I went to the gym one sunny morning recently. The word ‘sunny’ is a bit of a joke, since it is always sunny in Doha. (It was also a bit of a joke back in the UK but, obviously, for a completely opposite reason).
As I stood there, barely moving on a cross trainer, I noticed a stunning girl on a treadmill next to me. I quickly guessed she must have been Lebanese. Having spent a few months in our compound taught me to tell a Lebanese woman from others. The main attribute they all seemed to have, (and I still am to learn whether it is all the Lebanese women in Doha, or only the ones in our compound), is that they are all gorgeous. But, the problem with our (compound) lot is that they are all absolutely, utterly and unrealistically identical.
‘I think I know which one she is’, I thought to myself, smiling at her. She smiled back. She had luscious long hair, which she clipped up in a casual, yet sexy bun, and impossibly narrow waist (where do the internal organs go?), and big sensual lips.
We said hello and exchanged a few general gym-related comments. I asked, trying to be sociable, whether it was her I had seen the previous weekend celebrating her son’s birthday at the pool.
‘Oh, no, it was not me’, she laughed. ‘But I can see why you would think it was’. And she gestured to the two ginormous watermelons proudly bouncing in front of her slim statuesque body.
And I thought to myself ‘my goodness, she is right! That is just what they all have in common here, all five of them!’
(Of course, I can only suspect there are five of them, because I have never seen them all together; and since they are clones, it is difficult to be sure just how many there are.)
Absolutely every single one of our Lebanese beauties has very large, very round, very fake boobs. And I have a strong suspicion about those big lips, too.
Back in Azerbaijan, you can always spot the wealthy women. It is not just the expensive cars and handbags anymore. These days they all look like our first lady. And it has to be said, to be fair, that she is very pretty. I am not sure how artificially enhanced she is, and I’d better not go there for political dictatorship reasons…. But all the girls who are in the certain league back home suddenly look very similar to her. The same lips, the same hair, the same make-up. It makes me wonder whether the world of rich women has moved on from Mulberry handbags and Tiffany rings on to their body parts as symbols of wealth. And the obsession seems to be cross-cultural.
And, once I paid attention to the boobs, they were everywhere I looked. On Facebook, almost every week I noticed yet another old friend proudly sporting a new pair.
Not only do boobs happen all around me, they also are no longer something personal. Sitting in the local Starbucks, my friend and I were discussing the obsession with boobs, and she nodded happily. ‘I am gonna get some, too, when I go back to the States. You should only get them in California, those are the best!’
I giggled, thinking she was messing about, but she was dead serious. ‘Wow!’, I thought. ‘What’s going on?’
What happened to the ‘more than a handful is wasted’ wisdom that my husband lovingly shared with me years ago? Was he just being kind?
But, forget whether they look good or not. I have a strong suspicion these days that it is no longer about looking sexy, or attractive; or to boost confidence of some flat-chested young girls suffering from self-image issues…It is becoming an attribute of wealth. Have money? Buy yourself some boobs! Otherwise, your friends might think you are not rich enough. And who cares if, as a result, you all look the same.
That morning, having had a long chat with my Lebanese gym buddy, I went home, showered, picked up my kids and went to the pool. And there she was, sunbathing in a tiny bikini, showing off those perfect curves.
I stopped by. ‘I see you also decided to come for a relaxing swim after that grueling workout, didn’t you?’ I said to her, only to be met by a very confused look. Oh, dear. I got it wrong again.