My friend posted on my Facebook this weekend the article titled “Single and Proud” by Rasha Dwedar on the marital status Muslim ladies are choosing, specifically in Egypt. My friend asked for my thoughts and here’s what I had to say…
Skimmed through the article which is exactly what I saw in Egypt… girls dying to get married only to feel stuck. Some get out, some stay put because they don’t know what else to do. I saw a girl put up with a really stupid, idiotic fiance because people envied how cute he/they were. Now she’s married, with a kid, and dare not continue dreaming of going for her masters or her high school diploma hubby will dump her. Those same girls then always ask me why I don’t want to get married and my simple response, “what for?” I know what I want in my life, I’m extremely independent and don’t need someone to “order me around or take care of me”. Until someone out there can share my vision in life, has great ambitions to go further in life and not give two shits what other people might think, then I’ll consider getting married. Until then, single and proud!
Living the Confused Expatriate Life Part 2 of a Few… Marital Status By: Ms. Hala
I am not married. I am not engaged. I am not in a relationship. I am single. It has followed me around to no end, even when I’ve moved thousands of miles away, to a conservative Arab country.
When it comes to my status here in Qatar, I’ve come across two reactions in people.
The first being the cheerleaders. They are the ones with nothing but kind and positive reinforcements. It’s even more astounding when it comes from those I least expect it from. For example, the older Egyptian gentlemen whom I work with that are always encouraging me. In the last four months that I’ve worked with one of the managers, not a day goes by without him always complementing my strength and determination, especially during some of the challenges we’ve faced at the office, for doing what I do. With limited internet access in the past few months, when I do log on, I find a good number of emails and messages via social media from young people whom have noted how they follow-up on my latest Qatar adventures with inspiration. Some of them, already here in Qatar, have blessed me with their friendship.
The second being the haters. They are the ones with nothing but stupid, stereotypical and just plain envious words because I can’t find any other reason for their bad energy. These are the people that feel the need to say one of three things:
“You’re here, alone? No family? No husband? But why? You poor thing.”
“I could do what you’re doing now but so-and-so said men don’t like girls like that and I really want to get married.”
“I wish I was you! You’re doing everything I’m too dipshit* to do on my own! People talk you know.”
After my third month living in Qatar, I just stopped trying to answer to these people. Yes, I’m here alone with the blessings of my family. However, that’s when I came to realize that there are very few people like me in Qatar and most young ladies are living here either with family or a spouse, not alone. I miss my mommy.
Please, don’t tell me of how you could do things for yourself if your life revolves around someone else. You people are more irritable to me than those whom keep trying to set me up with this “great guy”. Please realize that not all of us are living up to some odd standard of husband hunting. Some of us actually live for ourselves, have more meaning to life than just finding someone to accept us. I mean you want to get married, great, but life doesn’t need to revolve around the idea.
And for crying out loud, if you want to do something, just shut the fuck up and go for it. Trust me, when you don’t do nothing, people will have something to say about it. When you do anything, guess what? People will have something to say about it. Funny thing though, most people don’t give two shits about what you are (or aren’t) doing so I’m still trying to figure out why you even care about the opinion of those people.
As of last month though, I’ve come across the third reaction that has started to get under my skin.
The third being some of Qatar’s policies. Before I go on a rant here, I want to state that I understand why some of these policies are in play, to prevent human trafficking and prostitution. However, there’s got to be some kind of line of reasoning, understanding, common sensing (Is that even a word? Well it should be.) around here. And here’s where my rant begins.
Exhibit A: In order to obtain my Qatar Residency Permit (RP), I had to go through a medical screening. Mainly an X-ray of the chest for TB screening and two different blood tests. For those sponsored by an employer, the company pays in advance for the fees or refunds you for it while all others usually pay upfront during their appointment. If you are born in Qatar, you don’t go through this lovely experience.
The Medical Commission that I was blessed to attend through my place of work was the most disgusting place in Qatar. It starts out nice, divided into a section for the ladies and a section for the men. Or so I thought, until I drove towards the ladies section to find swarms of men waiting outside the ladies’ only entrance. I entered alone, passing the many odd stares and glares. Once inside, there were two lines, those pre-paid and those needing to pay. The pre-paid line was empty. Showed the lady at the counter my blue passport, got the up and down look before the lovely question, “You’re here through work? You’re here alone?”
“Yes,” I answered back smiling sarcastically and annoyed. She kept rolling her eyes as she processed my papers and directed me to the x-ray room. After the lovely experience of being herded like animals and watched by others as I took the x-ray, twice, I picked up what was left of my dignity and went to get my first blood test. Upon looking me up on the computer, the lovely lady at the counter made stupid remarks about me being work sponsored before handing me a few documents plus a little booklet.
Not paying attention, I walked towards the exam room where a kind nurse was assisting me in getting my blood test. Having small talk and looking at the booklet because I hate needles (don’t ask me how I got my lip pierced!), I realized what the booklet was, “Prayers for the Dead”. Really? Bitch gave me a prayer book for the dead? Kind nurse laughed at a comment I made as she instructed me to go to a private clinic for my second blood test. I gave the bitch the booklet back stating, “I’m not dead”.
Throughout the short drive to the clinic I kept thinking what the hell was her intention giving me that booklet? Am I as good as dead? Or did she just run out of “Prayers for the Living” booklets?
Deeply annoyed sigh.
Exhibit B: I finally found a nice little apartment, comfortable for myself and my little devil child, Ms. Doha, in a brand new gated community. Upon registering and signing, it was brought to the attention of the gentleman handling my application that the contract would be under my happy name.
“Ma’am, are you registering under your name?”
“Yeeeeeees. I’m the one whom will live here.”
“Do you have an ID?”
“Yes! Here’s my Qatar ID and my passport as well.”
“Do you have a letter of employment verification?”
“No, I wasn’t told I needed one when I inquired over the phone.”
“You need a letter of employment verification to complete your application.”
“Why? My Qatar ID specifically states my place of employment as my sponsor.”
“Yes but you’re special.” He joked politely seeing my disapproved reaction. I’ve been told that reaction scares a lot of people. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing so I tried to make a curious face. It didn’t work. Poor guy continued with his charming self, “Company policy requires that you bring a letter of employment verification because you’re a single lady. We’ll extend your booking time and follow-up with you, don’t worry.”
I just stared blankly, watching other people register without a hitch. The gentleman assured that the apartment was mine and that he would follow-up with me but to please bring that letter from my employers. I left a little disappointment and fearful I was going to lose this nice place. I had to move out of my place and my lifestyle choice was the reason for the delay? Akh!
I have to say that the lovely people of our HR department were understanding and produced the necessary documentations for me within the hour. The apartment company did continuously follow-up with me until I showed up with the letter later that evening. They were generous enough to expedite my move-in date upon knowing my circumstances. People here are helpful towards a single lady, especially if she’s willing to follow company policy.
*Disclaimer: none of those whom made that statement actually called themselves “dipshit”, but I think they should have.
When many ask me why I’m still single, it’s sometimes difficult to explain that it’s because I haven’t meet someone with a certain compatibility. There are some attributes in my book that one must have or not have for me to feel there’s a compatibility. It’s my personal belief that if a desired attribute is missing or and undesirable attribute is present, then there is no point in settling at all.
10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person, puts it in that sense of perspective.
As I read Dr. Nafisa Sekandari and Hosai Mojaddidi’s article on Muslim Village, I must say it’s very well put! It’s a few simple points and questions that so many people, including many of us Muslims, fail to consider.
This excerpt near the end of the article asks a powerful question:
Morality and spirituality are the qualities that truly define someone in addition to beauty, money, and health. The morally upright and spiritual person will stand by your side during adversity and hardship. If someone isn’t God-conscience and doesn’t take themselves into account with God then why should you expect them to fulfill their rights owed to you?
After you read this article, I hope that in some ways it makes sense and gets you thinking about putting things in perspective. To my non Muslim readers, I’m sure you’ll feel the same as I did that this article isn’t written just for Muslims.
If you’re from San Francisco and single like myself, you will appreciate this hilarious piece by Christine Borden of the SF Appeal! Enjoy! =)
The Sexual Manifesto: Reasons Why You’re Still Single
By: Christine Borden
Singledom can be a degenerative disease. Instead of alleviating the pain, let’s attack the source of this problem. You may be (sad and) single if…
1. You use the following fragrances: Tag, Axe, Old Spice (arguable). You use them liberally and as if you were hard of smelling. Not even hipsters are this self-ironic.
2. When you see someone you really, really like in public, you flirt with them by staring. Oh god, they’re looking at you! Avert your eyes! Stare at them again. Quick, what does that ad in Spanish say? It’s so fascinating. Er, fascinante.
I came across a very interesting article yesterday by Lindsay Schnaidt via Maria Shriver amidst my e-revolution efforts that I felt is relevant to be included in my W.I.S.S. series.
Lindsay notes an interesting point in her article,
There is no shortage of theories on the cause of this. We are too busy or too picky. There just aren’t enough good men out there. Technology has changed how people interact with one another and we aren’t adapting quickly enough. One recent blog even went as far to say many women aren’t married because we are angry, we are sluts or we are selfish.
So my question is: in order to get these husbands, do we need to become a little more needy?
I think that just because we are in fact not with someone doesn’t make us angry, sluts or selfish… just well aware of what we are looking for. With regards to “what we need to be”, I refuse the notion that we should be needy in order to be with someone. If anything, I’m a firm believer that a strong independent lady should be with someone who appreciates her independence and supports it.
Funny enough though that as we ask if we are in fact too independent for our own good, I hear the answer as “yes” from other ladies in my community. However, I get a whole different perspective on that from the gentlemen. One gentleman told me that if a lady is not independent, then there is no point in being with someone that needs constant “babying”. Interesting…
So click here to check out the article and let me know what you think!
I thought this post by KABOBfest was hilarious as in many cases, it’s so true! I’ve encountered every single type of Arab man depicted here but my favorites will always be number 9 and number 10! Enjoy! 🙂
I’m sitting on my laptop, doing homework and minding my own business when my mom comes up to me and asks, “can I speak to you for a moment about something?” Of course, I put my laptop down and listen to what my mom has to say. She’s starts talking about another potential marriage proposal by some doctor on a residency visa in New York when I kindly tell my mom I’m not interested.
In the last few weeks, the details of the marriage proposal by this doctor start to surface. Of course, nothing stays quiet in our loud and proud community! It has reached the ears of some of our family friends who are shocked that I refused his proposal. Everyone had something to say along the lines of, “Give him a chance, he’s a rich doctor after all. How long are you going to stay like this?”
What many don’t understand is that I can honestly careless about such material things, especially when that’s all a man has to offer. I’d rather “stay like this” vs being rich and miserable.
Here’s the full situation: This guy is on a 5 year residency visa (for medical school) with two years left as of this month. He wants to stay in the country beyond those two years by getting married this year to an American citizen. Of course after learning about me through my extended family in New York, he states that he’d rather be with a girl of his same traditional Muslim and Egyptian cultural values then to just marry anyone.
He let it be known that his family is of wealth and stature in Egypt whom he’s spoken with about his interest in proposing to me. His family then spoke to a family friend in New York to call my mother and help them make the formal proposal assuming the impossibility that my family would refuse their stature and wealth. He then would be willing to take a whole week off (that’s 7 days for those unsure how long a week is) to come to San Francisco so that we’d meet and make the necessary arrangements.
Ummm… is it just me or does this assumption sound ridiculous to anyone else?
Speaking from a Muslim perspective, I can not accept his proposal. Why? It’s because Islam teaches us that when seeking a life partner, there are four things amongst many that one should really consider (This is according to Sahih Bukhari/Muslim).
1. Faith (or “Deen”). For a relationship to grow and blossom, it must start with a good foundation of strong Islamic faith and understanding. It’s also the open-mindedness to learn and empower one’s self as a Muslim.
2. Beauty. We aren’t talking about just physical beauty but inner beauty first. Beauty of one’s personality, intelligence, compassion and understanding. I’m a firm believer that inner beauty is truly shown by how one carries themselves.
3. Rank/Status. This doesn’t necessarily mean their rank in school or status in society but in regards to their contribution to society and involvement in the community. How one is recognized in good light throughout their community.
4. Wealth. It’s not whether they are rich or poor but if they are financially stable and responsible. It’s also how do they utilize this wealth; charity (“zakat”), community building, investments, self growth, etc. However, Prophet Mohamed teaches us that one should take another for their faith over their wealth so that they may be successful.
Aside from the fact that I have no clue of this guy’s faith or beauty but only hearsay of his rank and wealth (as well as their view of such), personally I’m simply not interested. I’m not interested in someone who has not made the effort to get to know me on a personal level. He did not ask our family friend in New York about me, what I do, what I aspire to do, nor if we are in anyway compatible with each other. All he knows is how my name is listed in my American passport. Now he knows that I’m not interested in being anyone’s bridge to American visa extension.
As an old Egyptian saying goes, “خد القرد على ماله، يروح المال، يفضل القرد على حلوه” (take a monkey for his riches; when the riches are gone, the monkey stays as is). Now why would I wait for so long only to end up with a monkey?
…and that’s Why I’m Still Single.
Click here to read the introduction to the series.