So a bunch of Jeddawiya’s and I were talking about the usual harassment we go through in Jeddah with the shabab, and I was quite enlightened.

One thing I learnt was, women here don’t necessarily wear the “ring” which defines a womans marital status like in many other cultures.  In other cultures, like mine, we revere the ring which is first placed on your right hand at the engagement and then placed on the left indicating “this hawwwt chick’s taken so back the fuck off”.

That, apparently is of no significance here. I don’t know why exactly, and I can’t remember if I were given a reason or not by the beautiful ladies.

I also can’t remember how our conversation was structured, however a lot was discussed and what triggered it was me saying “ytf don’t those dirt-bags just look at our rings and leave us alone?”

Lots of us who have been here for ages, or were born and raised here, are aware that this dating culture/harassment is a battle we can’t win… The million dollaaar question is, how do you survive it?

Wise, or not so wise- you be the judge… I was told if you actually tell the guys harassing you that you’re married or engaged, they leave you alone…

I also learnt that the guys who listen, are only the guys from Jeddah because the shabab from different parts of the country react differently and have different attitudes. Right from the horses mouth, I jus quoted proper Jeddawiya’s.

Etiquette on a different level.


Remember Madonnas song ‘Express yourself’ ? I don’t really recall the video clip cz either I was too young or banned from watching one of her many rather inappropriate videos. Ofc I am quite familiar with the lyrics of this classic, as many of you must be as well.

From Madonna to fashion… I was looking through fashion today, and being one for creativity,  I wanted to share some of my favorite shots from across Europe  and the East this week.

Fashion, is all about expression after all.











Isn’t it interesting how people express themselves?

Isn’t it interesting how they have created just their own style with that little touch that makes them stand out?

Isn’t it interesting how they make a statement?

Isn’t it also interesting how that cute little puppy is making a statement too?

Some of the many reasons we love expressing ourselves….

Jeddah ‘3ayr

December 18, 2010

Jeddah ‘3ayr translates to Jeddah’s different. And it sure as hell is.

There’s lots that makes it different. I’m quite impressed with the anti-littering campaign that was recently implemented. Glory to that.

Albeit, they could have made more of an effort in the creativity department. The sign doesn’t exactly send out a clear message. And it’s ugly.

Taking it up a notch, when’s anyone going to do anything about the driving here?

I don’t feel like bashing at this point, due to my emotional exhaustion. Let’s jus say Jeddah has a way of making people you love lose their lives in car accidents. And the statistics of car wrecks in Saudi Arabia are the highest in the world. Not because I have checked my facts at this point, but its a popular rumor and I’m tired and bitter.

Yes, it could happen to you, to me, to anyone. It jus did and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.

Mum’s the word.

December 10, 2010

Case 139: First day in class, I notice this 19 year old student writing with her notebook on her lap. She’s very quiet, has a shy smile, is soft-spoken, and takes longer than the rest of the class to grasp and apply what has been taught in class. I naturally write it off as being one of the weaker students. 3adee, no big deal.

Two days later, her notebook’s still on her lap and its quite a messy affair. Her pencils keep falling, she sorta struggles with turning the pages of her Student Reader, taking down notes from the board, and writing in her notebook on her little lap simultaneously. So I go to her, gently tap her desk and whisper that she should put her notebook on the desk. She does… And everything’s peachy, only to find that she’s reverted to her lap yet again.

Normally, I would be adamant and crack a joke and explain the advantages of placing the notebook on the desk and writing. However, this case caught me off guard.

I should have taken her abaya sleeves for a sign. The fact that they were all the way to her fingertips, and that she intentionally covered her hands. Why? Because her hands were tiny! Tiny in comparison to the rest of her body!! She is a tiny girl, but to have tiny hands that are structured rather differently is not usual.

Why am I calling her hands tiny?!! There should be some medical term for it. And I need to be told “so and so’s daughter has this condition and that is the reason she finds it tough to write at the same pace as the others do. And due to this condition, she also has so and so, because this is a genetic condition or a certain Bla-Bla Syndrome.” Truth is, never have I been told anything…

See, that’s a problem here. I was gonna say I think it’s a problem, but with my years of being here, I have learnt that this problem is something people choose to ignore.

I don’t know how it is in the rest of the Arab world, so I’m going to analyse my current Arab world, which is Jeddah. 

There are ‘different’ people, and I’ve come across plenty. By saying the word different, I refer to people with special needs.  The politically correct terms of this era being, physically challenged or a person with a disability.

You wanna know why it bothers me? Cz I wasn’t trained to deal with people with special needs. Not I, nor the others I work with. We’re nice, considerate, patient, educated, and thoughtful, sure BUT we’re not educated to identify behavioral, medical or physical conditions you see. Well, only to a certain extent.

I’m not going to go into how I analyse people I’m involved with in my career and research various characteristics to figure out what they may or may not have. I believe certain people need specific help, and the rest of the world has reached this stage whereafter a problem has been identified, a specially structured solution is given.

God bless my support group! Still, it depresses me and is rather stressful.

Why is it taboo here to say “my family member has so and so…/ suffers from so and so…”?

Maybe we/ Western thinking make it an issue and do the whole differentiation thing, because at the end of the day my above student works so damn hard and it pays off.

Is it my fault for noticing this difference? Or do we need to be aware of these differences in order to do our best? If you don’t think this is extreme and I’m just being a Drama Queen, allow me to share yet another case.

Case 87: A student from an influential family is introduced to me. Bearing her background in mind, I assess her and ask her questions and begin our first lesson. I assume this well-traveled, 22 year old rolls her R’s like the French do- maybe cause it’s trending?

Again, I just think she’s weak, but she works hard and comprehends quite well- so I am happy.

The girl does not only have a speech impediment, she is deaf. She reads my lips and that’s how she learns. That’s how we do it for the next three months. And of course, I come across a hearing aid, popping out of her bag.

What can I do? Nothing really. I don’t know what to do and obviously my previous experiences have taught me to shut up.

One of my previous experiences

Case 22: Student in a group takes forever to answer whatever it may be. Forever is like 3 minutes minimum and I am not exaggerating. The simplest question. Other students get clearly frustrated but again no one can say anything to this super sweet, nervous wreck chick, who obviously has a condition. She just like them, has paid for the service and is a client. I speculate… Is she just nervous or is there something medically wrong?

I do the best thing, I go to my superiors and present this case and I get told that she can be nervous because her parents are divorced. I am not mocking the fact that her typical behavior is to think for about 3 minutes and stutter and mumble her answer to something like “what did you eat for breakfast?”. No, she suffers from something.

I have, for the record come across people with divorced parents, dead parents, children from war-zones whose parents died in front of them and all that kind of stuff from my 300 years experience of working with UNHCR and the likes. I am confident in my knowledge of identifying the divorced kids syndrome.

But oh well, the only thing I can do is ignore as I did, when a random female adult student of mine behaved quite childish and stalked me in the toilets and cried LOUDLY with the buhuu, rubbing her eyes, and shivers, just because I didn’t accept her little gift of a bar of Kit-Kat. Her letters of her undying love for me, and her standing behind trees waiting for me to run a simple errand are apparently normal adult behavior. See, I asked and I was told, there was nothing wrong with her.


Fact #1: Women in Jeddah don’t always wear “good” make-up.

Catfight? Sure, I don’t care and I know the truth hurts.

Now, I said WOMEN and by that, I refer to all women who live in Jeddah, regardless their nationality, background or ethnicity. I address our basic female rights.

The right to go to a make-up store and have a proper demonstration on YOU the client, and expert advice from a professional Make-Up Expert who is not afraid to touch you or does not take your make-up enthusiasm as frigginass flirting!!!

Yes I am pissed off! Pissed off because I had to fine-tune that part of me when it came to getting make-up coloring correct, and believe me I still f**k up!! And wearing the wrong shade is the 8th SIN!!!

Fact # 2: Women in Jeddah are deprived of the necessary guidance required to indulge in ‘make-up heaven’ and enjoy its full blast glory.

The right to get professional tips on shades of foundations which range from light morning coverage to afternoon wear to evening, natural looking glamour.

Fact # 8901: This problem means nothing to men, however the men need to hear this and add it to their to-do lists. Fix our problem ya shabab of the future!

We hunger for the right to learn which product to apply and when for our basic make-up. Our basic make-up includes flawless coverage, skin-care, mascara, eye-shadow, lipstick, lip gloss, eyebrow corrector, and blush.

Fact # 3901: Women are beautiful and even if they are not, there are ways to “become” beautiful.

Lets skip the being modest part, everyone does this and make-up is the simplest and oldest known method of beautifying yourself.

Fact # 8763: Magazines and internet diy articles don’t do jack. You need an Expert that isn’t scared to apply various shades on you. 

Fact # 4988: Jeddah has everything. The brands, the variety, the quality, amazing stores- but no one to demonstrate it on you.

And may a bucket of sand fall on you, if you think ANY of those guys working at Faces or MAC (the make-up store not the techy place) really give a damn about their jobs.

We have the right to avoid lethal outcomes, like the ‘panda-look’, the Edward from Twilight vampire skin tone, an overly tanned Barbie theme happening with the super sun-kissed skin and bright pink lipstick, or the Haute-Couture run-way look for instance. 

We need the right to personally have access to this little, quirky, eccentric, creative make-up artist who knows wtf they’re talking about and who sell cz they want a satisfied customer and because they love their job!

Fact # 8565: Sales reps at major cosmetic stores do it cz they think it’s an easy job and all they need to do is sweet talk well.

Fact # 9022: Yes the sales reps are well- dressed and shower in their testers, but for fuksake, they only want the friggin commission and they don’t care what you friggin buy!

Fact # 7798: Lebanese salesmen will add random items which cost between 90-190 Saudi Riyals, to your little make-up shopping cart “by mistake”. And you, in your innocent shopping frenzy, barely notice these things- hey cut us some slack- color excites us! 

Fact # 6653: A couple of the Syrian sales reps have been shawarma guys back in Homs, I am convinced.

Fact # 5464: Avoid the odd Saudi guy who aslan, hates his job and wants to die and actually says he doesn’t know what you’re talking about and makes you do your own make-up shopping.

Fact # 7231: Egyptian salesmen are fucking annoying cz they jus won’t shut the fuck up already!! And even if you say you don’t speak Arabic, they use all the English they learnt in grade 1! 

Fact # 13,800: This lack of official, certified make-up artists means we make ugly, expensive mistakes- which is why we overspend our darling mans hard earned money.

Fact # 15,549: This is why we women have to go out in groups very often. Our friends are our make-up support teams.

Fact # 16,550: Make-up support teams cause war among friends, and you face the consequences of our venting.

 Disclaimer: God created both men and women beautifully, and we, society set the standard for being”ugly”.

So I picked up on some Jeddah banat ( Jeddah chicks) phrases. I like to refer to these as new, because I find it amusing to come across this Arabic dialect. I believe it is solely Jeddawi.

And also, jus so you know, it’s not because I have chosen to do so, but I have involuntarily spent the last 6 weeks analysing a certain number of banat Jeddah.

When I look at them and hear them, they kinda remind me of Alicia Silverstone in the 90’s in the incredible Clueless.

It’s borderline annoying, needless to say, but rather an interesting behaviour analysis, therefore voila, have I compiled the top 5 words used in phrases that pretty, bright fuschia lipped, trendy-abayed, designer sun-glasses, LV bagged Jeddah banat use.

Note, these are excerpts from their conversations.

Word number 1kat-koot translates to super cute I’m guessing.

Eg. 1. Wow, sha3ree marra kat-koot! ( Wow, my hair looks super cute)

Eg. 2. Min jd, shan6a6k marra kat-koot! ( Seriously your bag is super cute)

Eg. 3. Il ice-cream 7ag McDon marra kat-koot! (McDonalds ice-cream is super cute)

Word number 2Marra translates to very much so.

Eg. 1. Ya Allah, marra 7ar (Oh God, it’s soo very hot)

Eg. 2. Do you like Angelina Jolie? MARRA MARRA MARRA (Very much so)

Eg. 3. Marra ma a7eb il foundation 7agek! (I so very much don’t like your foundation)

Word number 36afshana translates to I’m bored (mainly, also has various forms)

Eg. 1. Ya Allah, marra 6afshana! (Oh God, I’m so very bored)

Eg. 2. Mn jd, had al rouge yeejeeb il 6afash (Seriously this lipstick is depressing/ not nice) I figure..

Eg. 3. Aysh fee? Ma adree, 6afshana! (What’s wrong? Idk, I’m bored!)

Word number 4Galooda translates to Copycat

Eg. 1. Lay intee keda galooda? (Why are you being such a copycat?)

Eg. 2. Galooda! (You copycat!)

Eg. 3. Galooda- ana awal wa7day fel BB sawayt keda! ( Copycat, I was the first one to do that on BB!)

Word number 5Baby fish translates to Tuna

Eg. 1. Kul morning ashtaree nos baby fish kroo-wah-son. (Every morning I buy half a tuna croissant)

Eg. 2. Momken wa7ed baby fish salata? (May I have one tuna salad please?)

Eg. 3. Ra7 a5oye al kabeer (il actor) wa jablee baby fish min Dubai. (My older brother, the actor got me tuna from Dubai)

Basically, use one of these phrases and you’re pretty much equipped to handle Jeddah’s banat.

Eid Mubarak everyone!

Looks like Haj is running smooth this year and I heard on the news this mornin how there weren’t that many diseases in the air hamdila. Not to mention floodings, and the new 2 billion dollar, 12 trains in Makkah seem to be just peachy dandy so far…

So we’re off and since I’m in Jeddah, I get to do a lot of local catching up which includes watching TV and catching up with the Middle Easts creative, touching and meaningful marketing. Call me biased, I really don’t care but by Middle Eastern creativity, I refer to those ads on TV that really stimulate something deep in you and which condemn the terrorism that freaks us out. Yes, the same kind the West so easily enjoys blaming Arabs slash Muslims for.

I love all their ads, but the one that’s stuck with me would be this one- Campaign 5

Wait, this is only a small part- there’s plenty other good stuff out there and I’m lovin the creativity AND message being put out by the Middle East- mashala people!

Once again, Eid Mubarak darlings…

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