By: Lamiss El-Fayoumi

“El 5atba” is an old genius profession which seeks to help young ladies and gentlemen find their soul mates. This profession has developed overtime into its current modern image.

Some of those who worked this lovely profession added a lot of modifications to it. Previously, El 5atba used to exert a lot of effort to deliver her good endeavors in connecting people to each other by paying visits to the brides’ homes. She would show a nice photo of the potential groom “3rees el3’afla” before beginning to count his extraordinary qualities and advantages. At this very moment, the bride and her family would get the feeling that ‘Abo Zeid Elhelaly” is proposing to her! Let’s skip this miserable scene from the old fashion school of “Auntie 5atba”.

Nowadays, in the third millennium, everything around us has changed except for this genius profession! It remains as it is, but with some slight differences.

This genius woman compiles a huge data base of acquaintances in order to make her network grow as fast as possible. She then starts interrogating everyone she knows about their sons and daughters “3shan twfa2 rasen fel7lal”. She offers her invaluable services by exchanging her number with those who show interest in her efforts. Suddenly, the bride’s family get the much anticipated phone call saying “our son would like to ask your beautiful young daughter for marriage.” An avalanche of queries about her education, personal skills and qualifications, skin color, height and even her weight immediately follow! It’s as if she’s applying for a modeling agency or competing for for “Miss World“.

This is the first filtering stage after which the groom’s mother asks for the bride to be’s photo to be sent via What’sApp so she can show it to her reverend son who will then decide to go through with it or not. Apparently, he can decide if she will be a good wife and mother for his future children from a photo! What a joke!

After getting to know the potential bride through superficial questions on the phone and her photo on What’sApp, the potential groom will then ask her family if he can meet her in person whether at home or outside. This is the second filtering stage. If everything goes well, they will arrange their lives based on how much he will pay for her dowry (mahr) and where and when they will have the wedding. What the hell?!

A lot of single females have been through all these miserable stages, but as soon as they hear “mabrook galek 3arees”, they know they can’t turn down “Auntie 5atba” whose role reaches its peak before the groom’s visit. “Auntie 5atba” begins to give the bride instructions about how to deal with the bridegroom; she can even interfere in her appearance to help her match the groom’s preferences and taste!

Despite what one might think, a lot of females like this method of marriage which stems from our inherited belief “Del ragel wla del 7eta” or “3rees a7sn mn mafish”. What many people don’t know in fact is that one’s future cannot be decided based on the bride’s features or the groom’s financial status!