It’s tough out there if you want to get married these days, no matter who you are. Instead of being a search for prince charming, it’s more like a game of Ghost Recon where the road to happily ever after is filled with heartbreaking commandoes in invisibility cloaks. When it comes to Muslims, add in privileges such a man can have four wives, with some blokes, this can turn into a nuclear showdown where nobody wins. I know this sounds harsh, but this is the sad reality, for many. How many girls I know have been engaged, photos taken with everyone all smiley and then months later, it’s all over. Engagement has been broken and the wedding plans dust.
Last week, my son said, “Find me a wife. She can’t be fat and must be willing to go to cooking boot camp with Aunt Susu,” a fantastic feat, since he wants an Indian girl who cooks like his Egyptian aunt and who will look like a model all of her life. How do I explain this to her parents, who will be looking to come over to visit? What will they eat? For most south Indians I know meal menu has only three choices; homemade Indian food, Yemeni mandi and KFC. All I can say is, I will give it my all.
But seriously, in the battle between arranged versus Love marriage, both are games of trial and error, but with the first kind, the girl and the guy, are much better off. Egos may get bruised but rarely is a heart broken, because mom and dad have blocked out the bad ones. Sadly , there are no fairy tales to prove this, but, they really do turn out ok. That is if the steps are followed properly.
It’s time to get married, and the hunt begins. Once a prospect is found then the fact finding team is sent out. How is would-be groom or bride street cred family habits, education, finances, and personality, etc.? Warning, if you are a frequenter of social media, then this can kill your prospects. One misguided Google search and everything could be off- this goes for boys and girls. If he passes, then on to stage two-the families meet. Everyone will be on their best behavior so this stage doesn’t count as much as the next on but if the families like each other and think the girl and boy should meet, then they exchange phone number, chat a few times, once the fancies are tickled, it’s time to get the party started- the engagement is a go.
Freedom and choice is always the two factors that people who have had bad experiences or no experiences with arranged marriage that come up. Arranged Marriage is an insightful film that tries to answer these questions. It’s about two teachers, one Orthodox Jew and one Muslim, who are young, single and are stuck between their traditional parents and their school principal who tells them to “Leave religion alone and get with the times.” The pressure mounts, but they don’t buckle, despite their hardships, they stay true to their faith and traditions. And that family is more than gang of troublemakers. Sometimes, they really know more than you do the proof is in their love to try their best for you.
Some might prefer the looking for Mr. Goodbar via trial and error method, but there are millions of movies about how those adventure turn out. I used to have a friend who would say, after a break up with a beau, “He’s a four, now it’s time to move on to a five,” I often wondered, how high is she going to count? That was about twenty years ago and girlfriend is still single.
These days, many people treat marriage as if it was a shopping mall. Every day they go out window shop, try a few products and then, they are back at square one. Or, they spend their time, looking for something like fairy tales and romantic movies and television show which have so much unnecessary drama and improbability and end up shamed faced like the Carey Mulligan in an Education. For my daughters, I prefer Operation Best Man, where, I will pull no punches and knock the duds into the dust before they even get within a hundred meters of my princesses.