Marriage fever is in the air. The infectious buzz/bug started with the planning of the much publicized Royal wedding. It became full blown with the global telecast of the Royals walking down the aisle at Westminster Abbey. It is now simmering with a plethora of “bride” movie releases such as Something Borrowed and the hugely anticipated movie Bridesmaids. Of course, one can never undermine the power of the marathon re-runs of “bridesmaids” series on Sex in the City on TBS. I suppose the corporate business of marriage/being a bride is basking in the hues of the Royal wedding sunset. I see no wrong in maximizing monetization of marriage. After all we live in a corporate society.
I am not one of those people who cry at weddings and find everything oh-so divine from the overly saccharine cake to the ubiquitous Cooks champagne. I am a cynic by birth and a bit too late to change. However, I do ponder and reflect over things often. I try to scratch the surface to uncover the truth, the veracity, and the real deal. What good does it do for me, you ask? Well, that is to be left for another blog at another time. Suffice it to say, except for a deep-rooted feeling of disillusionment, dissatisfaction and disenchantment, nothing much!!
So, in keeping with my core nature, I had to scratch the surface of marriage as well. Marriage initially originated from social, financial and cultural needs. In the olden times marriages took place to unite powerful kingdoms at odds with each other. It was used to amass wealth and power between two kingdoms at war, marriage served as the uniting bond or glue. A sort of a merger between two corporations if you must want a modern analogy.
Marriages were also performed for other very practical reasons such as financial dependence of women. Women were not financially independent and needed a man to provide for them. Another reason for marriages was to protect women and for their safety. For example, when empires were invaded by the enemies, there was looting, plundering, pillaging and raping of women-in such times women needed a protector in the form of a husband.
Of course, in our modern society the definition of marriage has significantly changed. Women are financially independent and do not need a husband as a “protector.” After all don’t we all carry pepper spray in our Chanel totes and take kick-boxing classes in our gyms!
Women have their own portfolios and IRAs to fall back on in their silver years. The cultural pressure of being an “old spinster” is dissipating slowly as well, though not so much in Eastern cultures. For companionship there is Facebook, Twitter, match.com and all sorts of social media (not the healthiest form of companionship, I must state.)
And hey, even for sexual gratification and procreation who needs a husband!! Ask Samantha from Sex in the City for any tips!! Ah women have become so self-sufficient, self-serving, self this and self that.
Despite all this liberation, marriage does hold an enchantment, a lure, an attraction for most women. It is a day when she/the bride is the sole center of attraction. It is a day that makes all women feel special. There is apprehension and excitement as the bride embarks on a new journey. Whether a bride is getting married in a 7-star hotel in Dubai or a tiny village in India; whether a bride is wearing an $80,000 Christian Lacroix wedding gown or a white chador wrapped around her ; whether the cuisine of all continents is served at her wedding with special chefs being flown from each country or a home cooked communal meal-all brides primp, prune, rub and scrub to enhance their prettiest and most alluring qualities.
Marriage serves as an equalizer, despite ones wealth or poverty, despite ones social status or the lack thereof, the equalizing element being the bride.
It is intriguing to study brides in various cultures. You have the traditional Western bride with the quintessential “fairy tale ” wedding, the long white gown with the train and veil; the cake and champagne; the bridesmaids and bouquets.
Then you have a traditional Indian bride who is synonymous with Indian blue-blooded royalty, decked in gold jewels with henna on her hands and coyness as her signature trademark.
(Although with the emancipation of women, in a recent publication I saw a traditional bride huffing and puffing on a monstrous cigar and a cooler one chugging a beer…cheerios!!)
The traditional Tunisian or Turkish bride with the intricate headdress!
The Afghani bride laden under the heavily embroidered purdah-the weight of the clothing and jewelry serving as a symbol for the oppressive times that lie ahead of her.
And of course the same sex brides/bride-groom weddings.
All in all, it is a day of beauty, jubilation and rejoicing. What lies ahead of the bride….Allah Alim (God knows best!)