Nuptial Negotiations

The lengths a man goes to for the foreign woman he loves.


Greek bearded man


“His beard is important to him.”

“We have our traditions, daughter.”

“So do they!”

“No.”

The warrior entered the canvas tent, to two gasps.

“I shaved.”



In response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifting 13 #18 challenge. Only 26 words — that’s a new one for me!

Voted Second Place!

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17 thoughts on “Nuptial Negotiations

    • Thanks! This was excruciating for me, cutting it down this far. I had SO much more I wanted to say. It’s great to hear that at least something reasonably coherent came out the other end! (That is, that you don’t have to know everything else I know to understand it.)

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    • Hopefully the story stands on its own as some sort of generic culture clash between “our” traditions and “theirs.” But I’m happy to cheat and give you more background — all of which will eventually come out as the stories pile up. The young woman and man are from two very different cultures / religions. The Entovanites (the woman’s family) worship an androgynous deity, and avoid what they consider “unnecessary” differentiation between genders — so the men are clean shaven, men and women have the same hairstyles and clothing styles, etc. By contrast the Sambarans worship a patriarchal sky god and embrace very gender-specific roles, including the practice of men wearing beards to indicate their status as adults, family heads, and elders. So this young man is making a serious sacrifice, to make himself look like a “boy” who will be shown no respect in his own culture, in order to please this father. He must really love this woman. 🙂

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    • Very good point . But then, I’m guessing you shaving off your beard was only a matter of aesthetics and personal preference. Beards aren’t a part of traditions — not a big symbolic or religious thing — for most people in the US. In this story, though,they mention this as related to important traditions — and in fact (says the omnipotent author) it’s a pretty profound difference of cultures (see my response to Kalpana solsi’s comment above). So he’s basically abandoning his religion and culture and converting to hers.

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