people (and its our job as individuals to make it so ). Somewhere along the line, the perception of turbaned sikhs with beards(in the community) has been made where people think Singhs are xyz which we know is not necessarily true but based on ones interaction with sikhs before may have influenced their thoughts.

    When I was in high school there was a lot of talks about SP, fundamental Singhs etc where a lot of people did think that turbaned sikhs with beards are hardcore religious people, which for a lot of people in that age group was a negative. Now this same generation has grown up and looking to get married but many still hold on to this experience which makes them think sardars may be hardcore and very religious. Do girls feel they have to be a certain way if they hook up with a Singh? Obviously not all but many do even though they won't admit this.

    When it comes to the question of trim Singhs, some girls feel that these guys are more modern, chilled, not so religious and feel they can be themselves and hence opt for this option.

    But they forget that all they are doing is creating a generalisation.

    Outside the community it is common to be clean shaven, its portrayed as the "IN" thing , just look at commercials and the shows that come on etc. The time we are in at the moment is so much about "Looking good" or projecting this image. In mainstream media, turbans and beards are not the "IN" thing it will be one day again like it once was when the Khalsa came about, but not yet. We do look good, but its early and at the moment we look different, its un-familiar so its uncertain. Think about the association game, what does a turban or even a bearded man mean to people generally, its not mainstream and hence very early.

    We shouldn't be upset and should not think that the fate of the community depends all on one guy who came on a TV dating show. There is always a benefit in something that is seen as a negative and a drawback in something that is seen as positive. If not we need more exposure in many different ways so that the turban and beard becomes familiar and eventually trusted. But for this to happen it has come into the public eye.

    However, a big part of this also depends on the individual and his own self image. Most people bring forth their own insecurities and feel more for themselves then the other person. Something inside makes them think that they will be the ones that will get picked on or be seen in a different way. But it has to be realised that what you think about you bring about and what you think and feel is what you manifest in your reality.

    People have preferences, but whats more powerful is if people can see how these were formed in the first place. Once they understand this then what they see will be seen in a totally different light. Its up to turbaned and bearded sikhs to make sure they can integrate, be a part of the community, and been seen for who they are and not what they look like. But all this will come with time, education and exposure to the mainstream.

    In once sense its is a trend, its just not in at the moment. When this false perception is broken it will open up a lot of doors, but until then we have to solider on and contribute and make way for what's yet to come and be part of the process like many others before us.

    Build relationships with people. Even with potential partners. Leave all people inspired and make sure they see you and not something fake. Trust this process and with this approach anyone can like you.

  10. Interestingly, the Sikh's appearance and behavior on that show was criticized by many Sikhs for being "unbecoming" of someone with a turban and beard. So, while some might consider such a person unattractive for wearing these articles, there are also competing expectations applied around how one will vs. should behave.

    • ninachanpreet says:

      indeed, if a sikh woman – with articles of faith or not – showed up on that show and said she has a thing for "blondes" or some male equivalent her honor and her family's would be completely tainted the community would shame her completely. definitely double standard on this issue. i could not believe he said he has a thing for blondes, to be honest.

  11. [...] The Langar Hall, blogger Brooklynwala discusses the aftermath of a Sikh’s appearance on a dating show called “Take Me Out” in the UK, and the struggles for Sikhs in dating while wearing a [...]

  12. ninachanpreet says:

    @brooklynwala i love that you started this discussion and honor you for your willingness to speak what is so often unspeakable. i think the issue of sikh women with bana being accepted is more than just a double standard. you hit the nail on the head, it's internalized oppression. on both sides of the spectrum – with men and with women – there is the issue of not accepting the guru's gift, the guru's image and our beauty as Sikhs. i feel it is very much about our own internalized oppression in being able to stand in our identity whether male or female. we live in a very interesting cultural paradox – we (i speak as a sikh woman) can be religious but not too religious, stand out but we're supposed to fit in, it's like as a quam (i speak generally) we're only comfortable with our legacy and identity to a certain extent. i would like to keep this discussion as much as possible to understanding the sikh male experience…but i also feel compelled to share the female experience of course. first, to do justice to the issues you raise, i must say that i guess it's my social or family conditioning but i don't find any man attractive who does not have a turban and beard. and a lot of hair at that. it's strange when my friends (sikh and non sikh, male and female) comment on the attractiveness of celebrities or others who are not punjabi/sikh….i cannot even find them attractive. i exclusively date punjabi sikh men and interestingly the most peer pressure i've ever experienced in my life has come from dating and pressures around dating. i have often expected and raised the issue with men i've dated who trim their beard to not remove any hair, or to wear their beard open if they tie it. i expect it as if it's an easy thing to do, it took me awhile to understand and listen to men as they described to me that it's not always comfortable then. still my expectation remains. i think there is a serious gender divide in our community and conversations like this do go along way to bridging it. i do not undermine the pressures men face at all nor do i undermine the struggle around race and being accepted/desirable. it is very real. what i am about to say about the female experience is not to undermine or take the attention away from the sikh male experience…but i just think it's telling. i recently dated someone who talked about marriage, but when i brought up my desire to tie a keski again and take amrit, he said he would not marry someone who did either. he also told me i should trim my nose hair. haha. yea, he basically broke up with himself. i think it's very challenging for each of us to feel comfortable in our own skin and takes a lot of courage. i love the hair on my body and the hair on men's bodies it is wild and beautiful and so sacred. i love the turban, our crown. it's important to reach out to each other as sisters and brothers in the struggle…and learn to question our norms of desirability and expectations around intimacy. i embrace sikh men as my brothers, but i find them no less attractive or "date-able" – the contrary. i hope whoever reads this as my reaching out to you and deepening the dialogue, and just a personal reflection..nothing else. there is such beauty in our image as sikhs.

  13. Sikhish says:

    I would just like to reiterate that a turban is not an indicator of the wearer's morals, purity, honour or attractiveness. The World Sikh Organization has proven this fact. Alternatively, a lack of a turban also does not indicate the absense of these characterstics…………"Imagine there's no heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for today

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace" -Jon Lennon." In know siks believe in re-incarnation, but you catch my drift.

  14. Gagreet says:

    This will and always has been a hot topic. Twenty out of the thirty women turned their lights off when Param stepped out, while it is a possiblity this might have occurred because of his turban and beard; clean shaven men have gone through similar rejection because of appearance. As @Jatinder mentioned, we're in a time where it's important to "look good" and currently beards and turbans are not what many perceive as "looking good". This isn't true in all cases though, we can't make a generalization about all women.

    Having also been brought up in a western culture and not having much interest in pursuing Sikhi, my parents very much coerced us into keeping our hair, doing paat, going to punjabi school as any Sikh parent should do. And then at a certain point in my life I was the young rebellious girl (with cut hair) who lived among a father, a mother, and brothers who had uncut hair. Developing in a family with men who wear turbans vs. those who don't can make an impact for the better or worse. In my situation, my siblings and I always argued with our parents to allow us to cut our hair, we had no purpose in keeping it.

    Now many may think since I myself wanted to trim my hair that I must want to only date someone who is also clean shaven. I made the decision of cutting my hair not because I wanted to impress others but for mere fact that I did. Throughout the years I also came to understand my brothers perspective. As stated above many perceive bearded men with turbans as extremely religious, but raised with the brothers I had, I know not everybody is. Someone who is clean shaven can transpire to be considerably religious than someone who isn't.

    All I know is that I have met and seen many attractive men who wear turbans and carry a full beard. I do not believe facial hair is gross, unattractive, or unclean, unless you make it appear that way. I also commend all of the women who don't see that as a barrier to start a relationship.

  15. Hipster glasses says:

    One thing that always annoys me is that whenever somebody posts a topic like this, suddenly all the anonymous internet girls come flooding with responses like "no way! i love sardars, etc. etc." and yet real life continues unchanged….

    • Gagreet says:

      You're very much anonymous yourself. But I agree with you, just be patient.

    • ninachanpreet says:

      mysogynistic much? i understand you may have met women who do not honor sardar men but to say suddenly all anonymous internet girls flooding out saying things that aren't true – read with truth what is being said here. you may not have this experience with some people. but that's not true for all women. i love when discussions like this start and men start bringing out that wonderful mysogyny.

      • Hipster glasses says:

        nina, I apologize for any confusion; I don't doubt the honesty of what women have posted here. At the end of the day, I'm merely commenting on the fact that despite women (yourself included) have come out to state your beliefs, I have no idea where you are nor will I ever probably meet you. There are about 500,000 sikhs spread out in a population of 311 million americans. Most of them are clustered in certain areas like NY, NJ, CA, etc. If a kid happens to grow up in nowheresville and doesn't go to one of these camps that are apparently the #1 way to meet your peers, then he basically sits in front of his computer when topics like this arise and stares at posts by girls who he can never seem to meet but only exist on the internet.

        Btw, if you're ninachanpreet from ninachanpreetkaur.com….big fan of your work :)

        • ninachanpreet says:

          @hipster glasses i understand. i'm sorry i didn't follow what you were trying to say before but i understand now. it is completely valid and i'm sorry for jumping to a conclusion that detracted from what you were trying to communicate. i can certainly appreciate the difficulty you describe it is not easy to meet like minded souls in our community due to population spread and many other factors.
          indeed i am the ninachanpreet of ninachanpreetkaur.com! haha thanks for the fan support! inbox me if you'd like, i may be able to help you in your rishta search i know plenty of women who love sardar men. haha. i'm serious though. my email is on the site. all the best to you.

    • Nisha says:

      If we didn't love sardars, these oh so anonymous internet girls would not be afraid to say so (since it is anonymous). Perhaps you're looking for girls in the wrong circles – if you expect women to be open-minded, you should be open-minded too.

      • Satwant says:

        You know, it is possible for someone to have a certain preference and feel guilt for that preference. Suggesting that that preference doesn't exist in society, even as an anonymous poster on a blog, can help some people feel better. Which "circles" are guys supposed to look in? It's amusing to me when people come online and act like there's some sort of huge supply of girls for guys like us to talk to. That's simply not true. Anyway, I bet a lot of girls on here talking about how much the love sardars will end up with monas at the end of the day (or perhaps even Hindus).

        • g singh says:

          The majority of Sikh girls I've seen have ended up with monas and Hindus! It's surprising because a lot of these girls have sardar fathers and sardar brothers? Why don't Sikhs blackmail girls to make them feel bad when they marry monay? If a Sikh guy cuts his hair the community gets angry and blackmails him, yet when a girl marries a mona no one says anything to her.

    • Gagreet says:

      Good gracious, as much as it's disrespectful to generalize that every females response is but a fony one, to accuse one of misogyny is just as careless . @hipster glasses I agree and support your blunt remark because there are women who infact only say they find Sardars attractive but will probably never date one. There is frustration over the fact of not being able to see the change that should be occurring, when all these women claim to be okay with dating Sardars. It's not your fault, but men, I think you need to have a little more faith rather than blatantly call women liars, maybe some or all were being honest.

  16. TurbanMaleAndLovinIt says:

    As a Sikh with a Turban and beard (granted it is trimmed), I can tell you from first-hand experience that women, both sikh and non-sikh, will be attracted to you. Of course, this isn't to say that every girl will fall in love with you at first sight, but it does mean that if you have the confidence then there is no reason why you shouldn't be successful at finding a partner.

    I've been rejected before because of my Turban, but I've also been showered with compliments for it. I think a lot of the problem comes from wearing a patka as a child and growing up in an environment where your confidence is attacked. If you are confident in your appearance and aren't afraid of the rejection that ALL men will face (sikh, non-sikh, turban, beard, and clean-shave alike), I assure you that you will have success at some level.

    • Samosa Singh says:

      Sorry, but having a trimmed beard does not present the same challenges as an untrimmed beard. Let your beard grow out, see how women react, and then come back and report your findings.

      • sanehval says:

        Get some confidence, stop the victimization, cut the *desperation*, be comfortable in the saroop that the guru gave you, see how women react, and come back and report your findings.

        I don't know of anyone who decided to grow their hair in their teens/early twenties who has this same complaint.

        • g singh says:

          Yeah that is because people who grew their hair in their late 20s never had to face any difficulties growing up. they weren't forced to wear turbans by their parents, they did it on their own.

  17. P. Singh says:

    Discrimination is constant in all aspects of relationships for Sikhs and non-sikhs alike. The following is not meant to take away from personal experiences of others, we are all different. It can indeed be very challenging for young sophisticated Sikhs to find partners given that we don’t have well defined cultural norms for the process.

    In my experience being a Sardar with complete kesh carries with it all the power in the world to be first and foremost attractive in your confidence and chased and sought out by real and imaginary people. I do not speak of crass Punjabi machismo, rather a calm self confidence and valour rooted in Sikh values.
    From there one need not look back, I don’t look for excuses. If breaks don’t go my way I may be aware that discrimination has played a role, but the power I’ve been given won’t let me dwell for a moment because I’ve gained 10 fold for anything that can be considered a setback. I keep my score on a different scoreboard, not the likes of “what she thinks” or what popular culture thinks or what could have been…but “what I care about”. The moment someone is not interested or removes an opportunity, it is their loss and they are not deserving. It accelerates my ability to find an abundance of amazing gorgeous people in all aspects of life, from all walks of life.

    I am not seeking relationship with a partner, but there never has been any shortage of all types of relationships with amazing people directly as a result of my dastar and dhari including the most amazing person in my life. With respect to seeking a partner, in my experience there are so many sardars who attract a great deal of interest and respectful friendships with women from varied backgrounds.

    • Bik Singh says:

      Excellent response P Singh. Your attitude is refreshing but sadly in the minority. When and how did Sikh men become so weak and self conscious in a negative way? As a Sikh we should interact with people of all backgrounds and in all situations. I feel that sometimes Sikh guys tend to segregate themselves and can come across as somehow conceited when the reverse might be the case. As long as you are confident in yourself, can smile without appearing creepy, have a good sense of humour and able to respond if humour is unfairly directed towards you, then there will be no end of social interactions that you can have with females of various backgrounds. Stressing over a rejection is unhealthy, move on and meet new people and leave the one doing the rejection all the more poorer for her choice. I hope a lot of Sikh guys read your post and realise where they might be going wrong.

  18. [...] to Remove Advertisements The trials and tribulations of dating while Sikh http://thelangarhall.com/general/the…kh/#more-11365 A young Singh in the UK has been in the spotlight the last few days after his appearance on a [...]

  19. izhaarbir says:

    This is not a complicated issue. One looks to date the kind of person that shares similar kinds of values and goals as oneself. The real solution to all this is our community developing an open mind to dating, which would make it easier for Sikh men and women to find people with similar values whether they keep their kesh, turban, etc. or not. With the next generation of Sikh children in the West, I don't see this as being a real issue in the long run, because the environment will be a lot different as our generation (people currently in the 20's and early 30's) will most likely as a whole be a lot more open to their children dating other Sikh children (granted we'll probably have different rules about how to go about it).

    A Sikh guy with a turban going on a western dating show speaks volumes more about his own internal conflict about what he desires versus anything about it being hard to find someone who is a Sikh to date.

    • Baltipur Vala says:

      "A Sikh guy with a turban going on a western dating show speaks volumes more about his own internal conflict about what he desires versus anything about it being hard to find someone who is a Sikh to date. "

      Indeed it does.

  20. [...] Nihal’s show on BBC Network Asia (whatever that means) and the excellent Langar hall (http://thelangarhall.com/general/the-trials-and-tribulations-of-dating-while-sikh/), the discussion continues. I also saw a Twitter update from Naujawani.com on 8th [...]

  21. @neomilan says:

    If something hinders your progress in an aspect of life that you care about (i.e. finding a girl, dating, getting a job etc.) then you should be able to change yourself in order to progress.
    If you want a certain type of girl who doesnt like your dhaari and turban and feel like you're life will be absolute crap without that girl, then just change yourself…
    theres no point adhering to any rules which hinder your progress in this short life
    that said, wearing a turban doesn't automatically make you ugly, and not wearing one doesn't automatically make you attractive, so it would say something about these girls if they discriminate against someone… afterall once they hit 40 they'll look like their mum
    there are plenty of girls who dont care/mind turban dhari, so at some point you will be successful

    but my main point is, dont keep dhaari turban if it is negatively affecting some aspect of your life, you may feel you're conforming to societal pressure
    for those sikhs who do not worry about bending to society's whims about beauty issues like this should not worry them, its the ones that are worried about falling behind in their lifes aspirations due to some aspect of their life (having beard turban) that should change

  22. Sher says:

    How you can blame those girls (from whichever background) who do not want a Khuli Dari person as a life partner when growing hair is not supported by even G Granth Sahib!? Why link Sikhi with unshorn hair and other "articles of faith"? In my opinion, this ultra-conservative thinking that only a 'full-version' Khalsa can be a Sikh need to be debated as it has not only disfranchised millions of the so-called sehajdharis (Sindhi Hindus alone are in millions) but has also given us generations of Sikh youth growing up with inferiority complex.

    As far as preference for Keshdhari Sikh is concerned, just check the matrimonial advertisements in Indian papers or even online and you would get a good understanding of the Sikh girls (and boys too) aspirations. Vast majority of these adverts want "clean-shaven" partners. How many of you would be in favour of forcing a Keshdhari life partner on your sister/daughter against her wishes?

    • Shersoorma says:

      'Sehajdhari' isn't in the guru granth sahib or that reason any other first hand source, awkward….

      • Sher says:

        So is "Sikh Dharam" – not mentioned in any first hand source, so? Waheguru mentioned just a few times in GGS and, if I am not wrong, Never in Dasam Sahib, so? Khalsa just once in G Granth Sahib, just twice in Dasam Granth Sahib, so? Of course sehajdharis are not in any first hand sources as Gurus had another name for them – Hindu :)

  23. Sangat outsider says:

    I am a white non-Sikh female and I have dated Sikh guys who keep Kesh and wear Dastar. I have become more and more interested in Sikhism for myself too – the more I learn about it, the more it appeals to me. So I don't have any negative opinion of a guy having a beard and turban. A guy who wears it might or might not be attractive, it depends on the guy…

    But for me what is kind of frustrating and even heartbreaking is that usually no matter how well we get along and how well the relationship is going, they want to keep me a secret from friends and family or break up 'before it gets too serious' because of criticism and social pressure to preserve their culture and date within their community. My white friends who have dated Arab guys have had similar experiences. A lot of cultures are like this, especially I think, when people are living ex-Pat outside of their homeland and are trying to keep their culture alive.

    I'm sure a Sikh guy doesn't want to be thought of in a negative way for keeping Kesh and tying turban and non-Sikhs girls don't want to be thought of as disposable for casual fun. It has made me really cautious about investing any real feelings or time and energy into any more of these relationships.

    And I think even if I had a good relationship with a Sikh guy and he wanted to get serious, if I really did care about him, I would hate to be the source of conflict between him and his family and friends…

    So I think there are barriers on both sides. Even if the number of mixed culture couples is small, if they could gain more acceptance it would help pave the way for more couples and make the sides more familiar with each other.

  24. A.Singh says:

    The problem that I perceive with the Sikh community is the skewed balance between the two genders and Sikhi. Currently, the structure that our parents/community has put into place is not working at all, let me explain. Sikh boys are expected to keep hair and wear a patka/dastar from a young age, they are not given a choice. Sikh females are not expected to do anything in terms of the hair aspect of Sikhi, Sikh parents don’t even bother to cover their daughters head. This leads to friction in the Sikh community and the importance of the males hair over the females. Guru Ji gave us Sikhs an identity, so that society could distinguish a Sikh from a non-Sikh. I’ve met Sikh girls that I didn’t even know were Sikh until they told me their name, I had assumed they were Hindu or Middle Eastern, is this the Sikh identity? Furthermore, too many Sikh men are forced to keep dastars by their parents/community to fulfill a longstanding tradition, so it is no surprise that people are having psychological problems due to doing something they don’t want to. The majority of SIkh females have haircuts and very few are expected to keep their hair and wear a dastar, they have more of a choice with their hair. If you ever meet a Sikh girl that wears a dastar, it is often by her own personal choice than her parents or the communities pressure. The problem is we are not giving our Sikh males the choice that the females have. We are being selfish. Keeping hair/dastars on one gender while the other gender cuts and shaves their hair away is futile. The future will see young Sikh men with dastars but they females will be haircut and shaved, what kind of Sikhi is that. White Sikhs follow Sikhi 100 percent and expect both their sons and daughters to fulfill the khes and dastar part of Sikhi, it is not just a guy thing.

  25. Bik Singh says:

    My take on the show. It was a positive that a third of the girls kept their lights on after they saw Param. Most Sikh guys due to their negative attitude would have assumed that only a few if any would have kept their lights on in the first place. The Black girl Tasha when asked about why she kept her light on thought that Param was confident coming on with a bright red turban and was stylish. Where Param lost them was when he did not respond to the racist remark by the blonde girl about using his turban to keep her mobile phone (cellphone to the Americans) during a date. What surprised me was that almost all the audience understood that her comment was inappropriate and the presenter went and hid his head in an audience member's lap. They person ironically who did not see the remark as inappropriate was Param himself! This was where Param lost out. The audience expected him to make a cutting but humourous retort in response but he just said 'there's plenty of space there' thereby intimating to the audience that he accepted racists remarks and was therefore weak. For girls like Tasha who was black and probably experienced racism at many points in her life as well as the other girls his response was in total contrast to the confident manner he had initially displayed. Who would want to date any man who accepted racist remarks? Is it any wonder that all the girls then switched off their light. Had he had the confidence as well as well as the quick wit to retort to the racist remark as ' I would have thought there's more than enough space between your ears for your mobile phone'! he would have had the audience on his side and probably had the girls who had switched off their lights in the previous round wishing they had kept their lights on.

  26. Izeikel Singh says:

    @Bik Singh

    Sure, let's blame Param for what the girl said to him. You obviously can't understand how it feels to be in front of a live audience with a ton of cameras in your face and Param was just trying to ease the tension off of the comment. You obviously don't understand what being a diplomat is all about, he wasn't going to raise hell and get all angry on television because one ignorant girl made a dumb comment, instead he calmly played it off. I thought he had a ton of confidence and portrayed himself and Sikhs great. Furthermore, I highly doubt the black girl turned her light off because he didn't respond how she saw fit. Who is she to judge how he responds?

    • Bik Singh says:

      You must have been watching another show if you think he portrayed himself and Sikhs great! Its not about raising hell, the audience was waiting for a cutting remark so that they could clap and ease the tension. Thats how these kinds of shows work. If he had to go on then at least he should have been ready for any ignorant remarks. All in all he was a major embarrassment. Why doesn't he realise that there are plenty of other places and mediums to educate non-Sikhs than a dating show

      • Sher says:

        "Educate non Sikhs"!!!! Why do you think Sikhs/khalsas should be 'educating' non-Sikhs at every conceivable forum? What next, a Param Singh walking out of the closet and jumping right in the middle of an amorous couple? " Hey guys, stop! I am here to educate u about Sikhi, Lady u should not shave …"

        C'mon fellas stop thrusting your brand of spirituality on others.

      • Izeikel Singh says:

        Lol Yeah, so it's every sardars responsibility to live their life just educating people about Sikhs all day. So all of us sardars should have no life except for educating people about who we are all day.

        • Bik Singh says:

          The educating remark was in response to his giving that as one of his reasons for going on the dating show which he stated on one of the radio shows. Maybe next time you should be aware of all the facts and you won't come out of this making ignorant remarks

          • Izeikel Singh says:

            Shut up man. Stop making a big deal about a fellow sardar that went on some dating show, big deal, stuff like this is going on all over. He's just a regular sardar guy doing his thing. Stop bitchin', everyone is tired of your whack a#% comments.

          • Bik Singh says:

            Are you related to him or something because you seem to be unable to take any criticism same as him.

  27. Rajinder Singh says:

    About time that brother Param started treating objects as women !

    Also Brooklynwala, why are you complaining when you already have 50% of the deal – ie 100% from your side.

  28. Himat says:

    Let's be honest. the turban isn't the main part. Let's look at it from a female perspective. He isn't that bulky, not that tall, and he doesnt seem that masculine. Besides all this, he still had enough room to spit some mad gain, which is where i think he failed

  29. Former Sardar says:

    @ Himat

    It is the turban and the beard. The girl straight up said that she didn't want a guy with a beard and the turban is just too weird for most American and British girls to understand, it seems archaic and extremist to them. He had a ton of confidence and one could tell he had a really nice and outgoing personality. Furthermore, we saw that he was successful-college educated and running his own business! What more could a girl want! Only hinder was the turban and beard, plain and simple, let's stop being ignorant and admit that sardars can't get non-Indian or White/Latino/Asian girls.

    • sanehval says:

      " let's stop being ignorant and admit that sardars can't get non-Indian or White/Latino/Asian girls" that's ignorant

      • Former Sardar says:

        The truth hurts.

        • Parmjit Singh says:

          Rather suspicious that a "former sardar" would speak like he was part of a hate group. Nonetheless, you've invited this upon yourself with your express hatred toward Sikhs on a Sikh site. Why are you even here?

          Regardless, if you're real, congratulations on moving onward to lowering yourself and your standards to your lower primate abilities. ANYONE can get girls. That is a reality of this world. However, only very few would be able to gain the trust, friendship, and ultimately a future with one intelligent, strong, gorgeous woman. You obviously were not meant to make the A team. For each their own.

  30. Reality Singh says:

    The only good thing about being sardar is impressing old people and Sikh parents and gurdwara babay, that's it. The girls, the goray and the real world can care less about sardariya and paggan. The goray keep getting weirded out by sardars which makes it harder to get jobs in corporate settings, they think we're arab and muslim, i've had a ton of people think i was a weirdo muslim. the girls already have a ton of clean-shaven sikhs after them so why would they give a sardar a chance. don't believe me fine, but ask yourself this, when's the last time you ever heard a sikh girl give a sardar props for being a sardar, that's right NEVER! It's weird that our own girls don't even care, all the sardars could cut their hair and take their paggs off and the Sikh girls wouldn't even care. Sad, but that's what happens when you live in western countries…

    • ninachanpreet says:

      did you read any of the comments above? i understand some Sikh women won't date sardar men. but I REFUSE to date men who don't have a turban or beard…and untrimmed beard at that. I'm not the only one. I realize the struggles you face targeted by racism and destruction and that is very real but don't stay in that isolation in your mind. There are plenty of women who love sardars I think it depends a lot on where you live community dynamics etc but to say what you said that sikhg irls don't even care – you're taking out your racism on women and generalizing in a way that sounds mysogynistic even if that's not what you intend

      • Shamsher Sandhu says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "I think it depends a lot on where you live community dynamics etc.". A lot of us live in areas where there aren't huge Sikh populations. Also, whether we like to admit it or not, a lot of people will still only date within their caste. Even if you personally do not discriminate based on caste, it doesn't mean much if most of the girls out there still do. If you're khatri/arora or tarkhan, there are still a fair number of women within your group who will appreciate your kesh and dhari. If you're jatt … well, good luck finding a jatt girl who doesn't insist on a clean-shaven guy.

      • Shamsher Sandhu says:

        When you say there are "plenty" of women who love sardars, how much is "plenty"? As I've said before, people who post on blogs such as these tend to associate with a lot of more religiously-minded Sikhs. It's easy to get a skewed image of what your community as a whole is really like. A good number of your women friends might be open to dating sardar guys, but that doesn't necessarily say much about Sikh women in general.

    • Parmjit Singh says:

      What happens when you live in western countries is someone like Psy with something like gangam style can take the world by storm. With that backdrop, if you can't rule your world and charm those around you to follow your lead, then I say your dastar isn't bright, bold, large enough and your dhari needs to combed out to be even longer. Reality is what you make it. If you are a sardar with complete kesh, you are meant to rule the world, nothing less.

    • Izeikel Singh says:

      Dude, I'm not going to lie, I kind of laughed when I read your comment, just because I've had that thought in my mind too, previously. "The only good thing about being sardar is impressing old people and Sikh parents and gurdwara babay, that's it. ' I used to think that too when I was in college, I think it's just because we are a product of a western society and this society affects our thinking more than we can control. I agree that getting jobs are harder for sardars, especially non-engineering business type jobs. Also, it is true that a lot of goray do perceive us as Arabs and Muslims and that kind of sucks. You don't have to worry about Sikh girls though because I have met plenty of great Sikh girls and I've dated some as well. There are many that are into Sikhi and like sardar guys, I guess it's just harder to find the right girls living in America; however, they are out there. I'm sure you'll meet the right Sikh girl, there is someone out there for everyone.

      • Parmjit Singh says:

        Here's another perspective which is 'reality'. Getting a job may have been tougher, but I got it. Because I am a sardar, I don't kiss a$$, and I expect respect in the workplace. So I made it too tough to keep me as an employee. I moved on and now I hire people to work for MY firm. I am the boss, and it is directly due to the fact that being a sardar requires a certain outlook on life.

  31. Bik Singh says:

    Reality Singh, if that is your attitude then unfortunately I can confidently predict that-;

    1. You won't get a decent job and will probably work in dead end minimum wage jobs.
    2. The only way you will get married is bringing a girl over from India

    Your negativity will follow you everywhere and will affect you quality of life.

    • Jasjot Singh says:

      It's unfortunate that when a fellow Sikh/Sardar expresses his experiences and opinions, we are quick to judge and bring that person down. You stated that it is Reality Singh's attitude that is holding him back and hurting his life but you do not bother to think about the experiences he has been through. No one magically forms a certain "attitude" in life, their experiences help form their attitude. You have to be understanding when someone expresses their opinion. Telling someone they will never get a good job or girl is quite discouraging. In this day and age, helping are fellow Sikhs is very important, not bring them down. Encouragement is required. Bik Singh, I have to question your Sikhi and Sardari when you cannot even help a fellow brother out but instead tell them their negative attitude will bring them such and such in life. People have options. Let's be honest, if someone doesn't get the proper support they will cut their hair and lose the turban and what's the worst that will happen? The Sikh community will look down upon them? Look around you, there are more than enough clean shaven Sikhs.

  32. Bik Singh says:

    The amusing thing is that he is deleting any comments remotely critical of his appearance on the show from his facebook page.

  33. KaurStyle says:

    Where my SINGHS at?!
    Check out our response http://kaurstyle.tumblr.com/post/4421362905/where
    – KaurStyle

    • Shamsher Sandhu says:

      Just because you guys insist that there are a lot of women who want sardars, that doesn't make it so. I see a lot of people commenting here with a bunch of feel-good opinions, but they simply do not match up with reality.

    • Hipster glasses says:

      To KaurStyle: I loved that post as well as your site as a whole but that post was from a while ago and you haven't really updated since then :( why the lack of activity?

      Also, I really want to know who the writers are behind that site (I assume its multiple girls), can you tell us who they are?

  34. zenuff says:

    Isn't religion meant to be a private matter. Why do we need to have such outward declarations and decorations of faith by trying to appear to belong to a certain religious group? The turban, the cross, the yamuka, the star of david, whatever muslims wear….shouldn't these be internalized…..live in peace andprya as you will in private. I was born into a sikh family but am an atheist because I to beleive in an invisible man in the sky seems rediculous. Son't be brainwashed by your families…open your eyes and see the world as it truly is….a dating show on BBC, except all of the world is the contestant and the universe is the host.

    • zenuff says:

      my apologies for the typos…iphones suck!

      • Hipster glasses says:

        Don't worry — even if your post had perfect grammar and spelling it still wouldn't have made a good point.

        You speak of this idea of brainwashing, but fail to realize that every single person is "brainwashed" regardless of what faith (or lack thereof) they have. When you join the military, you will be "brainwashed" because they are destroying assumptions you previously made, injecting new habits and thought processes, trying to change your character to suit particular ends. Same goes with going to school, college, joining a baseball team, jobs, etc. Which brings us to a second point: if parents don't instill their beliefs and values into their kids (aka "brainwashing"), then somebody else will. So much for not "brainwashing" kids.

        As far as your point about keeping religion internalized: there is a reason these symbols exist and it is so that Sikhs cannot hide who they are. If tomorrow a holocaust began against Sikhi then not a single Sikh could hide or lie about who they are. They are forced to confront the situation head on. Those who cannot do this or do not want to can change their identity as they wish.

        • SherSoorma says:

          Sikhs believe in an invisible man in the sky?

        • zenuff says:

          Yes, Brainwashing does exist in all aspects of society, but one must be self actualized to realize…which you obviusly are:) The anachranistic values of the older generation is what holds us back and divides us all as humans rather than unites us as people of the world…check out the lyrics to "Imagine" above dude. It is not hiding I speak off, but just ease off on the whole "you gotta look like us, to be with us" vibe you are putting out.

          Peace.

  35. Mama and Baby! says:

    Great post, Brooklynwala. I commend your honesty and desire to overcome the issues which may have plagued you as a child. This is a necessary conversation which forces us all to be honest with ourselves in what we want/expect from others, how we gauge our own identities, and where the trajectory of Sikh relationships is headed.

    I read this with my mom sitting next to me, and she has been through an intense, prolonged, and at times, very tough journey regarding finding her soulmate. She says: "I grew up here in America, but it was always important to me to find a sardar. Guruji gave us these symbols for a reason and I personally think it's sad when we deviate from them, however, at the end of the day, what I find attractive is when people are comfortable displaying their beliefs confidently – which can be difficult, sure – but it is something to be praised."

  36. S. Singh says:

    I am a Sikh male age 20 and have had several girlfriends in the last 4 years. I just want to say… It is not about the turban. It is your personality. Shine bright enough and you will never go unnoticed. Treat your girlfriend right and she will stay by your side. Wear your turban with pride. Learn the newest styles and try to match your colors. Make sure your beard is kept neat and tidy (I suggest using some hair gel). If you do those things, a woman will see that you value yourself and that you are someone she should consider dating.

    To put it harshly, not being able to attract woman is ultimately your fault, not your turban's. Respect yourself, respect your partner, and always remember that when you wear a turban, you are representing Sikhism.

  37. Akashdeep Singh says:

    The article is absolutely fantastic and the question that needed addressing long ago , I am a turbaned sikh myself and live in Russia (yes ) , my turban is often a trouble and often a reason of awe , I think what Param did was wonderful , he is what life has shaped him as , how can we judge him , the guy had the guts to go out there among people who probably know nothing about his culture or traditions and was able to still have some women with lights on , I sincerely wish he had more confidence … but still he did have the courage to face the lights and seek a partner. I think we as sikh guys surely have a hard time finding dates internationally but lot of it also due to how we feel inside. No doubt we must make the world understand that a turban is not about fundamentalism , its a article of our faith and what we stand for. What I would also like to mention here is that possibly we need to see the positivity thats happening ariund us too , we are the fifth largest religion , we are accepted more around the world and there are people like the readers of this forum who are coming out with comments and concerns to address various issues. Sikhs are not limited to Punjab or India or North America , The UK , we are gaining momentum all over the world but as a community we need o educate people more about who we are and why we are ?? You cannot entirely blame white or even sikh girls when they are not taught about Sikh culture in the right light , and yes people we need role models … so keep up the good work !!!

  38. DDSA says:

    its all started as a propaganda after the independent sikh nation movement of 70's,80's and early 90's. Before that Sikhs were Rich both economically and culturally. if reverse the years to ww2 and prior years and look deep into Bristish Sikh Army and early Sikh Maharaja, Aristocrats and alike. You will come across western ladies marrying then. Its the Propaganda of Indian government (not the fellow hindu brothers, I belong to Gursikh family and have hindu aunts coming from affluent families, who have married my Sikh uncles). So no disrespect to Hindus. Currently Sikhism actually has been corrupted by my Jat culture along with the propaganda. Bottom line is if you are rich it doesn't matter which religion you follow. The writer I believe is not acquainted by Arab Sheiks. just giving an example.. Also would love to hear from the critics, I am human and will accept my mistake if I have judged the situation written by the author incorrectly.

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