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Middle Eastern families are really concerned about marrying off their children, especially their daughters.  So a woman of my age roaming about with a single status is an anomaly.   Most of my family members are hell bent on seeing me paired off.  They all have an opinion about the matter and are not afraid to share it.  Sadly, as the years pass the bar keeps getting lowered. By now the only requirement for my mate is: well, male.

Here’s a transcription of some of our conversations:

Bahar:  But I’m not attracted to him.
Mom:  Oh honey, attraction comes with time.  Look at all the people who have arranged marriages.

Bahar:  He has amblyopia.
Dad: What’s that?
Bahar:  Lazy eye.
Dad:  Looks won’t matter after a while.
Bahar:  But their directions do.

Bahar:  There isn’t a single book in his house.
Mom:  Well, he works hard and will provide for you.  Not all men are well read.
Dad:  Exactly who do you think you are? What’s all this attitude? What are you bringing to the relationship anyway?

Bahar:  He drinks too much. Way too much.
Dad:  Oh come now.  He’s a man.  He needs a few drinks to relax.
Bahar: I think he’s an alcoholic
Dad: It can’t be that bad.

Bahar:  I don’t love him.
My parents’ neighbor:  You’ll learn to love him while you spend his money.
Bahar: !

My aunt:  I have a feeling you’ll be pregnant in a couple of months.
She is religious so she can’t mean out of wedlock.
Bahar:  Uh…There is no one in the picture yet.
My aunt: Well I’m telling you something is about to happen.  I’ll be waiting for a phone call from you soon.
As I wonder how she expects me to find a man with super sperm and marry him on the spot, I find out why she is so certain. The next night at a dinner party at her house I find myself seated across the table from the only single man she invited.

Bahar:  I’m afraid of infidelity.
Mom:  Oh come on now.  You are being unreasonable.  He loves you.
Dad:  Look, all men play around.  I say it’s ok so long as they don’t fall in love, continue to provide for their family, and keep coming home.
Mom: WHAT?!
Bahar:  I’m done with this conversation.

Mom:  Isn’t tomorrow the anniversary of your divorce?
Bahar: Yes?
Mom:  You said you’d start dating a year after divorce.
Bahar:  I will.
Mom: Here’s the plan.  I need you to leave the house.  Don’t come back unless you have spent the day on a date.
Yes dear reader, I did leave my own house and spent the day at a coffee shop.

Bahar:  He is much older
Mom: So?  Age is just a number.  Look at Celine Dion.

Bahar: What if I don’t want to get married.
Mom and Dad: That is not an option!