I’m the massivest day dreamer in the world. In fact, I would like to think that I’m a daydreamer in recovery with intermittent relapses. Let none be fooled, daydreaming is a habit that can get you into no end of trouble. No, honestly, I’m actively trying to conquer it. In fact last week, I was sitting in on a GP consultation when my chronic daydreaming habit came back to bite me in the proverbial bum, yet again. Carried off in my recurrent fantasy of sipping virgin pina coladas as I glide along the sea shore of an unnamed Caribbean island in an orange maxi dress accompanied by an extremely tall man, I was interrupted by “So what do you think is the diagnosis?”. I wiped the dribble off my chin. “Huh?”. Fiddlesticks. What did this woman say was wrong with her again? Something about pain in her leg. I started chewing my lip frantically. History of trauma? No, don’t remember her saying anything about a bike accident, so I’ll rule out orthopaedics. Did she mention she has MS? Fiddlesticks. Can’t remember. Lupus? Heart problems? Fail. “Erm….sorry I don’t know”. I looked hopelessly at the other student, who looked hopelessly back at me. Yup, we’d both been daydreaming.
As well as daydreams, I used to be someone who had extremely vivid night dreams, and night mares. (By the way, the whole thing about cheese giving you nightmares is 100% true. I tell you this after an exam period camembert binge that ended very badly, hence my already broken New Year’s resolution to return to the strict vegan fold). One of my dreams was a convoluted mixture of a TV show I’d seen on arranged marriages, a book I’d read about a family in Afghanistan, and my extremely overactive imagination. I won’t go into details because they’re probably a mixture of facts and some very silly stereotypes that have been bandied around, but needless to say, in the dream, I am not a happy brown bunny in the slightest.
The thing is though, I think that in theory arranged marriages sound like quite a good idea. To the thoroughly Western mind they sound almost barbaric, somewhat misogynist and bordering on child abuse (even though the participants are no longer children), but the actual practice of arranged marriage differs according to the family, culture, religion and a myriad of other factors. The sensationalised form of arranged marriages we see in Western media where some poor 16 year old is carted of to Pakistan with nothing but a passport that will be burnt on arrival, are a reality, but not the only reality. This isn’t to say that those situations aren’t real and awful, but it’s probably unfair to characterise arranged marriages solely based on these stories. In fact, the principles of arranged marriage – that your parents know you better than anyone else in the world, and might have more insight into what you need than you actually do at your young age, strike me as rather sensible.
Now arguably, the solution to this is to get married when you’re a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and have more insight into your wants and needs, but in cultures where sex before marriage is a no no, it might actually make sense to let your parents give you a helping hand so that you don’t marry some nitwit sheerly on the basis of your mutual raging hormones. Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about situations where people are forced to marry someone against their will, but the idea of being introduced to someone by your parents because they think you’ll be a good match, and then being able to turn down potential suitors at your leisure actually at times sounds more appealing than this online dating malarkey. At least if your Mum says a guy is good looking you’re less likely to turn up at the restaurant confronted with Trevor McDonald when you thought you were getting Will Smith. And at least if he’s a serial killer your Dad will know where he lives.
Obviously, this is all based on the idea that you have a fairly good working relationship with your parents and that they aren’t utter psycho’s. Unfortunately, many of us probably don’t trust our parents enough (even if they mean well), to not pick some spotty pale man with a degree in computing because he has ‘good job prospects’ even though there isn’t a hope in hades that we’ll be moderately attracted to them. And unfortunately there are some parents who think more about keeping up appearances than their child’s happiness.
The bottom line is, if my Dad knows any tall, good looking nice young men who just happen to be happy to pay off my ever expanding student loan and overdraft, I’m more than happy for him to invite them over to the house for an interview. Any takers? Let the games begin.
What do you guys think? Are arranged marriages an awful idea, or is there some merit to the concept?