Sunday, 21 April 2013

The world of freebies.

So, does anyone know how old the Queen is? Because I don't. Neither do I care, to be honest. But, last night, I was enjoying myself immensely at the British embassy's celebration of that significant day.

Don't ask how come we got invited. This is the beauty of expat life. You get to go to some very random, bizarre events, and do some very random stuff. 

Oh, Britain, love. I thought my feelings for you dried out like an old prune, but really, it was just that our relationship is so much better with some distance between us. It is almost like comparing an affair with marriage. I had an exciting affair with you, and I thought I would be oh, so happy if only you married me and let me live with you. But then, after 12 years...I figured I was getting quite bored. So I left. And now, look at this! I went out on a date with you last night, and what a fantastic time did we have! Oh, you looked so handsome to me again! (Even with Boris Johnson present.) And I was so proud of you. I thought you were a great, sorry I mean Great place to be in a relationship with.

But, joking aside, the reception pleasantly surprised me. I thought I was going to a very boring place, full of incredibly boring people standing around in a circle listening to boring speeches and sipping cheap wine. However, the set up was pretty good. There was a band full of good-looking boys; and an elegant young girl playing a harp, and a bunch of very English cars on display...and, and and...most importantly (for me anyway) there was a lot of very nice food. And a whole table full of CHEESE! And ALCOHOL! Pimms! G&T! Vodka! Wine!

Also, very interestingly, there were NO chavs. None, whatsoever. It was like someone took all the very best there is about Great Britain and left behind everything I dislike.

Finally, the best part of all of that was that everything was totally and utterly FREE. 

And this is something I am beginning to really enjoy. Recently, I have noticed that in the past two months or so, I barely paid for anything. Whether a day at a spa in a 5-star hotel, or a splendid dinner at the Four Seasons...someone arranged it for me, or paid or any case, I ended up enjoying a few fantastic freebies. I got so used to it now, that I announced to Husband that I cant imagine paying for expensive things like that ever again.

Even right now, as I am telling you this, my face is relaxed and moisturised, the fine lines smoothed by Lancome skin expert who gave me a free mini-facial earlier this afternoon. It was part of Doha Mums Mother's day treat. I mean, did stuff like this happen to me in the UK? Ha! Never.

I have discovered this fantastic new joy in life- getting expensive things absolutely for free, and I am terrified how I could ever be expected to give it up now. The only way is up. More treats, please and more freebies!

Oh, and Britain...I still love you.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Why I would hate to try to date again.

I have been thinking recently, after some long chats over vino with a newly single girlfriend, that, despite the known fact that husbands can be incredibly annoying, it is still a good job that I am married. The girlfriend, beautiful, still quite young and very much, you know, datable; is now starting to date again after a few years off. Listening to her stories, I was shocked like an old lady who has just found out what young people get up to these days. Things that single people seem to be doing to attract the opposite sex are very different to what I personally would attempt to do, or find attractive in a man I was trying to date!

I mean, what’s up with all these photos of themselves taken with the smart phone in front of a full-length mirror? Unless you are a teenager, taking photos of yourself and sending them to your potential date is just pathetic, isn’t it? Especially if naked? And, according to my friend, sometimes not just naked but also…hmm…ready for action, so to speak? I am curious if this method ever works with any woman. Would someone actually feel aroused seeing such a thing sent to their phone from someone they barely knew?

That discussion made me think of the times when I almost went out with a guy. There were so many of these almost dates in my life that I am surprised I ever actually ended up with someone long enough to have his children.

Like this one time, when I met a handsome young man who I thought I quite liked. We exchanged email addresses at some party and, to my delight, the very next morning I came to work to find an email waiting for me. I got myself a cup of coffee and got ready for something pleasant to read first thing in the morning. Perhaps, I thought, it was an invitation out for a dinner? Or just a little note to say he was happy to have met someone so sophisticated and wonderful like myself. You know. Something along those lines.

But what I actually found was a photo. “Ha-ha!”, the subject line read.
“It made me think of you” was in the body. I opened the picture. At first glance, I did not even understand what it was that I was looking at. And then, as I realized, to my horror, what it was, I had to quickly delete the email and get away from my desk to get some fresh air. It was a photograph of a woman’s foot, wearing a stiletto shoe, standing on exposed man’s balls. It looked extremely painful, to say the least. And revolting at the same time.

Now, I wanted to know what made this stranger think I was into such stuff. I came back to my desk, and composed an email, where I informed him that he was very possibly the most weird man I had met until then in my entire life, and asked him what could have possibly prompted him to send this to me. Not simply send it to me, but also use my work email address.
Oh, he was very upset! He never meant for it to create such a reaction. He only viewed this as a symbol of feminism, he said. He thought I would appreciate this, being such an emancipated, sophisticated and modern woman that I was.

Yeah, right, I thought. F**** weirdo.

Needless to say, there were no more meetings or dates. The guy ended up marrying a girl I knew. I wanted to warn her at the time, but she was so excited about finally finding a man that I knew she would have never listened, or believed in my good intentions. They ended up divorced shortly after.

And there is this one guy who I actually was dating for a little while. I had quite fancied him, really, until he told me one night that he was into writing, too. Oh, really? I exclaimed. That is amazing. Let me read it!

'No!' he said. 'I am too embarrassed'.

The usual 'oh, come on, let me' followed with some more begging and asking until he confessed the short episode he had written was a bit erotic and about me.

Now, I was a bit unsure I wanted to read that. But yet, I had to.

Let me just say that any feelings of sexual attraction I felt towards that man were gone the second I saw his thoughts about me on the paper. It was such a huge turn-off that I cant think of anything else he could have possibly done or said that would have the same effect. It was disgusting. Yeeeuuw! I kept thinking. Yuck! I am sure that was not the reaction he had expected.

So yes, dating is hard. I have forgotten just how difficult it can be. Weird pictures, soft porn stories…And now, photos of themselves naked, posing in front of a mirror? I guess the reality is harsh. All normal men are either dead, gay or married. So, next time my husband is being annoying again, I will remind myself what I could be dealing with right now. Weird single middle-aged men, taking pictures of themselves with their iPhones.  What a nightmare.