Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Looking good as a full-time job?

An old friend of mine has a very busy life. She works full time, and has a small business of her own, teaching art to kids. I admire her a lot. I keep thinking how on earth does she actually have time for all that, and getting old? Because, as I am thinking these days, getting old for a woman who wants to continue looking decent, is a full time job.

Of course, there is always an easy option of just letting yourself go. It is very tempting. Not only is it easy, and cheap…It also gets approval from other middle-aged ladies. They will never openly admit that they are just loving the fact that someone looks worse than them, they will just say’ Oh, I admire how little attention Sarah pays to her looks! Sarah is not vain at all! She has more important things in life to worry about!' Yeah, yeah....that's just great. 

In the meantime, Sarah looks like this:

My grandmother used to say in Azeri, while applying lipstick on her way out to a food market, Dost var, dushman da var. There are friends, and there are enemies out there. A woman should always try to look her best.

The problem is…if I wanted to look my best right now, there would be endless things to get, apply and/or do that would basically, take all my time. And all my money. 

I am not exaggerating. Let’s just look at this.


There are of course, obvious things, like trying to stay slim and working out. Trying to stay slim does not only mean hours of exercise, but of course balanced diet which means looking into what you cook, what you eat, which for some of us can take a while. It is calculating your fats, protein and carbs...Drink water! 

And back to the exercises...It is not simple. The best idea, really, is to do weight training AS WELL as cardio. Great! No problem. But, don’t forget you have to stretch. So, chuck in a couple of hours of yoga or pilates in your weekly routine.

You start loosing weight, great. But then...omg, your face! 


The more weight you loose, the worse it looks on your aging face. So, you either need to invest in fillers, threads and botox or do some facial workouts. There are plenty of videos on Youtube, most claim to transform your sagging double chin and other problem areas in as little as 15 minutes per day. That’s nothing, right?

Don’t forget about the skin. As you age, facemasks and facials are a must. Feed the skin often. 

Drink water! 

Your hair will need more attention, too. You will probably need to have regular colour treatment. As you kill the hair roots with chemicals, balance it out with keratin or argan oil hair masks and treatments to keep it healthy.

Then, I read somewhere recently that, after childbirth, doing your regular pelvic floor exercises might not be enough if you want to tone up, you know, down below. Right, I thought. Tight muscles everywhere- wouldn’t that be nice? A special machine can be purchased, as I discovered, with various programs, depending on your desired goal. Each program is about 20 to 40 minutes and in order to achieve noticeable results (to feel like a virgin again!) you need to stick to your program daily for 12!!! Weeks. 12 weeks of spending 40 minutes every day doing this bizarre exercise I am not even going to describe here. Thereafter, you could just do it every now and again. 

Drink more water.

OK, so let’s summarize. Hours of working out. Stretch. Some tummy flattening exercises, like vacuum.... Pelvic floor exercise. Some facial exercises. That’s it, right? Right? 

Then I see this.

 7 Super Effective Yoga Poses for Beautiful Breasts

Mother ffff….OK, I should try and do them! Maybe, to use my time in a more efficient manner, I could combine the beautiful breast exercises with the stretching for overall body’s benefit yoga time I already have allocated above.

I hear you scream "enough already!' and cover your ears, but no, of course we have not finished yet. You must not forget about the brain! Last but not the least. The brain, as we get older, needs exercising just like any other muscle of our older body. It needs a program too. Like Lumosity. Probably another 30 minutes a day. Then, as we taken care of all the muscles- facial, vaginal, body and brain, it is time to think about the rest of it, deep inside. We need to take supplements. A lot of various supplements! Vitamin D3. Fish oil. Probiotics. Protein shakes, and CLA for weight loss.

Now, unless I am forgetting something-due to lack of brain exercise, which I simply don't have the time for- we are finally done

Oh, yes and drink more water. 

Friday, 27 January 2017

About feelings.

When I was young and naive, and living in Baku, my cousin had a beautiful Saint Bernard puppy, which she then gave away to her brother to look after, once she got pregnant.  I was outraged then. I thought she was the most heartless, cruel, meanest person that I met in my life. You loved that dog, it was your baby, I thought, how could you give it away?!

So, years later, remembering that story, when I was pregnant myself, I sat on the floor with my Rottweiler and re-assured him, over and over again, that I would not, in a slightest possible way, feel any different about him once my baby girl arrives. You are my baby; I used to whisper in his floppy ear, and nothing! will ever change that.

And then, the baby arrived. And I suddenly felt different. Just like that. Of course, I did not give the dog away. I still loved it, but now it was not the same. Yes, I felt bad about it. And I did everything I could to maintain the same level of attention and affection towards the dog as before. But, deep inside, I knew I felt differently.

And then, when time came for us to consider having another baby, I kept wondering, looking at my first daughter, how would it ever be possible for me to love another child as much? I was convinced it was impossible. And then, of course, when my second baby was born, I was in for a huge surprise.

What I am trying to say is that the funny thing about feelings, and I mean true feelings, is that they are completely unpredictable. They are impossible to plan for or calculate in advance. It is pointless to justify or explain them, even to yourself, and most importantly, it is totally impossible to make yourself feel a certain way when you don’t.

I had a girlfriend who has always been a bit, you know…funny with me. She would be very friendly, attentive and helpful and always made sure she kept in touch, however more often than not, when I suggested to get together, she would come up with some silly excuse; until I stopped asking. I realized, that she simply did not really like me. I thought about it, and realized that, she probably wanted to like me. I know you think I am talking nonsense now, but what happens, I believe, is that people think they should act and feel a certain way when deep in their hearts they do not. It is like telling yourself you believe in god when you probably don’t, if you are very honest with yourself. So, with this friend, she probably thought I was a good friend for her. Our kids were close, our husbands got along well, we lived nearby, she probably liked certain things about me, maybe found me useful in some way or another. But, somehow, deep in her heart, she just did not feel that close to me. She did not want to see me that often, and hang out like good friends would, and I just had to accept that she just was not a friend, even though she might have tried to be. And whatever I did, however nice or friendly or helpful I would be towards her, it would not help.

And recently, I came across an article on relationships that received a lot of praise and likes from the readers on Facebook. It was one of these girlie articles on the mistakes we, women make in relationships, and how to avoid them.  It was full of advice of how not to fall in love with the wrong person, how not to allow yourself feel a certain way. Oh please! I thought. How on earth is that going to be possible, to teach yourself to feel or not to feel a certain way? OK, you can probably stop yourself doing something, but surely, the whole point of feelings is that you should not be able to train yourself in or out of them?

Another friend of mine, recently divorced and trying to date again, often discusses recent developments with me. Recently, she broke up with her partner of over a year, and started going out with a new guy. Suddenly, the old guy was back, asking to get back together. What to do, she asked. What to do?  And, as I am reading her struggles of choosing one guy over the other, I can’t help but wonder if she feels anything about either of them? This one is quieter but more reliable, she says, and that one is funnier but a little fickle somehow…Look, I said to her, please don’t get offended but if you had any feelings towards either, this conversation would not be taking place. It should not be a choice. It cannot be a choice. It is that simple. The very fact that you are sitting there calculating the best option means that neither of those guys, sadly, is right for you. You are lonely, and you are middle aged, and you are divorced…It is all pretty miserable; I get it…but please, don’t let all these factors influence your judgement. Of course, like in that article, you could try and convince yourself that you have feelings and you could, I am sure, go quite far in that. People do, I think, have an amazing ability to talk themselves into anything they want to believe is true, when it isn’t. But in the end, the truth will come out and make it all pretty shitty.

So no, I don’t like these articles that teach you how to feel or not, how to make sure you choose the right person, whatever that even means. It is quite depressing, really, that the young single girls out there are reading these self-help articles on social media, learning how to be practical and sensible about their love lives. It is not a fucking job. You don’t need to plan for it, calculate it in advance and break it all down on excel sheet. Make mistakes, go for the wrong person, live life.Allow those butterflies into your stomach, because another funny thing about feelings is they never last. So enjoy them while you can.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

How some older Azeri ladies party, or a spooky Halloween story.

As Halloween is around the corner and some of us have not just one but two parties to go to, I thought it was perfect timing to share a fascinating story from my mother.

Speaking of Halloween. Last year I loved my costume. I am not, to be honest, a big fan of fancy dress parties, and for years chose to ignore Halloween costumes altogether. However, last year, since everybody else was dressing up; and I was told there were prizes! for the best costume, I borrowed these Pirates of the Caribbean style costumes for me and husband. I have to tell you, I was converted ever since. I thought I looked great in my costume, in this sort of hot and cool way, which is not that easily achieved, you know? I even drew a fake scull and bones tattoo on my shoulder and even popped over to neighbours house to take a picture with her parrot. I will even share this photo with you here, which I had never done before. Hell, why not.  I loved that look on me.

And, I won! At both parties we went to!

So, this year I took things more seriously, having two parties to go to again, and ordered my outfit online, from the USA. 

OK, I am not even going to attempt to claim to be completely innocent in my choice, having been misled by the inaccurate photo on the partycity.com website.  I knew what I was ordering. But, in reality…I look ridiculous. Grotesque. I honestly do. And the first confirmation came from my Phillipina maid, who saw me in the dress and exclaimed 'Oh, wow, Ma’am, you are too sexy!'

That was not a good sign.

The boobs are enormous, and not in a good way, but in a way male comedians or clowns look when they dress up as women.  They come out from behind my armpits somehow, in the proudly fake way, and sit in the middle of my chest like some ripe watermelons. The skirt is so short that I cannot possibly bend down, not even a tiny little bit. And there are suspenders! With Police badges attached. And fishnet stockings. Oh, and a tiny leather tie to complete the look.

'So, basically', Husband said, looking at me prancing around the room in my costume, 'you middle aged women grasp at any opportunity to look like hookers. It is not really Halloween style, is it?' 

No, I admitted, it really isn’t.

And no, before you ask-no photos of me wearing this year's costume are going to appear on this blog.

Now, back to the planned story. 

My mother got invited to a girlie party. An older friend and her girlfriends, all in their late seventies or very early eighties were sitting around the table eating yummy foods and drinking merry drinks. As you do when you are in your late seventies.

As they finished the starters and the main course and were just about to start on all the cakes and tea, one of the ladies exclaimed…( Now, let's just give her some fake name here... Elmira! There, that will do.  ) So, she exclaimed: Elmira! What’s wrong with you???

Everybody then noticed Elmira, who sort of collapsed in her plate, completely unconscious, tongue hanging lifelessly out. 

Ladies started jumping up and down, calling ambulance and generally freaking out.

And this is when my mother, who, for some inexplicable reason has the ability to stay calm in bizarre situations when everyone else panics, remembered a trick she read about on Facebook.  ( I mean we are talking about the lady who once had to cut the body of her neighbour off the rope he had hanged himself on)

‘It sounded stupid, that article’…she said, ‘but I thought well, it cant really hurt can it?’

So, she took a needle and proceeded to prick each fingertip of the collapsed lady, drawing a little blood out of each. 

'The article said to prick her ear lopes too', she said, 'but I only got to her eighth finger when she suddenly sat up and asked what the hell I was doing'. 

Now, whether you believe in this bizarre urban myth method, or think it was totally stupid, and the lady came round simply because of the pain inflicted; or due to some bizarre coincidence, really has no significant importance for this story. What I thought was so cool was the ending. 

Because, as they waited for the ambulance, everyone calmed down, made sure the sick girl was comfortable on the sofa, and returned to the table to resume their party. After all, those cakes could not be wasted.

Now, this is how older generation party, my friends. Not sure we can ever beat that, with our ridiculous slutty costumes this Halloween.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

My first exclusive media event.

I have noticed a few times from occasional passive aggressive comments some readers left on Scary Azeri Facebook page that they were under the impression I got paid for this blogging thing. That, in reality of course is, very sadly, not true.  Nobody pays me and nobody wants to sell me any ads. Nothing of the sort really happens, it is just something I do.  Like other people who, you know, maybe enjoy nailing their bits to the dining table. For fun.

But, in all fairness, there are some random different perks that do occasionally happen. For instance, a few years ago I got offered some freelance work, wrote a couple of articles for Oryx (Qatar Airways 
in-flight magazine), got invited to contribute to some online stuff.. and got interviewed by Global Voices Online. All great fun. And since I moved to Doha, I occasionally get emails inviting me to media only events and launches. I sort of missed a few of them throughout the year due to…well, laziness on my part. Also, frankly, I was thinking it must have been a mistake or a spam. “Exclusive media only” events. I mean, I am not a media person, am I? 

I had an image of cool, young trendy media people hanging out at these parties, looking glamorous and gorgeous, all knowing each other, glancing at me and thinking who the hell is that? Is she lost? Gatecrashing? Until one of the organisers would approach me with an official list, check, sternly, what my name was, and who I worked for, and then ask me to leave, immediately.

But one of the things I truly love about Doha is that living here, I can do things I would not have done back home (homes? Both countries) Like attend a fencing championship, or a world cup tennis match, or…well, a media only event. So when I saw another email in my scary azeri inbox, I read it out to Husband. ‘Hey, check this out...' I said.  ‘Exclusive! Media! Invitation!’

It was to the Oyster Bar at St. Regis, which was introduced in the invite as the finest address in Qatar, on the beach, with Cuban live music and hand-crafted beverages.

Is it free? Husband asked suspiciously.  I decided it probably was.  I had to send my name and my 'plus one' to confirm our acceptance.

Come on, I said. Lets go, check it out.

It took us forever to find the place. St. Regis, ‘the finest address in Qatar', is full of suspicious corridors and winding labyrinths that were designed to confuse the inexperienced media persons like myself. As we approached the Oyster Bay, a lady with an official list was waiting for me. Just like I imagined she would. I had a momentary urge to ask for the bathroom and quickly disappear. But I had my high heels and ripped jeans on, and a bright lipstick and I was (really, honestly!) invited.  I have to say, I was impressed. I suspect the’d never heard what Scary Azeri was, but as soon as I mentioned it, her face lit up with this most excited, most flattering smile, as if I was (almost single) Brad Pitt asking her out on a date. Oh, wow, she said, we had sent you a few invitations in the past, but have not had the pleasure of meeting you yet!

Blimey, I thought. I am a celebrity!!!

A security guard slapped a green paper bracelet on my wrist, which immediately made me feel all happy and warm inside: Any of us who had been to anywhere knows what such a paper bracelet means. It means, you are in. And you are in somewhere with free food and drinks. 

Please, enjoy yourselves! The friendly lady said, ushering us to the beach. Everything is on us!

Husband was clearly impressed. Suddenly, all the times I spent at the computer, all the Twitter and Facebook ‘crap’ he had endlessly complained about made some sense.
He of course, could not resist to wind me up a little: Have you not checked in yet?

‘Shut up, you are my Plus One, I said. Know your place!  It is my event.’

And so we did enjoy it. The music by ‘Gerardo Contino y LosHabaneros’ was chilled in the way only Latin music can be, the drinks and canap├ęs were being served non-stop, and the view of the bay was stunning. The band leader told us that they were invited to perform at the White House but chose to be in Doha instead. True? Who knows, but they were good. 

As for trendy and beautiful people…Well, it was pretty dark, and my attention was entirely focused on a couple of girls in such ridiculous outfits that I could hardly notice anyone else. Posing for endless photos in various, but equally hilarious poses, they were my personal highlight of the evening.

I did not really network or meet anyone, or see anyone I recognized but it was definitely a fun night out. I must make more effort, I thought, to attend these sort of events, when invited. Or to at least, check my inbox more often to even see them in time, in the first place. And it was great fun to keep reminding husband that he could be a 'plus one' for a change.