This tweet gave me war-time flashbacks to being a teenager in high school in a relationship and trying to figure out what to tell my parents when I wanted to go out. 

I thought about this tweet, which shared such an oddly specific yet universal brown kid experience, and it reminded me of all of the hoops we often have to jump through just to have normal experiences like dating.

Our cultural experiences and generational differences unnecessarily complicate our dating lives, often because many of our parents are products of arranged marriages. They don’t know what it means to navigate multiple relationships, or to try and date to find a suitable partner, because for them, it wasn’t even on the table. 

Kids are often told by their parents that dating is not “allowed,” or to focus on their studies and not on romantic relationships. This means dating for brown kids has a lot of secrecy around it, just to avoid the difficult and awkward conversation of telling your parents you have a boyfriend.

Even at the age of 25, this weird secrecy around dating looms over my head, not because I’m not “allowed,” anymore, but because if I dare to mention I have a boyfriend my parents will ask when the wedding is.

0-100. Real quick. And nothing in between.

So after having this reflection, I decided to do a call out on Instagram, to ask what everyone’s favourite brown kid dating excuses were, to compile as a gift to future generations.

When I did a casual call out, I didn’t realize how many people resonated with this topic. The results were hilarious. 

Here is a roundup of some of the most notable responses:

The regular responses:

  • Studying at the library, or SFU Surrey (If you’ve gone on a date at the library, truly, you may be entitled to compensation).
  • Volunteering
  • Working an overnight shift/overtime 
  • Going to the gym for three hours (ok but when do you actually work out though this would truly concern me)
  • Going for a “wellness” walk
  • Sleeping over at my best friends place (this is really hard when your parents have a close relationship with your best friend/their family)
  • Tutoring “to help you cultivate a reputation as a giant nerd”
  • Watching a movie with friends 

The most outlandish:

  • Best friend is crying and I have to help her
  • My friend is getting her wisdom teeth removed so I have to take care of her
  • Getting a job that requires you to work overnight shifts sometimes to make it believable 
  • Saying you’re hanging out with a friend  and modifying their name. Ie) Gurleen turns into Gary 
  • Friend’s car broke down (how many times can you realistically even use this one?!)
  • Meeting someone from Facebook Marketplace (why is meeting up with a stranger easier than meeting up with your boyfriend, I hate it here)
  • Volunteering at an old folks home (This one killed me)

The funniest, however, was the person who said they got married so they didn’t need to answer to their parents anymore.

While it made my stomach hurt with laughter, it reminded me that the only way out is through, and since I don’t plan on getting married any time soon, the excuses are just going to have to get a lot more creative. 

About the author

Rumneek Johal

Rumneek is a journalist, host and speaker. She is currently the BC Reporter at Press Progress where she focuses on systemic inequality, workers and communities, as well as racism and far-right extremism. Her previous work centers on asking tough questions within her community, starting conversation and chipping away at the status quo. Other focus areas for her work include the South Asian community, arts and culture, pop culture, and more. She is a proud Punjabi woman from Surrey, BC.

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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.