Saturday, November 19, 2005

The fiancee

Nawaz's fiancee is exquisite. I must apologize for creating another "pee pee post," which is the term my daughter Billie uses for any of my journal entries where I drool over a much younger woman. But today, as we sat staring out my office window at the passing foot traffic on the campus quadrangle, Nawaz explained his pre-marital status. Every passing girl to whom I called attention elicited a mere shrug from my lanky brown assistant. When I called him on this he showed me his fiancee's photo.

I'm not going to pretend to understand Pakistani culture. What I know about the country is limited to a handful of recipes, and these are as much oddly seasoned Indian, Afghan and Persian dishes as they are purely Pakistani, but then that corner of the world has always been a crossroads of the spice trade. Pakistanis work miracles with lamb, and a plate of Balti Gosht or Kunna, paired with Riesling or a Rhone, is quite an experience.

So Nawaz is promised to a girl. She's five years older than my friend, which explains how a gawky, squeaky-voiced loon like him can land what can only be described by the archaic term, "fox." Evidently, she's considered an old maid in her culture. The fact that Nawaz's father is a minister in the government also helped to raise Nawaz's stock.

The fiancee is a dusky jewel, with rich black eyes and a glistening smile. Her name is Aamira. In the snapshot, her black-brown hair tumbled down her shoulders, and her generous breasts strained the buttons on her white blouse. I was smitten instantly and said so. Nawaz, who has only met the girl twice, is also impressed, though he says they have little in common. Aamira works for a consulting agency in London, and Nawaz plans to get an engineering job in the States. They will share a house in Miami, though both expect to be on the road pursuing their respective careers. I suggested that he quit school, marry her quickly, and take up the role of doting house-man. He could shop for the wine and cook. Keep the house somewhat in order. When his south Asian treasure returns home at the end of her day, he can rub her feet, pour her a glass of Pouilly Fuisse and read her a poem. In fact, I told him that a writer of fiction would be the perfect complementary career, and I was surprised when he agreed. He's been reading voraciously, lately finishing Dr. Zhivago and Nabokov's King, Queen, Knave, both books borrowed from my collection.

In any case, this experience has caused me to revisit the practice of arranged marriage. I've always been a proponent of that silly American institution known as the "love marriage." I should know better as it has thrice failed me. Perhaps I should put myself on the Pakistani old maid market. Nawaz plans to meet his bride-to-be in Chicago during the Christmas break where she will be attending a business summit. He's asked me to attend as a chaperone (sic!), and I so look forward to meeting lovely Aamira.

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