So, I’m reading the New York Times article Facing Social Pressures, Families Disguise Girls as Boys in Afghanistan. (Stick with me. I’ll get to arranged marriages in a bit.) We call it crossdressing, and men who do it raise more eyebrows than women do. In Afghanistan, it’s called bacha posh — or, literally, “dressed up as a boy.” I really liked one woman mentioned in the piece, Shukria Siddiqui. She was raised as a dude from childhood through college. The Times says, “She took on her future and professional life with certainty and confidence, presuming she would never be constricted by any of the rules that applied to women in Afghanistan.” I was rooting for her, Rock on with your bad self! Then, I read the rest of the piece.

Her family, however, had made their decision: she was to marry the owner of a small construction company. She never considered going against them, or running away. “It was my family’s desire, and we obey our families,” she said. “It’s our culture.”

Arranged marriages. For a funny “judge-not-others’-cultures-before-examining-flaws-in-own” video, see Hari Kondabolu‘s Will Your Marriage Be Arranged? I would marry Hari. ;) He’s hot. I once saw him and Baron Vaughn perform together at Comix. Waaaay too much sexy for one stage. I like men who make me laugh.

More than once, I’ve heard people make the case for it because of lower divorce rates. I haven’t seen any real, hard statistics on that. But, for what it’s worth, divorce rates don’t tell us who’s happy and who’s not — they just tell us who calls it quits. I’ve changed careers, moved to different cities, lived & worked abroad, ended toxic friendships and broken up with former boyfriends. None of that shit was easy. Loyalty it important. But, I think it’s equally important to move away from things — and people — that aren’t working out rather than sticking with the status quo simply for the sake of doing so. That said, each life and love relationships is an individual’s choosing. Besides, who knows? There’s something to be said about letting the people who know you best take part in choosing a life partner — especially if that’s what the heart desires. Are arranged marriages better? Maybe. Maybe not. What say you?