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?