Drama, Drama, Drama! One of my Uyghur friends is almost 25 and not yet married. While her family still lives out in a country village, she has been living in the big city since she was 18. Her family always figured her move to the city would allow her to meet a more wealthy and influential man to seal her future. But after seven years of singleness her parents were getting desperate.
A few weeks ago her mother came to town to announce that she had to get married NOW! She was disappointed with her daughter’s slowness in this area, and saw it as having a direct negative reflection on her as a mother. She really thought she had lost face in their village for raising a daughter that was either so inept that no man wanted her, or so wilful and headstrong that she wouldn’t accept a perfectly good match. When her mother came to town she came armed with a man to match her daughter up with. His parents were from the same village and approved the idea of their two families being joined. The guy was also living in the city, he was divorced with a child and was almost 15 years older than my friend. He needed a new mother for his soon to be teenage son.
Unbenounced to my friend’s mother was that her daughter had a boyfriend (Uyghur young people don’t tend to tell their parents about their love life until they are ready to start planning the wedding. At that point the young people often try to arrange a match maker to go to the parents and suggest the match. In the city some couples have been together for five years before their parents learn of their significant other). My friend had to quickly call up her boyfriend, who was spending three months out of town on business, and tell him to take the 24hour bus ride to come and meet her mother, or else she just might be married by the time he was done with work.
Two men, one wedding date (already set and arranged by the family) the drama between a concerned/ overbearing mother and a daughter with her own ideas ended with my friend keeping her families wedding date and plans, but switching out the groom. She and her boyfriend hadn’t been together long, they had never talked about marriage, and she isn’t sure she loves him, but at least she knows him and that seems better than marrying a complete stranger in just a few weeks.
I am so thankful, that even though I am 30 my parents are NOT forcing me into a life long union with a complete stranger.