My book Joe and Azat ends with a big wedding, and while I was in Turkmenistan I went to a lot of weddings. I also got a fair amount of pressure to get married. People who had known me for only five minutes would find out I was twenty-seven and immediately tell me I should get married. Most of the time they also just happened to have the perfect girl for me.
People married young in Turkmenistan, and there really wasn’t much in the way of dating. Girls were supposed to be virgins, and if they weren’t they were ruined. So the average Turkmen girl would wait until she was married to have sex. Which puts so much pressure on that night. I don’t know about anybody else, but I was nervous the first time and it was just me and a girl. I can’t imagine having this big celebration focused on me with some two hundred fifty close friends and family all making toasts to me, everybody looking, everybody knowing what was going to happen that night. I don’t know if I could deal with sending out a save the date card for the night I lost my virginity.
If I woman said she was married in Turkmen, the little translation was that her life had been changed.
Check out the book coming out in September. Check out my blog, too.