Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adventures of a Rapidly Aging Aspiring Bride: Relevant Culture

Maybe I'm on a little American drama overload at the moment (and I'm sure there are at this moment some readers both foreign and domestic that are nodding vigorously), but ladies around the globe have been catching my attention in the press reports the last several days. Today I read an interesting story about marriage in the Middle East. As an American of northern European descent, I never really experienced the pressure to marry, nor the wheeling and dealing that attends the state in other families and cultures. Alright there was that "talk" my now in-laws had with my husband and I, oh about ten years into our relationship, but we took our sweet time. Call it a benefit or the downfall of our soceity, but it's all in how you use the freedom to chose I say.

Claire Soares' story in the U.K.'s The Independent writes about a new book, based on a favorite blog in Egypt, that follows one Egyptian woman's experiences on the marriage mart. It is at turns hilarious, informative and frustrating. She's just about to turn 30, and time is running short; by early last century's standards she's firmly "on the shelf." Nevertheless she meets with suitors, quite a bunch of characters in themselves. Think Sex & the City, without the sex of course.

In the West we elevate freedom, but we also elevate "love," for better or for worse. It is not so in many other parts of the world, which still follows the model common not all that long ago of marriage as a pact, or alliance between families, conferring some benefit to both parties.

Also, marriage is so expensive she reports, it has spawned mass weddings. On that point at least parents who fret about the wedding bills can find a patch of common ground.

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