Thursday, May 04, 2006

Another Faux Pas

Last night, about 10 p.m., a friend called and said a group was going to Bur Dubai and he invited me to join them. I agreed. He said they'd pick me up.

When they arrived, they had a young man with them whom I'd never met. The young man had, apparently, said that he knew the best restaurant in Dubai, and he would direct us. We ended up taking a rather circuitous route (through very heavy traffic) from my place to Heritage Village and sat down at one of the restaurants there (I can't remember which one) with tables right on the Creekside. Great view and great food, but a month too late: temperatures were in the high 30s, even at 11 p.m.

The young man, after asking my marital status (he'd already asked my two friends theirs), explained that he is currently looking for a wife. He is from a wealthy family, and is currently enrolled in an MBA program. What my own marital status has to do with his search escapes me, but it's a question that gets asked a lot here.

Meanwhile, another acquaintence, the father of a young girl, has been telling me for almost a year that he is looking for a husband for his daughter, with limited success. Both the young man and the young woman are well educated and (I think) from the same Arab tribe, so it seemed to me that they might make a good match. I thought they might at least start the preliminary exploration, beginning with the girl's father meeting the young man. I started to call the father when the young man and the other Arab in the group both yelled, 'Stop,' so I stopped the call, but not before I'd left a 'missed call' on the father's mobile.

So the father called me right back, and asked why I'd called him. I explained that I knew he was looking for young men to interview for his daughter, and told him that I had a well-educated, good-looking, young man he might wish to meet. He said, 'Thank you,' and hung up.

Both Arabs present explained that I had just committed a serious breach of Arab etiquette, that I must never put a father in touch with a potential suitor for his daughter, that was never done. That I had seriously embarrased both the father and the young man. That it was just terrible, and how could I have done such a thing?

So the father and the young man will both continue looking through 'proper channels,' whatever they are, for potential marriage partners.

It's not proper to explain what, exactly, these 'proper channels' are to an outsider, but I was told I must never try to help in any way, or ask any questions, or make any comments about such a sensitive area. I am to listen to whatever they want to tell me about the progress of their respective searches (and they will want to tell me about their searches), and to keep my mouth shut.

As repayment, the young man and the other Arab pointed out every young woman we saw walking the streets of Dubai at 1:30 a.m. and offered to introduce me, just as I'd offered to introduce the young man. Then they dropped me off at my home.

And I am out of the match-making business for the foreseeable future.


Blogger secretdubai said...

Good lord. And they wonder why so many UAE women can't find national husbands.

Maybe it's time to reform pointless traditions that only hinder the course of true matrimony.

5:18 pm  
Blogger BuJ said...

oh dear... it's not a UAE thing it's definitely an Arab/Muslim thing..

i find it so restrictive.. i totally do not abide by it even though my compatriots are prepared to die for it.

maybe it's because i haven't really lived with arabs or muslims for a while..

anyway.. i don't see why the guy was so stuck up, same with the father. after all they were openly asking for help to get a marriage underway.

true what you did is considered embarrasing if done by an arab, but since you're a yank (so i assume, excuse me if wrong) then surely there's no harm, and seems u had the best of intentions!

damn over-sensitive arabs!!!!

anyway.. for future info.. all marriage proposals go through the mother or other significant female centres of weight in the family :)

fathers only get involved when money is required.

11:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they were not related mate - perhaps that was the problem.........

1:48 pm  

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