The Big L

Posted by dshalabi in 04. Jan, 2013, under society, people, and life in Amman
Dear Reader, If you are conservative, traditional, conventional, or too religious, you will not like my blog post. Before moving any further, I even advise you not to read on because you might block me. However, I do assure you that in the words that follow I mean no harm to anyone or offense, I just think it is really time for us to be honest about relationships and the way they work in our society.
In our local community, we always meet the young men and women who are simply dyeing to get married. This major life changer happens when some guy somewhere decides at the age of xx that he needs to find a bride before the year is over. Meanwhile somewhere else close by, some girl , around the same time also reaches the age of xx and she instantly starts to panic if she is still single. So, within this basic arrangement marriage here becomes a matter of simple economics. The groom demands a bride, and the supply of brides is plentiful. It is not really a question of fate that the supply is high. The supply is in surplus because many girls panic when they reach the age of xx, and like products they believe they come with a shelf life and expiration date .
So, like any shopper in the market, the groom roots through the supply for a good bargain . He even conducts an extensive market research, attaching a SWOT analysis to every prospect . He searches online, offline, individually , and through family for the best offer available.
And, with persistence, perseverance, and the conviction to leave no stone unturned, he eventually, finds a potential girl that meets the basic demand criteria. Upon finding the girl, and like any serious purchaser he sets an appointment to examine the merchandise first. To do that, he decides to sit with the girl on the market just to examine the product options she comes with as a package. Sorry people if I am referring to humans as products but that is what they seem like in this situation.
The girl too has demands, so she treats the guy like a product too. In this meeting she subjects the guy to an interrogation. The aim of all this is just to see if he can fulfill the role of husband, a role not dependent on character of course but rather on financial capacity. She could be examining this product alongside other products too. After all, it’s a simple sale transaction. He will make the cut for husband, only if he can make the highest bid for the merchandise .
The girl isn’t the only one asking questions, the guy is also subjecting the girl to an interrogation , as he too hardly knows her but yet he needs to see if she fulfills the role of “wife” and here the job requirement depends on looks, fertility, and the ability to live within his financial capacities. So, in simple selling terms he too is trying to figure out if the product on sale is worth the price tag it comes with ?
In some situations, educational achievements also fall into the mix. The girl within this requirement has to be just as educated as the guy or less, but definitely not more, mind you because the “more” factor would mean that he would feel less of a man.
Remember in our society it is clear cut, the man simply needs to be smarter, richer, and better than the girl. They both need to believe that! , as marriage is simply about fulfilling a requirement i.e. babies and that is why age is important, status, a general feeling that the guy has found someone who is willing to shape her life around him, and a general feeling that the girl found someone who can make her dreams come true.
So, within these definitions, I sometimes feel sorry for the men in our society, because they have to be multi-taskers by nature. They have to juggle between the roles of husband, father, and Aladdin’s magic lamp. Husband and father are clear enough, but being the magic lamp, well that needs explanation. You see, the man has to have a good paying job, he has to provide, and he has to entertain , buy gifts, and give the girl affection, not love, only affection. He has to compensate for everything the girl didn’t have in her parents’ home, and even if she had been given a lot by her family, he is not off the hook. He has to make sure he has to give her more. The girl can say something like “I have never been to Paris”, and he has to make sure that at some point in their marriage he takes her to Paris.
But , I also feel sorry for the girl because she too has to juggle between being wife, mother, model, cook, cleaning lady, and cheerleader for her man’s dreams. If he is upset about work, she has to make sure he feels better. He can shout about it, say it is none of her business, demand absolute silence, and she has to shower him with “It’s ok honey” and other similar votes of encouragement. She has to make him believe that he is her hero, just to boost his moral.
Does this traditional marriage psychology sound accurate enough?
If yes, then why are people still dying to get married when marriage is so hard? Could it be because our society is built so that love in its simplest of forms is never part of the marriage mix ? Or, is it because love in its simplest forms is not even allowed to be expressed openly before marriage?
If individuals were allowed within the traditional society to feel the emotions of love and to be loved, will everyone still be feeling the need to get married? Dare we even ask about the taboo big “L” (love) even?
Let me clarify what I mean by love i.e. the much hated taboo shunned upon big “L”. I am not talking about anything physical. I am talking about emotional love only. Physical love really depends on one’s personal religious beliefs and preferences. But let us face it does society really allow anyone to love simply and pointlessly. Does it allow two people to meet be in love and then see if it will lead to marriage or not ? If we think about it, it really doesn’t because the minute two people meet in a non-traditional way and they begin to feel anything at all towards each other, the society demands that they turn this “feeling” even if it isn’t the big “L” into marriage. People would start to say to the man and woman involved “You are ok with him/her?”, “He/she seems nice?”, “Then what are you waiting for?”, No one will ask the man or the woman involved if they have achieved the big “L”, because seeming ok, or seeming nice is believed to be enough for a life long commitment.
So in matters of the heart , I guess our society thinks it is easier for men and women to just find someone they are ok with , marry them , and play house , while hoping that miraculously the big “L” will bloom, and even if it doesn’t oh well, the couple can still manage get used to each other. The big “L” is so unimportant that the society even demands that people just commit and that they make the commitment itself and fear of divorce the only force that keeps a man and woman under the same roof. People are more than ok with a man and wife being roommates who occasionally do more than just raise kids and watch TV. Many people learn to even call the romance they see on TV silly film stuff, just because our society is built so that there is no room for it to happen.
Even the physical element has nothing to do with the big “L” but rather it is a right granted from the signing of a piece of paper in the presence of family and a religious figure. So, yes society makes “L” a minor issue. Many people would even say that there is no big “L”. They would argue that it is only a matter of getting used to other person being around. But if this were true then that means we should all end up with our work colleagues of the opposite sex because we see them every single day, we have coffee with them, talk about work, and we get to know them with time. Right?
So since this doesn’t happen then I would argue strongly that the big “L” is not about simple getting used to people. But, I would say that society really doesn’t care whether you marry someone you “L” or you don’t. It only cares about people getting married and then it is up to the man or woman and the roommate they are legally bound to figure out how it will work.
If you don’t believe me, I challenge you dear reader to this little experiment . Just to test this theory yourself, I challenge you one day to simply tell your friends “I don’t care about marriage and I want to fall in love”, and see the reactions you will get. I bet you, most of your friends will tell you “Love is for kids”, “Grow up”, “Who said marriage has to do with love”, “Marry first then learn to love the other person”, as if love is a skill to learn with the idea that practice makes perfect.
But I am wondering if it is really ok to ignore the big “L” with so much conviction? Am I being pathetic in saying it isn’t enough for someone to be just ok, to seem nice, and to be good enough for marriage? Isn’t the absence of the big “L” the very reason why women make huge demands that no guy can possibly achieve, or why a guy marries someone he hardly knows?.
Isn’t the big “L”‘s disappearance the very reason why a guy would look for a girl to marry based on her height, her weight, and her eye color. Let us put ourselves in the guy’s shoes. He doesn’t love a girl enough to marry her, but he simply believes he has to get married, so he will at least choose to marry a girl he likes to look at, right? . This is the same reason why the a girl would reject a guy proposing just because he didn’t say he will give her a big festival of a wedding in a five star hotel. She doesn’t love him enough for her to marry him no matter what, so at least she will marry anyone who will make her dream wedding a reality.
But conversely if the big “L” was there wouldn’t two people commit to making something work even if it wasn’t perfect? It is like the big “L” is something people reserve for a girl/boy friend while they go off to marry someone who is just ok. Because marriage is simply the question of who is available right here , right now. Even if some girl has the big “L” with some guy, she would dump him the minute she gets a proposal and vice versa the guy would dump the “L” girl the minute he feels obliged to marry someone else.
Very few people in this society marry with the big “L” and live happily ever after. Most people marry and then they just live. That is some sad reality if you were to really think about it.
It’s sad because life is too short for just living. After all, don’t we have enough roomates , relatives, colleagues, and friends in life as it is? So why is it that we look to add one more to the list through marriage? . I personally would prefer to seek happily ever after, instead of just living, but then again that’s just me.

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