Ahh, the life of a divorcée. This time Asmaa Abdallah extends her thanks to her friends who were oh-so-kind enough to find her a new husband. So what if she'd be his second, secret wife? A single mother should take what she can get, right?
In the endless stream of heartwarming support I’ve been receiving ever since I came out in the divorce world, there was one thing I was particularly grateful for. After offering his condolences and ascertaining that there were absolutely zero chances of The Ex and I ever getting back together, my very Egyptian friend delivered the happy news to me: “Don’t worry, Asmaa,” he said. “There are men in Egypt who wouldn’t mind marrying a divorced woman. Even one who has a child. I know one of them.”
I immediately fell to my knees to thank the Lord. Was it true? Does such a man truly exist? In Egypt? One who is so generous in his forgiveness to accept used goods such as myself who also came with the baggage of a somebody else’s son? I was grateful not only for the existence of this rare breed of Egyptian men, but also for the existence of my friend who knows his whereabouts, without whom I would have remained forever miserable in my lack of prospects.
My gratitude did not subside when my friend casually added that said suitor actually already has a wife, and I would be wife number two. I received the news just as casually. Of course I would have to make compromises. Why would I expect anything in the way of normal? Did I mistake myself for normal? I am defective and, accordingly, am more than grateful that a real guy would be willing to consider me.
Neither did my enthusiasm dampen when I discovered that the suitor of my dreams wouldn’t be telling his wife about me, nor that he’d be able to contribute to our life financially because he was kind of in a bind right now. So what if he won’t be able to spend his time freely with me? And why would I need him to support me? I have been managing fine thus far. Why would I want to further burden him when he’s already doing enough by simply marrying me?
And while my friend was making a call to the suitor of my dreams to seal the deal, I had to silence the party-pooper feminist friend of mine who was trying to get in the way of my one last chance at happiness. What did she mean, asking about the manifestations of the marriage? Didn’t she realise I was no situation to even ask that question? I was damaged goods, defective, faulty. In the marriage market, I was worth nothing.
“So why marry at all? What will you get out of it? You’re better off on your own.”
What? She was clearly jealous. Oh, so jealous of me. Was he or wasn’t he a MALE? With an actual penis? Which means that people will respect him and me by extension. Why didn’t she want me to be happy? Did she want people to chew me up? To prey upon me in my vulnerable situation of being a divorced woman with emotional – and not so emotional – needs? Of course it didn’t matter that I had a well-paying job with a bright career ahead. Or that I could single-handedly administer medication to a defiant toddler in the midst of his tantrum and was actually kind of managing this single motherhood thing. Or that I had a reliable support system of wonderful family and friends. As long as I don’t have a penis or am directly associated with one, then there is no place for me in this country. So of course I needed to find a husband in a the-country-needs-stability kind of way! I definitely had to silence this girl who clearly had no idea what she was talking about. And was jealous.
Yes, I was definitely grateful for the penis, I mean, man who was willing to associate himself with me despite my inconvenient, lacking and shameful situation.
So grateful it feels like Thanksgiving.