Summertime is the preferred season for marriages in Saudi Arabia. I don’t like going to weddings but I always find myself socially obliged to attend quite a few of those between June and August every year, and this year more than before, many people who see me there ask me if I’m getting married soon. No, I say, not anytime soon. But as more and more of my peers tie the knot, the pressure from family and society as a whole increases and keeps mounting.
When friends ask what is keeping me off marriage, I give these answers:
- I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment yet; I want to learn more about life, I want to travel and meet new people
- I don’t like the traditional way in which people get married here; it’s blind and random and I don’t think it will work for me
The next question on people’s minds is usually this: so if you don’t like the old fashioned way of getting married, how do you intend to get married? Well, I say, I have a plan:
I would go on with my life, somewhere down the road I would meet someone,
Iwe would get to know hereach other, fall in love and marry herget married.
The reaction to my seemingly simple plan is usually: “then you will never get married.” This could be true in a sense because the extreme segregation of sexes in our society makes the chances of meeting a potential spouse pretty slim, if nonexistent. But as with many other things in the magic kingdom, I try to remain optimistic and not lose hope.
My mother, who was first shocked when I told her my plan, has recently made her peace with it. She said to me: “I’m done arguing with you about this marriage thing, so I will let you enjoy your little funky plan for now, but I’m pretty sure that in two years time you will come around begging me to find you a good girl.” I smiled and murmured: we will see…