Allow me to sum up the Slate article I’m about to blog in four words:
Arranged marriages don’t suck.
There, was that so difficult to admit?
I am a 30-year-old single woman who has been living in the United States for the past few years. I am considered smart, successful, and attractive and have an interesting and fulfilling life. But my family, who live in India, are worried that I’m still single, and have been trying to arrange my marriage. While I do want to be married, I’ve had a couple of relationships that didn’t work out; I’ve been very independent and have lived life on my own termsâ€”so I now find it hard to go through the arranged marriage setup. I know my parents will never force me to marry someone I don’t like, but the idea of having an arranged marriage seems archaic and almost mortifying. I’d also like to believe that marriages should be based in love and there should be an element of romance involved. My mother thinks that as long as two people have a certain compatibility and mutual respect, love can happen later. What should I do?
Wait- wot’s this? Someone who isn’t second gen can be “confused”? Shocking. Utterly astonishing, I tell you. I thought we American Born-types had a monopoly on bewilderment.
Now that I have a daughter, I’ve come to see the wisdom of arranged marriages. What’s she going to know about picking a mate? Right now, I have a few candidates I’m keeping my eye onâ€”since my daughter is only 11, I have plenty of time to monitor how these boys turn out. You say you would like to find a husband, but haven’t been successful at it. I understand your aversion to the idea of an arranged marriage, but as long as everyone understands you will not be pressured to wed the guy, why not see who your parents come up with? Certainly their knowledge of you, the young man, and the qualities two people need to get along has to be as good as the algorithms of Match.com. Yes, there is an archaic quality to the notion of being introduced to someone you are supposed to marry, but that’s the ultimate, if unstated, goal of most fix-ups. As for romance versus compatibilityâ€”you and your mother are both right. If you meet the man in question and you two fall in love, what a story of romantic destiny! And romance without compatibility and mutual respectâ€”no matter how you two got togetherâ€”is destined to be a relationship that didn’t work out.
Wow, not only do arranged marriages not suck– neither did Prudence’s take on them! And no mention of henna, spices or a mango anywhere! This is a landmark moment in the history of how arranged marriages are perceived in America. A mainstream columnist grokked the concept better than a brownie did; she realized that really, it’s more about the “assist” than the “arrange” and she didn’t get all westernized-aggro on our kundis about oppressive traditions, in fact, she basically asked, “What’s the harm?”. If you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go faint now, from the refreshing lack of orientalism/sensationalism/um…narrow-mindedness…ism.
Thanks for the tip, fish-eyed one.