Before I start, I want to make one thing very clear: I do not support the use of dowries. Handing over a predetermined sum of money to an eligible man so he’ll marry your daughter is wrong. It reinforces the backwards idea that women are property, belonging to their fathers and husbands. It has no place in modern society. That said, a side-by-side dowry comparison would probably be the easiest way to choose between Rachel and Jessica, the two girls I am interested in.
My predicament is one I’m sure most people can relate to. About two months ago, I began casually seeing two different people, thinking that over time it would become clear which one I really had a future with. But even after weeks of weighing the pros and cons of dating Rachel or Jessica, I still can’t bring myself to decide. I like them both for such different reasons that it’s impossible for me to make a direct comparison. It would be much easier for me to compare, say, the quantity of money, land, livestock, and other material goods that Rachel and Jessica’s fathers would each be willing to give to the man who weds their daughter, if transactions of this sort were customary.
I’m not saying that there should be a widespread resurgence in the use of dowries. That would unequivocally be bad. All I’m saying is that when I’m with Rachel, I really feel like I can be myself. I don’t think I’ve ever dated anyone who I instantly clicked with the way I did with her. But with Jessica, it’s like every day’s an adventure. She’s constantly getting me to try new things, and I think I’m a better person because of it. It’s like romance is this confusing mix of emotions that you can’t put a numerical value on. Money, on the other hand, has by its very nature an exact numerical value. If there was some way, dowry or otherwise, for me to associate a specific dollar amount with the emotions I have for these two people, I know that I could make a decision within seconds.
Mr. Eckert and Mr. Ramirez, if either of you is reading this, please, if you believe in your daughters, if you believe in love, if you believe that the dowry is a problematic and rightfully outmoded institution from a less-enlightened era but, simultaneously, that giving a dowry could, in this specific situation, help me through a difficult romantic dilemma, then, for god’s sake, pull out your checkbooks. Also, please tell Rachel and Jessica that I have been trying to get in touch with them. Neither has been responding to my texts since I explained to them my complicated views as relates to dowries.
-MA ’19, illustrated by CA ’21