Like Perfumes Like Brides

In our respectful Lebanese society, choosing a wife is like buying a perfume. The potential sellers are the family of the bride and the buyer is, naturally, the man. The main requirements are that it should be brand new. Who would want a used perfume? It should also smell good, because the buyer wants to brag about it in front of the other buyers. It is supposed to be FOR HIM, and not for anyone or anything else. Before choosing the right one, a man is expected to try some “echantillons” that are presented just to please him and make his choice easier. His mother and sisters may choose for him or lead him to the right perfume. He can also buy some cheap perfume from time to time, but he shouldn’t settle for those kinds and he is not supposed to carry them “in public”.

This search for the right perfume can be very selective for men, also. Only rich men can afford the “good” ones. A buyer could find a great brand with all his requirements, but he may not have enough money to buy it. And, of course, what is “good” is set by the big companies, the society. Not surprisingly, after buying his precious perfume, the man puts it at home and uses it sometimes. And, as expected, often he’ll get bored of it after a while. Then, he will start buying other cheap perfumes, because that is what the other men do and that is what is expected from him.

What is sadder in our respectful society is that women treat themselves as perfumes.  They want to be the chosen one. They are raised to act their best in order to be picked by the buyer. They don’t let anyone who is not going to buy them unwrap them. They fight over potential buyers. Their goal is to be brought to a home, because they believe that it is the best thing that can happen to them. The sellers, their parents, try to make them look better by improving their appearances, by advertising them and by marketing their name.

And then people ask why the rate of divorce is so high??  I mean, isn’t just logical? I don’t expect any human being to like an object and use it “happily ever after”.  So, as long as a man gets to “pick” his wife, no marriage has a chance to be successful. As long as he doesn’t see his wife as his best friend, a person he can share his problems with, a person that he likes to hang out with most of his time, I can’t think of a happy ending. And as long as she doesn’t have any interest in life other than her husband, and until she stops treating herself as an object, I don’t see them, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, together forever. So before blaming the emancipation of women and the “west” for our divorce rate, maybe it’s time to start questioning all these societal requirements men and women both bear.

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