my cousin

My cousin in India turned marriageable and her parents sat her down to talk about what she wanted. (Whenever my parents have this talk with me, it’s almost exclusively about how the guy should look. I think the idea is that all of the values issues will be covered through their filtering, so I can feel free to concentrate on how tall and dark, or short and fair, this man is.) She, being brave of heart and bold of courage, said that she had a crush on a guy she went to college with. He, being suitable in all other ways, was introduced to the family. They got married. She married the first guy she had a crush on. It makes me so mad that it was so (seemingly?) easy for her. I know this seems like 1. not a suitable reaction and 2. not the aspect of the issue to have this reaction to. But I do.

P.S. He is just fabulous and they are ridiculously wonderful together.


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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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