It wasn’t long before I caved into the demands of making a Biodata. I could only hold out for so long. At times I would justify it in my brain. I mean people should know something on paper about you. What’s the big deal, right? Actually it was a big deal.
So what exactly is a Biodata? It’s essentially an eHarmony Profile combined with your work resume. Sure, it sounds harmless. Until you’re told to put your income, occupation, body type, parent’s names, place of birth, and whether or not you have a lineage to the Prophet (S). Yes, they do ask that sometimes. In some cases, you have to put down the village you came from, like the secret ingredient in a recipe that makes it just right.
Often times the Biodata is the first step in the matchmaking process. After all, who would interview you without a resume? You get interviewed by the father, then the mother, sometimes both. Sometimes, an uncle or imam is involved. Anything they can do to make the process more daunting they’ll do. But to ask for a simple one-on-one conversation with the person you might marry is clearly asking too much. It’s important to note, you have to earn a chance to meet the girl. That’s right. Just to meet her.
The Biodatas are usually organized in tiers. Not literally, but more in a subtle way. The ones that have a doctor, engineer, or lawyer are usually at the top. Other professional jobs might get put in Tier 2. Anything in the arts is pretty much the equivalence of telling your in-laws you’re unemployed.
Biodatas have become so ingrained in the matchmaking process that most people don’t question them. I didn’t have many dazzling things to add to my resume. I worked an average job, wasn’t sure about my future career plans, and was living alone at the time. But like all resumes, I knew I had to embellish some parts. So I did. My Biodata involved my grand plans of becoming a licensed therapist in the field of Social Work. That was just something I was considering, but it was definitely a better idea than putting ‘Not Sure.’ Because nothing screams ‘Run’ quite like a biodata that says “I’m still figuring out my future plans.”
The rejections that came after submitting my biodata were always 10x more painful than the ones without them. I felt that maybe putting the best version of myself on a piece of paper would give me an advantage. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations. But with each rejection came those nagging thoughts of: ‘Did I put the wrong things on my resume? Did I paint myself as an extremist? Did I sound too liberal? Did I come off too immature?’ These questions turned into a slippery slope of inauthenticity and self-doubt. Deep down I felt like I wasn’t enough. Interestingly enough, when I did find the right girl it was without any Biodata or some fake profile. It was because I finally mustered up the courage to just be myself.