- Sonali Chandra said she was proud to be a virgin at the age of 35.
- She refused to succumb to societal pressures for premarital sex.
- This is Sonali’s story, as told to Jane Ridley.
This truthful article is based on a conversation with Sonali Chandra. It has been edited for length and clarity.
My colleagues will often talk about their various connections.I never join in conversation.
I am 35 years old and proudly hold my V card. I need a ring on my finger before I drop it to the only one I have. If I betray my principles and have a one night stand, I’ll be destroyed.
It wasn’t because I was scared – even though I knew it would be painful to have sex for the first time. But “friends with benefits” and no-strings-attached relationships are not for me. I am looking for my soul mate.
As a modern, first-generation Indian-American, I am happy to uphold the traditional values of the country my parents grew up in. In India, premarital sex is taboo.
When I was growing up, my parents never talked about sex. My sister and I enjoyed watching Bollywood movies from the 1990s and early 2000s. The movie won’t show couples kissing, but actors are allowed to hold hands.
When I was in middle school, there was no vest, no cleavage, no makeup, and no socializing with boys. I attend junior and senior proms at home. The only time I get dressed up is for a dance show. I’ve been doing Indian dance for years and performing in high school talent shows. People will be shocked because I’m a class geek with glasses and braces.
During my years studying finance at Rutgers University, I lived with my family. My dad said, “What happens on a college campus? The kids sleep everywhere.”
On my way home from graduation in 2009, he told me about his plans for an arranged marriage. I was 23 and thought, “You never asked me to have a boyfriend.” He said, “I’ll find you someone. There are all kinds of Indian dating sites online.”
I said no, thank you.
My dad wants me to put my dating profile on a site for singles of Indian descent
Dad decided to find someone in America with strong Indian values. He would try to introduce me to doctors and lawyers in our home state of New Jersey. But I have never seen them. I don’t believe my dad would pick a husband for me. He wants someone just like him. The marriage my parents arranged in India was unstable.
I don’t want to publish my profile in places like Bengalimarimony.com. I know it just adds to the pressure to get things going, even though I don’t have any feelings for the person.
I hate the idea of instant gratification. So far, in Manhattan, where I worked on Wall Street in my 20s, it was a culture shock. Guys will be attracted to me, but I’ll realize that all they want is to take me to bed. I’d be ashamed if they were going to use me for sex and disappear the next morning.
I kissed for the first time at 26 and it felt great. Things didn’t go any further. I think romance is going nowhere because of my beliefs.
Four years ago, I met another person I really liked. We had a drink at the hotel bar one night and he wanted to rent a room. I told him it would be my first time. “You deserve someone who is always there for you, but I can’t be there for you,” he said. He didn’t return my calls or texts after that. It reinforces my theory that I can’t have sex with someone who can make me a ghost.
All 9 men I’ve dated in my life turned out to be assholes
In 2019, I moved to Los Angeles to work as a Front Office Manager at Equinox Gym. I told myself, “I’ve had enough of these games — I’m going to marry my career.”
I’ve dated nine men in my life. Everyone becomes a jerk. They asked me out based on my appearance, but after I told them about my high standards and ethics, they disappeared. Three of them proposed to me because they needed a visa to work in the US.I find it interesting and it provides me with material stand-up comedy I have been doing it since January. I make fun of being a millennial and still a virgin. I would joke that in India they say, “The way you dance shows the way you make love.” I’m a good dancer, so I know I’ll do well.
Nonetheless, I long for company. I shed lonely tears. For the past ten years, I have spent each of my birthdays and vacations alone. I wonder if marriage will happen because men are afraid of my values. I really don’t understand why. Virginity was a virtue when I was growing up.
As for my father, he was ashamed that I didn’t have a husband. In March, we had a family reunion at my grandmother’s funeral in New Delhi. Dad lied to everyone and said I got married in America.
People like me get ridiculed and ostracized, but I want to inspire and inspire not just young women, but men too. They shouldn’t succumb to arranged marriages — or social pressures to have sex.
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