Monday, March 19, 2007

Unhushed Whispers

There are pros and cons to living in any country, but as I have said before I feel blessed to have been born and raised in the USA. In most things, I would say that we have it infinitely easier than many parts of the world. However, there is one thing which seems to rear its ugly head in hushed tones: the difficulty of finding a suitable match in the U.S. as an Arab American woman. You would think that as big as the U.S. is, there really would be no trouble meeting someone nice who shares many of the same qualities as you. I am here to tell you that it is absolutely impossible for an Arab American girl to find someone like that (lol or as close to impossible as can be). I have friends who are Egyptian, Lebanese, Libyan, etc., all of whom have the same problem. Women generally have a hard time finding ANY decent man, let alone an Arabic/Muslim one. As horrors abound, this problem is getting worse the older my friends get. As I see it, they have two choices—to wait it out and hope for the magic of “naseeb” or to just get married for the sake of marriage (i.e. biological time bomb, getting clubbed by the cultural heavyweights, i.e. female family members). My friends have chosen to wait. So there you have it, but wait there are specific things my friends are looking for so it may prove enlightening to expound upon, as we are the test generation of first generation immigrants-generally the children of political dissidents as opposed to economic immigrants.
Did you know that between 60-80% of the Arab Americans who live in the U.S. are Christian? Most Americans are completely ignorant of this fact, but female Arab American Muslims are not. Right away, the odds are stacked against them, at least in terms of finding a potential mate. So then you look at what’s left. There are three types of Arabic Muslim men in the US. The first is the one who has become a born-again Muslim (please see born-again Christian for reference if confused), probably even more devout following September 11th. These generally are a no-no, unless the female is on the same level, which my friends are not. There is something beautiful in watching someone who has found true inner peace, but I don’t find that is usually the case. I see it more as a reactive stance following the portrayal of Arabs after 9/11.
The second type of Arabic man is the one who has totally abandoned their culture/religion. Instead of Mohammed, he has become a Mike and somehow metamorphasized into a multi-cultural individual who has miraculously gained an extra 50% of some European culture (please read “white”) which he thinks will gain him favor with a few select bigoted societal hounds or money makers. Or when asked what religion he is, will reply half because now all of a sudden a parent has come out of the woodwork, having been born into a Judeo-Christian household. Or the kind that believe that to be “American”, you need to get drunk off you’re a** every night, sleep with as many different girls as you can crowd unto your calendar, litter your sentences with as many profanities as possible and of course pretend not to know a word of your native tongue because that is not cool. I despise these men—can you tell. Definitely not marriage material for anything other than trash.
Now there is a third type, but it is extremely rare. It is the wasti—the Arab American man who has been able to come to terms with both his original culture/religion, while also being able to live in harmony with the American one. This is the ultimate find, one that none of my friends have been able to locate thus far. I will not spend further time on this elusive man as I have met very few who embody these characteristics.
Now for myself, I married an FOB (if you need a translation, please bypass this section-jk)—A Libyan straight out of Libya. Now normally this could turn into a contentious relationship, me being the UNCONVENTIONAL me that I am and him being a Libyan through and through, but we have managed to make it work for almost 7 years (sometimes with contention). I think that an FOB is only a good option if he is open minded (chuckle, chuckle, because the definition of open minded to me as opposed to Arabs I have met is extremely different. Open minded to me speaks volumes on tolerance, being non-judgmental etc.; others MAY perceive it as something negative, i.e. open minded girls are “easy” girls. Please take note if, as a women, you find yourself in a conversation with an Arab man, please do not describe yourself as OPEN MINDED or run if he says he is looking for an OPEN MINDED girl, because you are probably not speaking the same language. Here’s some layman’s math to make it crystal clear: OPEN MINDED = OPENS LEGS). But there is a major problem with the FOBs; something which is not mentioned as often as it should be; we have a large number of Arabic men who prey on kind hearted women so that they can achieve their dream of one day owning a blue passport; a dream that includes 5 years of a marriage full of lies. Upon achieving the status of divorce, he can run back to his homeland and marry a woman 10 years younger than him. Unfortunately, I have two friends who are divorced because of this. So, how do you trust a foreigner with your heart? I don’t know if you can. My friends will never think about marrying an Arab who does not already have a Green card or US Passport. Call it what you will, but it is definitely a safeguard for these women, as we are witnessing more and more duping by Arab FOBs.


Anonymous said...

All Libyans are tormented and in confusion...You are all confused: the born-again Muslim, the wanna-be-white, the insular and the God-only-knows where Libyans..

We insist on making every family member happy, we want (both; men and women)to comfort the emmbers of the tribe and every citizen that spoke our ancestors' language and worshipped the same ancient dities, but we tend to forget about our hapiness. We make every one happy for a week and we make our selves miserable throughout the course of life... This is not faith, it is adhering to religion, it is culture. It is an oppressive culture that takes away our souls and denys us personal choice.

Why do you have to wait all of your life to marry an FOB Libyan? Aren't there good men around you other than this pre-human stock called Libyan men?
You must be kidding or you must be telling jots and tittles.

Dima Garriba Shwaya said...

Hi Libya Gharian,

I somehow think you missed the point of my post. It was not related to Libya or Libyans, but to Arabs in general. Your view on Libyans is pretty depressing actually. I hve met wonderful people in Libya, and of course the exact opposite. I actually think it is human beings themselves who create their own happiness. If you choose to make yourself miserable, then that is a personal choice, not one forced upon you by society or family or culture or religion.
As to your FOB comment, again you are way off mark. I used my own story as an example (please note that I used FOB as a charming term of endearment lol). I did say that none of my friends would consider an Arab FOB a suitable choice for marriage, as we have seen others duped by them.

mani said...

salam dima

that's gotta be one of the most balanced, well spoken, to the point and ex termly eloquent posts I have ever read from a Muslims American 'open minded' (LOL ur one not men's) point of view.. i am proud.. u know.. i have a dear sister here in the Uk (sister in Islam) who is exactly in ur position and is asking me to find her one.. exactly ur same issue.. exactly the same (how many exactly so far have I said)..

anyway.. do u know what I think the problem is.. its the lack of MOTHERS..(not atatcking women.. just upset about the loss of honest motherhood in today's modern world) its mothers that bring MEN into this world.. its mothers that teach and bring up honest upstanding open minded individuals in this world.. what we are seeing in society today is the diluted (or almost diminished) results of motherhood long gone.. or motherhood that has yet come to grips with modern lifestyle in order to bring up MEN and WOMEN capable enough of living it and making problems like this much much less... I guess as mothers (and me as a future daddy inshallah) that is our main mission in life.. is to make sure our children and grandchildren are not lost when it comes to marriage..

please accept my sincerest regards..

gz said...

Interesting... but you seem to be on the judgemental side yourself for an "open minded" woman.