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Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez
August 2, 2007

As a 39 year old Latina I travel in two worlds, Hispanic and American culture. I speak English and Spanish fluently, my French could use a lot of help. I have decided to learn Farsi and Arabic. I am going to the university and hope to finally graduate this summer. I have made so many great friends from many cultures. Moving from a small city in Texas to a Metropolitan city was the best decision of my life. It was such a relief to leave the narrow minded town I lived in for 16 years.

I am amazed at so many of the similarities between the traditional Iranian culture and that of the Hispanic traditional culture. Yes, there does exist a double standard in dating for the different genders. Men are not admonished if they date like there is no tomorrow, while the women have to remain virginal for the momentous day of "marriage". Women are expected to have children soon after marriage. If we are single they are constantly trying to arrange a date for us in hopes that a suitable match will be made.

I obtained a divorce in 1998 and I'm not kidding you, the ink was not even dry and people were already trying to set me up on my first date. Give me a break! It got to the point that instead of saying Hello to me, I had to endure the Spanish inquisition. It was something like this "Do you have a boyfriend yet?" No and I am not looking for one. "Are you at least dating?" No, I do not have time. "How are you ever going to get married again, if you do not date?"

I am not looking for a husband. I am working on getting my degree to become a bilingual teacher, remember. They do not even hear my words. They are constantly telling me what I need to do to attract a man. You need to fix your hair, let your hair grow because men like women with long hair, wear some make up, your clothes are not tight enough and for heavens sake try not to sound too smart. I have finally given up on these women. I am thinking of just recording my answers and playing them back to them everytime I see them.

I finally did go on a blind date so my friend would finally leave me alone after three years of her bugging me. She thought she had found the perfect man for me in her cousin. The only thing we had in common was that we are both Hispanics and our religion. The date did not go well but I did my best to be nice, polite and civilized. Apparently, I did to good a job because he thought we hit it off and wanted to take me to a movie after dinner. I told him I was tired and needed to get back home.

Well, on top of everything he did the most unthinkable thing that just terminated any chance of a second date. I was going to give him a second chance since his cousin had warned me that he had not been on a date for a long time. Well, he put his hands on me to try to hug me or kiss me. I'm not sure what his intentions were and I was not about to let him do so. Honestly, I do not even know him. What was he thinking? His cousin had warned him I was very traditional when it comes to dating. Well, it has been six years now and I have chosen to not date unless I find a worth while individual regardless of their ethnic group.

My family and friends think I am wasting away my youth. I disagree. Since when is pursuing one's academic studies a waste of time. Last time I checked this was America and I am a grown woman. I am not letting anyone pressure me to date and marry anyone. I am very happy at this point in my life. I do not require being in a relationship to define who I am. So ladies more power to you for not settling and pursuing your academic goals or dreams. Trust me you do not want to end up in a bad marriage. I was in one for nine years and even though we went to marital counseling could not save it. Take your time and choose wisely. It is better to be alone than in bad company. Comment

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Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

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