They say finding a good man in today’s Tinder era is like finding a needle in a haystack. If that’s true, then finding a good Muslim man, in today’s Minder era, is like finding a needle in the Sahara desert — almost impossible.
As a single, observant Black American Muslim woman in her late twenties, I use all the tools at my disposal: word of mouth, mosque hopping, matchmaking, and Minder, the matrimonial app designed to help millennial Muslims connect in a modern way.
Swiping through Minder I find myself talking to basically three categories of men: the FOB, the Wallah Bro, and the “Ramy Guy.”
I know. It’s not nice to use that acronym (although I argue ABC Network made it more politically correct with it’s highly popular show Fresh Off the Boat about a Taiwanese-American family). But using FOB is the easiest way for me to describe the first, and probably largest, category of men on Minder. These are the guys who have come to the U.S in the last few years for work or school, or were lucky enough to win a green card lottery (yes that’s a real thing). They’re the ones who are either dressed to the nines, in suits with slicked back hair, or at the gym (shirtless), or my favorite — leaning against a Mercedes, arms crossed, wearing stylish sunglasses, and a caption like, “I am looking for a beautiful girl and be very patient and always living together very happy.” (Real material, I swear.) They often carry more traditional mindsets or approaches to selecting a wife as evidenced by sexist questions like: “Do you cook? What do you cook? You live alone? Why? Where are your parents?”
Sometimes they ask if you’d be cool with living with their parents from day one. And no, I’m not talking about when they’re older and can’t manage to carry on without assistance. I’m talking about right after the wedding when you’ve gotten back from your honeymoon. Other times, they’re more up front about what they’re looking for: like the one who told me he was finishing his master’s and was out of money to do a PhD, so he was looking for someone with U.S. citizenship. Pass.
The Wallah Bro
Within the Muslim community it’s no secret that once a Muslim woman turns twenty-five she has considerably fewer options. Apparently, most of the good Muslim guys get snatched up in college. Those were the ones who barely kept it together in high school while avoiding the temptation of Becky-with-the-good-hair, and prioritized getting hitched as soon as they found a Muslim girl in the MSA.
The men left standing are the ones that are just looking for a good time. The Wallah Bro is essentially the Muslim equivalent of the American F* Boy. They send inappropriate pictures, or ask what shoe size I am (yup, that was the Foot Fetish Guy), and sometimes even offer to put you up in a hotel if you fly to visit them (happened to my friend a few times). He’ll go around using the Lord’s name in vain saying dumb things like, “Wallahi , I saw him eat five shawarmas in one sitting!”
These are the obvious ones to run away from. They clearly aren’t looking for marriage. They’re just looking for a good time, for sex, or what not. They’re easier to pick out and get rid of. But they’re not as dangerous as the last type of Minder man.
The Ramy Guy
Here’s the guy I fall for again and again. This third type of Minder man is the archetype from Hulu’s show Ramy, starring Ramy Youseff who plays an Egyptian American man navigating his Muslim and American identity. The Ramy Guy is cute. Sometimes he’s a Mipster, other times, he’s just a clean-cut techie or businessman. For level of religiosity, he’ll write “practicing” or “sometimes practicing.” He’ll be honest and say he’s not really that religious, but that he wants to do “better.” Someone who will wake him up for fajr salat. Someone who will inspire him to attend weekly Jummah. Even though I’m smart enough to know that a man who wants to use a woman to improve himself is problematic, I fall for him every time.
You see, the Ramy Guy is the most alluring because he gets me. He’s usually not racist like some of the others I meet who write in their profile that the person they’re seeking speaks Urdu or Arabic (although usually the Ramy Guy might admit to having racist parents.) The Ramy Guy may be ethnically Pakistani or Egyptian, but he was born and raised in the U.S. Thus, we share a mutual cultural understanding consisting of Ramadans, 4th of July picnics, and Beyonce. He’s the kind of guy who understands what it means to grow up in White America as a Muslim.
My most recent (and most annoying) run in with the Ramy archetype was with this guy named R. He was thirty, had a great job in the medical field, savings, and he meal prepped! For introductions, we did a phone call where I explained what I was looking for: I told him I don’t date, I date-to-marry, which meant I expected him to clear his intentions with a call to my dad at some point in the first month or so (not a usual rule of mine, but after so many flakes, I wanted to show him I meant business.) Although he admitted apprehension, he said he found me “intriguing,” and that he would agree to my stipulations because he was serious about marriage too. On our second call, we talked for five hours, followed by a third call when we talked for another six hours. This never happens. So, naturally, I was ecstatic. He started saying things like “I told my mom about you,” and “As soon as COVID is over I’m flying to San Francisco to meet you in person.” At that point, I asked him if he was talking to anyone else and he said no. But when he started slowing down with his texting and calls, my women’s intuition told me something was up. So I prayed. Right before I went to sleep, I raised my palms in front of me, and said “Ya Allah, please send me a sign. If this is the right guy for me, let me know. If he’s not the one, let me know that too.”
The next morning, I woke up to a text from him:
8:00 AM: Good morning beautiful. Good luck with your exam today! You got this ;).
8:05 AM: I meant– good morning.
(Just so it’s clear, I’m NOT IN SCHOOL)
Turns out R was talking to multiple women, even after he agreed (twice) that we were exclusive. One minute he’s telling me “I see you being the mother of my children,” and the next he’s chatting up some poor girl still in college. Needless to say, I ended it.
And this is why the Ramy Guy is the most dangerous of all Minder men. Just like the Ramy on television, the Ramy Guys on Minder don’t know what they want. The Ramy Guy approaches love in the same way I approach buying shoes at Neiman Marcus — picking through the racks, trying on pairs for hours, until I find ones that are relatively comfortable. Then, when I realize I can’t afford them, and should never have been in such an expensive store to begin with, I drop everything and run away.
The Ramy Guy treats Muslim women the same way. They find us on Minder, make themselves out to be practicing Muslims seeking marriage, and when they realize things are getting serious or that they don’t want to be the type of Muslim men we expect them to be, they sabatoge things or run away.
My point? The Ramy Guy should be real with himself and with us. Before he starts spewing words about commitment, marriage and devotion to religion, he should ask: “Who am I and what do I want?” And more importantly, “Should I just stick to Tinder?” Does he only say he wants a serious relationship that is focused on marriage because it’s expected of him? Does he think by marrying an observant Muslim woman, he’ll get to wear the label of a practicing Muslim, without doing any of the hard work?
In a nutshell, these are the three guys you should be looking out for on Minder, with The Ramy Guy high on your radar. What types of guys have you encountered?