Don’t Sh*t Where You Eat

We’ve heard this phrase tons of times: “Don’t sh*t where you eat”, meaning don’t date someone in your workplace. At first I doubted how much it made sense, but I have seen too many occasions which have proved otherwise. Of course, I only learned my lesson until I experienced it first-hand.

Working at a bank has it’s perks. Even when you tell a female family member that you work in a bank, they automatically assume that your future husband will be a fellow employee, a client, a manager, etc.. It can get kind of annoying when mothers and aunts expect you to “find someone” at work, especially when you know that only the opposite is true. My experience wasn’t terribly awkward, but I still feel embarrassed every time I remember the way it all happened.

We were in an elevator, and I had just seen him for the first time ever. I had no idea what his name was or which department he was under; all I knew is that he was incredibly handsome and worked on the 6th floor.
Opportunities arose in the coming weeks in which I had to visit the 6th floor to get some paperwork signed. As I entered the manager’s office, my heart skipped a beat. There he was, sitting in the visitor’s chair, sipping Turkish coffee and flipping through his daily planner. I boldly said hello and introduced myself, and for the next few days, I would visit the 6th floor to complete the paperwork I had been assigned with his boss.

One morning, Mr. Handsome called out to me from his cubicle, and I swear I felt my knees buckle. He pointed at his visitors chair, motioning for me to come and have a cup of coffee with him. I tried to contain my excitement, and over a cup of coffee and chocolate wafers, we got to know each other on a more personal level. We exchanged numbers and he texted me often, being polite yet modestly flirtatious.

I may or may not have read into his actions too much, but I felt myself catching feelings after a couple of weeks. My brain is very good at differentiating between lust and a deeper attraction, and I was definitely teetering on the borders of “deeper attraction”.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that Mr. Handsome was inviting every remotely attractive girl to his desk for coffee and wafers. Random girls that worked in our bank and the bank across the street would be at his desk, and every time I would go to say hi while a girl was sitting with him, she’d give me the death stare. It was obvious that he was leading all these girls on, but thankfully, I wasn’t in too deep, so I didn’t feel too let down.

Every time he’d see me, I’d have to politely decline his coffee invitations, not just because I didn’t want to be one of “those” girls, but also because I didn’t want to build a reputation at my job of being the girl who can’t stay at her own desk because she’s too busy flirting.

Becoming a working adult means understanding that business and pleasure should never mix, even though my situation wasn’t as bad as the others I have seen. I’ve seen couples in the bank get engaged and break up and continue (sourly) working together as if they had swallowed razor blades.
But with the fact that we spend 1/3 of our day at work, 1/3 asleep, and 1/3 working out/eating/living, how else are we expected to meet people?

Would you or have you ever dated someone you work with? What was the outcome? What advice would you give to a workaholic trying to find a place in the dating scene?

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I’d Rather Ride Around With You

The notion of going on a “real date” is exciting. We’ve seen them countless times in movies growing up; the guy picks the girl up and takes her on a carefully planned and beautifully executed date that involves dinner, a beautiful view, something completely out of the ordinary, or if she’s lucky, all of the above.
While it’s true that Hollywood sometimes sets very high expectations of what chivalry and romance should be, it would be nice to experience something of that sort. We grow up daydreaming about candlelit dinners and flowers sent to our job and doors opened for us… And with good reason! Don’t we deserve to be wooed?

The arguments with this situation every time it’s brought up is that a) Kuwaiti men aren’t romantic, and b) the ones who are don’t know how to take a woman on a special date because Kuwait makes it difficult to plan these things. These are fair points, but I still believe that a woman deserves to feel butterflies and be treated like a queen, and that a man who wants to win her heart should work with the circumstances he’s faced. Love should never be mediocre or half-assed.

One of the guys I dated made the simplest yet most romantic gestures: writing a love letter just because, and taking me to watch the sunset far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. These were extremely rare occasions, but the fact that he took the time to do something special for me meant the world. There is no greater gift than time.

But recently it feels like almost every date that I’ve been on, or my friends have been on, is a long, aimless drive, listening to music and talking. While I enjoy a long drive every once in a while, doing it every time becomes repetitive and takes all the excitement out of getting dressed for a date and the anticipation of what the evening holds.
Of course, as any woman should, I asked the guy if he has any issues being seen in public with a woman, and the answer was “No, but there’s just no place for us to go”.

Not only does this make us not want to go the extra mile to do nice things for our partner in return, we also eventually lose interest because time spent with our partner becomes predictable. I thought all this “routine” stuff was supposed to happen a couple of years into marriage?

Regardless of how the country/society restricts our romantic ambitions, there is always a loophole. Take her to your favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant and try new foods together. Go on an early morning jog down the beach and get breakfast afterwards. Take a cooking class together. Go to an art gallery or exhibition. Remember, just as a man wants a woman who can be the wife and the future-mother-of-his-children, a woman wants a man that can be her husband and her best friend. Growing and experiencing things together is what makes a relationship happier and stronger. Surprise her.

What’s the greatest date you’ve ever been on? And if you haven’t had the opportunity, what are the challenges you face when planning a date?

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The Forbidden Fruit(s)

Here’s the thing with sex/sexuality in Kuwait: everybody does it, but no one ever talks about it.. Like an undercover taboo that we pick at over conversations with our best friends but don’t really discuss.

It could be because of the religious aspect of abstaining till marriage, or it could be the social purgatory you’d send yourself to if you ever told someone that you are sexually active. “3aib” has become more important and feared than “7aram” in some cases, so I think the latter is probably the most true.

I never got the “sex talk” from my mom. I don’t think I’ll get it even if I get married. My married friends never got it either. I guess our moms just assume we know because of the internet and TV and all of the things we’re open to (no pun intended).
I’m not entirely sure how it goes for men, but the guys I’ve dated have never been given the birds-and-the-bees talk from their fathers. Some have (clearly) never even paid attention during that one day in Biology class where your red-faced teacher embarrassedly hurried over the reproductive anatomy section of the textbook. “Can you pee when you’re on your period?” …What?

Because we don’t talk about it and we tie so many social stigmas to people that do do it, sex becomes shameful, disconnected, and after it’s all over, it leaves you feeling like you’ve sinned on behalf of the entire Kuwaiti population.

Another thing about it is that very rarely do you come across a man that not only wants to please a woman, but also knows how. Some Kuwaiti men translate their genetic arrogance into a me-first/me-only attitude in the bedroom. And those who don’t are clueless when it comes to finding out what she likes because they don’t ask.
After so much time spent wondering why it is the way it is, a lengthy conversation with a friend over brunch cemented a plausible theory: because we are raised to understand that we can’t do “it” till we’re married, we experiment with self-pleasure until the time comes. And when Mr./Ms. Right takes too long to find us, our minds and bodies give up on us and we break the unspoken rule of no-sex-till-marriage. And when we break that rule, we go into a whole new world knowing only how to please ourselves and not the other person we’re with. As a result, sex becomes mechanical.

On the contrary, I’m sure plenty of new-age Kuwaitis have zero problems in the bedroom because they’re vocal, inquisitive, and are happy to create a shared loving bond between them and their partner. This sub-culture of Kuwaitis also understand that while it is still a taboo, sex is not a bad thing.

My question is: is it ever going to be okay to discuss sex and all the other branches that come with it freely/openly? And how do we go about changing society’s views on something so natural yet so frowned upon? What do you think?

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Unfollow

Social media dating has slowly become more prevalent in our society, and in a way, I’m thankful.
As I mentioned before, it helps us understand who we’re dealing with, their interests, who their friends are, etc.. But, there’s also a flip side: a lot of these people aren’t really who they claim to be.

I’ve made so many friends via Twitter and Instagram, and because of my outgoing nature, I’ve met up with them and established real-life friendships with many of them. Thankfully, they’re all (more or less) the people they claim to be on their accounts. So I figured “why the hell not?” and gave the social media dating idea a chance, keeping my options between Instagram and Twitter. Kik and all those other wacko apps are not for me.

My first Twitter dating experience wasn’t bad at all to begin with: we shared the same interests, he was witty, sweet, and we had tons of mutual friends. We dated casually for a couple of months until one day he confessed that he didn’t like going out (not just with me, but in general), and that he would rather stay home or go to the diwaniya every day, claiming that work left him feeling too tired. I tried to be understanding, but dating is supposed to be an exciting, loving experience, and I didn’t want to settle for something less.

We saw each other less frequently, until all our relationship was hanging by was a phone call every evening and a few text messages. Towards the end, we had absolutely nothing to talk about; no shared experiences, just the usual “Work was good, diwaniya was good” and a brief description of what he had for dinner. Needless to say, the predictability of our conversations and his day-to-day left me completely uninterested.
I ended it and we agreed to stay on good terms, and though he saw it coming, he was very, very butt-hurt about it.

For weeks to come, he would “sub-tweet” me (i.e. address a tweet to me without actually mentioning me) with inside jokes from our short-lived relationship and things like “You broke your promise”, etc.

At first it was funny: was this guy really taking all this pent-up anger to Twitter in an attempt to embarrass me or making me feel guilty for not settling with him? But then it quickly started to annoy me – our mutual friends were noticing it, and it felt pretty disrespectful of him to not talk to me privately about how he was feeling. Every time I confronted him (privately) about his childish behavior, he said it wasn’t about me.
I generously let this go on for three or four weeks till I unfollowed and blocked him.

The way we deal with our exes after the breakup is just as important as the way we treat the person during the relationship. Discretion and respect are slowly becoming a lost art because we’re so accustomed to over-sharing on social media. I think it’s important to keep private things private, and his reaction was the ultimate deal-breaker for me.

Have you ever tried meeting a special someone via social media? How did it go?

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What the hell do you want?

Growing up around and going to school with girls from well-off families, I always felt a little crappy at the fact that I couldn’t afford designer bags and I never looked as well-put-together as they did. They spoke a certain way, drove nice cars, and guys thought they were gorgeous and so hard to get. I wanted to be just like them, and no matter how hard I tried, I was always one step too far. With time, I learned to accept my Plain Jane self and embraced my shortcomings.

The most comment (or compliment?) I get from the guys I’ve dated is that I’m “different”. And every time I prod them for elaborations on what “different” actually means to them, they say I’m not like the other Kuwaiti girls – I’m myself. The fact that I was a breath of fresh air to some made me feel good, and with that air of confidence, I became the lover and best friend rolled into one.

But like clockwork, at some point in the relationship, without any introductions or preliminaries, they’d announce that they’re getting engaged to someone else. This someone else is usually the complete opposite of who I am, and all the confidence I’d built up for months would come crumbling down like a soft sandcastle. What was wrong with me?

The last relationship I was in ended in the worst way – the male in question disappeared without a trace and got married (I found out via text), and would pretend not to see me whenever we crossed paths.

It would take years for me to realize that I’m not the problem. Maybe, as my best friend so eloquently put it, they’re intimidated by me. Maybe they don’t know how to live up to all the awesomeness I’ve surrounded myself with. Maybe they just want to be with someone that doesn’t challenge them.
Whatever the case was, I was tired of dealing with insecure Kuwaiti men who obviously couldn’t handle me.

Being single for a few years now has built my self-esteem up, and I feel more self-sufficient and independent than ever. I still wonder what the hell Kuwaiti men are looking for in a mate, and why they contradict themselves so much when it comes down to what they want and what they end up going for.

Any insight?

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Beard

Dating post-drivers-license was a losing game for me. Looking back, I realize I had wasted a good two years with someone who had too many skeletons in his closet (and could possibly be closeted himself) to have a normal, healthy relationship.

We met under cliche circumstances: I discovered that my car had a flat tire in the parking lot of a busy supermarket/strip mall. He came to the rescue, gave me his number, and told me to call him to let him know I made it home safely. The naïve teenager in me called him and thanked him, and the rest was history.

In the beginning, it was all rainbows and butterflies. Even though he didn’t speak a word of English, he would text me all day, ask to see me, and make me feel like I was the only woman in the world. For someone who’d never been with a “typical Kuwaiti” guy before, I was pleasantly surprised!

A few months into our relationship, I began to notice something was very off. He craved attention; not just from me, but from every “it” girl in Kuwait. Time and time again I’d find numbers and texts and pictures in his phone, and he’d tell me they meant nothing, or that his friend had used his phone to text some girl… The list of excuses piled on until I couldn’t take it anymore.

What the hell could this guy want more than he already had? He was from a prominent family, lived in a nice house, was quite handsome, had no health issues…
After months of prodding for answers, his best friend confided in me that Mr. Attention Whore has homosexual tendencies and that the guys at the diwaniya were slowly ebbing away from him. The first thought that came to my mind was the many times he asked me if I’d mind having anal sex if we ever got married. Putting two and two together, I assumed that the reason why he was being a man-whore was an attempt to reinforce his heterosexuality to himself and to his friends. Needless to say, I wasn’t having it.

When I broke it off with him, I plainly told him it wasn’t working out. He cried and begged me to come back for months, and his mom and sisters would call, too, telling me that they missed me and asked me to reconsider.

Later on in life, I’d learn that this was a Kuwaiti epidemic; some men, both single and married, have homosexual urges or are closeted, and get married to unknowing women to save their reputation or to reinforce their manliness. While the thought alone repulses me, I’d joke with my friends that at least I had lost him to a man and not another woman.

Lesson learned: Never jump into a relationship without checking all the bases, the dugout, the locker room, and the stadium. If something seems fishy, steer clear and move on.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you questioned your man’s sexuality? How did you address it?

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Dating Dilemmas

By the time I was 18, my mom started to pay closer attention to who I was dating. Were they eligible? Were they committed? How soon could they, if marriage was in the books, propose?

Don’t get me wrong: my mom has always known about my dating adventures and she had never once made me feel any sort of pressure to get married. However, social stigmas and the fact that my family is so liberal wasn’t the greatest formula.
But at 18, I was still young and having fun. Sure, the thought of being in a committed relationship crossed my mind several times, but it never came to fruition because of the losers in my age range that I would eventually date.

Getting my drivers license was my ticket to freedom. I could cruise around for hours, go to a friend’s house, go to dinner, go to a movie, and not have to worry about the driver picking me up before curfew or not having any sort of privacy.
So, I did what any 18 year-old at the time would do: get dolled up, cruise up and down Share3 Al-7ub (AKA Love St.) with my friends, get juice from Tha7ya, and at the end of the night, go through all the phone numbers that had been given to us by the guys that saw us, trying to remember who’s number belonged to the guy in the Range Rover and if the guy in the G-Class was Ahmad or Yousef. We never called any of them, but it was fun seeing how many numbers we could collect. Some guys would be so confused and desperate, they’d stop us and chat us up twice without realizing we were the same girls from two hours ago.

If my mom taught me anything that stuck, it would be that boys you find on the street are probably picking 5 or 6 other girls up along with you. But at 18, in a country with no real social events/scenes and where interacting freely with a stranger (let alone of the opposite sex) is considered a taboo, how else were we supposed to meet guys?

Ten years later, we face the same problem. Social media has taken the place of being chased by cars down the street, and while it is a better alternative that makes it easier to understand the male psyche, it presents a few challenges:

1) Meeting someone off the internet is still considered weird and unsettling to some.

2) A ton of people, men and women alike, live double lives and aren’t really who they say/tweet/instagram/snapchat they are.

3) The rapidly rising rate of homosexuality in Kuwait makes the chances of finding a single, eligible, STRAIGHT guy even more difficult, even with social media.

Still, I took a couple of chances, which I will discuss later. Please bear in mind that I do not speak for all Kuwaiti women, but I’m certain that the majority share these challenges when it comes to dating!

Out of curiosity: how do you go about meeting people in a country that has unintentionally(?) created restrictions on ways to meet people?

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