Dating Disasters: My Culture is Not a Fetish

Dating Disasters: My Culture is not a Fetish

Fetish: a sexual interest in an object or a part of the body other than the sexual organs.

This is the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of a fetish. When discussing fetishes the general consensus would be to draw for; foot fetishes, latex fetishes or even humiliation… If only I was so lucky.

My ex-partners fetish? The colour of my skin and the cultural significance that it held.


Now, why it took me a whole month to see this I have no clue, this white man would always refer to me as his ‘desi girl’. He used to talk about how I should dress more ‘desi’ and how he would love to see more pictures of me wearing ‘desi’ clothes. 


Despite desi not being an offensive word every time he would use it to describe me, I would feel so uncomfortable. Alongside this when we were not together, he would send me pictures of the Indian food he was making. I also got evidence of the Punjabi music he was listening to and the Bollywood films he was watching. He would tell me that he was thinking of me. It was agonizing to see that someone only liked me purely due to the fact that I was Indian.


It started off poetic as modern love does, meeting through Tinder (my first mistake). 

At first, it actually seemed like we had a real connection. We went on amazing dates and got along really well. But out of nowhere there was a switch – suddenly it became less about us and more about his infatuation with where I was from. It all happened really quickly, and my mind was lost to what had happened to ‘us’. 


Not too long ago he was describing the ways he would ask me to be his girlfriend. That conversation moved onto him asking if we could have an Indian wedding.


Initially, I brushed off all the little remarks that made me feel awkward as I thought he was trying to be? Trying to be what? What did I exactly think he was trying to do?


These small comments soon became our everything, it became ‘us’. In a song, he wrote for me, he told me he loved me. I am unsure whether he had convinced himself he did. It had nothing to do with my personality but more to do with my looks – my brown-ness. He did not know me at all. 

I know fetish is a strong word to use, and some may argue he simply had a preference. Even if he did have this strong preference, is that okay? Maybe I guess if he did not exclude other ethnicities in his dating life. From what I gathered me and his exes all shared a similar trait.


His obsession with this part of me, caused him to neglect my personality and everything else that made me who I am. This meant that he believed a lot of stereotypes and had this ideal version of an ‘ethnic girlfriend’ in his head which I couldn’t change. 


Writing this article, I am utterly clueless why I stayed in with him for so long. I think at the time he masked it all very well and made me feel like I belonged with him. All the while he had reduced me down to one characteristic. 


This whole situation was scary. It made me think, was I that hungry for affection that it did not matter where it was coming from? From now on I am careful with who I bring into my life. I even have a little dating rule. I ask myself – would I be friends with this person if I never met them with the intention of romance? Be completely honest, if the answer is no then why would you ever want to be in a relationship with them?




Image source: Mannat Studio 

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