Warning: this is a rant. I’ll try and curb the sarcasm, but, in their very eloquent words, ‘enough is enough.’
My extended family believes that it is their personal duty to see me happily married, all protests from me notwithstanding, because, culturally, that’s what’s expected of me. No, contrary to what I may say, the only ‘cure’ for me is marriage. It settles a person down, or so I’ve been told. Gives them wisdom, maturity, and, from what I can tell, a shitload of positive characteristics that can not, contrary to popular belief, be achieved in any other way – such as continuing ones education or finding a fulfilling job. No. The attainment of such desirable characteristics may be achieved only through marriage. And, apparently, I’m in desperate need of such characteristics.
And so, the past two going on three years have been littered with marriage proposal after marriage proposal after goddamned marriage proposal. By now, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I couldn’t care less about marriage, proposals, or my extended family and, as such, have been trying very, very, very hard not to bore you with the details of failed matches; I’d hate to put anyone else through the torment of having to listen to me whine and drone about the resulting horror and awkwardness. I do slip up occasionally, though, and end up talking the ear off the person unfortunate enough to be sitting in front of me at the time being – sorry D! Usually though, I manage to grin and bear it, even when my parents insist that rejecting proposed suitors without first giving them a chance to woo me, or at the very least, convince me of their, in my opinion very dubious, intentions is a faulty form of thinking and that all eligibles must be met, at the very least, with a meeting. I know my parents want what’s best for me and whatnot and their only reasons are that they would like to see me happy. I am happy. You want to see me happier? You could try giving me a car. Or that laptop I want. I’ll even settle for that Escada perfume.
Back to the point: my extended family has had enough. They’ve given up all pretenses of finesse or selection and have been literally throwing man after man at my hapless head regardless of, well, anything barring gender and martial status – they’ve yet to hit the widowers, divorcés, or transsexuals, but at the rate they’re going they’re bound to get there soon – in hopes of me either meeting my match, or, that failing, realizing I’m outnumbered and throwing in the towel. And I have reason to believe it’s the second they’re banking on as the last three men have nothing, absolutely nothing, that would make me even consider the idea. And, for the sake of well, I’m not quite sure why – maybe self-perseverance? an inherited Arabic need to tie the knot? I’ll have to look into that – I find myself putting up with this crap.
I do have lines, however, that I insist aren’t crossed in the pursuit of uniting me in holy matrimony with your intended. For example, I insist that the picture I allowed you to take of me is not seen by any other than your eyes – I won’t be making that mistake again – or you not show your brother/cousin/uncle the video of his sisters wedding in which I, hijab-less, am present – seriously, do you people have no fear of God? I also insist you don’t call my house and trash me.
Because apparently I’m too self-centered, my standards are idealistic, I’m too Canadian – this said in a way that made it clear it was meant as an insult and taking it any other way would be deluding myself – I’m ungrateful, half the girls would be thanking them and not embarrassing them by refusing to meet these guys, and, over all, it’s all my fault. Enough is enough! They, my extended family, have been doing their familial duty and beyond, while ungrateful me has been shirking hers in favor of meeting some guy that’ll end up putting my family’s collective face in the mud. I will blacken their faces – meaning bring shame to the family name. Everyone and their mother now believe I have a boyfriend/lover. The other half are firm believers that I am already engaged to someone, thanks to a rumor that someone set circulating and won’t take back in hopes of scaring off any potential competition. Hate to break it to you kid, but it’s not happening. But you did do me a favor, as the proposals from anyone not through my extended family and, therefore, deluded into believing yours truly’s engaged status have decreased to the point of near non-existence – there are still those who know nothing of this ‘fiancée’ and insist of trying their luck – so thank you. Nevertheless, I won’t marry you.
Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe I should apologize? For not seeing marriage as the ultimate fulfillment to my needs? I won’t lie to you. I have considered giving in, and once actually teetered on the edge of acceptance, but that same sense of self-perseverance – or whatever it is – warned me that I was making a decision for all the wrong reasons. I not so gracefully bowed out, and have since been avoiding marriage like the plague.
Or maybe I should blame my mother? Who didn’t raise me to believe that marriage was the sole center of my universe around which my life is to revolve and till then my life will be dismally incomplete? Who didn’t buy me trays/plates/house-ware/lingerie at an early age and tell me that I could use them when I got married, the proverbial dangling carrot to provide incentive and purpose?
Or maybe I could blame growing up in Canada? For ‘showing me’ the other side?
Or Islam? For putting ideas of personal choice and *gasp* that a woman can propose to a man in my head?
I’m not sure who’s to blame for this, well, impasse my extended family and I are at. I’m not searching for a Romeo and Juliet story or, more modernly, an Edward and Bella story – because well, I don’t want to end up dead, and I certainly don’t believe in vampires – and I don’t have ideas of only a convert/non-Syrian/non-Muslim – etc, etc – suiting me. I do, however, have a game plan for my life in mind, and I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but marriage at twenty doesn’t factor in. Especially not to an uneducated/previous drunkard/living off his dad/jobless/shit broke/abusive/not practicing Muslim man. My ‘idealistic’ standards remain firm on those counts.
And when I’m completely honest, I don’t want to be the girl that went to Syria and got married. I’ve seen it all too often, where she has dreams and plans, but along comes this guy and next thing you know, her life is put on the backburner for his. That’s bullshit. And I’ve seen the other scenario, where the girl gets dumped at the airport or shortly thereafter. I’ve had a man related to me ask me to arrange an ‘agreement’ with another Syrian-Canadian girl I knew. But that is another topic, certainly one deserving of its own post as it caused me no little distress and horror.
On the other hand, I will say that I have seen many successful ‘arranged’ marriages, not least of which is my parents’. They are my inspiration. That or my downfall. Thanks guys. So I don’t profess to discredit all arranged marriages. I do however retain the right to marry, be it arranged or otherwise, on my own terms.