Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Permission to Propose and the 'Dowery' reminder...

So a few hours after I got off the plane from the 'wild west' last week, I picked up my car and went over to my girlfriend's adopted parent's house.

To update those not familiar:

My girlfriend is an immigrant from a country out west of Hawaii & East of England. For the past 10 years she has lived with friends of her real parents who are American and who she calls MOM & DAD - I call them her adopted parents. I've been in contact with her real father via e-mail, have already asked him for her hand and he said yes and soon after mentioned the fact that his culture believes in 'bride price' or a dowry...

So I went over to her adopted parent's house in order to ask them for permission to marry their adopted daughter as well. After a nice conversation they said they would give their blessing.

They also mentioned that they have told & will continue to tell my girlfriend's real parents that 'bride price' is not something that's realistic here in the U.S.

However, toward the end of the conversation they did sort of hint at the fact that marrying without a 'bride price' in there culture is similar to "shackin' up" or having kids out of wedlock - while still living together in U.S. culture...say 30 yrs ago, seeing as it's pretty much an accepted fact today. Vow's apparently mean nothing to them it's all about the dollar bills.

This bugs me quite a bit to say the least- the whole idea of purchasing my bride completely cheapens it for me. Does that mean she becomes my slave if I pay the bride price?

You can see how a family that has struggled for generations to overcome the implications of slavery (like mine) and a family that has sort of had some slave-like ideas ingrained into their culture (like hers) could eventually come at odds.

Just in case you're wondering a conservative guess on a 'bride price' amount is somewhere in the range of $10,000-$20,000 - something I have no intention of paying anytime soon.


TMAC said...


I am facing similar cultural pressures with my relationship - hence the crazy tropical fruit! My girlfriend is Cambodian and she told me that it would be frowned upon to not go with fruit, etc. I think that the next thing is a dowry - Sophy (the GF) jokes about me not having to worry about it, but I secretly think that it is expected for me to provide the dowry.

I am still working to strike a balance between respecting their cultural values and my own "free spirited/liberal" values as well.

Good Luck!

Reggie, the black kid with good credit said...


I guess I should try and be respectful and understanding to a certain point but right now a dowry is the farthest thing from my mind.

Valley Girl said...

I thought the dowry comes from the woman's side?

Reggie said...

In certain countries it goes the other way around. Specifically, My girlfriend's home country.