Marriage and men are a recurring theme in some excellent blogs run by single Algerian females. Patriots on Fire also has some posts dealing with the problem of marriage in Algeria, and in a post published last year, there was a mention that Algerian women only care about getting married and Turkish soaps. As extreme as it may sound, there is actually some truth in this.
When I was in my early twenties, I used to get regular calls from a friend of mine, informing me of all the marriages amongst the small Algerian community in England. Some of the names I knew, but in most part they were people I did not know and could not care less if they got married, stayed single or did anything else. That friend of mine used to share the news to get things off her chest, for the news were too great a sorrow for her to bear alone. I remember once she contacted me to break the hot off the press news that one of our friends had a baby boy, with a lot of melancholy in her voice. As if the universe was conspiring somehow to give the baby boy to her friend and consequently deprive her of it.
Some years passed, and it was my time to witness things through the married woman’s eyes. As I am a discreet person, I did not send a group e-mail to everyone in my inbox who are spread across the globe telling them that I had got married. So, many of my acquaintances learnt about it from others, or years later.
I was recently travelling and decided to inform an old colleague of mine whom I had not seen for 8 years, of my being in her city. I sent her an e-mail, and I got a reply straight away asking me of how I was and giving me her mobile number suggesting that we meet for coffee. In the second e-mail I sent her, I said that I was with my husband in town that it would be nice to see her. I had not heard from her ever since. The meeting for coffee was cancelled and my calls were unanswered.
The second funny event was at Harrods, and more precisely in the ladies bathroom. I was speaking to my sister and a woman was looking closely at us making it clear that she understood every single word; she was Algerian. She informs her daughter who comes straight to us and introduces herself, after names, the next question was: “are you married?” When the answer was positive, she did not look happy and decided to disappear with her mum.
Another recent event was a meeting with another single friend of mine after years of absence. She made it clear that she was not happy to see me and was quite aggressive towards me.
These are all reactions of girls who have not even met my husband or asked about his profession or his looks. It is true that some married women in Algeria think that they are somehow superior to their single counterparts. But these women are certainly sad creatures. Also, I find it strange that many single women always try to find faults with people’s marriages or husbands/wives.
My mother finds these reactions unjustified and silly as well. She always reminds us that most people end up getting married and that when she was young, it was not a big deal to be married, and no one felt jealous or bitter as it was the norm. Just like having kids; she, who has had so many, never understood why women these days show off being pregnant and ostracize those who cannot have kids.