Just because I'm feeling a bit heartbroken right now, let me write about love. Not the kind of love that makes you want to jump on couches. Just plain love. But could love be really as plain as a vanilla ice cream? I doubt.
I have been living in Abu Dhabi for quite some time, I have seen the different faces of love or something like that. With exemptions of some that I don't want to include in this wholesome piece.
From what I know of the Middle East culture, most partnership or marriages are often arranged. Often done by the parents of the couple before they reached adulthood. It is quite fascinating, I was raised in an environment where courtship is a celebrated event in a teenager's life. And I can't imagine going through life without experiencing the heady feeling that is brought by courtship.
Everything starts from a simple admiration. Morphing into crush stage which eventually leads to an overpowering attraction that usually open the gates to the courtship world.
Though, I must say, I am no expert with the courtship drama. Mind you, I was only seriously courted twice. No boyfriend till I graduated college. That is one serious House Rule. Anyway, from what I know, courtship is initiated by men who fancy women and wants to win her affection.
It all starts with a rose. Or whatever flower is given, this signifies that the guy likes the recipient. Then an invitation to watch a movie or eat out or just plain hang out. Burning the telephone lines at night or texting all night helps build up the anticipation of finally asking the girl that big question - Tayo na ba? (Would you be my girlfriend?) Just like marriage proposal, but less intense. This girlfriend-boyfriend commitment is a step closer to the big time serious relationship a.k.a marriage. This is the basic flow, but I took the less travelled road - no I did not marry immediately! - my courtship lasted for 22 months.
I rarely see courtship here. Maybe because it is restricted. I saw one young adult from my office window, two Filipino teens, the girl was holding and smelling one single rose. Ah, sweet courtship. The chivalry of courtship is still alive despite the cultural difference in the country I am living at.
But as more Filipinos get involve with other nationalities here, the courtship phase is slowly rubbing into the other male counterpart. I sometimes see Filipina going out on a date with other nationalities. Some received gifts and flowers. The usual trinkets that complete a courtship stage. It brings a smile into my face. And it leads me to the arrange marriage thing.
From what I know, no courtship happens before the marriage. Only after. This is the stage where you get to know very well the partner you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with. This is the time the men woe the women.
Truly love knows no perfect time and situation. I mean, look at them, even if they just met during the wedding ceremony, still they have made a compact to stay true to each other and care for each other for the rest of their lives. Love doesn't have one way of finding it. There are a thousand and more ways to find it, receive it and live it.