“Obin Mind”

One of the funniest things about being a liberal Kuwaiti woman is seeing how men react to the fact that I’m more open-minded than most Kuwaiti women. With that being said, let me define open-mindedness in my terms:

I have many male friends, both straight and gay, and I go out with them when our busy schedules allow it. I have friends that drink and smoke up, and though I do not do those things, I don’t judge them for doing so. I dress how I like to dress, as long as I’m not disrespecting anyone or my surroundings. My thoughts and teachings are not confined to what my society/culture has dictated to me. I like to think I’m well-rounded, and I’m always hungry for new information and ideas.
I’m sure many like-minded Kuwaiti women will agree that with our personalities/lifestyles, dating in Kuwait is an absolute nightmare.

Many, many times I’ve come across men who awkwardly translate “obin mind” to “obin legs”, and this usually happens right after they find out that I have male friends. Just because I have male friends, doesn’t mean I’m sleeping with them. One guy called me relentlessly trying to get me to come to his “apartment” (read: sex pad) so we could “hang out”. I had to block his calls and pathetic texts. Bear in mind, this has only happened with typical Kuwaiti men.

The not-so-typical-yet-still-somewhat-traditional Kuwaiti men are my favorite (/sarcasm). They’ll appreciate my open-mindedness, yet still try to stop me from living my life the way it is. One guy I was in a serious relationship with loved the fact that we could go out and have dinner and not sneak around anyone. But, he wouldn’t let me hang out with my guy friends, and would get so put off by my friends who drank, even though he himself would have some wine or a cocktail when he was on vacation. Judgey-wudgey!

I thought I was successful with the last relationship I was in. As soon as we were introduced and getting acquainted, he told me how much he admired my outlook on life. “Awesome!” I thought, “We’re heading in the right direction!”
A couple of weeks into our relationship, he asked if he could be honest with me about a few things without me judging him. I assured him he could confide in me. He began to tell me about his adventures with cocaine, and how many lines he did when he woke up, and how many lines he did before he went to bed. I laughed, thinking that these were adventures of his younger experimental years. “No,” his eyes widened as he laughed, “This was last week!”

I won’t judge you for who you are or what you do, but I’m not trying to build a relationship/life with a budding cocaine addict. Being open-minded and being a substance abuser are not one and the same. Needless to say, I had a long talk with him about why it was best for us to part ways.

At the end of the day, I’m not a woman who has forgotten about her culture/traditions. Open-mindedness to me means being accepting and understanding, educated, respectful and mindful of others even though their ideas and views differ from mine.
I really hate the way some men see it as a green light to try to get me to do things that I don’t do, or label me as a harlot.

What was your worst experience with the term “open-minded”? What challenges do you face (both men and women!) because you’ve adopted this mindset?

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23 thoughts on ““Obin Mind”

  1. Anonymous says:

    β€œIt is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
    ― Charles Darwin

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  2. Muhannad Al-Wazzan says:

    As a 20-something year old man i would suggest that instead of friend-zoning guys you should give them a chance. some of the best marriages last because both parties consider each other to be their best friends.

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    • While I agree with the last part of your comment, I also believe that I don’t have to be in a relationship that compromises my values just because we can be good friends. We all deserve to be with someone who makes us feel comfortable in every way as well as have them be our best friend/confidante. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

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  3. zainab says:

    You’re so ignorant and ironically close-minded

    This post proves your close-mindedness and ignorance when it comes to Kuwaiti girls. Many if not most Kuwaiti girls have guy friends, stop pretending you’re an expert on Kuwaiti society.

    Do you have any actual evidence that most Kuwaiti women don’t dress the way they like? Have you met most Kuwaiti women or asked them if they dress the way they like? Are you a mind-reader? Stop assuming things

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    • 1- I never said I was an expert on Kuwaiti society; I speak from my experience.

      2- I never said Kuwaiti girls don’t have guy friends.

      3- I never said that Kuwaiti women don’t dress the way they like (or implied that they’re not allowed to).

      4- I clearly stated in that paragraph that I was speaking about what open-mindedness means to ME.

      Stop assuming things.

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      • koot says:

        Kuwaitis are actually the most open-minded Gulf Arabs

        Kuwaiti society is the most liberal society in the Gulf, Emiratis are much more conservative than Kuwaitis.

        Among the Gulf states, Kuwait has the highest percentage of:
        – Local women who don’t wear the abaya
        – Local women who wear Western-style clothes
        – Local women who don’t wear the hijab
        – Working local women (47% of Kuwaiti women work)
        – Local women studying at foreign universities abroad in UK/USA/Canada/Australia/Germany/EU

        99.9% of Emirati women wear the abaya. 99.9% of Qatari women wear the abaya. Qataris and Emiratis think it’s ”3aib” if a local girl wears jeans in public.

        Kuwait has the highest percentage of local female labour participation in the Gulf. In 2013, more than 46.75% of Kuwaiti women were part of national workforce. Only 20% of local Emirati women are part of the national workforce, that means only 20% of Emirati women work.. whereas nearly half of Kuwaiti women work

        Kuwaiti women have much more freedom than other Khaleeji women.

        99.9% of Omani women wear the abaya. In Oman, it’s very ”3aib” if a local girl wears jeans in public

        Kuwaiti society is more open than other local Khaleeji societies

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      • Your definition of open mindness/liberalism is very superficial. And you keep repeating this superficial definition in other blogs for months now. My wife wears the veil, and she is one of the most open minded and liberal people that I know. So stop your stereotyping.

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  4. ay bee says:

    I’m considered “Obin Minded” cause I’m somewhat Americanised, The most insane thing that happened to me is basically I got cheated on, and called out because I should be more “accepting” and “open-minded”. I just got cheated on for God’s sakes. What the fuck do you mean Open Minded?! What sort of open are you all about? Long story short, I just dropped the girl. You say that open minded shouldn’t mean open legs, which hit me perfectly, because I cannot stress enough that doesn’t always mean the same thing. I would love to actually MEET someone a good open-minded. Not some messed up acceptance.

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  5. athikin says:

    HI, Telling you honestly i think what your doing is really great i absolutely love all your posts and u should keep posting more…… you will have a lot of haters but i just wanted to let you know there are a few people who actually appreciate the effort….. looking forward for more and keep writing peace.

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  6. Spartan says:

    wow…you’re the female version of me! from A to Z…anyway..i have a very contradicting groups of friends…i have friends with long beards…i have moderately liberal friends…and i have extremely liberal friends..i get along well with all kinds of people cause i dont judgement them and i have a strong independept personality which allows me to maintain my own set of beliefs without being affected by peer pressure…however, i think the toughest thing i’ve had to deal with, is having to defend myself against some judgemental mentalities often…some think i’m an islamic extremist cause they’ve seen me hang out with my long bearded friends..and some think i’m “obin minded” (their definition of open mindedness does not match your definition) and consequently assume i probably drink and smoke up…when in fact i’m neither an extremist nor “obin minded”…i enjoy the company of different people (religous, liberal, men, women, gay, straight, etc)…but my friends do not define my character..if i had to define my own character, i’d say i’m a conservative liberal..if there was such a thing lol

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    • LOL! Oh my God. That’s exactly how I describe myself; a conservative liberal! There are values that I can’t help but hold on to, but I still enjoy myself as don’t restrict myself because of society. Glad people like you exist! Well-rounded and friendly. Good for you!!

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  7. My experience with this issue is how some Kuwaiti girls tend to misunderstand the term open mindedness, especially non-english school graduates. They think it means to let go of everything, and live a YOLO sorta mentality. Thats a total put off for not-so-typical Kuwaiti guys like me, (yet slightly traditional!). I believe relationships do require compromises, and sacrifices from both ends, as long as they are not uni-lateral (one sided). Id never give up my lady friends whom ive known for +20 years, but i would cap the amount of NEW unneccessary lady acquaintences i would usually make say at the gym or social media, out of respect for her. I would however, expect the same back.

    Security is an important thing, especially in a predator-like society where going for dinner can end up with dudes following you to your garage, or a simple “like” or “retweet” means you’re flirting (stupid).

    I just think being open minded also means being tolerant to your partners sensitivities, “you” guys are all that matter in the end.

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  8. A. says:

    Even though I’ve refrained from trying to define myself, whether I’m “open-minded” or not, I’ve been constantly struggling to stop people from trying to continuously label me.

    Having guy friends even though I am (traditionally) married, wearing Hijab but still having liberal and non-religious opinions, constantly speaking in English in spite of being educated in public schools my whole life… people around me seem to judge me whenever they get a chance, as if it’s their God-forsaken right.

    “You listen to music, wear make up and have guy friends who might occasionally drink and/or smoke, but how come?! You wear Hijab! AND you’re married!”

    I find myself constantly having to draw lines for people who try to attack me just because I’m slightly different, and those who try to take advantage of my “open-mindedness”.

    Bottom line, I can completely relate to everything you said even though my setting is slightly different than yours.
    Keep up the amazing job.

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  9. Yasmeen says:

    I absolutely love this blog! Its so refreshing to read a brutally honest outlook on dating in Kuwait, keep it up! I’m Kuwaiti and have never dated a Kuwaiti guy cuz I could never understand their mentality and I thank god everyday that my parents are extremely open minded and understanding and had no issues with me choosing to marry whoever I want so I ended up with an Emirati guy who accepts how I choose to live my life. I am married and I have not changed anything about my lifestyle, I wear whatever I want, I still hang out with my guy friends who he is now friends with and we both understand/respect each other and know our boundaries and he has never judged me about what I did with him before marriage or questioned my past. That is the meaning of open-mindedness not the crap Kuwaitis dish out.

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