My mother suffers greatly from a hip problem and her sacroiliac.  While I was in Alexandria I went with her one evening to her physio therapist. When our turn came for her to have a check up with her doctor, he looked at her scans and was being professional and serious as he  asked and answered her questions very mater of factually. Once the prognosis had been made from looking at scans and x-rays he then turned to my mother and said. ‘May I ask you a question?’ Ofcourse said my mother in all innocence not seeing or expecting that the conversation could branch away from the matter at hand. “Tell me, is your daughter married?”. The moment the questions was released from this mans lips, I dropped my head and shook it in disbelief. I can’t believe that even in a doctor’s office when giving a consultation, in a place where professionalism is supposed to be a priority that it is impossible to escape THE question.

My father was beside himself with laughter, i’m not sure it was because he found the situation funny or because he was worried what the next question would be. My mother who was laughing from the shock said…’No, she’s not married, I didn’t think you were paying attention to me, you were interested in my daughter…I can’t take you any where!”

‘How old is she?’ the doctor persisted with his questions. Not knowing what to say, my mother turned to me and said ‘uh…32′. ‘PERFECT’ exclaimed the orthopedic, ‘My younger brother is 39 and he is an ophthalmologist!’

I looked the doctor and  said “Why aren’t you directing the questions to me? I am the one you should be asking not her. Just for your information, I don’t want to get married.”

“Excuse me, this is between your mother and I.” the doctor answered back.

“Mrs. El Abdin, your back and your hip  are my responsibility, my younger brother is your responsibility. If you and your husband come alone next time, I won’t see you. perhaps my brother will and they can meet each other.”

I tell you, I couldn’t get out of that office fast enough! ‘The next time we go out, I’m putting a paper bag over your head!’ my mother said as we got in the car.

This is normal here, believe it or not. Everyone is a match maker, it reminds me of that song from the movie ‘Fiddler On The Roof’, ‘Match Maker, Match Maker, Make Me A Match, Find Me A Find, Catch Me A Catch!’

Thinking I was safe in the car, my dad comes back and says…’The doctor just asked for my mobile phone number. ‘

That means that we should expect either the doctor to call on his brother’s behalf or his brother will call himself and ask if he can meet me in the presence of both my parent’s ‘ofcourse’. (If this sounds like a scene from a ‘period’ novel or movie…It Is, very much like that! That is how the majority of the older generation here were introduced to their significant others, it still happens a lot, but no where near as much as before)

So, my mother and I coached my Dad on what to say if he does call. “I’m sorry, but I chose my wife and I can not choose a wife for my daughter. She is free to choose whom ever she wants to marry and presently she is NOT interested or thinking about marriage, (a slight exaggeration).

I do want to eventually get married, but it has to be someone who understands and accepts that I am of mixed ethnicity and have a western mind-set and that I am NOT going to change once the wedding ceremony has taken place. I Am Who I Am and I Am What I Am, and I won’t change!

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