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An 'impure groom': A satirical exploration of virginity and honor in the Arab world

An 'impure groom': A satirical exploration of virginity and honor in the Arab world

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Opinion Women’s Rights Basic Rights

Friday 21 July 202305:45 pm
إقرأ باللغة العربية:

"طلع مش ولد ولود"... فَقَدَ عذريته بطيش، ويريد أن "يدبّسني" به


The wedding has finally come to an end, and I carried my "groom" between my arms as we entered the bedroom. He appeared quite anxious, but I eased his nerves with a tender kiss on his forehead. I placed him on the bed and stepped out of the room, giving him time to change into his "wedding night" attire.

I came back and knocked on the door several times. No response. I thought to myself, "It's alright. Perhaps he's feeling overwhelmed. He must be very shy." I pushed the door open hard, only to find him sitting there, still clad in his wedding outfit, tears streaming down his face, eyes red and body trembling. I didn't understand what's wrong with him. I asked, "Is it your period?" but received no reply.

He turned out to be impure

My anxiety increased. Something felt off. The inexplicable outburst of tears on a night I had eagerly anticipated all my life left me bewildered, especially since he wouldn't give my any explanation. I had waited so long for this night, but now it seemed he was turning it into a night of misery. I couldn't bear it any longer. I raised my hand and slapped his face until he finally spoke up. He began recounting a strange tale, revealing that he was no longer "pure". He had lost his virginity to a girl who had taken the most precious thing he possessed, after she promised him marriage, only to leave him after the deed was done.

At that moment, I felt like I was a woman who had been taken for a fool. He had deceived me, and made me believe that no one had ever touched him before me. I started shouting, "I'm going to kill you and cleanse my honor!", only to wake up to the sound of my father burning incense in the room and chanting incantations to banish demons from our home.

Oh God, it wasn't real; I hadn't even gotten married yet. The wedding day had not arrived, but something whispered in my ear that the nightmare that had violated my dreams wasn't fleeting; but rather was an important warning. I called Saeed, my "fiancé," on the phone, and we met at a café along the Nile Corniche near his house. I bluntly told him, "I want to ensure you're still a virgin." He was stunned, but I am an Eastern woman, and I want to marry a "pure virgin", someone untainted by previous relationships. I wanted to be the first to embrace him and the first to kiss him.

I raised my hand and slapped him to make him speak. He revealed that he was no longer "pure". He had lost his virginity to a girl who had taken the most precious thing he possessed, after she promised him marriage, only to leave him after the deed was done

He didn't seem to like my words. Anger flashed in his eyes, and he gave me a hurt look full of reproach and sadness. He then said in a dry, angry tone, "Have you gone mad? You want me to undergo a virginity test?" He then got up and left before I could finish speaking.

A virginity test is the solution

My doubts about his moral restraint and discipline increased. If he truly was a "pure boy", he wouldn't have refused to go with me to the doctor for a virginity test that would have reassured me and put my mind at ease. And since he allowed me to touch him before, surely he had allowed others too. His aggressive response confirms that he had engaged in immoral behavior and allowed himself to be defiled, and now fears being exposed. Perhaps he is hiding a disaster, as if someone took his virginity and he wanted to pin the blame on me. I can't forget that day when we celebrated his birthday. I drove us to Mokattam Mountain in Cairo, and tried to test his morals, gently running my hand through his hair, and then putting it on his chest. He didn't refuse. Yes, he was shy and seemed hesitant, saying no, but in the end, he surrendered himself to me. Although nothing happened between us at that moment, the incident left me questioning him and having constant doubts about him.

As I contemplated, I noticed a large gathering from afar. I went to find out what was happening and saw a young man, his head battered with a rock. His mother hit him after she chased after him in the middle of the street, in full view of everyone. The young man was bleeding, and blood was flowing freely from him, and his mother wanted to end his life after discovering that he was in a relationship with a female colleague at university. The mother claimed that her son had lost his virginity... "Kudos to her, she has my respect".

A man with no honor

This story made me hesitate about my relationship with Saeed, which needed to end. The issue of his honor was uncomfortable, and I wasn't sure about his virginity. However, I had given him a 1000-dollar dowry, and if I were to end the relationship on my own, he would take it and I wouldn't know how to get rid of him and at the same time take back the dowry. As I thought out loud on what to do, I noticed Aunt Sultanah, the owner of the café I often frequented, staring at me and listening intently. I asked her if she had been there for a long time. She replied, "Yes, ever since you started thinking of getting rid of Saeed." I inquired: "Was my voice loud enough for you to hear?" She confirmed, and then she began suggesting solutions, like hiring a woman to rape him, which would provide me with conclusive evidence that he lost his virginity and honor, and I could take my dowry back. She even recommended a woman named "Al-Shamama" who enjoys taking the virginity of young boys.

She killed her brother to restore her family's honor

Poor Sultana, living on the run and constantly hiding under the name Sultana, which is not her real name. She used to be Souad. Her story goes back to the day of her brother's wedding, when she discovered that he had lost his virginity. Although she had previously arranged a virginity test, and the doctor told her, "He is still a virgin; his virtue remains intact," the older women in the southern family did not understand medicine and refused to believe it. They wanted to see the blood of virginity themselves to shoot bullets into the air and celebrate their son's honor. It was their right, afterall. These are the tribe's customs, and his virginity must be proven.

I bluntly told him, "I want to ensure you're still a virgin." He was stunned, but I am an Eastern woman, and I want to marry a "pure virgin", someone untainted by previous relationships. I wanted to be the first to embrace him and the first to kiss him.

After the doctor left, Shafika, the new wife, came out to the female family members without bringing the "bedsheet", the evidence of the groom's honor. She told the women of his family as they stood in two equal rows behind the bedroom door, "Your son is not a pure virgin; take him. I want my money. You want to dishonor me in front of the tribes and let me marry a man with no honor?"

Yes, he let down the women of the family and embarrassed them in front of the women of other families who were waiting for the "document of honor". The words enraged Sultana, so she withdrew her weapon and beat her brother to death with it, to restore the family's honor, and what she did was the reasonable and right thing anyone should do; this is how she'll live a heroine the rest of her life.

I went to Saeed's house, and without warning, I asked for my money. His father asked me why, I hit him and then Saeed himself, and even his sisters who do not know manners and did not discipline him or raise him properly. If they had bothered themselves to discipline him, he would not have allowed himself to go out with me and get in my car, and accept kisses from me in my car. This is more than enough to doubt his morals and virginity. No one tells me that I should be afraid for my little brothers. My brothers know manners very well, and they don't leave the house. They basically don't even see the sunlight from the balcony of the house, let alone go out. I finally got rid of the nightmare that haunts me. I will go to the peasants in the villages, there I will choose a little boy at the age of 11, marry him and raise him at my own hand and ensure that he is a "pure boy".

"A man without honor is like fasting without prayer, a bottle without perfume, and a rose without fragrance. Shall I repeat the example of uncovered and covered candy that have fallen to the ground? A man who refuses to reveal his virginity is undoubtedly lacking it. He surrendered himself and sold his body and flesh at a cheap price. No one can tell me that there are men born without virginity, especially as propagated by this man called Saadawi. Do you want immorality and debauchery to spread among men and corrupt society? Do you desire to make men surrender their bodies to women, God forbid? Then you claim they were born without virginity or with elastic and stretchy hymens? Don't you fear the punishment and wrath of God when it descends upon you because of your actions?

A clarification is a must here..

This article does not hide its sarcastic nature, attempting to swap roles between men and women, to demonstrate the amount of injustice and oppression that befalls women in the Arab world. Any man who finds offense in it, especially in his religious beliefs and social standing, should put himself in the shoes of any woman subjected to virginity tests or condemned for expressing her sexual desires, and is stigmatized for it forever.


* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Raseef22



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