So in attempt to be proactive and explore all avenues I decided to try out one of these marriage events. Having heard them described as everything from meat-markets to more positive terms in which sisters actual met and married guys I felt I should give them a go anyway and make up my own mind.
I arrived in a more colourful hijab than usual and wearing a nice simple dress rather apprehensive about what to expect. I was greeted by a bubbly smiley sister who gave me a sticker with the number S14. All the girls were S-something (S standing for sister) brothers were B-something. I walked in slightly deflated that was what I had been reduced you to, a number but I guess it was more practical then having your name with names like Aisha and Mohamed being so common! I reminded myself to *Be Positive*
The ‘event’ started with an intro talk about do’s and don’ts of the day. Some rather amusing like ‘If we see you are a time waster or making inappropriate comments about peoples appearance or age you will be kicked out and believe us we have asked people to leave in the past’ to ‘ Think about yourself, not the friends you are with! If you like someone and your friend likes him too, just go for it!’
We were then split up into smaller groups of equal number of guys and gals with a facilitator in the middle to have a group discussion which was basically opportunity to check everyone out and who you might be interested but without it being too in your face. Questions we were asked included ‘What do you think is the foundations for a good marriage? (to which people replied with usual cliché answers about it being a compromise, understanding, patience)to describing your personality..Now this one was an interesting one as all the girls replied saying how amazing and funny and great with kids they were. Whaaaaaaat?!!! I guess you gotta play the game and it probably wasn’t the best time to let them know about fiery temper, bossy streak or that as much as you loved you planned on paying someone to change their dirty nappies.
To the 1-1 sesssion. Everyone had written a short profile about themselves beforehand about what they were looking for and a bit about themselves. These were put on a wall for all to see. I having not realised this would be shared with all and had thought it was like an admin form that I didn’t really need to fill out properly had just written I was looking for a practising guy and under describing myself as a graduate who loved to travel (yawn, how boring I know). When I saw everyone else’s profiles they were looooooooong essays. Oops.
At this point I have to say those that had described it as meat market, really didn’t get it wrong. There was suddenly lots of noises, numbers being called out, people going in and out the room and chatting to others.
I then heard this loud voice shouting out S14, where are you?? B** wants to see you. Arghhh S14 was ME. Wow, some poor guy had managed to look past my terrified-what- am- I-doing at this event look and wanted to see me. At the same time I had one of those moments where your whole face goes red and you just want the earth to swallow you up. I turned around to face the facilitator and said I was S14,he told me to have a look at B** profile and see if I was interested in meeting him. I had a look at this profile, he was a 45 year man (20 odd years my senior) divorcee (alhumduliah, nothing wrong with that) and had a 65k salary. How do I know? Because he had actually written it down on his profile! The evening didn’t get any better and I ended up meeting no one! The whole experience had been rather weird and surreal but I could see how these events were a good way to meet people especially since we all lead busy lives. I learnt quite a few lessons from and would give it another try ,being a bit more wiser.
My Top tips for attending a Muslim Marriage Event will be coming soon!