Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bridal Showers

When a woman gets married, the ladies in her life get together to give her advice on her marriage.  They throw her a Bridal Shower. 

Last week, I went to a Ugandan bridal shower for a coworker.  We ate, gave thoughtful and (almost) dirty advice to the bride, gave gifts and played games. “What was Annette wearing when she first entered the room?”

It was really no different from the many (many) bridal showers I have been to in the US or even India.  But this isn’t one of those “women are the same all over the world and isn’t that beautiful” kind of entries.  Because there was a difference in what I saw at these parties.  It was subtle but crucial.  The advice on marriage was all different. 

“There’s not much to tell,” said an older Indian woman with dhaal stained fingertips.  “You’ve already seen the guy.  That is half the battle.”
And the conversation was closed about the husband.  For the rest of the party.
“Know how to make a good sabji and listen to every word she says.”
“Know how she cleans.  It’s important to know how she cleans.”
The advice was all about the mother in-law and food.  And how to make the food for the mother in-law.  
“You know how to make a good kitchari, right?”
The husband was barely mentioned.  He was an accessory to the marriage between bride and mother in-law.
A happy mother is a happy marriage.

“Just make sure you know how to please yourself.”
“ You can’t rely on a marriage to make you whole.”
In the US, the advice is about how to make the bride happy and how to sustain the love. 
“Make sure you two have activities outside the house together.”
“Go out to eat!”
“Travel together!”
“But never forget about ‘you’ time.”
A happy wife is a happy marriage.

“He will be a child,” advised the eldest woman at the Ugandan bridal shower. “You will need to know how to take care of him.”
“We work hard all day, but when you get home he will be expecting a smiling wife, happy and loving.  You need to be that woman.”
The Ugandan advice was all about the husband and how to make him happy.
“Stay pretty so he won’t stray.”
A happy husband is a happy marriage.

And the subject of babies?
“Have them soon, she’ll expect them. Hope it’s a boy!”
“Have them soon, he’ll want a big family.”
“Have them soon, nobody wants to be an old mom.”

Not sure about the secret to marriage but there is a worldwide consensus that I need to start having babies soon.

I better go massage my ovaries. 

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