Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Marriage? Hush!... عيب بس تكبر!

A few posts ago, I mentioned "Taboo" topics that Arabs specifically avoid speaking about or find "عيب" :)

Here's a taboo topic that perplexes me! Marriage! 

Have you noticed that as Arabs, when we are young, if we speak to anyone of the opposite gender it is considered a crime and we are told that we are on the verge of "tainting" our reputations because even conversation could develop in to something much more 'emotional'? Of course, there is no need to clarify that these rules are much stricter if related to females, but boys, in no means does that exclude you from the generalizations.

Now here's what gets me, ironically enough, once we reach the "appropriate" age (I will surely dedicate a post to this crazy idea of appropriate age), i.e, right after university graduation (for females) and anything over 24 (for males), the previously "Tabooed" topic becomes the family's daily entertainment. How odd is it that we are expected to completely 'accept' the idea of being emotionally involved with the opposite gender when our entire lives we are asked to be very discreet in our dealings with the topic?

After years of being cautious with the words you utter relating to this topic, a sudden wave of "acceptance" associated with "marriage" rises and the wave ascends in direct proportionality with age. Soon enough, the topic begins to take over every young man and young woman's life. It becomes the topic at the dinner table, the mocking matter of weddings and the juicy "gossip" at female tea-time gatherings.

This matter is one that puzzles me to an unlimited extent. Cultures enforce a lot of "norms" on its members and some are just ridiculous. When I try to analyze that almost non-existent transitional line between years you are forbidden to speak of marriage and years you are encouraged to do nothing else, I can only think of that notion of marriage being a "Benefits' Agreement". (This idea needs a separate post, but trust me, it is common).  

All in all, could it be that this sudden expectation to become 'comfortable' with marriage is causing the increasing divorce rates? But, if that was the case, then how is it that our ancestors were perfectly capable of leading even more conservative lives and yet quickly adapt to the "forbidden zone" of marriage?

*This post is in no way a measure of the situation in the entire Arab world & I realize that there are exaggerations but they are merely for the sake of making the point. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I was expecting a more daring post under a taboo topic, but I guess the measure of taboo is different from one to another.

    Marriage, in my experience, is dealt with as a natural continuation of one's life. You are born, sent to school, graduate, find a job, get married and have kids. Anything else like happiness or culture or personal choice goes unnoticed. As soon as you're "of age" as you called it, everyone in the family starts either trying to convince you to get married or propose partners.

    I have no idea where I'm going with my comment, so I'll just leave it at that.

    1. Dear Mohammad,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, reading over the topic now, I do feel that I could have expanded more on the idea of marriage and "taboo" factor to it.

      I will surely write more posts about this matter in the near future.