Sunday, December 21, 2008

Suitor-ing Soon: Part Two

The next symptom to know if you're shaped by the suitor-ing business is this:

You Open Up

At one point, you begin to realize that who you are, from where you are, your upbringing, the language you speak, the ethnicity you belong to, don't always mean to others what they mean to you.

You begin to see your world interrupted from the eyes of a stranger who comes to quest for half his deen with you.

You stop seeing yourself, even if for a short while, from the eyes of your family, friends, neighbors, community and people you've been raised around all your life. You see a different picture of who you are.

The following happened. So fast, really, as if a moment from a movie.

Scene One:

"Here you go! One extra large caffe mocha with whipped cream just for you!"

She looks at me. I look at her. She looks at me. I look back.

Nilo, are you about to take my life?

"Who. Me?"

You never remember the whipped cream. Never. Unless you want to mellow me down before you say something really really big. Sedate n escape.

"Who. Me?"


"okay Okay OKAY dang it woman I'm thinking of how to break it to you. Where are the exit doors around here?"

Aha I was right. You do have big news.

"Who. Me?"


"I sorta kinda maybe somehow told aunty Naima, who told aunty Fatima, who told aunty Maha that you might possibly kinda maybe meet Meliha's son for coffee here with me and my husband. Today. At 6."


Scene Two: 5:50 pm

I can't beleive I'm doing this. I thought this stuff happens like at home. So I can come down the stairs. Powdered. Rehearsed. Knowing exactly what to do. what to say. where to sit. who to shake hands with first. when to smile. for how long.

I can't be thrown off script like this.

Nilo: "Don't worry. He likes Mocha too."

Muhammad, Nilo's husband: "There he is. Amir, over here man."


Name: Amir Slovic
Age: 34 years old
Profession: VP of local Masjid Committee
Education: Studied Fiqh in Saudi Arabia. Currently finishing a Phd in Chemistry.
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 170lbs
Eyes: Dark Blue
Skin: Olive tone
Hair: Light Brown
Languages: English, Bosnian, Arabic (classical)
Preference for future wife: To be from the Middle East. Looks Arab. Cooks like Arabs. Speaks Arabic.
Additional Notes: "I really liked Saudi Arabia."


"Sister, MashaAllah, Muhammad tells me you are from the Middle East?"

Yes, my dad was Palestinian, and my mom is Lebanese.

"Do you speak Arabic?"

Yes, I do. yeah I like languages and you know

"Oh MashaAllah sister. MashAllah you speak Arabic. Takbeer!"

Nilo: "Allahu Akbar!"

"I tell you about me. After the war in Bosnia, I went to Saudi Arabia to study Fiqh. I was funded by the government there, and now they fund my education here."

The war must have been hard on you.

"Sister, it was terrible. But time passed, and now, I speak classical Arabic. Inti tatakallameen bil arabiyya?"

Yes, I speak Arabic.

"Ya Ukhtee. Barak Allahu Feekee. I am very happy."

Can I ask you a question? Why did you come to see me?

"You are so funny. In Islam, if a man wants to marry a woman, and if she meets his criteria, then he should marry her. You meet my criteria."

But ...

"Don't worry, I am a nice guy."

But ...

"I like Mocha."

But ...

Needless to say, the evening continued with more thrilling discussion on things Arab/Arabic/of Arabs/about Arabs.

You see, sometimes, it's the girls who take on the quest to get their sister married. Which doesn't necessarily mean that the guy will be better. Sometimes, the only difference is ... the type of coffee served.

But of course, I learned something too. Being Arab seems to be ... vital for some suitors in the west. I don't know what that means, but I suspect it has something to do with the language of the Qur'an.

I don't know if this is good or bad for me. I'm just ... thinking.

FYI: In Sacramento, a new matrimonial service has been launched. and ... yes, another one.


Anonymous said...

who do you think you are?

Z said...

As a non-Arab. Yeah, the fact that the Qur'an is in Arabic is blatantly the main reason that people would consider this quality to be an appealing trait.

The average non-Arabian peninsula modern day "Arab" is a direct by-product of his/her ancestors wilfully jettisoning (either their colloquial tongue or) Latin, Greek or Persian, languages possessing a cultural pedigree that can only be matched by the likes of Sanskrit or Chinese. Was the Arabic language, even with its remarkable properties and its pre-Islamic Jahili poetry, just on its own merits, attractive enough for vast swathes of humanity to give up such an important part of their social history? No, it was obviously on account of the Qur'an.

If people do see your ability to speak Arabic as a positive, that's good for you! I mean, looks shouldn't define who we are, but who would genuinely want to be ugly instead of handsome?

Anyway, it seems like I'm not the only one who has endured suitors who act like they're at a job interview and are hell bent on ticking as many boxes on some virtual CV that only they can see!

I still distinctly remember the haranguing from a relative of a girl that I saw after I'd turned her down. Seems like he's another one with a strictly shopping list only mentality as he was just not willing to accept my, "she'll drive me up the wall!" statement at face value. Well, such is life!

tee dimensionist said...


What fun you had!
Salaam salaam : ) I read some of your posts and let me tell you, they're great!

I'll be back for more!

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Sis:

A funny story, told well. But I'm sure it must be very frustrating. Like Z said, if being a native Arabic speaker is a plus, well just add it to your list of assets.

The Muslim Kid said...

Haha nice blog;

my name is Faique; from

ill add your blog to my blog roll. expect to see me commenting regularly. =]

-The Muslim Kid-

salim said...


Comical take on what happens quite frequently. Nice story telling. Did these scenes actually take place? LOL?

Anonymous said...

"'You are so funny. In Islam, if a man wants to marry a woman, and if she meets his criteria, then he should marry her. You meet my criteria.'

"But ..."

What a jerk! How dare he suggest that you were fast and easy enough to agree to have sex with him (agreeing to marry someone includes agreeing to have sex, right?) after just meeting him once for conversation and coffee?!

Nasreen said...

lol, sounded like an awkward setup. Sometimes I wonder if it's better people don't try to set me up because of all the strange characters they think match me.

As for knowing Arabic, it does seem to be a popular criteria for guys and I can understand you hesitancy. Knowledge of a language should NOT be the main reason for marriage. However, I have to say it's better than looks being the sole reason. :S