Saturday, February 02, 2008

An unexpected visitor

Saturday mornings are usually spent with my girls and I doing a thorough cleaning of the house from one end to another. I usually get out of bed, throw on an old housedress, head to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee and then start right in on the cleaning - stopping as I pass through the kitchen to take a bite or two of a sandwich along with a sip of coffee instead of sitting down to my usual breakfast. When we're through with all the cleaning I head for the shower.

An hour or so into the cleaning found me attacking the dust in my room. My son Yusef came in to tell me there was a neighbour lady at the door wanting to see me. Here I was in a grimy looking housedress, my hair flying about in every direction, with smudges on my face. No time to freshen up, I headed for the door to find the neighbour lady standing there patiently.

After exchanging greetings at the door I told her 'Come on in. I'm afraid you've caught us in the middle of our Saturday morning housecleaning. Just ignore the mess.' I pushed over the pile of clean laundry that was on the sofa waiting to be folded so she could have a seat.

'What can I do for you?' I asked. She took a deep breath and said 'I've come to ask if you would give your daughter for marriage.' Here I was with my dirty housedress and messy hair sticking out every which way. 'No. Sorry. She's much too young.' The woman actually sighed and looked relieved! I imagine she was so happy that I said no considering how I looked. I had a hard time to try to keep from laughing. After she left the girls and I started laughing hysterically. I looked at myself in the mirror in the entry and just howled with laughter.

I need to get some kind of warning system set up. Maybe a sign, or possibly that yellow caution tape.

This Libyan custom is so totally ridiculous. At least this woman was polite and went about asking about my daughter in a nice way. Some of the approaches women use are just so weird. One woman came once and said 'My son wants a bride who's mother has blue eyes.' What is this? Selective breeding? Is my daughter a farm animal? Livestock? Later on I thought that I should have replied 'Let's let my daughter have a look at the boy's father's body parts to see if she likes any of them first.' Ugghh.. do they realize how they sound? And they all want white girls; fair and white. And they all state this up front.

One of my friends told me that some women came to her house when she wasn't at home and one of her daughter's answered the door and told them their mother was not home. They said to her 'Can you and your sisters line up in the window so we can decide if we should come back?' Did they really think that someone would marry their daughter off to a family that used that approach? Needless to say the girls had the sense NOT to line up in front of the window.

Arranged marriages.... deranged marriages... hehehe....


  1. How old is your older daughter? For me, this started when my oldest daughter was just 15. A complete stranger came to the door and asked about my daughters, but I couldn't understand what she was saying. So I asked one of my daughters to come and translate for me, which I think may have encouraged the woman at first!

  2. lol, once a family followed me from "Benashour" to our house in "Mansoura", next day, they were ringing our house bell at 4:00PM, my mother apologiesed from them that i'm not free to get red of them, because my parents did not like the the way the approched, and the funnier woman who said:"my son is handsome, with great personality, and he wishes to marry someone who was born in the US, BUT you have to loose weight, and stop work and stay home?

    who the **** they think themselfs!!

    He even does not know how i look or how old i am ,,, i told her that he can look for a wife somewhere, where they have Cataloges...

  3. oef, Thank God your daughters have a good mother!!

  4. Hahaha, hilarious! They started asking my parents about me when I was 13!!!! and we live in Holland! Even far away from their culture and traditions, they try to keep it alive...

  5. I had one of my friend's daughters (16) with me and I was driving a car with American license plates (not mine) and a woman actually flagged me down in traffic. When I rolled down the window, she said she was sorry, but is that girl engaged? I hope she saw how shocked I was! I thought she was having car trouble and then she starts proposing!

  6. hahahahha.. so funy, but to be honest you should say yes. Nora is not that beautiful, just below average So let her decide before she get 3ans Looool.

  7. Well, that´s normal, isn´t it? What´s the big deal?

    People come to ask politely, what else is there to do?

    This is sunna; to ask for marriage or to propose a marriage or to present oneself into marriage to someone in a polite way.

    But she should know not to come on a Saturday morning and emptyhanded. She should visit some more before popping da question so directly.

    At least SOMEBODY wants to marry!

  8. LOL is anyone in love with your daughter?

    The way he asked, is in his honor, it was traditional simple and direct. And your response was clear. He could also try to get off with her and to seduce her.

    Any way, congratulation. You’ll be soon a grandma :-D

  9. Hello Khadija

    And here i was thinking about coming back to Libya and living in Tripoli this time. Now i gotta second guess myself. HAHAHA

  10. I get a kick out of the whole obsession with white skin. That is the first thing we heard about both of our boys, that they were so white. Next about how they had blue eyes.........well most white kids have blue eyes, but I guess not half Arab/half white. They both ended up hazel, maybe one of them gave the boys the eye? lol

    As a regular white American I have to say I love dark skin on women.


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