For Muslims especially there’s the issue of a dowry which can be money, gold and assets.
Because I didn’t have family with me and no one present to confirm who I was or if I could be trusted, the father had to contact Egyptians who knew me back in Australia to verify everything.
about myself, my plans and my intentions with the man’s daughter.
It’d be an opportunity to make a verbal contract of sorts between the father and myself. Traditionally, this kind of over a bride-to-be is done with both peoples’ parents there and I suspect in a lot of areas (especially rural places) it’s almost like a business transaction.
In more relaxed, less devout families, hand holding and one-arm hugs can be tolerated to a certain extent but that’s about as far as it goes.
This doesn’t mean that rules aren’t broken however.
It should give you some idea of what’s usually expected in Egyptian society if you ever meet the man or woman of your dreams. I went on two ‘dates’ (by that I mean hanging out in populated areas getting to know each other) with this girl at which time she told me that I needed to meet her father and request his permission to continue seeing her.
Today I’ve decided to share a few lessons with you that I learned from the whole experience. Some guys in the West still have the decency to talk to the girl’s father before asking her to marry him. In Egypt (and I suspect all over the Arab world) this is something that needs to be done right at the start when you start dating.He asked me questions about everything – particularly finances.We put pen to paper about my present and future financial situation including debts and assets, details about how much the engagement ring and ceremony would cost, the wedding and gold, the honeymoon and then of course, where we’d be living and how much that would cost.I was fortunate that I had these people to back me up.I’m not sure how somebody else with no ties to an Arabic-speaking community could get around this.