Kids Corner

Above: The Author.


MythBuster: Dating & The Sikh Identity





Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, was correct when he stated that “Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.”

According to Time Magazine, the act of love seems to be the driving force in almost every human being’s life.

The sub-continent - where most of us Sikhs trace our origins - and the Western world, have differing views on finding this very love.

In the West, the popular mode is the process of courtship, or dating. This is when couples form intimate relationships with each other that may or may not blossom into a marriage. The dating process is a process of trial and error, and most people go through several such relationships before they find the “one”.

This process is the opposite of the system traditionally followed on the subcontinent - through arranged marriages.

As Sikhs make their home in Western countries, their kids experience the dating system first hand. The West and its ways, however, are foreign to those who are newcomers - just as newcomers are 'foreigners' in their new environments.

I recently read an article entitled, “Losing the Turban: Indian Sikhs at odds on essentials” from CNN. An interviewee of the article, Balbir Singh, claimed that he cuts his hair because he feels out of touch with the fashions of the Western world. “Besides, women don’t like turbans”.

There is an imperative problem in the Sikh community today that is rarely spoken about. Many male youth have been modifying their beards, cutting their hair and/or not wearing turbans. All practices are against the Sikh code of conduct for various reasons.

A notable cause for this is because turbaned adolescents do not feel confident with their image. The implied reason for this loss in self-confidence is because a young Sardar may feel that he cannot attract girls. He believes that he would not be able to chase love because his identity holds him back.

This is completely untrue. Through this paper, young Sikhs will see that objective evidence points to the fact that they ARE considered attractive, and that they should not disband their traditions, influenced by this myth.

With hours of research and copious amounts of interviews behind me, I hope to prove my point in this paper.

I want to begin by quoting an adage: "Failure is success if we learn from it.”

Take note that dating is a process of trial and error. A young man tries and fails numerous times before he finds that right person. As the male is typically supposed to be the initiator, his gender unfortunately gets the harder job; they usually have to do most of the work in order to woo the female.

Because of this, most males typically fail with their initial attempts. Remember what Malcolm Forbes said  - the author of the adage I just quoted? Failure is actually the key to success!

The challenge for many young Sikhs is that they are part of families new to Western culture. They typically do not have that father figure that went through the same process during their childhood. This father figure is necessary, as a role model and mentor, to teach his children about life's lessons - which include the lesson that most initial attempts to attract a girl are failures.

A mother's guidance in this regard is also absent , again, for the same reasons. 

Another challenge faced by young Sikhs is that they do look different, even though not all males wear turbans and have unshaven facial hair. However, once a young Sikh initially fails with girls, these two factors play a big part in his thought processes. 

He then considers the option of changing identity and appearance, and the thought process, according to my interviews, seems to go like this:

1   A young Sardar is attracted to a girl.

2   She seems to reject him (typical for the beginner)

3   He is disheartened.

4   He cannot talk to his father because the father has had no previous experience on the topic. Neither does his mother.

5   He needs and finds SOMETHING TO BLAME.

What is the most different thing about that person? His Sikh identity. The young Sardar, who is most likely a teenager going through puberty, has a rather fluid mindset. He starts to think, “Maybe the reason I can’t get girls is because I look so different.”

He seizes at the perception that he is not attractive. This leads to a loss in self-confidence - which takes a great toll on the mind. I myself have had this self-conflict countless numbers of times throughout my life, and have been on the brink of disbanding my identity. It is a tumultuous conflict, and many young Sardars, unfortunately, hastily and erroneously conclude that it is their identity to blame.

Once this happens, those Sardars are Sardars no more. A razor strokes down the face, clearing off all of the Guru’s teachings hair by hair. The two blades of a scissor meet with the kes in the middle - cutting off all ties with the Khalsa in one, simple

To those Sikh adolescents that are currently having this self-conflict - you need to deal with it headlong and conquer your feelings.

I too have had them before - those feelings of loneliness. It seems that even if there are “plenty of fish in the sea”, none want to date you. Take the Guru’s word, however, and have faith - for “the faithful find the door of liberation. Only one who has faith comes to know such a state of mind.” [Japji]

There ARE girls out there attracted to Sikhs. Like all other youth, we just have to be patient, faithful, and continue looking for the right ones in a larger batch of incompatible ones. According to my interviews and findings from the Internet, men typically need four things to attract a woman: self-confidence, personality, interest, and attractiveness (good-looks).

First off, some people are prone to suggest that Sikhs may not seem 'attractive'. Sure, ample stats can be found to provide some back-up for such a claim, if that's your goal. For instance, according to the, “While 63 per cent of men
believed facial hair made them more manly and attractive, 92 per cent of women said they preferred a clean-shaven man, with 95 per cent complaining that facial stubble made a romantic kiss a turn-off.”

However, the key factor that needs to be taken into account is that most non-Sikh males with facial hair typically do not have unshorn facial hair. Unshorn facial hair has a different look than most facial hair, and is also very soft compared to the prickly, trimmed beards or stubs.

The fact is that the 'different' look, along with the rather soft, touchy beard (found on Sardars) is a very large secondary sexual characteristic that many women find attractive.

Now, let's turn to the turban. 

Some will point out that the turban is a negative factor because of the unfortunate events of 9/11, as a result of which a trend of “Islamophobia” has grown. It can be argued that as the Sikh turban harks to the new public image of the “terrorist”, some women would instantly be detracted from Sikhs.

But my question is, why would one want to date such an ignorant woman anyways? If these girls cannot accept my identity, they are truly not worth it!

Also, I find that most girls DO find the turban attractive. Things like different colors and matching clothes or accessories creates a unique and added sense of style. I cannot count on all of my fingers and toes how many times a day I get complemented on my matching outfits! The compliments have even gone as far as praising the tie of my turban. I have heard numerous times that my turban seems rather elegant with intricately placed layers upon layers of cloth.

It is comments like these that build up SELF-CONFIDENCE - another thing a man needs to attract women. Personally, being confident in my look does not make me nervous when talking to women. It's what they call the 'cool' factor.

Next, a man needs something “interesting” to attract women. This simply means that this man has to have something unique about him.

Guess what! This is a given for every Sardar, especially vis-a-vis any woman who is new to Sikhs. The fact that a Sikh has a different religion, culture, look, life-experience and language is an advantage, not a setback! It makes him exotic like little  else can, and thus gives him a unique advantage on the 'interest' quotient among ALL men.

Lastly, personality is also needed. Depending on the personality, certain types of woman are attracted. Personality, however, does not correlate much with one’s faith (although I have been told that my dedication to Sikhi has given me a very
worthy personality).

Of course, the end of a relationship - especially the first one, is very hurtful. When that time comes, the stress is almost unbearable as one feels as if one has lost someone perfect.

As stressful as it may be, be sure to not blame it on your identity or appearance, and remember that it was the very same identity and appearance that once attracted her to you in the first place!

In order to gain information on this little-explored topic, I had to interview an abundance of people. I broke them down into four categories - twenty four full Sardars from around the country, eight Sikhs who modify their beards or used to be Sardars (the majority of my offers were rejections as the topic seemed too controversial), fifteen girls who have not dated Sikh men, and eleven girls (five of which were not Sikh) that have previously dated or are dating Sardars.

When interviewing Sardars, all but one mentioned that they feel like the beard and turban detracts them from girls. However, sixteen of these twenty-four (66%) say that this does not interfere with their dating lives.

Harjit Singh of Florida claimed that, “Yes, it [turban] does [detract] for some women. However, those aren’t really the kind of women I'm trying to attract … the turban and beard is only a hindrance if you make it”.

Amit Singh of New York said, “A lot of guys feel like women are turned off to them for reasons like looks, financial status, height, physical fitness, etc. I would say turban/beard falls under that same category. They all do matter, but in my experience, they are NOT deal breakers.”

Jassi Singh Ahluwahlia of Florida said that he thinks the turban and beard used to detract women away from him, but then he learned to “exploit” the identity.

Lastly, fifteen out of twenty-four (62%) of the full Sardars said that they have had a self-conflict with their identity. However, twelve of that fifteen (80%) said that, once they gained confidence with dating, they did not have a conflict anymore.

All of the eight interviewees that have modified their identity have said that, since they have changed, many girls do seem to like them more. They notice that more girls seem to “check them out” and give more compliments on their look. Seven of eight, however, all wrote that their dating life has had little to no change.

“Sure, I may seem slightly more attractive to girls, but there’s more to it. A girl won't be into you just for your looks - the majority see beyond that”, claims an ex-Sardar from Detroit.

Six out of eight (75%) of these interviewees claim that they have once regretted changing their identity.

I interviewed fifteen girls about their views on men. I created a survey asking them about their preferences in men. The top answers, as I stated previously, were interest, self-confidence, attractiveness and personality. These answers were also found
on numerous websites about dating advice.

Eight out of fifteen (53%) of the girls did say that facial hair and a turban could be a “turn-off”. “It may not be the most attractive, but most women don’t go for guys just because of how they look. Sure, we seem to talk about ‘hot guys’ all the time, but the dateable guys are those that seem loyal and respectful towards women. Looks aren’t everything”, says Natasha Vincent from Florida.

All fifteen girls said that they would still date a man despite how unattractive he may seem to them.

For the girls who are attracted to Sikhs, all eleven wrote that they never minded the turban and beard. Some liked the look, but most saw their partner for things like personality - relating to “honesty, confidence, trustworthiness, commitment, and
dedication”, says a Jasveen Kaur from California.

Daniela Malo, a non-Sikh woman from Florida claims that she is attracted to a Sikh’s “personality and outlook on various situations. I am attracted to the way he stands out and keeps his head up regardless of the looks he gets. I also find his beard really attractive - my Sikh man has the softest beard I’ve ever felt!”

All the non-Sikh women I interviewed said that they did not want to change anything physically in their partners, and that the unique look is what attracted them in the first place. In fact, they claimed that their bond with their partner was stronger because of the difference.

Daniela Malo again said, “Your culture, beliefs, and pride are worth a lot more than an ignorant girl who cannot accept you for who you truly are. People who cannot appreciate and treasure the admirable qualities you convey are not worth anyone's time. The person you date should admire you, treasure you, appreciate you, and respect you to their full potential. If you need to change your appearance in order to date, then is that relationship healthy?”

Sukhmani Kaur of California says, “If a female can't be attracted to you because of your faith in God, then even if you were to give up your identity for her, it wouldn't last long anyhow. A relationship only has the potential to last if both partners can love one another because of who they are, not who their partner would like them to be. So don't change yourself for a girl; if she can't love you for who you are, then she's not worth it … Wear your turban and wear it proud, because there's a girl out there waiting for you to find her; don't change yourself for the girls that you will encounter on the way”.

Of course, this is a new topic of research that has little evidence to confirm or refute my statements. My sample size, though small, can be enlarged for further evidence.

In conclusion, many Sikh youth have been disbanding their traditions due to self-confidence issues. These issues arise from a bad experience with the dating process, as well as the lack of a western fatherly figure. As long as a Sikh has certain innate qualities, he truly does not have a problem with women. Also, my interviews prove that the identity is not an obstruction to attracting girls.

Women like men for who they are - not just how they look. To any person that thinks I may be preaching to young Sikhs and telling them to date rather than wait until marriage - this is not my aim.

Everytime I  see a Sikh friend change his identity, I am horrified at the ignorance that precedes it and worry about its potential in the future. This paper proves that high self-esteem and self-confidence are part of the solution.

We need to address dating issues because it is the source of much of the angst experienced by our youth.

My conclusion that a Sikh young man will not be confident with his identity until he is comfortable with the dating scene and has the confidence that he is as attractive as any other male of the species.

On Vaisakhi Day, 1699, Guru Gobind Singh initiated the Khalsa to prepare Sikhs to serve humanity for ages to come. The Khalsa articles of faith are prescribed so that a Sikh stands out from among a hundred thousand others.

Why then would we want to blend in with the crowd?


December 13, 2011

[Edited for]



Conversation about this article

1: Bilkeer (Ludhiana, Punjab), December 13, 2011, 1:05 PM.

Very good article.

2: Mandeep Singh (Alberta, Canada), December 13, 2011, 1:13 PM.

Great article, Sahib! From what I have seen, in Western culture, there are people not serious about marriage, but engage in dating for something more than just friendship. And then there are others that are ready for marriage and date to find a prospective life partner. Was your survey able to distinguish between these types of people? I believe you'll find a higher rate of success in dating when both people are serious about marriage.

3: K. J. Singh (Delhi, India), December 13, 2011, 1:15 PM.

Good work. Well thought out presentation. This ought to be read by sikh chicks also who clamour for clean shavens.

4: Akashdeep Singh (India), December 13, 2011, 1:21 PM.

If a person doesn't feel proud of his identity and doesn't respect his culture and faith, he will not get respected anywhere in the world. Be proud of yourself, of who you are and of the legacy given to us by our ancestors. It's ignorance that girls don't like turbaned Sikhs. If you have the right attitude and confidence, you can attract any sensible girl. It's a matter of self belief and the turban is not the issue. Irrespective of this, the turban gives us a royal look and I don't think it brings any sense of inferiority. These are just crap excuses for not wearing a turban.

5: Harpreet Singh (Delhi, India), December 13, 2011, 1:53 PM.

Great honest work by Sahib Singh. Really, we need such articles. Incidents of disrespect to hair or turban by Sikh youth are increasing alarmingly and there is no honest analysis of the same. Rarely does some Sikh scholar say a few words about it. There is lot of pressure on Sikh youth to cut their kes or trim their beard or lose their Sikh identity from all sides, for example, cinema, TV, some non-Sikh friends/colleagues and even some Sikh friends or relatives. However, many sincere Sikhs and non-Sikhs will appreciate and respect the Sikhs with full Sikh form. One must remain in touch with such people, sangat, gurbani, Sikh literature and nowadays, Sikh sites like, etc. Do not worry because there are many good gursikh girls and their parents (the girls one will be proud to marry and who will prove really great companions, especially in long run and will also make your children devoted gursikhs and your home a lovely/ideal place which every one will envy). We need such gursikh boys, especially nowadays. Recently, a daughter of a British MP married a full-fledge Nihang gursikh in Amritsar. Many such instances are there. Not every person can recognize or purchase gold or diamond. Thanks for such articles and happy to know about the presence of such gursikhs.

6: Prashanti Maharaj (Cape Town, South Africa), December 13, 2011, 2:01 PM.

Great article :D

7: Karanveer Singh (Bremerton, Washington, U.S.A.), December 13, 2011, 2:27 PM.

Thank you, Sahib Singh. Someone had to come up and start this discussion. And finally someone did. I'm the only turbaned Sikh in the tri-cities area and I'm proud of it. Everybody remembers me from my turban and I'm never gonna let it down.

8: Sanam Preet Singh (Patiala, Punjab), December 13, 2011, 3:27 PM.

I really appreciate this article not only because it urges the Sikh youth to not to disband their identity for the sake of "self-confidence" issues but also because it addresses the dating issue, which is so natural/normal to any youngster, but is rarely talked about publicly, when it relates to Sikh youth (those who have preserved and maintained their Sikhi saroop).

9: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), December 13, 2011, 3:40 PM.

Was waiting for this one! What an article! I used to cry for not wanting to wear my dastaar and did not want facial hair, for vanity mostly. Yet here I am with both, still getting smiles and comments from females of all ages across the globe. It's the always the 'PERSONALITY' and 'SMART LOOK' that females go for ... and there's no one with more personality ans smarts than a well-groomed and smartly dressed, self-confident Sardar!

10: Amiteshwar Singh (Amritsar, Punjab), December 13, 2011, 3:41 PM.

Veerji, very well researched and written article. Please accept my appreciation for it. I have kept my kesh and dhaarhi intact. Initially, I was in a lot of self-conflict, because a girl belonging to a Sikh family didn't seem to be accepting me as a date. But as I matured, my knowledge on Sikhi grew. I have come to the conclusion that in order to be a companion, partner, friend, one first needs to be build a relationship with both mind and brain. Once he is in harmony with himself, he emits such energy that will attract others. For dating or courtship, he'll attract the opposite sex if he can help bring harmony to that person. As our gurbani says, those who are married, they help each other towards liberation. So clearly if goals are similar, their thinking matches, only then a relationship will be successful. So the idea is to be confident of your identity, your desires and your ultimate aim, you'll meet your ideal one, sooner than you know.

11: Simranjit Singh Sethi (Doraha, Ludhiana, Punjab), December 13, 2011, 4:05 PM.

Very well done, Sahib Singh, you really did an appreciable job not only for just discussing Sikhism, but also you have thrown light on the deep corners of human nature which tells how to keeps yourself intact with your roots. Moreover, it teaches a lesson that if the lady is attracted to you only after modification in your looks, then I must say that some day your changed looks will again make her feel bored, like an old desktop wallpaper. Thanks.

12: Rajan (London, United Kingdom), December 13, 2011, 4:11 PM.

But it's not just about wearing the Sikh turban and beard - wearing the articles of faith, first and foremost, Sikh men should act with integrity. Your actions - good and bad - reflect on the rest of the community!

13: Karambir Singh (Richmond Hill, New York, U.S.A.), December 13, 2011, 4:22 PM.

Good article. I too can attest to this philosophy of dating as a turbaned Sikh man. In the past many girls wouldn't go out with me for the fact that I wore a turban, but with Waheguru's grace I remained firm in my faith in Sikhism and today I am in a relationship with my girlfriend and she doesn't mind me being in a turban. It all comes down to if you are strong in your values and beliefs, eventually you will get the recognition you seek.

14: Mona (New York City, U.S.A.), December 13, 2011, 4:45 PM.

This is a great article for youngsters to build self-confidence and give a serious thought before altering their appearance. But it is very disheartening when Sikhism is portrayed only in terms of turban, kes and beard. One has to be a Sikh at heart and not merely by appearance. It is equally important to encourage the young generation to follow the principles of Sikhism, as emphasizing the physical aspects of being a Sikh.

15: Aman (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), December 13, 2011, 6:14 PM.

Great article but one point is missing. In general, any young boy wants a good looking, pretty girl. In younger people's terms she has to be "HOT!" Now the question arises that how many fully bearded young male will accept a girl who does not look like all the images that we see on TV everyday? Will they accept the females that don't do their eyebrows or don't shave their legs? These young men want their ladies to look the part, I'm sure. They want girls that are sexy. These "attractive" girls don't care for religion and therefore may dislike the turban also. So now the young males feel they also need to look the part (clean shaven or trimmed, etc.) Although the scientific approach in this article is nice, I think it simplifies things. There are many dynamics involved.

16: Morrissey (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), December 13, 2011, 6:32 PM.

I couldn't get through the full article, I was terribly distracted by the vision of loveliness on the far right ... you can't miss her: the eyes, lips, the roman nose.

17: T. Sher Singh (Mount Forest, Ontario, Canada), December 13, 2011, 6:35 PM.

Aman, you make it sound like we are discovering a new world and charting new territories. I have lived in India and I have spent four decades in North America, and I have met Sikhs in more than 60 countries around the world, and I can state quite unequivocally that the best-dressed and smartest Sardars have always walked away with the smartest, sexiest women anywhere. Saabat soorat Sikhs have never had any difficulty in attracting the most gorgeous, the most intelligent women around. With the grace of God, I have been single for three decades now, and all the women I've dated have been "hot" both in physical attraction and intelligence - both Sikh and non-Sikh. Each of them, particularly the non-Sikhs I dated, respected Sikhi as much as I did, some were attracted to it ever so more. There were no exceptions. And those who know me well will tell you, if I can do it, anyone can do it!

18: Gavan Kaur (California, U.S.A.), December 13, 2011, 6:45 PM.

Maybe it is time to do a well-funded study: What makes chicks flock around a rooster? Would they find him more attractive if he looked more like a hen? Surely our governments could find a few million dollars somewhere and get to the bottom of these enigmas. I wonder what the results will show. Any guesses?

19: Harnam Singh (Rome, Italy), December 13, 2011, 7:34 PM.

If you can't get a date, buddy, don't be an idiot and blame it on the girls. Or on your turban, your beard or your Sikhi. If I were you, I'd plunk myself before a mirror and ask myself the following questions: If I've lived in the West for more than five years, do I still speak like I'm from Jhumri Talayee-ya? Am I the smartest dressed man around (and it doesn't take money to dress well, certainly not in this era of grunge fashion and beyond)? Is my turban tied every morning, neat and clean? Is my beard groomed? Do I wear a thaattha to work? Is a soo-aa rod sticking out of a corner of my turban my idea of a fashion statement? Is the nihang bana my preferred choice of clothing when I'm going out? Do I spend ALL of my spare time doing gatka or bhangra? Are Bollywood movies the source of my intellectual nourishment? Do I display my liberalism by decorating my apartment with idols of petty hindu devis and devtas? Am I beginning to look like my Dad ... and not just the face? Is attending the nagar keertan the most exciting thing I've done this year? Do I think speaking Hindi at home or with friends is sexy? ... Be honest with yourself answering these questions, and then grade yourself honestly. The results will tell you everything. And, again, please stop blaming others.

20: Daljit Kaur Sibia (Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.A.), December 13, 2011, 10:18 PM.

Great work, Sahib!

21: Manjeet Shergill (Singapore), December 13, 2011, 10:19 PM.

Thank you, Harnam Singh from Rome - well said! Is the look among Sikhs becoming a kind of obsession - healthy or not? A turbaned Sikh has all the attributes of being human, the best and the worst - so what makes him special is that turban. A Sikh chick will choose who she wants to be, and who to have children with. Men become as colourful as they can be for that reason only - nature gives the male species more colours to be attractive to the female. David Attenborough will tell you that it's the female that chooses. So yes, put on your colourful turbans, men, and strut your best form - you might just get lucky.

22: Akashdeep Singh Bal (India), December 13, 2011, 11:18 PM.

This is a good way of guiding the Sikh youth as they are in the need of it. I appreciate the article and I'm really impressed.

23: Pala Singh (Chandigarh, Punjab), December 14, 2011, 12:43 AM.

Great! Kudos to Sahib Singh for the article on Sikh identity. It reminds me of a Sikh missionary who was in England in the first few decades of the twentieth century - he fell in love with an English girl, it was reciprocated, the marriage date got fixed. A day before the ceremony, the lady asked the young man to shave off before he came for the ceremony and he did and appeared for the marriage. The lady refused to marry him! "Mr. Singh, I am sorry, if you cannot be true to your faith, how can you be true to me?" The idea was probably picked up by the script writer of the Film "Kambdi Kalaai". Blessed are they - 'jinnaah ney sikhi kesaa(n) swasaa(n) sung nibhaai!'

24: Charandeep Singh (Nabha, Punjab), December 14, 2011, 1:03 AM.

Great work ... I'm speechless.

25: Harbans Lal (Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.), December 14, 2011, 3:02 AM.

Sahib Singh broke the ice and has started a discussion of important facts. There are many others who must have similar observations but did not take the lead in bringing them to open discussions. Now, let others too share their experiences. I am sure that these experiences will discourage young men from changing their person on the false assumptions of what is attractive to women. To look different is expected to magnify one's personality in both its good and its bad attributes. That should compel one to culture good attributes and then see rewards of its magnifications.

26: Inderdeep Singh (New Delhi, India), December 14, 2011, 4:36 AM.

I certainly stand for this ... All Sikhs, men and women, should read this ... In fact I have seen girls, or rather, know non-Sikh girls attracted towards Sikh guys because of their USP ("unique selling point").

27: Gurinder Singh (Stockton, California, U.S.A.), December 14, 2011, 7:26 AM.

I lived for sometime in South Africa in the aparthied era of the 1980s and was the only person I could see with Sikh identity around. I remember having visited a store in a Johannesburg mall. The clerk at the counter, a Boer gentleman, asked if he could talk to me personally. When I nodded, he said Jesus loves you because of your turban. It was the era when South Africa was dominated by whites and Indians living there were called coolies. I was also a lone Sikh living in Israel for sometime. I got profound respect from both Israeli Arabs and Jews. It was only because of my turban.

28: P. Kaur (Canada), December 14, 2011, 8:56 AM.

Okay, there are many things I could bring up after reading this, but I won't get into all of them. I am a young Sikh woman who proudly wears a dastaar. It's funny how we always speak about the dastaar being for Sikh males. Guru Sahib gave us equality. In the same way that men should respect their hair by tying a turban, women should do the same. Luckily more and more Sikh women are starting to do so. The article talks about trying to attract women, isn't this falling into kaam, didn't Guru Sahib tell us to stay away from that? Yes, we are born in the West and have to deal with this culture, but why are we forgetting Guru ji's message? We have to find our strength in our connection to Guru Sahib, our daily practice and our ongoing quest to learn more about Sikhi and how it relates to life. Why are we spending our time chasing after this 'perfect partner' to fulfill us. That's not Sikhi! We have to find this fulfillment within. We have to trust that Guru Sahib will join us with a partner who will help us along this journey back into the Guru's arms. Have we forgotten that our Guru is with us 24/7, with every breath that we take? Doing more simran, sangat, listening to katha, etc., will help your mind to break it's thought process of seeking acceptance from others. This is all happening because youth are not understanding Guru's message. They do not feel connected to their roots and do not see the invaluable gift that they have been given of being born into a Sikh family. You may be born into a Sikh family, but Sikhi is a lifestyle, you have to live it in order to experience it. Don't throw it away just to try to fit in. Sikhs live beyond this one life. It says in gubani, 'deen gavaya dunisu duni na chaleh nal' - 'O fool, you have lost yourself for this one life, but this life doesn't go with you when you leave your body.'

29: Morrissey (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), December 14, 2011, 11:41 AM.

P. Kaur ... thanks for the downer. It's a feel good story, why break it down into a gurdwara katha?

30: Aman (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), December 14, 2011, 1:05 PM.

It would be awesome to know the ages of the commentators. Its funny to hear stuff like "in the 80's ... with my turban". Times have changed drastically. We are living in a totally different world and it's not fair to the youngsters of today that we compare the old times with the new. I may be wrong but I feel that comments of the positive experiences of wearing the turban are coming from older people. They don't go to school or clubs, etc. Older Sikhs are likely successful and therefore associate with smarter, more well-rounded people. Young people today likely have fewer positive experiences to share.

31: Charanpreet Singh (Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.), December 14, 2011, 2:28 PM.

Interesting effort. I'm happy to read different views but this is what I think ... If your personal reasons for keeping your kes (both men and woman) are not strong enough, so that they are dependent on popular perceptions of "attractive" or "unattractive", you'll forever face these issues badly. I understand that people want to be beautiful (I call it hygiene) but your perception of beauty is not supposed to be dependent on others, it's supposed to be what you think. The identity the Guru gave us is beauty and if you don't think that the whole thing is beautiful, you probably don't belong ... There are many, many, many Sikh singles that find the identity Guru gave us to be the most gorgeous thing, thus their life style ... they all get hitched (married) eventually. Just look around, I can name 100 I personally konw, off the top of my head.

32: J. Singh (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), December 14, 2011, 2:46 PM.

I'll have to agree with P.Kaur on this one. What a sad state of affairs, when our goal is casual relationships rather than finding one true companion, with whom we can walk on the path of truth. The goal of marriage in Sikhi is to become one light in two bodies - if your goal is dating, attracting women for casual relationships, having a girlfriend, etc. then you have lost the plot. The author of this article references the Khalsa, but even if the "Punj Pyare" were born and raised in the U.S.A., they wouldn't have girlfriends. There's nothing wrong with dating to find a marriage partner, but having a sexual relationship before marriage is far from the principles of the Khalsa.

33: Veeran Kaur (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), December 14, 2011, 3:31 PM.

Re Aman (#30): It appears that you're intent on finding every negativity you can in life and are not going to let any facts come in your way. Sardars in the earlier generations had it easy? Are you kidding? The only reason we are enjoying the free air of the countries in the diaspora as full-fledged first-class citizens, while being full-fledged Sikhs, is solely because of the hurdles faced and overcome, at great personal sacrifice, by our elders and forefathers who have preceded us in recent decades, including the 1980s, all the way back to the early 1900s. The twist you've given to the facts is the first I have come across, I must say. It's creative ... but has no connection with reality. Look around you: there is no earthly reason why any Sikh, male or female, cannot handle the normal slings and arrows of life today, a fair share of which come in any and every person's way everywhere in this world. More so now than ever in our 550 year old history, never has it been so easy to be a Sikh ... but, maybe, therein lies the rub!

34: Charanpreet Singh (Baltimore, U.S.A.), December 14, 2011, 3:45 PM.

@ J.Singh #32: "There's nothing wrong with dating to find a marriage partner, but having a sexual relationship before marriage is far from the principles of the Khalsa." Wonderful comment that actually attacks the issue of why a Sikh would date and how it's different from 100% western thought!

35: Rosalia (Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.), December 14, 2011, 5:07 PM.

What a wonderful, thoughtful, well-crafted and mature article! Bravo! I'm not Sikh, nor Indian, but I as a woman, I can say that it is not facial hair or turbans or lack thereof that impresses the opposite gender. It's self confidence, self-respect, personality, sense of humor, and all kinds of other things that factor into attraction. Ever notice how even the most unattractive comedians always have a plethora of suitors? Western teens of both genders suffer the same angst as described by turban-wearing boys in the article when they stand on the threshold of dating. Girls somehow come to believe that they are not thin, blond, cool or popular enough. Boys fear they aren't buff, athletic, or cool enough or they wrongheadedly think that girls want "bad" boys. For some unknown reason, both genders misguidedly think if they are too smart, they won't find a boy or girlfriend. Dating is a way of interviewing others to learn if they are suitable, tolerable, if they fit in your family. The general rule of thumb is that one should know by date #3 if one wants to invest any more time in that person. The story about the English woman who tested her fiancee got it right. What is important is how strongly one can stand up for him or herself, because neither male nor female want to pair themselves with another who lacks the courage of his or her beliefs and who can't take a stand. If someone cannot stand for what he or she believes in, that person won't be able to stand up for their mates. Dating is rough at any age. The same insecurities tend to rear their ugly heads for adults who find themselves back in the dating world as it is for teens. But being married to the wrong person is worse, Dante's 9th ring of hell, whether the marriage came about via an arrangement or from failing to get to know the other person well enough before tying the knot. To young Sardars and Sardarnis, the best and most powerful way to be, always - whether dating for the first time or in a serious relationship - is be yourself. That means getting past the fear of loss if the person you are with does not respect who you are or begins engaging in behaviors you find offensive or opposite of what you find acceptable. The person who is right is that person who is proud to stand with you as you are - good qualities and not so good qualities for no one is perfect - and who knows you at your best and worst and who stands stalwart next to you anyway.

36: Gurinder Singh (Stockton, California, U.S.A.), December 14, 2011, 9:20 PM.

Shed your turban and you break the link with the House of Guru Nanak and its glorious history. There are thousands of turban-wearing Sikh kids attending schools in California. In the 1990s, we were one of two Sikh families living in a small town in Georgia, U.S.A. My son was the first turban-wearing kid in his high school. He was well respected and awarded the 'Best Citizen of The School' trophy. There is no place for negativism in Sikhi. A Sikh is always in chardi kalaa. Aman, you need to look into the history of the Sikh pioneers in U.S.A., Canada, the U.K. East Africa, South-East Asia, Australia ... Persons like Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind excelled while wearing his turban and served in the U.S. Army with a turban in World War I. President Kennedy was on tour in West germany in the early 1960s. While inspecting a guard of honour at an American base, he was surprised to find a Sikh in the troop. He stood in front of him and said, "My country is safe because of you." To date, even after 9/11 and despite all that its aftermath has brought to America, Sikhs observing the full discipline of the faith are to be found at the top of every field imaginable!

37: Sahib Singh (Miami, Florida, U.S.A.), December 15, 2011, 1:40 AM.

To P. Kaur: Thank you for your remarks. It's a given that the Sikh way of life is to conquer our instincts such as Kaam, and to focus on God and life in general. However, as I said in the article, I'm not preaching to young kids to go out, date, and have sex. I wrote this article because I see more and more young Sardars cutting their hair simply because they feel - erroneously - that they're attractive to females. If this happens, it most likely means that their children, and their children's children, too won't maintain their kes. That's generations of the Sikh identity going down the drain. "Yes, we are born in the West and have to deal with this culture, but why are we forgetting Guru ji's message?" In response to this - I do wish it could be so cut and dry for all Sikh youth. However, most of us have became too engrossed with the distractions in the West that we fail to even want to heed our Guru's message. If I could have, I would most definitely address the youth and simply say, "don't forget about the morals of Sikhi". However, I guarantee you that the majority would not even listen. We're young kids who are naturally rebellious, and we want to go out and experiment things. Unfortunately, our society is so different that we don't feel as if we blend in. Therefore, I used the topic of dating. I'm not saying that Sikhs should focus on dating, but it definitely gives a great amount of self confidence in one's image, and if one is on the brink of disbanding one's identity, then this is helpful. In addition, if a person becomes more proud of their identity, maybe it'll be easier for them to dwell more into Sikhi? To be honest, I wasn't exactly a great Sikh for a good part of my life and was considering modifying myself. It was until I met my first girlfriend, a Spanish girl, who practically fell for me because of how beautiful she thought Sikhism was. After that, I indulged more into my religion and became more of a Sikh. Though we may have ended badly, I'm grateful for her because she made me proud of my identity, which in turn made me a better Sikh.

38: Ravinder Singh (Westerville, Ohio, U.S.A.), December 16, 2011, 9:40 AM.

Harnam Singh ji from Rome - you had me falling off my chair with laughter! On especially humid days, I do tie my thaatha (much to my wife's displeasure) as I drive to work - until the air conditioning dries the gel! At my age, I am not worried about making an impression - on girls or anyone else ... so that helps!

39: Harpreet Singh (Delhi, India), December 17, 2011, 12:39 PM.

Frankly speaking, a thaatha may be okay at home but does not look proper in public, whether you are in your own car, taxi, bus, train, plane, etc. I am 44 years old and have not used any hair fixer or gel even once and have kept my beard as natural (may be because of this my beard has not grown very long). Looking at me one of my young relatives also keeps his beard natural. This saves a lot of time, money, energy. Without meaning to be preachy, I do want to say that we must try to keep our kesh in natural form. Sardars look so smart in a natural beard.

40: Mahanjot Singh (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), December 20, 2011, 12:58 PM.

Excellent - a well-reasoned out article! Dating shouldn't be considered a taboo but a practical reality of the modern-era that we all have to go through in our lives. Also, to those who consider dating as directly proportional to kaam, vaasna, lust, etc., dig this: Dating isn't always mating, but a very practical approach to finding soulmates who one could eventually settle down with and raise happy and successful families. Anyways, many kudos to Sahib Singh for this. We need to dwell on and discuss this topic more often since this is the single biggest reason (Yes, even way more than racism!) why Sikh youngsters (mostly boys) are shedding away the unique identity bestowed upon us by our Gurus. We will be in trouble if topics like this aren't discussed openly and maturely, instead of getting bogged down in katha-style lectures like some of the comments above!

41: Lisa (Houston, Texas, U.S.A.), December 20, 2011, 6:18 PM.

Your turban is your crown! Personally I think Sikh men are HOT! In all seriousness, I see Sardars as warriors. I would feel so-o-o-o 'protected' being married to a man like that. But alas, I am an 'auntie', and a non-Sikh at that). Daler Mehndi is my dream love!

42: Gurleen Khangura (New York, U.S.A.), December 22, 2011, 12:44 PM.

Brilliant article!

43: Simar (Delhi, India), January 11, 2012, 12:42 PM.

Thank you so much. You know what, I did not expect this to happen. I am having goosebumps right now. This article is so freaking good ... it is outstanding. Though I am just in high school, but still would like to say it to you ... God bless you ... and thank you so much! :D

44: Dmitry (Sydney, Australia), January 18, 2012, 8:31 PM.

As someone with a receding hairline, I kinda wish I had a turban on.

45: S. Kaur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), January 19, 2012, 7:45 PM.

I am a young woman of 28 and of an age when everyone is trying to introduce me to men. When I tell the well-meaning elders around me that I want a Sardar, they look at me as if I am a weirdo. :P So I would just like to say that, YES, there are girls out there that do prefer men in turbans. I personally never felt attracted to cropped guys, no matter how good looking they think they are. Thank you for the article :)

46: A. Kaur (U.S.A.), January 23, 2012, 11:11 PM.

I think this is a great article because it does address a lot of the concerns Sikh youth face. However, I'd like to point out (as another commenter did above) that it's also Sikh girls who keep their hair that face this problem. Many of us feel very self-conscious with our body-hair and (sometimes) turbans, and how they don't fit with the Western image of beauty. I'd like for Sikh females to also understand that conforming to the Western ideals of beauty is not all that matters.

47: Herman Singh (Sacramento, California, U.S.A.), January 28, 2012, 9:26 AM.

I like your article and feel like it is 100 percent true because I as a Sardar kid born and raised in the United States and went through these same experiences. It sucks when one is in high school and all of the Sikh girls are dating only Sikh guys who have that have haircuts. It honestly makes a Sardar feel less of a man. Sometimes, I would feel like Sikh girls were doing this on purpose by ignoring Sardars, but honestly I realized that they were not doing it on purpose, it was just what they were naturally attracted to. I am not saying that there are no Sikh girls that would date a Sardar but the majority in my experience have given preference and shown their attraction for mona (haircut) Sikhs. I know there are girls out there that would date Sardars but it sucks when you don't meet them at school or at work or with your friends because most Sikhs have become laid back about the hair stuff and their sons have haircuts, so Sikh girls go for them. So, for guys like me that ended up with parents strict about the Sikh identity, I am a young college-going Sardar but sometimes I hate it because the majority of Sikh guys I know and meet all have haircuts, it's like being a minority in an already minority community and the stupid elders keep saying dumb things to young Sardars like me that only make me angrier because they can't even relate to the stuff I go through. It's like, okay elders, fine you want us to keep the Sikh idenitity, fine! But when you guys were growing up in Punjab back in the 60's or whatever, turbans were considered cool, it was like having the hottest hairstyle ever and all the girls were into turbans. I'm talking about - your dad wore a turban, your brother wore a turban, your friends had turbans, your uncles, your cousins, hell! turbans were everywhere. Girls were so used to seeing turbans that they couldn't even think of not being with a turban guy. And now these elders are so ignorant that they don't even see how different it is in America where everyone has a haircut and on TOP of that like the cousins have haircuts, my uncles have haircuts, all of my girl-cousins have married hair-cut Sikh guys so how the "F" is that supposed to make Sardar guys like me feel? Do I feel special and confident like my dad when he was growing up?, HECK, NO! Man, these elders are so ignorant. And if we even have a single thought of cutting our hair or beard these elders jump on us and say we're bad Sikhs, bad sons, blaa blahhh ...! It's like, do you even know what's going on? It's so funny, some are so dumb and stupid, the elders and parents want TURBANS AND BEARDS so badly that they can't even think of the thought of letting their son cut their hair but I, having grown up in America, haven't ever heard a SINGLE Sikh girl say that she finds Sardars attractive or that she would ONLY MARRY A SARDAR guy because it is her responsibility as a Sikh girl to marry a guy with the Sikh identity, heck no! Sikh girls can care less about turbans and beards, that is what makes me sad. They are marrying haircut Sikhs left and right and no one calls them bad Sikh girls for marrying haircut Sikhs but if a turban guy like me cuts my hair then all of a sudden I'm a bad Sikh. Why is the whole identity of the Sikh religion thrown on us guys when our own GIRLS don't even like it! I just wish Sikh girls would straight up reject to date or marry haircut Sikhs and say "I'm sorry, you do not have the identity of a Sikh so I cannot date you." But that is a fantasy that will never happen because the opposite is happening. Sikh girls are running to marry hair-cut boys, they don't want boys like me. On top of that why is hair only important for Sikh boys? I barely see Sikh girls in college that keep their hair, they all cut their hair. You would think the community would make a big deal of Sikh girls cutting their hair but they only do the guys because we got stuck with the identity! Okay, enough of my rant. Anyways, all I want to say is that I just wish Sikh girls would actually say they like Sardars and find Sardars attractive. I hate it when Sikh girls ignore me and treat me differently just because I wear a turban and have a full beard. Just because I'm not a haircut Sikh guy with a lined up beard and earrings doesn't mean I don't have feelings. Every Sardar guy out there just wants to be treated normal and it would be nice to feel liked by our own girls for once ....

48: R. Singh (Hampshire, United Kingdom), April 18, 2012, 5:23 PM.

I've got to agree to some extent with the views expressed by Herman Singh and P. Kaur. There are a few fundamental issues which influence the dating debate: 1) Too many men are keeping turbans for the wrong reasons, which is why I personally subscribe to the view that this decision should be made as an adult, rather than have it forced upon a child (although I do recognize the benefit of a child having experienced wearing one). If you're truly into your Sikhi, and it means a lot to you, you would realize the spiritual/ meditative benefits of your unshorn hair, rather than it purely being a 'symbol', 'crown' or 'identity' which is how it's presented to younger generations, and others blindly follow 'tradition'. There is subsequently, and rightly so, a reasoned conflict in people's minds - between following tradition and what they perceive as being 'normal' (for the purposes of attracting a mate), which brings us onto the question of dating itself. 2) 'Dating,' etc., as is the norm in the West, and now also increasingly so in urban centres in India, begins at an early age, and mostly to satisfy natural needs of companionship and sex. Although the author points out more than once that he's not attempting to encourage frivolous behaviour, he can't paint over this fact by pointing towards this as being a method to find 'the one'. What tosh! The majority of young people date for the sake of dating, without a steadfast objective of a stable long-term relationship made at the outset (as is more common in the case of dating in older adults who want to 'settle down'). Now that we've established this, it is only right to point out as a few commentators have done so above (and been belittled for it), that, assuming that a man keeps his turban because of his devotion to Sikhi, rather than mere tradition, then he would (i) be looking for someone to share his spiritual journey with and (ii) make a conscious effort (and it can be difficult) to control his strong feelings of lust and ergo begin a serious relationship only with someone who accepts and respects him for who he is and what he believes in rather than his appearance. It therefore stands that those who have their turbans because of tradition/ family pressure/ symbolism need to re-evaluate the reasons for doing so. It stands that these people should cease to call themselves Sikh as this propagates the image of Sikhs with shaved beards or no turbans at all, as being trendy and desirable to a female group increasingly surrounded by them and accepting it to be the norm, and even preferring it, which leads us onto the role of women in a Sardar's dating issues. 3) In my experience women who aren't Sikh can be more accepting of facial hair and a turban than those who claim to be Sikh. For this group, it really would be a question of finding a partner who loves you for who you are. However Sikh women are hardly rubbing their hands in glee over turbans and beards, nay, quite to the contrary. For a religion that professes equality, there is too much emphasis on the male's, shall we say, ritualistic obligations. A male cutting his hair may be ostracised, however a female doing so is not. Women who wear dastaars or at the very least maintain unshorn hair (by choice rather than family pressure or tradition), are very rare indeed. The overwhelming majority of Sikh women let down the cause by openly modifying their hair and expressing desire in shaved men and rejecting Sardars. One need only look at popular matrimonial websites where Sikh women expressly ask for the shaved variety, or don't have a preference in faith at all. The only sort of women who appear to actually desire a man with a turban would appear to be either those steeped in family or being the Khalsa dastaar-wearing variety. The fact that it's so hard to find women in the Sikh community who expressly desire Sardars is extremely disheartening to the turbaned male, who is then left questioning his faith. 4) Physical attraction as the key criterion in women choosing a mate is here to stay and issue of shaved Sikh men furthering the popular image was discussed above, however the role of the media and popular culture in general also needs to be noted. Fashion trends and therefore perception of 'beauty' and hence attraction varies with time. Beards, long hair and chest hair was actually seen as quite desirable in the 80s, furthered by popular culture with rock and pop stars with unruly beads and hair abound. Going further back in time, beards and long hair was seen as a sign of masculinity right up to the early 20th century. Famous figures- inventors, presidents, etc. had big beards. Indeed, until the late 19th century/ early 20th century, women shaving their legs and arms was unheard of. Social historians agree that the early 20th century brought with it a new era of globalization with media and popular culture which influenced attitudes towards perception of beauty, and indeed the importance of attraction in a relationship, quite heavily. 5) Lack of faith is the final concern. Sikhs appear to be overly affected by this issue. Beard/ hair traditions in orthodox Judaism, Islam (those who believe it's a Sunah) and Mormonism (all varieties) are noted for being vehemently adhered to, and these traditions have been going for hundreds and thousands of years, whilst Sikhism is a young faith, currently grappling with dating and western-style relationships. One just has to go to any big city nightclub or university to see young Sikh men and women with the only telling features being designer beards, karras and stylish khandas. Both sexes are freer in expressing their sexuality and are heavily influenced by the media and popular culture. Males further the image of shaved being the trend and females find it sexy and cool and often date outside of the community. Meanwhile traditional women are mocked for being not-modern and not cutting/ styling their hair, and bearded Sardars are rejected by unpractising women and criticized by society if they buckle under peer pressure to 'fit in', leaving them feeling vulnerable.

49: A. Kaur (New Zealand), April 24, 2012, 10:16 AM.

Awesome article!

50: Alana (Buffalo, New York, USA), April 22, 2015, 10:03 PM.

Great article that could apply to any immigrant. However, as a western woman who grew up Christian, I can't think of anything "hotter" than a Khalsa lion with integrity who embodies Sikh spiritual values. Sorry to objectify, but the idea of letting down that uncut hair in private makes me swoon. I think dating can be perfectly healthy, having known people who ended up divorcing because they entered marriage too hastily with incompatible partners out of cultural tradition. I was drawn to Sikhi for the love of Waheguru but would be honored to find a Sikh husband as well. Some of us American women want a family oriented man who takes a stand for equality and justice. Who better in all the world than a Sikh man to fit the bill?

51: Alana (Buffalo, New York, USA), April 22, 2015, 10:17 PM.

And yes, some women adore that Sikh men are color-coordinated and not afraid to wear pinks and purples. This sends a message that Sikh men are secure in their masculinity but also thoughtful and respectful of themselves and others!

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