Unwed and unashamed: Groom-less ‘bride’ celebrates happy, single life

27-year-old Esraa Al-Hagan in a white dress celebrating her 'big day' groom-less. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 13 August 2017
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Unwed and unashamed: Groom-less ‘bride’ celebrates happy, single life

JEDDAH: In the Middle East, once a woman turns 25, she is usually pressured to “tie the knot” by family members eagerly trying to match her with a future husband. Esraa Al-Hagan, however, had another take on the matter.
Al-Hagan, 27, who comes from an Egyptian family, defies the norms and chooses to remain independent, happy and single.
In a show of independence and rebellion, Al-Hagan decided to walk through the streets wearing a white puffy dress — but with no husband by her side. The “wedding” was billed as a celebration of her productive single life, alongside a crowd of close friends who cheered the idea.
“I’m rewarding myself for my hard work,” Al-Hagan said in an interview with Al-Nahar TV. “I live by the motto: ‘Reward yourself after a long productive day’. I haven’t rewarded myself in a long time, so I decided to do so in a unique way.”
Al-Hagan argues that as long as the idea is not religiously forbidden and harms no one, she thinks that what she did was not wrong and should not be as controversial some media outlets made out.
“A dress is not necessarily a representation of happiness,” Al-Hagan said. “Countless women wore dresses and then ended up being divorced.”
She explained that this is a feeling she wanted to experience while sending a message to people that “happiness has no limits.”

 

Since no wedding is complete without a bridal photoshoot, Al-Hagan’s photographer friend offered to help make the “big day” a success. “When she told me about the idea, I was surprised at first but then I said ‘if you’re crazy, I’m crazier so let’s do it’ and we did the photoshoot,” said photographer Mohammed Essam.
The two friends recalled the funny moments they encountered during the ceremony: “People were wondering where is the groom at? We were like ‘hold on he’s in the toilet’,” the photographer said, laughing.
Al-Hagan stressed that she “couldn’t care less what people think,” and said that all she cares about is herself and her happiness.
Essam argued in her defense, saying: “What’s the big deal about it? The only difference is that she wore a white dress, whereas no one would bat an eye if she wore a red dress and took a photoshoot. This is the only difference: color.”
Meanwhile, Al-Hagan’s family opposed the idea altogether. “I did what I did despite my family’s objection as I’m an independent woman and I have always made my own decisions,” she said.
According to a study quoted by the Egypt Independent, the average age of marriage in Egypt is 20 for women and 26 for men.


‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ blurs the line between good and bad

A still from the kid-friendly film. (Sony Pictures Animation)
Updated 23 July 2018
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‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ blurs the line between good and bad

  • The characters are sharply etched out, with pointed features and wonderful detail

CHENNAI: Nothing can be compared to Japanese animation, especially the works of cinematic art created by Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke,” “The Wind Rises”), which is not just sharply political but also intensely emotional. In comparison, American animated films may seem somewhat plastic, though the Hotel Transylvania franchise has risen above the mundane. The latest installment,” Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation,” from director Genndy Tartakovsky, depicts a battle between good and evil.
The plot sees Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), her human husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) and the entire monster entourage go on a cruise vacation to Atlantis. On board, widowed and lonely Dracula falls head over heels in love with the director of the event, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). However — plot twist! — she is a human being and several centuries younger. Even worse, she is the granddaughter of the legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), whose bitter enmity with Dracula dates back to the 1800s. It is liberally interspersed with humor, which comes courtesy of the Mummy, the Invisible Man and the giant puppy that Dracula's grandson smuggles aboard the ship.
Tartakovsky, who helmed all three editions of the franchise, undoubtedly employed a brilliant set of animators — the characters are sharply etched out, with pointed features and wonderful detail. The wit flows at a breathless pace, but what is lacking is a certain novelty, which one expects in an ongoing series.
One plus point is that parents will not find themselves wanting for entertainment. Dracula's romance with Ericka may be lost on children, but it will keep the adults entertained. At 97 minutes long, however, the film could have been far more fantastic.