Saturday, April 7, 2007

Forbidden Fruit

There are some places here where it’s just not OK for a woman to go. But the fruit market, come on!

What are they worried about, someone man-handling my melons or pinching my peaches?

My husband, the Dork of the Desert (DD), hasn’t a clue how to pick out what I need. The result- him walking back and forth a couple of times to and from the car when I don’t approve of his choices or need to remind him of items he’s forgotten. There are some old women there, some foreigners, but even my husband is a bit uneasy with me being there in the car.

I know a household of women, real do-it-yourselfers, who go fruit shopping anyway. The father died not long before I met them and their only brother was living overseas. Their solution: the oldest daughter (in her ‘30’s) put on her old lady abaya (styles differ between the generations) and went and did whatever she needed to, including the fruit market.

The Thursday market is another no-go zone for the estrogen-endowed. One man told me he wouldn’t even take his infant daughter to the bird market there, it’s such a shame. Once again, the few women there are Bedouin or Shia, and only some of the oldest Sunni women. My mothers in law’s requests for transport to the Thursday market are met with all her 5 sons refusing to take her. I’ve convinced my husband to take me on a few occasions but only descended from the car once, after he took a good look around to see who’s watching.

Another strange place that I can’t go is the Islamic shop where there are various books, cassettes, and religious paraphernalia for sale. This one I couldn’t fathom why. I wanted to buy some Islamic nasheed (a cappella songs without musical instruments) tapes for myself and my children. Once again, I can’t go in because “it’s just not done”. DD has to go in and communicate with me walkie- talkie style on our mobiles for my approval as I sat in the car outside.

There isn’t a law forbidding us to go any of these places, as I’ve mentioned there are some women there. Unfortunately, our men don’t want other men seeing them take their women to these places. I have a feeling that with the influx of Qataris this will soon change, if it hasn’t started already- I haven’t gone for quite awhile. Unaware that fruit shopping is a shame, Qatari women, who are similar to us in appearance, will freely peruse the markets. I hope the Saudi fruit sellers can endure the sight of these women all fondling their fruits and caressing their cucumbers.


Organic-Muslimah said...

I hate the cultural crap. I can't believe that I once actually wanted to live there. I don't know how you do it. Maybe you are pretending to be undercover journalist for life?

Does the hub know of your blog? And I am sorry if you've already answered this question on your blog.j

Carol said...

It it is any consolation my DH is the same way...the fruit and veggie markets are just where respectable women do not go, according to my spouse...and yes, I bear the same consequences as you!

saudi stepford wife said...

I wish I were a journalist, that way at least I'd get a paid to bitch, something I obviously excel at!

It's ironic that you asked if my husband reads my blog or not. Last night I held him hostage between the two halves of the football game he was watching, and forced him to read my latest posts...along with every comment any of my readers have ever made. I then proceeded to explain a little about the people who have written them, including you OM and Carol.

If you asked that question because I call him Dork of the Desert, I call him that to his face! He is a bonafide old-school geek, complete with a love of sweater vests, elevator music, and bad dancing. He reminds me of Carlton on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He also used to wear glasses before the laser surgery. He couldn't change a tire on his car but he can format your computer's hard drive and design a web-page for you.

I struggled a bit at first with whether I would blog secretly or not. I decided it wouldn't be honest to keep it hidden and my intentions wouldn't be pure if I had. Although I must be honest with you, him reading my blog sometimes limits me with how I conduct myself, it's better morally to have it out in the open. I am confident my husband would never be able to accuse me of wrong-doing because I've never given him reason to suspect anything from me. Jealousy is a strong emotion and leads people to irrational behavior so, I'd rather not give my spouse any reason to doubt me or my intentions. We always have Shaytan whispering in our ears and one of his favorite pastimes is causing discord between spouses.

Having said that, DD couldn't care any less about my blog and like I said, I have to force him to read it! You should have seen him squirm the day he was attempting to compliment me on my writing style and content. We usually tease each other and humor is a means of communication between us so him giving me a legit compliment was almost painful for him.

Organic-Muslimah said...

I wasn't asking because you call him DD, I just want you to be on the same page as your husband.

And I am sooooooooooooooo happy that you are!

And it's typical that he doesn't care much to read the blog :P

Nzingha said...

RFLOL OH MY GOODNESS gurl I'm dying laughing over here. As if Dork of the Desert isn't bad enough, carlton of the fresh prince. Ya know I'm picturing some skinny Saudi with a sweter vest doing the carlton dance. rflol.

Ok so the fruit market is on my list of places to visit if I ever make it there. Yea.. I'll go no shame for this woman at all. And I don't fondle cucumbers I squeeze 'em.

Asiya said...

lol, keep your hands off dem khyore!
I don't know how you manage to cope without exploding either.

saudi stepford wife said...

Hence the blog, my dear Asiya. A catharsis was needed, dare I say required, to get me through my life without going ***POP*** at the proverbial straw that could break SSW's back.

Anonymous said...

ROFL you gals are a hoot - FONDLE the cukes, Nzingha? I'm dying over here!!

And DORK OF THE DESERT?! hahahahhaaa oh my goodness what a hoot - where do you guys FIND This stuff....mine looks like your typical muttawa, beard and the like, so I can't use that on him, but mannnn the humor factor of carleton??? hahahahhaahahahhahaa *chortles* what a giggle, do carry on lolol - I needed the laugh sooo badly today!

Incidently, the friday market is off limits to me - hubby just can't handle that many men of his own kind around me at one time, apparently. Like I'm the sex goddess in black (insert eye roll) Seriously though, his jealousy/uber protectiveness meter goes over the top.

I'm also not allowed to shop at the local jamiya...I have to drive to a nearby town (qortuba) where the diplomats and princes hang out (like this somehow makes it better?) because according to my own dear hubby, they're "edjucated" over there and less likely to flirt.

Does he actually believe that?
I do it anyways, but I mean, I don't notice any difference personally.

I think it's great that you can blog and your hubby doesn't care - mine would be analyzing it to death and yeah..I think I just don't need that at this point in my life, although I love to write and I think I could offer something to the public by way of life as a canadian revert in this part of the world - esp with raising teenagers over here. I'd love to just keep it as a memory for my own awareness, to read...hmm..maybe I'll head over to livejournal and start one, eh? I haven't been here that long yet - I have time to capture my "oh my god I was in lala land still at that stage" time..I'm not completely sarcastic yet..I don't

So yeah, no fruit and veggie market for me either. And I get whisked through the souks like the blink of an eye - I think we made the record for choosing carpets the other night - 5 minutes and 7 rooms. What's up with that? oh, I know why. Most of them are owned by his cousins. is it my fault he's got such a bloody huge family?!!

paid to there's a concept. Perhaps not as honorable as teaching, but quite a concept. ;)

saudi stepford wife said...

It's funny that you said, "I think it's great that you can blog and your hubby doesn't care", this isn't completely true. He doesn't care much what I write, but he does care with who corresponds with me. I left my laptop on yesterday and open to my Google reader, which looks a bit like an email inbox, while I had to go and tend to kid stuff. I came back to him looking perplexed and going through my reader. He thought all the titles of posts from the various blogs I read were subjects of emails to me and got a bit uptight when he couldn't rationalize what was going on. I calmly clicked on each one explaining who the blog was for, etc...

Having said that, I got bothered yesterday when I went to take a pic with the camera on my husbands mobile and he had it locked with a new password that I didn't know. Then came the questions; why did he change it, what's the new one, why didn't he use one from the ones we always use, etc. I wouldn't call it jealous, just a bit uptight that there was something that I wasn't privy to.

ilka said...

salamu alaykum

"What are they worried about, someone man-handling my melons or pinching my peaches?" OMG!!! I was laughing out loud at this one!

I love reading about people living in different areas especially within the middle east. I'm in Cairo and although it is technically in North Africa ppl include it in the middle east region.

Anonymous said...

I remember growing up in and arab girls/women were looked down upon by going to the market. Now, living here in canada with my husband,I enjoy going to the market with my husband and kids,it's so much fun and no one even looks at you,small things, someone would say like going to the market but for pple in ME,it's another story. sf

JoJo said...

This is just REALLY FUNNY. I'm glad to have found your blog !

Anonymous said...

Women should be equals even in 3rd world countries, total bullshit to treat a woman like a prisoner, the younger Arabs should wake up and stop leaving women in a prison. Maybe they need a world police to go to their countries and free these women from this stupidity? I would join that police force today!!

Hans said...

Why doesn't your husband dress like a woman in a niqab? Then nobody would recognize him.