Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why buy the cow?

As salaam alaikum,

Before I begin, to Anonymous, I read your question for me, and I will answer it...as soon as I've had some experience on an inpatient rotation! I'm on a pretty light outpatient rotation now, and it wouldn't be a fair representation of the thick of residency. So, stay tuned in August, insha'Allah, for the answer.

And if anyone else has questions for me, as I indicated in my last entry, I'm happy to answer them!

For various reasons, I'm in the process of contemplating my own virginity and abstinence prior to marriage (I don't like the construct of virginity...makes me vomit a little bit in my mouth, but it was the more succinct way to express that sentiment), I thought about something my mother used to often say.
"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

She only told me to wait until marriage once, I believe. When I was 10 years old in her make-up sex ed session after she chickened out of telling me about intercourse when I was 9 (though I already knew about it). But that sentiment permeated through everything else she said. From her decrying cohabitation to expressing frustration at women who were not "virgins" wearing white wedding dresses, to that phrase. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

And as a young girl who tried to listen to her elders, the saying made sense to me. If I had sex with a man, why would he want to marry me later? He can get what he would get from me through marriage by just being with me with relatively low commitment.

It made sense, and I embodied it and didn't much think about it...until, like, last week. Seriously.

I thought about it and then I was like, how effing offensive is that! I am not a cow!

I am not a cow!

And is that just my use? Milk? Sex? Is that all you're getting when you choose to spend the rest of your life with me? Sex?


And yet, she recited this like gospel before her young daughter, whose sense of self and ideas about relating to men were very much formed by these notions.

Parents never mean ill to their children. They're doing their best. So I don't fault my mother for this.

But what a horrible, misogynistic saying that encourages lack of commitment and foolishness! I'm not sure any part of it is good, even the intent and sentiment behind it.

Based on people that I know, that a man won't want you if your sex is "free" is not true. I know tons of people who started out with sexual relationships and are now married and thriving, and the man did not become disinterested in the woman because she was sexually available before marriage. And I know people who waited until they got married because both the husband and the wife believed in it, and none of them got married just to have sex, though, haha, admittedly, that was a major determinant.

Marriage is not to buying a cow. Maybe back in the day when marriage was a financial transaction, and you were bought in exchange for sometimes cattle as dowry. Because let's be real. Marriage wasn't always about a spiritual partnership under God as we apologists now paint it.

I'm not sure how many men know of the phrase, but I'm at least one woman who has taken it and embodied it.

I, for one, am letting that go...letting it flow away, out of my mind and out of my body, far far away. I am not a cow, and the man who marries me will not be making that decision simply based on my sex, its quality or its availability. And if I am to encounter such a man, Lord, protect me. But such thinking is what leads many of us as young girls to think that it is our sexual availability, before or within marriage, that is capable of keeping a man, which not only is false, but it's an unfortunate reduction of what either of us, male or female, have to offer to a partner as an entire human being.

So I'm releasing that...goodbye, cow.

I'd rather be a cow in the fat sense than a cow in the sexual sense.


  1. Thank you for sharing! Watch it... come have a look..

  2. wait, is that guy you reaaaaly into? the one you liked at first sight? if so, I hope it works out. He's Muslim! a step in the right direction, no?

    hmmm the questions thing is interesting... I want to think and see if I have any... kind of like you just coming out with posts about what's on your mind...

    1. Ahh, sis, if only, if only...

      No, this is not my crush. This is a separate dude, haha. My crush's family is Christian. This other guy is someone I started seeing who is more interested in me than I am in him, and definitely physically inclined, let's say, and I'm trying to sort things out.

  3. I can't stand that saying either my family is very conservative christians. My dad said that to me when I told them we were going to move in together and it made me so angry at how short sighted he is. I wish i could bring it back up and explain how wrong he is but i suppose we are just stuck in agreeing to disagree.
    I want to explain that first of all I am a grown woman. What I do or do not do is my business and only mine. Next I want to explain that like you said I am not just sex. I have so much more to offer than that. To think that anyone would be foolish enough to get married just to have sex is stupid, insane, neive, and immature. The idea that someone in my family would think so little of me that he would say that's the only way I would get him to marry me is devistating. It speaks volumes as to how much he thinks of me.
    The reason that my fiance (now) wants to marry me has nothing to do with sex. We are not rushing into our relationship blindly just so we can enjoy sex with each other. We are going to get married because we love each other. Because we are a team and we work well together. Because we enjoy each others company. Because we trust each other and we have both proven ourselves to be there through the bad stuff because we know how good the good stuff is. And yes I mean sex. But I also mean friendship, I mean cuddling, I mean making fun of each other, I mean every little detail even in the bad times when we only feel safe with each other or when we make each other laugh even though the rest of the world is crumbling. Those are the reasons you marry not just sex. But if you were going to decide soley on your mate based on sex I would want to pick someone who is fantastic in the sac. I personally would want a test run. Also if either of us were going to be using that analogy it would be the other way around because I am the one who is more interested in sex. All of those are the things I would love to say to anyone who uses that phrase.