NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ— Under extraordinary pressure from his parents, Saed “Eddie” Zaywadeh, 22, is expected to marry or be engaged by the time he graduates with his bachelor’s degree in Genetics. Until now, though, he had found it difficult to find “a devout Arab Muslim bride, not another white skank!” as his parents require.
“It’s difficult,” he explains, “because I’m supposed to focus on my school work and not waste time with girls. I’m concerned they may already have me betrothed and this is all an act to make it seem like I have any day in the matter.” Though his parents wouldn’t comment, Eddie’s siblings tell us this suspicion is well-founded.
Eddie’s quandary is one experienced by young folks in most immigrant cultures present on campus. Indian and Pakistani students, for example, often carry on in secret romances, as their parents seek to arrange their marriages. Until then, tradition dictates that intermingling and acknowledgement between sexes should be prohibited. There’s so much covertness and covering up, it is surprising that not every Harsh and Pooja has Dissociative Identity Disorder.
International student Xian Shan, 16, has expressed her frustration with her parents’ constant insistences. “They send me to US to find Jewish husband, but I want Chinese husband. I should have a say, I have freedom here!” She attends the free weekly Hillel dinners at Brower to appease them. “They say if I don’t at least try for a future lawyer, doctor, or accountant, they’ll ship me back home to work. I’m here for a B.S., not a M.R.S.!”
In the weeks since this article began development, Eddie has found himself a fiancée who suits his parents’ guidelines. “I will actually please my parents and have the chance to be happy. Fathma has a great personality, enchanting eyes, and a sizeable herd of goats for a dowry. I can’t wait to see what she looks like underneath her burqa. I’m nervous about her appearance, but I’m confident in our love.”