Monday, May 30, 2011

Arabs got Prostitution?

I just read the post that Linoleumsurfer (thelinoleumsurfer.blogspot.com) did on prostitution and how it is veiwed by the majority population of men in the Gulf. I'd post the link but I can't since my blogger won't let me copy-and-paste for some reason. But shyrebelliousarabgirl also posted the link to the exact post. I agreed with his article wholeheartedly, because I've had friends here (guys who I knew through guys I knew through my before-Islam days as a child in Oman) who've used prostitutes too. Even someone I knew very well who'd never used a prostitute a day in his life due to his knack with women---he admitted to me his more religious brothers from his family had. Which blew me away, because the ones that don't drink, the ones that pray, they used prostitutes. And it was okay to all the guys they were friends with, even more religious ones who hadn't done the same things.

Alot of Omani women don't know that their husbands have girlfriends or use prostitutes. My husband, MOP, got mad a bunch of guys at his cousin's work who were bragging about the "whores" they were dating. Understand, these are women who are in a relationship with the guys, who have an emotional attachment to them, and are not "paid" to sleep with the guys. But they are equated as whores. Any woman who sleeps with a man before marriage is a whore in the mindset here, and Linoleum Surfer accurately documents how these women are treated and veiwed, and how alot of sexworkers end up stuck in the trade, not something they chose for themselves. When MOP asked why the guys (married) did such a haraam (sinful to Muslims) thing they said, "their wives were not enough for them." They married a cousin ect, were not in love or overly attracted, ect. Now I know some will think my husband is bad for making this suggestion but he asked them "then why don't you take a second wife?" For Muslims, this is better, and safer for the poor the wife as she isn't likely to contract some sexually transmitted disease, and preserves the rights of the other woman the man finds more suitable to him. She isn't descrated for her affection and devotion to the guy as a "whore". Though why these coward lame excuses for men married at all women that "weren't enough for them" is the blame of culture MOP and I agree. The answer of the adulterers was: "our wives would be mad" "too much trouble, from family, from one's wife, from treating the other woman with all her Islamic rights [which any woman a Muslim man intends to engage with should be offered]. Houses, rent, food are expensive right"

These are their excuses. As if that will make everything right for a wife who married as a virgin and gets an incurrable disease and passes it on to her sinless baby when it is born.

Some of the "respected" husbands and men in our village have gone on trips to Egypt to sleep with prostitutes. Yet a man who knew their sins and would not reveal their sins for fear of God/Allah and desiring the mercy of His Creator, was attacked by these same men and their wives, and scorned as "bad" when he took a second wife. Yet he had, married his first wife as a virgin, maintained her and loved her with all her rights in Islam, and maintained and honored his second wife with all her rights as well. Both wives know full well despite the rumours they have to endure, the friends they have lost, that their husband never slept with a woman he was not married to, and the only women he ever talked to were ones he was determining whether or not he should propose marriage to them. That to many women in the village who do not know their own husbands, the husband with more than one wife is the worst of men, but then, I guess that is why our religion tells us not to judge others, for one we think is the worst, is better than us.

Many things figure into this. Divorce being end of marriage prospects for a woman as an attitude prevalent in Oman, marriages that are arranged before couples fully understand what they are getting into, the idea that "boys will be boys" but that women who are anything but virgins who don't speak to men outside of their work duties are whores. All these things have to change.

Shopping in Oman: consumer exhibitions at the Seeb Exhibition Center

I went to the Seeb Exhibition this week. Near the Golden Tulip hotel in Seeb (parking is the main drawback), it is worth going for deals on clothes, perfumes, kids toys, linens, shoes, bags, and some kitsch (I am fond of the African woven bowls and carvings). I go whenever I can when there is an exhibition on because the deals on dresses, bags, and shoes, as well as abayas, headscarves, and Arabic style gowns are often better than the stores and souqs. I was going for the Egyptian cotton caftans (aka jalabiyias/galabyia) because I wore these out and about in Muscat when I was a non-Muslim and I wear them now as a Muslim in the house dressed up with cute necklaces and earrings. They are so cheap that no one minds wearing them when doing housework. I got a fuschia one with white chord embroidery and an empire waist for 3 rials, a white one the same, and a teal one for 2 rials. Then I stumbled upon a yemeni traditional necklace for 4 rials (better price than Mutrah souq) that matched the neckline of the white dress perfectly, a a teal crystal necklace for 1 rial. Total spent for 3 outfits: 13 rials. I could have bought more but I didn't really need and it was sooooooooo crowded later in the evening. Other items I liked but didn't buy as I headed out.

A decent quality fake Hermes bag in black faux croc. 6 rials.

I saw nice linen handwoven curtains, beadspread & pillow covers at one booth. Two curtains 10 rials. I really liked but this was not what I was on a mission for. Party jalabiyias (Arabic and Khaleeji style chiffon dresses loaded with crystals and beadwork) for parties and weddings. About 20 rials but can be negotiated down to 10 rials at some booths.

Gold in the Gulf---a wedding tradition

In all of the GCC: Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain, owning major gold is the norm. As a kid on Oman, my little sis and I experienced trying on 3 lb gold diadems, and loading our arms up with bracelets [of which, we never bought]. But upon marriage an Omani girl (indeed, a Gulf girl, is expected to ask for some serrious gold, and we're not talking the white gold kind, but heavy traditional necklaces, and headpieces). When I got married here, I didn't ask for any gold which makes people ask, don't you like gold? Well, I mean, I have nothing against it but it is serriously expensive and doesn't make a marriage more successful or anything, so I just thought it a bit much to ask of a man who isn't super rich. In my home country unless you are super rich you don' t buy major jewelry. I don't wear it alot. I prefer jewelry I can wear out everyday. And that I can lose or have stolen without some major tears being shed. [I lose jewelry alot]. So recently one of my brother in laws insisted that I get some gold with a belated wedding gift. It will be something totally new for me. I like Omani silver more because I feel it is more traditional to Oman anyway. Traditional Saudi gold.Since gold in the Gulf is used like savings bonds, the idea is a woman can use it as financial backup if anything bad ever happens to her husband or her marriage. So you'll find emphasis is on weight and consistancy (not white gold here, heavy yellow gold is what is in demand). And why not have it worked into elaborate show peices like headresses, necklances, wide bracelets, rings, earrings, and even face veils? Much more interesting in wedding photos than a gold brick I guess, and comes from the tradition of women carrying their family wealth on their bodies in the days before banks. An example of typical wedding gifts for a bride (pictured above). Examples of Emirati gold (I'm a fan of the headpiece and necklace, I have costume equivelents).























Yemeni kids;) Kuwaiti gold.




Omani Gold. Omani gold is based on traditional silver designs. Most Omani gold is still purchased in the gold souq at Mutrah Souq.
I still can't picture myself wearing alot of real gold. But I think the pictures of the kids wearing it are so cute mashaAllah.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Post Not Really About Oman+Make Up Artists

I admire a good makeup artist, really I do. To me it is an art form, but alas whenever I have my makeup done in Oman, I end up looking like a drag queen or glittery clown. So I like to do my own makeup. With makeup really one can change their look to anything, alas everyone in Oman seems to be trying to do the exact same face even if someone's face shape (or skintone) doesn't suit that lol. Anyway, this isn't really a post to complain about that cuz I am decent at doing makeup on myself and others, but I really wanted an excuse to post makeup artist Promises' work. BTW, all the pics are of the exact same girl, posted above.Angelina Jolie Makeup.Kim Kardashian makeup.Scarlet Johansen makeup.Jennifer Lopez makeup.Taylor Swift makeup.Belle from "Beauty & the Beast" makeupPochahontas makeup2 other makeup looks
and of course every makeup artist has to try their hand at Marilyn Munroe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Post About My Shopping Adventure to City Center

To be honest, I got mall-ed out from some time spent in a brief attempt at living in Abu Dhabi. So I don't really go to the mall in Oman to hang out unless I need something, or I am going to dinner at Chilis. I avoid Carrefoure, unlike most Western expats, unless I am trying to buy lime flavored tortilla chips to eat with salsa. I buy an abaya once or twice a year from Hanayen or Al Motahajaba. Most of my clothes are tailored but I admit, I like Mango for myself, and Monsoon for sweet little girls clothes ect. But I was going to buy a garden pavillion from Carrefoure. I really wanted to makeover my garden area ASAP. So the plan was to buy the garden pavillion, linen curtains for it, et all, then maybe some cushions from Homecenter in Centerpoint, and some garden lamps, and those Morrocan tables that come with Morrocan tea glasses (because I am a mint tea fiend). Well, I went to get the pavillion tent (cuz my yard needs some shade) and there was a sign with the price so of course, I asked for someone to get me one. But alas, there are none in stock. Which is fine, but you know, why not have a sign near the price SAYYYYYYING THAT. Cuz I was, like, debating with myself how much money to spend, and what to buy, and really, that could have saved me, like an hour of my life wasted standing, staring at the garden/camping section in Carrefoure.

Since I wouldn't mind driving to Qu'rum or even Sohar to get one, I asked the store phone and check if the other stores had one in stock. The staff person said they didn't. Of course, when I was IN Sohar a day later (but without my money or bank card go figure) they DID have one in stock. So no one bothered to check. AWESOME.

They did have some cute plastic chairs that were not ugly as most plastic chairs tend to be (and with bench cushions from Centerpoint, looked totally chic) I was slightly cheered, that and lime tortilla chips with old el Paso salsa. Ahhh yes... shopping in Oman.

Omani Traditional Blankets +Jebel Shams

I have meant to buy one of these for the longest time, but in Muscat they are waaaaaaaaaay over-priced. To get the best deal, in Jebal Shams buy them straight from the source, the weaver himself.
I've meant to buy one of these traditional blankets and use it as a rug or wall hanging.