Sunday, April 29, 2007

No Paper Towel Roses

This weekend a friend was explaining how his arranged marriage was arranged. It was interesting to learn the steps involved, but even more interesting to observe his attitude about it.

He is seriously pragmatic and what he said made sense, even in the way that I think about relationships developing. Practical guidelines were set up: What he generally wanted the person to look like, what he wanted their family to be like and how much money and education he wanted them to have. It may be the case that in his culture, since he is a man, he was the one who had the luxury to make a list like this and not the other way around. But I cannot be totally sure, I dont know all the details and I imagine that it varies from situation to situation. For the most part, his list was comprised of all things that we think about when entering into a relationship, whether we admit it or not.

He has a beautiful wife and two adorable precocious children and they seem very happy to me. So, you could say that his marriage was a success. It is amazing to me that things work out fine even without a lengthy courtship period, without so much as a date or a flower exchanged or any discernable hint of romance as we know it.

I know that having arranged marriage as part of a culture also probably means that most people are accepting of its conditions and more understanding and familiar with the kinds of difficulties or necessities that accompany it. I surely dont know enough about this topic, or if my friend represents the majority of the population of his country or if arranged marriages are not as prevalent as they once were.

I would never be with Joe if my marriage was arranged by my parents though. It makes me ridiculously sad to think that his little sparkly eyes and big smile would not have had the opportunity to woo me as they did. My friend is lucky that it worked out for him and I am happy for that, but I also feel lucky that I had the choice and to have had a rose made for me out of paper towels once.

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