Residents in London and Birmingham in the UK were getting a chuckle this week when a series of billboards popped up in their respective cities of a man advertising for a wife.
The frustrated bachelor, 29-year-old Muhammad Malik, appears lying across the poster with the tag “Save me from an arranged marriage!” It also includes details of Malik’s personal website MALIKawife.com for interested ladies to view.
Malik is a Muslim of Punjabi background and lives in south London and said he devised the stunt following frustration with dating sites, attempts by relatives to set him up and the constraints of COVID in meeting new people. He said the idea for the billboards actually came from friends who worked in marketing.
The campaign’s been running a week and, all laughs aside, it’s apparently proven a huge success.
According to reports in the UK press, Malik has received interest from over a 1000 women (from as far away as Pakistan and Tanzania) interested in pursuing a courtship. He’s also been gifted stuff for his potential future wedding. “A company that sells wedding attire for South Asian people has said that when I let them know when the big day is, they’ll sort my swag,” Malik told London’s Time Out.
According to his website MALIKawife.com, Malik’s ideal partner would be “Muslim woman in her 20s, who’s striving to better her deen [faith].” Besides, she will also have to “keep up with the bants” as he is from a “loud, Punjabi family”. He also makes it clear that he’s an only child who looks after his parents like many desi (Indian background) children do. “If this is a deal-breaker, I don’t think it’ll work out,” he added.
Malik adds he’s not anti-arranged marriage, it’s just not worked for him.
“Arranged marriages are beautiful as you are leveraging the experience of your family to find someone you love,” he told Vice. “But my family is small – it’s just me and my parents. There is no network of common friends or community to leverage and certainly no desi aunties who we know can help me out.”
But it’s not been all harmless fun. Malik adds that a lot of women who contacted him are in, or have escaped, abusive relationships.
“So many women started telling me how they’ve been victims of abusive marriages and that if I was going to marry someone, I better do it right. That was heartbreaking to read as these are actual lives we’re talking about. This one woman detailed how her abusive marriage with a man who later abandoned her had left her feeling hopeless about the whole thing,” Malik told Vice.
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