Ok, I had a serious question from a military guy (who is lucky enough to leave post once in a while). He sounds like a very decent kind of guy and wanted to know how to talk to Arab women.
He said that he and his friends have been scared into believing that they would go to jail if they dared to chat with one of the ladies, so even if the ladies are overt in initiating contact - they don't even make eye contact. Desert Girl says BULLSHIT. I’ll get to this point in a minute….
I think that many of the military’s policies are alarmist, written by people on 2-year tours who take home with them absolutely nothing about the culture or country in which they were stationed. I think it is sad. You go thousands of miles from home and all you hear is how NOT to get to know the society. It is kind of like the blind leading the blind.
People like me who have lived and worked in Kuwait for years rarely have the opportunity to talk to military people about Kuwait and the culture. I try – honestly. I try to speak to decision makers at every opportunity and get them to see Kuwait – from someone who has first-hand knowledge. The top brass is often too busy to get off the base to see the real Kuwait also; These are hard-working guy. I have a hard time leaving my office and I don’t have to have an escort with me. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for a general to just drive around and check things out; or for that matter, to integrate at all into society here. (Write to me – I would be honored to show you the real Kuwait and introduce you to people who would take you to weddings, diwaniyas, cultural events.)
The military in Kuwait doesn’t have any programs where people like me can talk to soldiers and tell our stories - at least make people feel more comfortable living/working in their host country. They probably won’t because I assume that everything would have to be scripted – defeating the purpose. I would love to do a 1-on-1 Q&A session with a group of soldiers, honestly.
If you’ve ever been to any of the PXs on the bases here, you will see that the soldiers aren’t even offered real Kuwaiti goods: they get plastic trinkets from India at 10 times their value. That is so sad! Kuwait has so much to offer!
This is why membership to AUSA is very important. Kuwaiti people – join and help a soldier learn about your country! Membership is so cheap – I think it is like 9KD for individuals and 50 KD for a corporate membership. AUSA is an organization that supports troop activities, morale, and events (in a nutshell). It is also just plain good business to be involved with them.
I have thought about trying to start up a book donation to provide books on Kuwait to the MRW sites; especially at Ali Al-Salem where the troops transition in and out of Kuwait and are often waiting around for their plane home. I don’t know if I can do this, but again, I’m going to try.
Anyhoo… after my incessant ramblings… back to how to meet Arab women (those who want to meet you – and I’ll tell you how to determine that below).
Yeah yeah yeah… I’ll get backlash from people saying, “Haram – Moslem women don’t date, yada yada.” Uh yeah – many do. Some or many don't. By the by, Moslem MEN aren't supposed to date either, but don't tell me that they're not. Some don’t. Some Christian ladies don’t date either. Some do. So what? Humans are humans no matter where you go. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Going back to MY personal experience; many of MY Arab female friends are quite willing to get to know (maybe not date, but establish friendships) with American men. What’s the problem? My Kuwaiti friend, Mona, has a beautiful 23 year old daughter and she told me that she wouldn’t mind her daughter marrying an American man – as long as he’s Moslem. Hey – things are a’changin in Kuwait. Kuwaiti men have been marrying foreign women for years. Get over it.
Ok, Kuwaiti dudes I knew in the US found that the fastest way to learn about American culture and language was through their American girlfriends. Full circle.
Rambling again. Ok…. The key to any relationship in Kuwait is discretion. This is particularly true of the initial meeting. You ab-so-lutely can NOT walk up to an Arab woman and start talking to her as you would in the States/West. “Hi. You have a beautiful smile. I was wondering if you would like to have coffee with me sometime.” SMACK! No, no, noooooooo!!!! Youse can’t do that here. You have to take what you have learned in the States as appropriate behavior and twist it. Why? Because if someone saw her talking to a strange man in public, she would be viewed as a bad girl, a tramp, a ho, a skankyass mall whore. If her family members saw you talking to her, they would get mad because you had just inadvertently insulted their sister and therefore their family/tribe/ancestors. You get the point.
So, what do you do? Desert Girl's Method of Approach in 3 easy-to-follow steps (not yet available in stores):
Step 1 – Direct Eye Contact
First, DIRECT EYE CONTACT. People stare here. It’s what they do. It’s cultural. But for a man to make direct eye contact with a woman (et vice-versa) implies something personal. If she holds the eye contact and/or smiles – you can proceed to step 2). If she gives you a dirty look (spits, says something), then obviously it’s off.
Step 2 – The Smile
Look around, make sure that no one is looking, and give her a smile. If she smiles back or signals in some way that it is ok to proceed, go to Step 3
Step 3 – The Exchange
This is where you have to be really discreet. There are several mediums for making the number exchange (well, actually just giving her yours) and it should happen quickly so that no one sees you:
Bluetooth (high-tech) Method. Bluetooth is very common in Kuwait. Not only are people everywhere in Kuwait at coffee shops for a cup o’ Joe, but they are also there to meet. It is like a virtual bar – without alcohol and with virtual conversation. You will know when there is a lot of Bluetooth activity when you see people scrambling to send messages on their phone every few minutes. Get to know your phone before you set out to Bluetooth - figure out how to send/receive messages. (Do NOT create a catchy picture on your computer with your phone number. Broadcasting is just tacky.) First, set your Bluetooth nickname to a number that you can show her on one hand, like “3” for example. When she looks at you, look at your phone (or pick it up and “show” it to her) and then signal with 3 fingers that you are number “3” on the list of Bluetooth names. She will send you a Bluetooth note and you should respond by sending her your number. You can probably write a note ("Notes" feature on Nokias) to keep on your phone that says something like, "Hi. I'm John. You have beautiful eyes. (not "nice ass, babe") Please call me at 555-1234." DONE.
Paper (conventional) Method. Write your number on a small piece of paper. Making sure no one is watching, flick it, drop it, leave it on her table while passing. Again – never ever engage in conversation. This would be considered insulting.
(If you see where she has parked), phone number/note on her car window. This should be small and descriptive of who you are. This is a more impersonal approach and may not get as good results as the high-tech and conventional methods.
Ok, so if she is interested, fer sure she’ll call you. A woman will never ever give her number to you first or on the first meeting – it would imply that she’s a tramp (this mentality is changing a bit).
After she calls, you will probably talk for a long time before you actually meet. You should use a lot of flowery, compliments. Anything over-the-top will make you a superstar. Closer: If you actually buy her or send her flowers (all you need is her phone number and flower dudes will deliver. Check out Kuwait Flowers online service) she would probably loveyoulongtime. You take it from there, but just remember that where ever you do meet, you should be discreet about it so that her reputation isn’t harmed in any way/you might inadvertently insult her. That includes letting HER make the first move - if at all. You don’t want to take her to someplace that her brother goes all the time so you don’t get your ass kicked and put in jail. That would be bad. At that point, the military would use you as an example and screw up the lives of countless other people for years to follow (like that soldier from Louisiana in 2005 who got caught in a car with a Kuwaiti girl by her brothers and tried to outrun them and the police down to Arifjan - didn't work out so well for him).
Now, there are other mediums in Kuwait for meeting ladies: Try any of the online dating services: http://www.friendfinder.com/, http://www.adultfriendfinder/ (kinda kinky, but dayam - if there aren't a lot of local folk on thar!), http://www.kiss.com/, http://www.plentyoffish.com/, http://www.khitba.com/, www.armysingles.com, www.qitba.com (Moslem marriage). Kuwaitis don’t post pictures (again, the discretion/honor thing), and neither will most Arab women, but if you are okay with posting yours, you will get more responses.
Are there questions, gentlemen? If so, just write to me and we'll see if we can't get it sorted out.
Bluetooth is no longer an option. Nobody uses it anymore because everyone has a smart phone with apps: chat sites like Instagram and WhosHere where you can just scan to see who is in your area - and see their photos. Paper exchange of phone numbers is still on.