Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Scenario #9: A co-wife?

Imagine this scenario, then tell me, can you explain how the girl reached her conclusion at the end? (And if you know me and will be trying to figure out if this has any bearing on my personal life, let me just preface by saying it may be about me and it may not be about me, but either way, anything slightly smelling of essential details have been changed...)

Western chic to Arab chic: "So, what's happened with you? Any news?"
Arab chic replies: "No. Nothing."
Wc: "What happened to... that one who was going to come meet you?"
Ac: "He, well, he flew away. He's gone, gone like a bird."
Wc: "Oh. Is there anyone else?"
Ac: "Well, there's a family in the neighbourhood looking for a wife for a man who owns a farm, and there's also two established city men looking for wives."
Wc: "And?"
Ac: "I don't know. They might not be good moral men."
Wc: "Well, we'll see, right?"
Ac: "Yes. We'll see. It's all in God's hands. What about you, any developments?"
Wc: "Me? Oh you know me, not much."
Ac: "What about that one guy...? Did he propose?"
Wc: "Him? Hardly! You know, with us Westerners, these things take time!"
Ac: "Yes, but you've known each other for months, haven't you?"
Wc: "But we're only friends."
Ac: "Friends?"
Wc: "You know, we just talk. It takes a while to get to know someone, anyway."
Ac: "Is he engaged?"
Wc: "No."
Ac: "You asked him?"
Wc: "No. But he's not engaged."
Ac: "Has he asked you if you're married?"
Wc: "No!"
Ac: "Has he asked you if you're in love? If you have any proposals waiting? If you want to get married?"
Wc: "No."
Ac: "Why not?"
Wc: "I don't know. It's just not something we talk about a lot."
Ac: "But you'd like to marry him."
Wc: "I don't know. It's too early to know. But since you mention it, that reminds me that I did have a very strange dream about him."
Ac: "Really? What did you dream?"
Wc: "Well, I dreamed that he was married."
Ac: "He's married?! You didn't tell me that!"
Wc: "No, no, he's not married. Just in my dream. But we were still friends."
Ac: "So you married him."
Wc: "No, we were just talking. And he brought his wife to meet me."
Ac: "Oh... I get it. So what the dream means is that he married you and then he got a second wife. Your co-wife."


BK said...

I think Ac concluded the ending that way because in her culture, a man generally wouldn't introduce his wife to anyone. Especially not to another woman, unless she was related to him. So who could Wc be that she requires an introduction?

I imagine that Ac also probably inferred that all the man's blood relatives had attended the wedding celebration and seen his wife there, so they wouldn't need introductions. However, perhaps another wife or "co-wife" would not go and therefore introductions for these women would be necessary and practical.

What do you think?

Sherif said...

A cross gender friendship is a far fetched idea in the arab world, especially if these friends are close. Hence, in AC's mind, this type of relationship ressembles a husband wife relationship which led her to call WC as co-wife. It is interesting how AC cannot seperate dreams from reality, which could be due to the superstitous frame of reference in the Middle East. I am wondering what WC understood/processed from this cultural collusion!!!!


Katiek patrianoceu said...

Interesting comments, both! They make a lot of sense so thanks for the perspective.

Since you asked... I think my interpretation lies in the following two points:

1. Girls in any culture talk about guys. It's just what girls do. And not just as friends. Ac was perhaps more likely to jump from acquaintance to marriage than Wc, but by the basic rules of girltalk, we should expect the conversation to entail something 'more than friendship'. When you combine this with the assumption that, as a good and loving friend, Ac will want to see Wc happily married (marriage being the only romantic option Ac is aware of), it seems natural that Ac will want Wc to marry her friend.

2. We know that this particular friend has come up in previous conversations between Ac and Wc even though we don't know how or in what way. Keeping point #1 above in mind, I guess it makes sense that Ac might have already considered the possibility that Wc might marry her friend, and in fact had come to assume that that would someday be the case. So if the guy married someone else, then his two wives would just have to learn to live together! And of course, this isn't as far-fetched and idea to Ac if there are men in her own family who have done exactly that: marry two wives.

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