I have been alive for several decades now but STILL don’t know whether I like broccoli. Not my fault! Guys have “commitment issues”.
The topic of difficult decisions was triggered by a recent news report sent to me by reader Shaan Alwi. It said that a man in Dubai got married a few days ago — and then started divorce proceedings on the way out of his own wedding. The groom was so annoyed by his in-laws that he started to have the marriage dissolved 15 minutes after signing on the dotted line.
In the comments under this news report were many references to pop singer Britney Spears, who was married for 55 hours. Western TV channels are full of shows where strangers are urged to try married life and then asked if they like it, the same technique parents use to get their kids to eat vegetables. In fact, many liberal-minded US people seem to interpret the “till death do us apart” bit of the marriage ceremony as “for a week or two”.
But the truth is that this columnist can look in his files and prove there are marriages in Asia and the Middle East that make Britney’s 55 hours seem interminably lengthy. In Mumbai in 2010, a woman stormed out of her groom’s house and went back to her father after just four hours of marriage, talking darkly about an argument in the bedroom. (It was probably whether or not to have the air-conditioner on.)
In 2012, a Dubai man had a quarrel with his bride while they were signing marriage documents. He marched out of that court and into the one next door to demand a divorce. “How long have you been married”, the judge asked. The groom replied: “The ink on my marriage certificate has not dried yet.” That meant the marriage lasted minutes or seconds. Distraught friends and family members snapped into action – getting out their camera phones and phoning the Guinness World Records.
Meanwhile, Google and Amazon have both announced that a large number of guys have been proposing marriage to the female AI personalities in their gadgets. In April this year, a Google executive said that 450,000 men had proposed to Google Assistant in India alone. If you ask Siri on the iPhone to marry you, she says: “I sure have been receiving a lot of marriage proposals recently.”
A colleague reading over my shoulder (GO AWAY) said she was not surprised that men found it easier to propose to robots because they wouldn’t get upset if the guys kept changing their minds.
“But one thing I totally don’t understand is how men can get excited about female cartoon characters,” she said. I pretended to share her puzzlement, although Daphne from the Scooby Doo cartoon flashed into my head.
Anyway, here’s a useful bit of philosophy for readers who are hesitating about doing something: “If the human society of the future doesn’t send a terminator back in time to stop you doing whatever you want to do, then it can’t be that bad, right?”
I need to stop here to see if Scooby Doo is on YouTube.
(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send comments and ideas via his Facebook page)