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.