Whether you’re Egyptian or not, “Ana 3andey leeky 3arees” is an offer you often get if you are female, single and residing in Egypt. We all know that Gawaz el Salonat has long been part of our Egyptian culture and traditions.
With the rise of feminism over the past few years, the concept became more like a joke with everyone defending women’s rights. With the complications of marriage in Egypt, is the idea of “Gawaz el Salonat” really that bad?
I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to be against an idea, you have to study its pros before its cons. I never gave this topic enough thought until a friend of mine got married the “salonat” way. Seeing how happy she is, I had to give the topic more thought. What is it? Why am I against it? Is it that bad? Here are some questions we ask ourselves about arranged marriages, but never actually answer:
Am I going to get married to someone I don’t know well?
No, you won’t. ‘Gawaz salonat’ doesn’t mean you get engaged right after you meet your potential groom or rush into marriage within 3 months. Give yourself enough time to get to really know him, his friends, his family, and most importantly his mother! In many marriages, whether it’s love or salonat, mothers are the problem. If you two don’t get along, you might as well end it from day one and save yourself the hassle. You should also have enough time to examine him in different situations; you have no reasons to rush anything.
Is it an arranged marriage or just a set up?
Let’s take a moment to define what “Gawaz Salonat” is. An ‘arranged marriage’ is when the parents plan everything, and the bride has no say in it. A ‘set up’ is when someone introduces two people to each other but they already have initial approval of each other before they meet. So in theory, gawaz el salonat is a “halal” set up.
He’ll judge me based on my looks not my personality.
Yes, he probably will, but realistically, doesn’t everyone? Many of us have been to blind dates which go well or not based on first impressions that are based on looks. Online dating has been a trend for years around the world, and with the rise of Tinder, the new social media website focusing on Online dating, it has also become popular in Egypt. You check someone’s profile only if they’re good looking. Even if you date someone you know, you still judge them according to their appearance.
How come that in this day and age there’s a guy who doesn’t get to meet girls?
It is kind of weird, but it might have a bright side. What if the man is very devoted to his job and hasn’t had time to meet people? What if he was a frequent traveller? What if he actually knows other girls but never liked any of them? Yes, he might be socially awkward and doesn’t get to meet girls, but it might be for other reasons too. At least we won’t have competition, right?
All that being said, I would still prefer to get married after a long relationship, not salonat, but maybe shutting the door to the whole concept might not be the best idea. You could still fall in love with that person, and you might end up having a great and healthy marriage. Have an open mind about the idea, and maybe ‘the one’ is waiting for you with Tante Sousou.