© All columns copyrighted
Columns must not be
reprinted in any form without the author's express permission.
Nshima & Curry
Nshima & Curry
ARRANGED MARRIAGES TEND TO LAST
Ever since I turned 30, my mom's vocabulary
seems to have gradually shrunk. It now consists
of only about five words, usually arranged to
form this question: "When are you getting married?"
If I had a nickel for every time I've heard the
question, I'd be able to afford a mail-order bride.
Maybe even one who can speak English.
My mom and others ask the marriage question so
often, I'm tempted to tattoo the answer on my
forehead: "I'm a journalist, not a psychic."
But if I did that, my mom and I would never talk.
She'd just look at my forehead and shake her
head. And her expression would say: "Where
did I go wrong with this child?"
Sometimes, just for fun, I feel like scaring my
mom by saying I won't get married until one of
these things happen:
---Ken Starr has Thanksgiving dinner with the Clintons.
---Ross Perot produces a chart-topping rap
song. "My name is Ross, just call me boss.
When I become your president, the interns will
be more hesitant."
---Ellen Degeneres and Elton John fall madly in
love -- with each other.
---A pair of Amish men are arrested for selling
drugs. (OK, this already happened. But I still
don't believe it.)
It's not that I don't believe in marriage. I just
believe it should involve two people who love
each other so much, they're willing to risk
It's certainly a big risk. If the marriage goes sour,
you can lose some of your most prized
possessions. Just ask John Bobbitt.
But I could be wrong about the importance of
love. After all, millions of people in my native
country, India, believe in arranged marriages,
even though such marriages sometimes produce
children like me.
The families of the bride and groom usually do
the arranging, uniting two people who hardly
know each other. The honeymoon is like a first
date, except you're certain to get past first base.
To many Americans, an arranged marriage may
seem more like a deranged marriage. But such
marriages tend to last. Divorces in India are as
rare as hamburger joints.
Like me, most Americans believe in falling in love
before marriage. Many even believe in falling in
bed before marriage. The only mystery left for the
honeymoon is whether the hotel accepts
Considering the soaring divorce rate, such
marriages are more suspect than O.J. Simpson.
So maybe David Weinlick has the right idea. Several
years ago, the Minnesota man got tired of
people asking when he was going to get married.
So he just gave them a stock answer:
June 13, 1998. He even planned the entire wedding,
the first man ever to do so. But an essential part of
the wedding was missing. No, not the wine -- the
Weinlick, 28, decided to let his friends pick his bride,
after they interviewed a couple of dozen women
in several states, including the state of desperation.
He married the bride-elect, Elizabeth Runze,
before 2,000 shoppers at the Mall of America.
And he was all smiles afterward. That could mean
the wedding was a big success. Or perhaps
Mr. "Wine-lick" had been licking too much wine.
From what I hear, the couple is still happily married.
They've been together more than two years. The way
things are going in America, that's already a major