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It should give you some idea of what’s usually expected in Egyptian society if you ever meet the man or woman of your dreams. I went on two ‘dates’ (by that I mean hanging out in populated areas getting to know each other) with this girl at which time she told me that I needed to meet her father and request his permission to continue seeing her.
It was either this or we stop seeing each other altogether.
It’d be an opportunity to make a verbal contract of sorts between the father and myself. Traditionally, this kind of over a bride-to-be is done with both peoples’ parents there and I suspect in a lot of areas (especially rural places) it’s almost like a business transaction.
For Muslims especially there’s the issue of a dowry which can be money, gold and assets.
Because I didn’t have family with me and no one present to confirm who I was or if I could be trusted, the father had to contact Egyptians who knew me back in Australia to verify everything.
We actually made our own hybrid word where we took the ending off the English pet name Being in a relationship with someone who speaks another language teaches you a lot of their romantic terms and expressions.
I used to have this romanticized notion that materialism was something that only Western and East Asian societies suffered from, and that eventually I’d marry someone from a poorer part of the world where it’s not an issue. Given the fact that most people in the Middle East are quite religious and a huge emphasis is kept on one’s spirituality as more important than anything else, there’s still a heck of a lot of status given to people with wealth.
At the end of the very long discussion the girl’s father concluded by simply saying for marriage until they’re well into their mid-thirties.