Why don’t men break the umbilical cords that attach them to their mothers?
Most men fall into two categories: those who still have not broken the “emotional umbilical cord” that attaches them to their mothers and those who have. It almost seems like most Jordanian men belong to the first category… I don’t have to look much further than my own family.
My grandmother, a tiny ferocious woman, is the matriarch, the mover who stands at the center of my father and his brothers’ universe. They never could liberate themselves from her iron grip… and as a result ended up living turbulent lives with their own wives, who have never exactly met my grandmother’s expectations. After all, she did not choose any of them, so even if they were angels she would not have approved! Ya3ni a classical mother in law and daughter in law scenario in this side of the world.
I grew up having negative feelings towards my meddling grandmother, and since I avoided speaking about my family as a teenager, I assumed our situation was unique… which made me feel isolated. But then something amazing happened… I grew up only to realize that my grandmother is not unique at all… as a matter of fact she is so un-unique, it is not even funny. Worse yet, her generation have moved the knowledge to the next generations. Younger women around Jordan today are variant replicas of women like my grandmother.
Mothers on the lookout for brides using facebook!
Recently, I have been hearing countless stories of mothers on the lookout for the perfect bride for their sons: the process often resembles shopping for a good deal. I have been approached several times by these kinds of women to the mortification of my mother and the delight of my grandmother. Latest one, through facebook! …She has been following my facebook profile to see what kind of photos I upload and how my status changes. For some odd reason, I was deemed worthy! I told her mischievously “you should check my blog” surprise….surprise… she did not call again! Apparently, this is the new thing… mothers using technology to go through suitable brides for their sons..(Fancy, eh?)
Yesterday, my (girl) cousins came over to have iftar with us. They are at that age, where mothers scan them. Muna was making fun of a distant cousin who went to visit them a couple of days ago, and when he was asked whether he preferred Atayef with nuts or cheese, he answered “I prefer what my mother chooses for me!” with a wink. Little she knew, when she told the story, that this was not an innocent remark, but a way of warning them that the tigress was hunting!
Muna’s remarks piqued my anthropological curiosity. Why do women have such a strong hold on their sons in our side of the world?
First reason comes to mind is that the responsibilities of bringing up children have traditionally fallen upon women alone. Fathers’ interference did not exceed being the punisher and the provider for both the mother and the children! So men end up developing unbalanced relationships with the parents. They both fear and respect the authoritarian father, but completely adore the fragile mother… who used female sensuality and manipulation as part of numerous tools to keep her children under her thumb.
Samar gave me a different perspective into the story… in Jordan, there is no comprehensive social system that takes care of citizens, so people can’t make it without pap’s money. She explained that when she got married, almost five years and two kids ago, her in laws paid for everything, including wedding fees, shabkeh, house, and car…everything… “If they did not” she said, “we would still be trying to save money to afford getting married”. Luckily her mother in law liked her. “If she did not like me, they would not have paid a penny,… and my mother in law would have convinced him to leave me by tears, drama, fake sicknesses, Divine anger and threats to kill herself”.
In face of these lethal tools ….how can any sane son break the umbilical cord?
I am Reading “Taxi” and “Reading Lolita in Tehran”. I have been avoiding this book for years, but khalas it is after me… Taxi is not bad… I love this generation of contemporary Egyptian writers…. It is refreshing.
On a different note… I have become addicted to one particular song. It is called Sangre Gitana y Mora. Um Kulthoum’s Alf Leila u Leila By two gypsy singers Lole y Manuel… Fine would be one way of describing it!