I know I’ve said I’m sick and tired of the Lebanese community trying to find me a husband. But these people all mean well. They understand how difficult it is trying to find a man-person on your own, especially when you’re a Muslim woman in a vastly non-Muslim society. I know I’m young, but I’ve started realising how hard this is since I’m one of the only almost-23-year-old Muslim girls who is single, and the younger ones are dropping off like little fly-brides.
Unfortunately, there is a minefield of conditions that a potential suitor needs to meet before he’s even considered an ‘eligible bachelor’, suitable for a Muslim woman. Pair that with the things that a regular woman looks for and you narrow your pool of potential suitors down to about 2.3 men ON THE PLANET.
To make it more of a challenge, I’ve decided to live in Canberra. Do you know how many men there are here in total? Like, 11.
Tempted to try and win my heart? Here’s a list of conditions you have to meet. It’ll totally be worth it. I’m awesome. I can cook and clean and have a job. I’m a total package, trust me.
OKAY. HERE WE GO.
Firstly, Mr Perfect, you need to be Muslim. There are about 1.6 Billion Muslims in the world. If we assume half are dudes, that gives us 800 million. Then we’ve got to cut out males who are older than 30 and younger than 20 and we’re not left with very many. Then he’s got to be in a country where I’ll come across you – and you get the picture – maybe 1.8 men to choose from.
Not only is this a condition of being a Muslim woman, but it’ll be far too difficult for us to create our family if our fundamental beliefs are different. I dream of raising intelligent, functioning Muslim babies and would like your assistance.
Story time? Story time. I had friends who were the ‘perfect couple’. She was really Christian and he was really Muslim. Anyway, one day they became pregnant. The issues started instantly. They fought about the name. They decided they wouldn’t name the child anything that appeared in the Bible or Quran or the Islamic or Christian version of a name. So they were left with, you know, ‘Sarah’ or ‘Adam’ or ‘Shashaniqua’
They were adamant that the child couldn’t go to the religious institution of the other. This started a conversation about the school. She agreed that if they had a daughter, she wouldn’t go to a Christian school if he promised he wouldn’t let her wear a hijab. He said his sons had to go to Friday prayers at the Mosque and she said the girls had to go to Church on Sunday.
The arguments went back and forth and back and forth. I fell out of touch with them but the arguing was awful on so many levels. They showed arrogance in their own beliefs and a disregard for each other’s. At the same time though, they both had the right to raise their kids with the religious beliefs they wanted. They just couldn’t agree. NO THANKS.
The problem with Muslim men is that a bunch of them go out and marry non-Muslim women. A lot of them you wouldn’t want to touch with a 10 foot pole and whole heap think that receiving Government handouts is a great career ambition. PULL IT TOGETHER, GUYS. (Yes, yes, I know there are good ones out there, hopefully you’re one of them. Just make yourself known, my love).
Make my family fall in love with you
You’ve got to be someone my family will approve of, because it’s just easier that way. Forbidden, impossible, exhausting love? Not worth it, trust me.
Sometimes, our families get a little bit silly about their requirements. My dad has a list of Lebanese surnames he just won’t accept, sort of along the lines of the name snobbery of Katie Hopkins. My parents would really like it if you were a nice Lebanese man, from Lebanon, who comes from a family that someone in our family knows. Look, I’ll be happy for you to come from anywhere (but see below for conditions about this), you might just have to work a little bit harder to convince them. You’ve got to be religious and speak Arabic and be good enough for me and pass my dad’s laser-beam eyes. You have to prove your undying love for me and establish satisfactorily that you can look after me. To be honest, I’m thankful that I have parents who are so protective and loving and want the best for me. They’re a massive pain about 87% of the time, but at least they can be a buffer for what my loved-up eyes won’t see in you (At this point, I’ve decided my dad won’t approve of anyone).
Of course, I have my requirements. This may be part of the problem.
I want you to be emotionally strong and motivated and driven and loving and kind and wonderful. I keep telling my galpals that I need you to be better than me. Sure, I’m a Muslim feminist and yes, it’s beautiful to be in an equal partnership, but I have this primal desire to find an intelligent, capable man who still says ‘I Tarzan, you Jane. I take you to cave and protect you’. I don’t want a tradie though, I’m looking for another 9 to 5-er who can relate to the sort of thing I do day to day.
You know what I’m talking about? You’ll be a professional in a suit who’ll come home and mesmerise me with your philosophical insight into the world around us while being a handyman and fixing pipes, or something.
I don’t really care what you look like (but if you’re asking, I’d love a little facial hair) or what nationality you are (we can work on my parents a little). I want the sort of love where you’d be happy to live in a tent with me, as long as we have each other. I want an everlasting, ever-growing love. I want to support you and be supported by you. We’ll be an awesome team.
It’s crucial that you don”t have an abusive bone in your body, aren’t going to be a lying, cheating scumbag (or take on a handful of other wives), and it would be fabulous if you aren’t the kind of guy who would lay there and die in the face of struggle. Just, a good, normal guy. In a reasonable age bracket. Wants kids. Easy!
I’m not asking for too much, am I?
Not a conman
You’ve got to be in Australia. Okay, I know you think I’m nuts – there aren’t many Muslim men in this country that meet the above criteria. I know the media makes out like there are trillions of us in the country, but Muslims only make up about 2% of the Australian population.
Basically, I’d really like to avoid bringing someone from Lebanon (or any other country) and helping them get a citizenship here.
So, get this – it’s going to blow your mind. There are so many stories of men and women who go to Lebanon (or Pakistan or Greece or some other country) and fall in love with these apparently wonderful people. They get engaged/married and eventually the partner comes over. Do you know how many times I’ve heard of men getting to the airport and disappearing into the country, never to be seen or heard from again? The smarter ones wait to get a citizenship and suddenly give their poor Australian partner the boot. It’s awful, unimaginable deceit. But it happens far too often. Mr Right, if you’re waiting for me in another country, then can you make your way over here? Kthnx.
On the plus side, when my mum gets really sad about me being single, I tell her not to worry. All I have to do is fly into Lebanon and hold up a sign that says ‘VISA FOR AUSTRALIA’ on it and watch the eligible bachelors line up for me. Maybe when I’m a little bit more desperate, I’ll have a serious think about it. I’m sure my grandparents have a whole bunch of dudes in mind for me.
So yeah. Finding a man is hard. Finding a Muslim man is harder. Finding a decent Muslim man who is going to fall in love with you and win your parents over is impossible.
If all else fails, at least I like cats.
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