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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

So, when are you getting married?

*This happened a couple of months ago* (I am sitting in the living room, reading Glamorama, when I notice my mom coming in the room. I chose to act as if I didn’t notice her coming in and continue reading, until she starts talking to me) Mom: Sam. SAM. Me (not removing my eyes from the book): Huh? What? Mom: Put that book down. There is something that I want to talk to you about. Me: Can this wait? I am in the middle of something here. (I notice she is not moving or walking away, and I can feel here eyes concentrating at me. She isn’t going anywhere, so I might as well get it over with) Ok. Here is the book. What is it? Mom: Well, I wanted to ask you something personal. (Uh-oh) Me: Ehh, shoot! Mom: So, when are you getting married? Me: What? Mom: I asked you when do you plan on getting married. Me: Ehh, not anytime soon? Mom: Why is that? (What is this? 20 questions?) Me: Well, see, I am not really in love with anybody currently, hell, I am not even in a relationship. So, due to those reasons, I am not likely to get married anytime soon. Just like I told you. Mom: So you are not getting married cause you are not currently in love with someone? Me: That’s what I said! Yes. Mom: Well, that’s not a problem. You don’t really need to be in love with someone to marry them. (What?) Me: You are talking about an arranged marriage. You want me to get married through an arranged marriage? Mom: Why not? A lot of people do it, and the majority of successful marriages are arranged marriages. And you are a catch. From a big family, and you have a well paying job. A thousand girls would wish that someone like you would propose to them. Me: So you want me to buy a wife? As if I am buying a cow from the cattle market? Mom: Buying? Cow? Why do you use such terms? It’s something in our culture. It’s tradition. And it’s a very adult and mature way to get married. You will be married to someone that fits you and your social class and family. She will probably be a better match than any of the girls you waste time with. Me: Ok, fine, you wanna talk about this? let’s talk about this. Mom: You are going to seriously talk about this and not just mess with me like you do? (You wish) Me: Yes, we are going to talk about this seriously, like 2 adults. Ok? Mom (All excited that I didn’t chew her head off): Ok. Me: Alright. Since my work is in Finance and this will be the marriage equivalent of a business transaction, I say that the most logical thing to do is to calculate how much this whole thing will cost. It’s a good place to begin. Agreed? Mom: Agreed! Me: Ok, let’s calculate this and use the bare minimum prices: First thing will be the dowry, which will be at least 50,000 pounds and the wedding jewelry , which should be also at least another 50,000 pounds. That’s 100,000 pounds so far, ok? Mom: Ok! Me: Then you have the wedding, which we are going to have to have in a 5 start hotel Ballroom like everyone else. None of this “Air-force club” ballroom crap that some people do. We need to be classy and mature about this. So, I am guessing the whole thing, with the artists and everything should cost us approximately another 100,000. Or am I exaggerating? Mom (her excited voice starting to lose just a little bit of excitement): Nope, that sounds about right! Me: Ok, good. So that’s 200,000 so far altogether. Then we have to buy an apartment for the newly weds. Right? Now, we are going to be reasonable and not ask for something in the city. Something in the new Cairo suburbs should be ok. Now, a 2 bedroom apartment in El Rehab or Sheikh Zayed would be at least 250,000. So that would make it all a total of 450,000 so far. Ok? Mom: Now, hold on…. Me: Ohh, and let’s not forget the honeymoon. Such a classy girl would probably want a honeymoon in Italy or Puckett. That should be around another 50,000 pounds. Which brings our total to 500,000 pounds, or half a million. Mom: Ehh.. (Ok, I butterd her up enough; now is time for the K.O.) Me: Now, find me a girl in Egypt worth half a million Egyptian pounds and I will marry her today. Mom (flustered): You can’t calculate it like this! That’s not how it’s calculated. Me: Actually, in this particular case, that’s the only way it could be calculated. It’s not calculated this way if you are in love. If you are in love, you are likely to sign on the dotted line and do whatever it takes to marry that person you love. You would view all that dowry and jewelry crap to be nothing but obstacles in your way, not a down payment on an investment the way someone in my situation would. And since I am buying a cow, I mean a girl, this is exactly how I have to view it. Mom: (Silent, but there is this rage in her eyes that shows that she is suspecting that i am messing with her) Me: Plus, If you are serious about this, I have a condition. Mom: A condition? Me: Yeah, in regards to that girl I am going to marry: I want her to know exactly how much money I am paying for her! Mom: What? Me: You heard me. I want her to know how much I paid for her. Mom: Why? Me: Well, because If I am paying this much money for her, she better do everything I ask of her to do. She better obey my every order, cater to my every whim, no matter how ridiculous they are. For example: If I ask her to clean the house wearing a French maid outfit-with no panties- and roller blades while humming “The wheels of the Bus go round and round”, I expect her to start doing exactly that immediately. Mom: The wheels of the Bus go round and round? Me: Yes. She better sing that while being dressed this way or else I am going to return her to her parents and demand a refund! Mom: A refund? Me: Yeah! For my money. I paid for something and I didn’t get what I asked for, so naturally I am going to ask for my money back. It would be the same if I bought a Cow under the premise that she will give me lots of milk, and come to find out that she her milk ducts are dry or something. I would want my money back. Mom: Stop using the cow analogy. Women are not Cows. We are not cattle. Me: Then why are you asking me to partake in a tradition that promotes the view of women as something that can be bought for money? Mom (getting up): I was right. You are messing with me. Me: Answer that question please. Mom: There is no talking to you. I don’t know why I bother. Me: Well, It was a taxing conversation, but one I am glad we had. ( Grabbing my book back up and looking at it and not her) Now if you excuse me, since it’s over, I will go back to reading my book. ( She looks at me, smacks the book out of my hands and then walks away) Mom (mumbling): Why didn’t I just have a girl? Me: Hey, I heard that! Mom (from far now): Shut up!



At 8/17/2005 07:06:00 AM, Anonymous Jordan from Left Canada said...

So... don't leave us in suspense!

Did you end up having an arranged marriage or not? :)

At 8/17/2005 07:24:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Jordan, what do you think? :)

At 8/17/2005 07:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is so not over. That was merely an opening feint on your mom's part. I'm betting she's already got some sweet young thing (or maybe more than one!)in mind for you. She'll be making her next move soon. Have your defenses well prepared.


At 8/17/2005 08:04:00 AM, Blogger Lani said...

I just can't get this mental picture of a feather duster moving to the tune of "The wheels on the bus go round and round" out of my head. Quick, name another song!

At 8/17/2005 08:05:00 AM, Anonymous Don Cox said...

Great dialogue. I'm reallyt looking forward to your novel.

At 8/17/2005 08:24:00 AM, Anonymous Moss said...

Very, funny Sam. I'm glad to learn these conversations are universal.

May I ask how old you are?

I'd like to know how desperate your mom is.

At 8/17/2005 09:01:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Bridget: You are not wrong. There was a sequel to that talk, and i am going to post it some other day. This one was long enough me thought.

Lani: sorry. How about "can't touch this" by MC Hammer to go with that mental picture? "Dum dududum dudum dudum.. can't touch this". Now that song will get stuck in your head forever and should remove any remenants of "the wheels of the bus" before you can say "Hammertime".

Don: It wouldn't be a novel. It would be a transcript of my life. and i am not sure that enough people would relate to it for it to be a bestseller, and god knows my ego would be highly offended if I wrote a book and it didn't become a bestseller, especially one about my fabolous self. U know?

Moss: moi is 24. She is not desperate, she just wants me to have some ties to this country so i wouldn't leave!

At 8/17/2005 09:32:00 AM, Blogger Baltic Waves said...

This may seem like a stupid ethnocentric question, but just how exactly do people get to meet, date, and fall in love in an islamic country? .... I was under the impresion that dating as we in the west know it was pretty much taboo.

At 8/17/2005 10:01:00 AM, Blogger Masraya said...

hi sm,
when you say buying a cow are you referring to arranged marriage or marriage in masr in general? because let's face it, even it is a "love marriage" you're still going to have to put down that half a million. "3ashan el bint mateb2ash 2a2al min ay 7ad tani". sa7? i've seen many an engagement that started out as two people in love turn sour because they couldn't reach a "deal". it's become absurd.
personally, my husband and i covered all the costs together, as our first joint venture if you will, and i think our marriage got off on very strong footing because of it. it became ours alone and not the result of some haggling between him and my father. i will not be a cow! :)

At 8/17/2005 10:05:00 AM, Blogger elaine said...

stumbled across your blog... very entertaining :)

At 8/17/2005 11:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I got in a fight with my wife once and asked for my money back, apparently not an acceptable way to cut the ice and make friends.


At 8/17/2005 11:12:00 AM, Anonymous Mactek said...

So, uh, Sam.

Why are you still living with your mommy? Aren't you out of college?

At 8/17/2005 11:29:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

Sam, I was gonna say "You're poor mom, she prolly is getting comments you might be gay!" but then I saw you are only 24! It's way to early for your mom to be getting desperate :)

Mactek, 24 would be a bit old in some cultures, like whites in the US, to be living with your parents. In some cultures, the tradition is for children of both sexes to live with their parents until they get married. I have no idea what Egyptian culture is, but it doesn't seem unusual to me.

At 8/17/2005 11:36:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

Oh, and by the way, for the record, I don't like the way white people in America have a tendency to eject their children at the earliest opporttunity! They get rewarded for it by getting put in a nursing home when they get old!

That's why we are obsessed with talking about "family values" - we don't have any. There are a lot of things I like about my culture, but we don't exactly have tight families. I read Iraqi blogs a lot, and I'm amazed at how close their families are... that must be very comforting at times like these.

At 8/17/2005 12:17:00 PM, Blogger KNL said...

Haha! Arranged marriage...oh goodness. My cousin just got engaged that way to a lady from Syria. Boy is she mean. I would never do that. I know a lot of Egyptian guys who had to do that. At my school, there were about 3 guys (Egyptian American guys born in the USA) whose parents took them on "vacation" to Egypt and came back and had been betrothed to some strange girl. I am glad my parents are more modern and donot believe in that. Imagine getting married to someone you do not know when you are 17! Geez!


At 8/17/2005 12:27:00 PM, Anonymous Highlander said...

HI SM pls check your email..advice urgently needed;)

At 8/17/2005 01:04:00 PM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Mactek: I don't actually live with her. I live with my granny, but i was spending the night that day. And this is at best a "temporary situation", because i can;t wait till i have my own privacy again. However, you try getting an apartment in cairo, then talk to me about this one more time.

Kimo: nope, unfortunately not. BTW, samakmak sounds good!

Masrya: As i wrote in that post, this is ture in marriage in general, but it is improved if you are in love. you could work things out. However, in an arranged marriage without love, i feel the cow analogy has enough merit to stand on its own. However, kudos to you and your hubby. I wish more existed like you two!

Craig: thanks for coming to my defense. I agree, it sucks that in that states there is no close family structure, unless u live in smalltown USA.

Nouri: count your blessings!

At 8/17/2005 01:08:00 PM, Blogger Polly Prissy-Pants said...

You have to mess with your parents when they are being that silly.

I told my Dad I was a lesbian when he was hassling me about marriage once. Ever since then he asks me every now and then, "ARE you a lesbian? Really? It's ok if you are...."


At 8/17/2005 01:42:00 PM, Blogger JSAllison said...

It's usually not so much the parents kicking the kids out as it is the kids itching to bust loose as soon as they possibly can.

At 8/17/2005 03:29:00 PM, Anonymous Tina said...

I had to wait a long time to stop laughing enough to type this.

Sounds like you are too much for your mother to handle. She's going to have to do what American mothers do. Just find some nice, suitable young ladies and invite them to dinners and parties, introduce you, and hope for the best.

If she's smart enough, and sneaky enough, you'll fall desperately in love with one of them and she can act totally surprised when you come to her to announce you're in love. :o)

At 8/17/2005 08:08:00 PM, Blogger thewiz said...

You are a terrible son. . . . but I bet yer mom still loves ya!! lol

At 8/18/2005 02:25:00 AM, Blogger Shamoussa said...

Join me Sam on the display window !! We all get there sometime when they try to arrange for us to get married ;))

At 8/18/2005 11:18:00 PM, Blogger Mustapha said...


I don't know how old you are, but why can't you have an open mind about your mom's proposal?

What's the difference between you bumping "by mistake" into some girl in some bar and loving her, and having an arranged "get-together" with a girl that people who know you well deem compatible with you? aren't they both just "opportunities to meet someone from the opposit sex?"
(see Tina's comment)

Nobody is hitting you on the hand to marry the girl, at the end, you're the one who's going to decide whether or not you like her.
She might not like you too you know. So why don't give her a shot?

The senario of you loving someone that "destiny" threw on you and then 10 years later discovering that you're from different value-systems is not a great alternative to your mom's proposal, no matter how glorified it is by hollywood.

At 8/19/2005 04:27:00 PM, Blogger Mike O said...

I found this hilarious! My wife is from a culture (Chinese) that has the arranged marriage concept as well, so I understand more than most Americans.

However, I must warn you; you'll pay for messing with your Mom like that. Don't you realize that's while she wants you married? You see, parent keep score; for every bit of trouble you give them, there is a point total. This incident sounds like about 25 points so far. Then, when you get married and start having kids, they get to work their points off through your kids! Holding them all the time when they are first born (so you have to hold them all the time for months afterward) is worth about 50 points. A noisy toy, 5 to 10.

So your Mom is just anxious to start payback, that's all.

At 8/20/2005 09:43:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Mustapha, I will reply to your comment in a seperate post.

Mike O: thanks for the warning!

At 10/18/2005 09:31:00 AM, Anonymous Sigma said...

Jeez.. Arranged marriages, not my cup of tea at all. I reckon it'd be impossible for someone else to find me a girl that would really suit me, due to my extreme picky and cynic personality.


At 11/27/2005 10:01:00 AM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

read my comment

At 12/10/2005 07:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a cow analogy for your mom:

Why buy a cow when you can get milk for free?

At 1/23/2006 05:00:00 AM, Blogger exFinancier said...

i`ve married last month, there was expensive white gold wedding rings, now i`m happy! thank you people!!:)

At 2/09/2006 02:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the wheels of the bus go 'round, and 'roung... OMG.
I'm sort of from a pre-arrainged marriage. (She's from the Philippines). It isn't all bad. Do Egyptian women look like cows? (They didn't used to, in the Philippines, but they now see like "Wide Angle Wonders"...

Thanks for the post! Your blog has now become a daily "Must Read".


At 2/14/2006 08:32:00 AM, Blogger Ballpoint Wren said...

Aw, don't be so hard on your poor mom! All she wants is some sweet little Sandmonkey grandchildren! Is that so bad? ;-)

Here in Southern California the Muslims and Hindus I know use "arranged marriages" more like a dating service. The parents find suitable prospects, the two prospects date a little, and then they decide what to do with the relationship.

I know five couples who married this way; three of them have been married over 15 years, and the rest five and 10 years. They all seem happy.

Meanwhile, I've been to several "we fell in love!" weddings, and half of them have ended in divorce.

You won't fully realize this until you've got kids of your own, but your mom only wants her Sandmonkey to be happy, no matter how much he messes with her.

At 2/22/2006 11:14:00 PM, Blogger The AntiSocialite said...

this. is. the. BEST POST IN THE WORLD! rabena ye barkak ya 3am :):):)

At 2/23/2006 04:20:00 PM, Blogger Kickers said...

This post is for my 21-month old nephew:

The wheels ON the bus go round and round.

At 7/31/2006 06:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, "You're next." They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

anne DK

At 7/31/2006 11:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ach, there're so many gremlins on this blog, i try to post something and it doesn' work!

Anyway...There is so much self love on this blog that i felt compelled to write something. First, nice blog nice blog but no more because i fear your head may get too big for your front door. Since you claim to be'pro-US' I thought it would be fitting to give an Oprah style critical review of stuff you;ve posted.

Oh my, are you really that childish! It seems that you didn't see the back of the slipper enough times when you were little. Your mom tries to talk to you about your future and you play cat and mouse by giving her some crap about getting you a half a mill. wife... oooh well done, one zero to you.

Secondly, arranged marriage!! what are you talking about?! You think that you can get away with writing rubbish like that because you know you get hardly any egyptian readership who will pick up on it? Dear reader, arranged marriages for the upper/middle classes is so a thing of the past in Egypt. It's even going out of fashion for the lower classes. Arranged marriages psh! Now it's more like a global dating service where you get pokey nosey old women who are bitter about their forced marriages trying to matchmake the youth. So if an old granny knows that say her granddaughter is single and she meets a dashing young man from another family. She might drop a couple of hints to that family. The guy then thinks about it and if he's interested he will yet2adem kinda introduce himself. If the girl wants to go out with the guy, fine, if not fine too. If they get on, bingo. Even that is becoming old fashioned and most guys and girls just get married from their circle of friends.My cousin just married her uni sweetheart. So stuff what sm is saying, he is being a total drama queen. You ain't the first little rich boy from a 'good' family to get married so get over yourself or you'll be single for a long time.

All due respect to your mom but, the "majority of arranged marriages are successful marriages"!!! Most arranged marriages in Egypt are a total farce with husband and wife finding solace in their extended families for most of the time. The reason they don't end in divorce is because of the prevailing culture and because women aren't allowed a divorce in Egypt! There was a landmark case in the courts where woman managed to get a divorce only because her husband was treating her guantanamo style. And on top of that, if a woman was to divorce a man, she'd probably be shunned by her family. That's why arranged marriages work!

Penultimate point while im here. This blog has loads of sleazey stuff and some outright filth. I m not trying to moralise here because that's pointless. But it makes you come across as desperate. Also you can't seem to express yourself without using the f-word every sentence. Again, it doesn;t make you look cool (it's cool in egypt to use the f-word) IT just makes an otherwise decent blog trashaaay.

Finally, what does it say on your passport? EGYPTIAN! So why the heck are you pro-US?? I haven't read much of your blog but it seems to be saying it as it is. Why can't you just say that you;re pro-truth, pro-justice? Pro-truth is not pro-US. By putting that on there, no egyptian is gonna take your points seriously.

Right, that's my soundoff! Over and out

At 11/01/2006 12:52:00 AM, Blogger so_ori said...

I had a similar conversation with my grandma a while ago. Substitute the conversation topic with "So when are you marrying a boy and start giving me great grandkids?"
And don't get me started with my aunties! Thank goodness not my mum!

I once went out with my grandma and she came across her friend. The minute she introduces me to her friend this comes out from her mouth "She is single and of the right age.. Do you have a son?"

But why do the idea of being set up by friends more appealing then that of being set up by your family members? Cause you're a loser is you choose the latter? Hum. Something to think about.

At 1/02/2007 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Geek Goddess said...

This is hilarious!! A lot of it hits home because Ive gone through a lot of similar stuff, only the other way round cuz Im a girl. And i compare arranged marriages to window shopping - it's much kinder to my gender compared to cows!!

And I DONT believe that you said "French maid outfit-with no panties" to your mom! hahahah!

At 2/24/2007 02:40:00 PM, Blogger nadine903 said...

haha i want a refund , god thats funny lol im usin that the next time my parents even think about it , wait im a girl ... u think it works the other way round ,lol ill get the guy to wear a french maids outfit... not a pretty sight is it


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