Monday, November 10, 2008

Scenario #15: married dude with fat divorcee?

It is a well-known fact that in Islam, men are allowed to marry up to four wives. But I think it's also somewhat well-known that very few Muslim men actually choose to exercise this right. "Marrying over", as it is often called, comes with a lot of obligation and emotional hassle. Plus, I like to think that there are good-hearted men who want to build a family with their one wife and their shared children. Oh, and let's not forget that women prefer to have a man all to themselves, so there aren't loads of women queuing up to be second wives, much less third or fourth wives!

Nonetheless, in many communities of the Middle East, this simple little law changes the entirety of inter-gender dynamics. A married man is not a 'taken' man as I have generally been taught to think. I'm not talking about sordid affairs or stealing someone else's husband; I mean that when an unmarried woman is speaking with a married man, often the dynamics are not all that different from what they would be if she were speaking with a single available man.

So the scenario I have in mind is not completely unreasonable, and yet I still can't really imagine it. I was told the other day about a situation in which a slight married man (think Mr. Bean but capable of enunciating complete sentences) sat down with a woman ten years his senior, who just so happens to be 'back in the market' to talk about the philosophy of luuuuuvvv. About what it means to be in love and what relationships should look like. Rather a flirtatious topic, I would think, in a culture where men and women are rarely good friends to start with, much less men and women who are both in the market!

Yet, this woman is not particularly attractive. She's fifteen years his senior and must weigh at least twice what he weighs. She's not in possession of any incredible wealth. Though her mind might be stimulating, I couldn't quite see a reason for the likes of him to want to flirt with the likes of her. Plus, he is well-educated and comes across as a cultured person, not the type to be looking for a second wife. Could he truly be in the market? Why did he start talking about love and romance with her?

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