Writer: Shahi Ezzeldin
Editor: Khaled Mohamed
As a semi-introvert, bookworm, and indoor person, I’ve never liked being put on the spot. I hate it when the professor calls me out and asks me a critical thinking or open-ended question. Don’t get me wrong, I do love debates, negotiations, and speaking my mind, but feeling people’s eyes on me has always freaked me out. Family gatherings were never that comfortable for me, especially whenever they started talking about my grades, the things I share on my newsfeed, or my choice of clothing. They’re not as toxic and judgmental as I’m making them out to be, but being the center of attention in any sort of gathering was far out of my comfort zone. But it never got to the point where I wanted to hide behind my hair to cover up my discomfort in front of my own family.
The only time I wanted the earth to swallow me was when they started speaking about my love life. What’s a suitable time for a young lady like me to get married? Should it be during or after college? Should it be someone from my work field so we could have mutual interests? Does it necessarily have to be someone with our nationality? It was like they were all out there planning MY life for me and I didn’t have the guts to scream out that this is unacceptable or that it’s my life, not theirs. But speaking about love life, I am 23, going onto 24, and despite what my family thinks, I believe that career comes first and that at the peak of my youth, I should be successful and thriving, not responsible for any other human’s wellbeing, whether they be a husband or a child.
I don’t usually state my political opinions, but I’ve always been a feminist at heart. I recall watching the movie Little Women and I remember Jo March saying:
“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it, but I’m… I’m so lonely”
And that pretty much sums up everything I want to say. I do want to feel loved as well as just appreciated for my knowledge and talent in what I do best, but… but when I think of what I want, it’s not that easy to visualize. I don’t think I am like most women when it comes to this; I don’t daydream about wearing a white dress and going down the aisle; I don’t really want to waste thousands on a dress I’m only going to wear once; I don’t want a huge, themed party full of lots of people I rarely see, dancing to some songs with my friends who’ll be wearing dresses according to an awful code. And I sure as hell don’t want a public wedding proposal.
Oops, I just said that publicly.
So before you come at me and call me a miserable, anti-happiness woman, let me clarify my point.
I did mention that I’m a bookworm, but I want to add that I am a sucker for romance novels. It’s the same way for me that it is for people reading Harry Potter or Cassandra Clare, fantasy. You get where I’m headed?
Because we all know that it’s fiction, it just seems so far removed from real life! I don’t mean that love doesn’t exist in our world, but what happens in novels rarely ever happens over here! You don’t see a woman leaving her fiancé and mother, risking her life, to be with a man she just met two days ago on a sinking ship every day. You don’t see a man writing to a woman he only spent one summer with for 365 days, even though she never wrote back. You don’t see him building that house he told her he’d build for them to live in, even if he hasn’t heard from her in years.
The exaggeration, the heightened emotions, the way the couple gets stuck at the peak of the roller coaster, as if the vehicle has no intention of ever going downhill. And when novelists actually do intend for their characters to suffer, they create a surreal problem just to make the plot complicated enough and to convince us that the character’s admiration for one another is way beyond any hardships they could face in their journey together.
And as much as I admire happy endings, wedding proposals do fulfill this feeling. But can we take a moment to comprehend the reality?
“He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring
And said, “Marry me, Juliet
You’ll never have to be alone
I love you and that’s all I really know
I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress
It’s a love story, baby, just say, “Yes“
But what if Juliet has commitment issues? What if she got so tired of waiting that she just fell out of love, nevertheless obeyed her father, and let you go?
What if you put her on the spot and left her with no choice but to say “YES!”, even though she doesn’t want to marry you, yet still doesn’t want to break your heart in front of a bunch of staring strangers?
What if she says “YES!” just to avoid the crowd’s hatred and your public embarrassment and takes the ring off the moment you get to the car?
Is that what you would‘ve wanted? A split-second of happiness? A false hope? Perhaps yes.
Maybe she does want to marry you, but the stress of the moment itself makes her lash out and bail on you, Romeo.
Whoever truly loves someone would never put them in a situation where they’d have to make a life-changing decision, in front of a crowd they’ve never met, that would make everyone there despise them if they don’t pick the “correct” option.
Whoever truly loves you would never thoughtlessly put you under so much tension, testing your commitment, love, and ability to make choices, just for the record of a good memory.
You can never know what’s going on inside the head of your significant other. And although I did just list out all the possible reasons as to why you shouldn’t publicly propose, I have to confess, there are incredible pros to such an act:
The thrill of the surprise.
The spark of happiness in the other person’s eyes.
The ‘’I thought you’d never ask‘’ look they’ll give you before running into your arms.
The feeling you both exchange without words, because you both can’t wait to start a new life with one another, through thick and thin.
But remember that only when the other person loves you as much as you do them, and holds the same values/intentions as you, that you’ll be able to experience this exhilaration and pleasure.
But we’re not fortune-tellers; we’re not vampires that can compel them to say the truth. The only thing we can do is to trust our gut and take the risk.
For others, it may seem worth the risk, but for me, I’d rather keep my responses private. I’d rather think thoroughly without any distractions or disturbances, especially when it comes to such major life-reckoning decisions.
Call me shy, call me stressed or nervous.
Call me unromantic. Too realistic.
But what’s love all about if it’s out of force and irrationality?
I zone in again, and hear my uncles debating on the size of the bride token.
Welcome back to reality. I’m now 25.
The narrator in this piece is a fictional character whom the writer made up to state her opinion in a short story rather than in an article. This is not the writer’s true age, this is not a true reflection of her personality nor of her life. The only thing that is true is her authentic point of view.
Thank you for making it this far <3