Let me start by saying be sure that you’ve searched for a unicorn. Even if I don’t explain what one is, know that you’ve searched. We’ve all searched, ladies. It is the pursuit of a unicorn that sends us to Islamic conventions every year in throngs, outnumbering the men every time. Unicorns make us buy those expensive plane tickets when we know we’re supposed to be saving money, justify it by thinking “This year it’ll be worth it.” It is the fear of not finding a unicorn that makes us lie to our girls, saying “Girl, I’m not looking this year,” knowing good and well we are. It is because of a unicorn that we walk the halls to the point where we know the building better than the architect that built it. We think of unicorns when we go to the fabric store looking for the baddest pattern to give to sister So and So from the masjid so she can make us a fierce ensemble. And it is the exciting thought of a unicorn that has us brainstorming outfits 3 months before the convention. And sadly, it is the unfortunate fact that we sometimes go back home unicornless that makes us have an attitude Monday morning when we go back to work/school.
If you haven’t guessed it, a unicorn is that perfect brother that we’ve all been convinced we’d meet at a convention, or anywhere else for that matter. I don’t know who told us there were going be unicorns at these conventions, but we think they are. I don’t know what makes us think they’ll show up this year when they never have in the past, but we do. And I don’t know what makes us hold out hope that he’ll show up next year when we didn’t get one glimpse this year, but we still hold that hope. I guess it’s because many of us come from places where there aren’t too many Muslims, so these conventions are our only chance. And I guess we also figure in a sea of Muslims, one of them has to be for us. And that’s true. Islamic conventions have been the stepping stone for many of our married couples today, but as we all learned as young children, unicorns don’t exist.
So many of us, myself included, have wasted valuable time waiting for that perfect brother to come sweep us off our feet and fly us away on a magic prayer rug. But that’s not the reality. The reality is that no one is perfect. We’re all very flawed. We need to stop turning our noses up at our brothers, thinking we’re not just as flawed as they are. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying settle for someone you truly don’t want. I’m saying we need to open up our narrow view of what a unicorn looks like and stop denying ourselves good brothers. The fact that the brown in a brother’s kufi doesn’t match the brown in his shirt is not a good reason to turn him down. The fact that his beard isn’t as long as your father’s isn’t a good reason either. A brother may not have a great house, car and a fat stash of money in the bank, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get those things with the support of a loving wife. A brother may not blow you away with his charm and wit the second you meet him, but that doesn’t mean he can’t treat you like a queen. True love takes time to develop anyway, so stop getting mad because it’s not there at first sight. I’m not saying we should marry men we aren’t attracted to, because attraction is important, but we shouldn’t be so focused on it that it’s all we consider.
We shouldn’t be discouraged that we can’t find unicorns. We need to be looking for stallions. A stallion is a wonderfully flawed brother that knows his weaknesses and uses them as strengths. A stallion accepts his own imperfections and so doesn’t feel the need to constantly point yours out. A stallion views his own shortcomings as a sign of his humanity and uses them as motivation to bring him closer to the Creator. A stallion loves your differences and doesn’t try to change them. A stallion is perfectly imperfect. My husband is no unicorn, but he’s definitely a stallion.