fear

Here’s a truth. Within the parameters I’ve chosen (and I very much understand that this is my choice), everyone I could marry is already out there. (I get that this is true for everyone not considering marrying someone younger (much, much younger) than them, but it seems very stark given the numbers and probably because everyone’s own situation feels very stark to them.) No one new is arriving on the scene. I am (according to various sources) either quickly approaching the prime marriageable age or have already passed it, while, because of the vagaries of marriageable age windows across sex, all the men I could hope to marry only gain prospects while remaining marriageable. Among the limited numbers of second-generation diaspora-raised professional gentlemen in my ethnic/religious community, there’s a further huge slash when considering that they have to be open to an arranged marriage.

While we’re on the topic of fear – other fear. That one day I will wake up to the reality of the futile exercise that this is, and the men that I dated (outside the community) who wanted the serious, long-term relationships that are precursors to marriage, will all be gone, safely married to someone who wasn’t dating them while trying to get married to someone else on the side.

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sec·ond-gen·er·a·tion (sknd-jn-rshn)

adj. 1. Of or relating to a person or persons whose parents are immigrants.

n.b.: arranged marriage

When I use "arranged marriage" here, I'm talking a very specific type of marriage, in which one (often a second generation immigrant) is socialized and pressured by their community to marry someone from within that community as part of a way to bind two families together. It's often accompanied by a cultural prohibition against dating, especially serial dating, such that there is typically a short timeline from meeting to marriage. In the United States, where I am, and in other diasporas, an arranged marriage isn't necessarily arranged anymore, although parents and grandparents shoulder much of the responsibility in networking and making introductions. The bride-to-be and groom-to-be yield veto power at all times and their happiness and consent are among the most critical criteria in proceeding. In general, the kind of arranged marriage that I know is enforced only by family and community approval and disapproval (although let's not underestimate how powerful these are). At no point am I talking about a truly arranged marriage in which there's no options, no veto, and enforcement by violence or restriction of liberty. I don't pretend that I know anything about living that kind of truth or that anything I experience is comparable to that kind of future.

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