Friday, July 15, 2011

What has love got to do, got do with it....: Marriage Proposals in the Gulf Versus Southern Courting Ettiquette

This post comes from a facebook convo between a friend and I where we were talking about our Southern [as in Southern USA] heritage (neither of us actually BEING Southern ourselves). And all manner of other things such as, well, what was the worst marriage proposal you ever got and the worst maher offer you ever got offered? Aalia from http://www.chasingjannah.blogspot.com/ wins the last one, hands down BTW, from the creepy guy who tried to trick a new convert to Islam into a temporary marriage with a pack of gum as the dowry offer lol;). Of course Aalia is aaaaaaaaalllllooooot smarter than THAT.But on from there, we were talking about how we found Southern manners refreshing. Where I live, people tolerated my Islam, even if they didn't like it because they had to, as being against it was "morally wrong" at the same time they wouldn't hire me because of my scarf or something in my career (a career I'd recieved accolades for before Islam, and my Islam didn't affect at all). We noted jointly, that at least with a Southerner, people were honest. If someone was a bigot, you'd know it in five minutes, it wouldn't take a long time to slowly and evily creep under your skin. You can brace yourself for that, but somehow, finding out someone who you thought saw you as an equal thinks you are now less than them or somehow defunct, hurts like hell.And we noted the manner of courting: For example, this is basically (though maybe not word for word) how I was asked to dine by a Southern gentleman: "Pardon, Miss [insert my name which he'd already enquired about], but would you do me the honor of accompanying my mother and I to dinner this here fine evening?"When I said no, due to my married condition (and that I am Muslim and he wasn't), he tipped his hat to me, and was very gracious, and smiled: "Inform the gentleman he is very privellaged."Bowing, and hand kissing, still exist in the South, and ladies are not called by their first names unless the couple are intimate in cases observed. Yes, for the Southerners my FB friend and I knew, "Gone With the Wind" is not so gone. And I know the stereotype of redneck ignorant hicks abound, but traditional Southerners tend to appreciate women who dress modestly, even if they don't get the "Islam" part. An older woman once said to me of the Muslim women who wear the face veil (niqab) that she applauded them. Why? She said, ever so wistfully: "Because they are the only ones who wear elbow length gloves anymore." Yep. Those are the words straight from her lips, quoted word for word.Compare this to some of the marriage offers we girls have recieved from Arab men. BLUNT: "I have a house." [That means you should marry me because I am ALL that.] Somehow, the Shania Twain Song "That don't Impress Me Much" goes through my head. "We should get married." [This before you even know the guy---classic]. I am not saying a Muslim guy who proposes should not get straight to point [like in the South, the guy is always supposed to state his intentions up front so as to be honorable about it], as in Islam, we don't date ya'll should know, but he should indulge in the part of a woman who wants to feel special. Be a little more grcious and elegent about it all. Don't make us feel like a chore or a forgone conclusion. No woman wants that.And worst of all, is when you turn some of these guys down (I believe Omani girls get the benefit of their family turning the guy with crappy proposal down so they don't have to suffer this): "You should consider my offer! It is not like you will get alot more offer [and/or, 'you'll be getting any younger']!" Yeah, uh huh, THAT is REALLY GONNA WANNA make a girlie wanna marry you. There is a saying from the South, that any man can treat and meet and make nice with success like a gentleman, but you can tell a true gentleman by how he handles his cards when he's lost a hand. MOP likes Western movies. I think it is mainly the rifles, and the chivalry of pistol duels, and the simplicity of characters for their goodness or being the bad guy. He also likes country music for the honesty and integrity of the lyrics, and forgives the bulk of it for being played in only three chords. While I am a fan of neither genre. So how did he win me over? He basically found out the story of my life before trying to convince me to say yes to marrying him. It went on much like this (though edited here for grammer as he didn't exactly speak fluent English when we first got married): "I know you are worried that I want to marry you because you are beautiful or are white skinned and yet dress like a Muslim. That's simply isn't me. I like that you are a strong woman that can take care of herself. I like that you always fight for what you believe is right, and stand by it. People like that are good people, no matter what mistakes they made in their pasts or will make in their futures. I know getting permission from the government to marry you will be hard but I will fight for you, and won't let anyone say you are innapropriate because of a border, a line drawn on a map by any hand but Allah's/God's. But I know you are not as strong as you pretend to be and people take advantage of that, and I'd like to take some of that worry away from you by taking care of you, and protect you, if I can. I know if anyone is ever in need you are the kind to try and rescue them, and if I am ever in need, God forbid, I'd want a woman like you to stand by me. Even though I am a proud man. I like that you are stubborn and speak your mind, and can accept that with a temper like that, you won't always mean what you say exactly like you say it. I am also jealous man, but I won't divorce you unless you cheated me and I saw it with my own eyes, I won't get bored of you, I won't leave you, I will never lay a hand on you or intentionally say something to hurt your pride, and I promise I will make sure you never go hungry in my house or have to wear something you don't like, or you have the freedom to leave me and I will help you go safely. But please don't. Because when you ask me the reason why I love you without knowing you and I am not able to tell you exactly why, it is because I see us when we're old sitting outside our house in my village, drinking tea, and talking, two old people sitting there." So I said yes. And am so happy I did. Praise be to God:)

8 comments:

♡ αmαℓ said...

Wait, are you talking about the American South? Because it's really not like that at all now :-/ Except for in Texas they still keep those Debutante Balls for the higher society, but that's about it unfortunately. Mashallah at what your husband told you tho, that is very sweet!

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Amal: I am. I know it isn't all like that and admit that I mainly knew upper class Texans, and folks from Savannah Georgia. [LOL, one OPNO WAS a Hustom deb.].But her advice: Dress and hold yourself like a debutatante and all the boys will treat you like one, from farmer's sons, to the President's cousin;). And I really did get "Miss", "do me the honor", "much obliged" et all from many Southerners I have met, and few of those have been deemed upper class. I got ignorance too, but lack of education I can always forgive, though not the willful kind.

Yep, that was my habibi's proposal pretty much. I thank Allah for him everyday. LOL, though he rarely speaks that much in one go.

Boxie said...

Oh mashallah what a sweet proposal.

hijabi said...

MashaAllah! How can a girl say no to that??

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Boxie and Hijabi: I did, aloooooooot, lol, but I eventually said yes.

Noor said...

I am from the South TN to be exact. Its normal for men to always open the car door for women and pull the chair out for them, etc. I never saw that here in Saudi :p Southern charm is a great thing :)

MashAllah how sweet your dh was and inshAllah you all have a perfect marriage always ameen.

The Linoleum Surfer said...

That's a lovely proposal really :)

meg said...

Your husband sounds amazing! I'm glad you are so happy together. :)