In this time and age, how do we single arab women in our thirties feel? How do we think those around us feel? What experiences do we go through, and how do these experiences affect our singlehood? Inspired from personal experience and of those of all the beautifully fabulous Arab Single Ladies out there, I hope this blog reminds us all just how amazing it is to be single! Or is it....?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

To settle or not to settle, That is the Question...

I have two gorgeous cousins (Hala & Sara) . Both of them are
extremely beautiful women, successful leaders in their careers, and with
well-knowledge about the happenings of the world. They both had multiple
relationships during their lives, that didn’t end very well. They both
approached their mid-thirties without a potential husband, and let’s face it,
that isn’t east when you live in this part of the world, and have 14 uncles and
aunts that want ‘to set their minds to peace’ by seeing you married. Not necessarily
happily married, but married still.
We were at a wedding of another cousin of ours, when we girls formed a gossip
corner to loosen up from the weddings stress: You’re in your high heels because
they make you look taller, thus thinner, your hair is tied up with a million
hair pins that stick in the most uncomfortable ways in your scalp, you have on
a corset underneath your tight dress to make your belly disappear for a few
hours, and a ton of make up on, because that’s how you’re supposed to appear at
weddings, and you have to have a continuous smile that aches your cheeks but
losing it would make it look like you are envious of the happy bride and you
would NEVER want that to be so obvious. So you smile. And you smile again. And
then you seek your girl friends and take a corner to gossip and relax for a few
moments and allow yourself to be human for a few minutes before you dive into
that wrestling ring aka dance floor again. And one of the girls made a comment
that was something like this:
‘I hope it isn’t too late for us.. I want a wedding and a white gown and a
dance floor and to worry and fret for months about flowers, music, a buffet and
a honey moon. I hope it’s not too late for that.’
And another cousin said: ‘I think it’s already too late for us, I think we’re
too old already.’
Now, my previously mentioned 2 cousins were there, and the older one of
them(Hala) looked at her and with a sly smile said ‘Speak for yourself dear.. I
personally am like wine.. I get better with age’. And she then gracefully &
bravely stepped into the dance floor again.
At the time, Hala had no relationship. Actually, she was 36, and had had a
previous engagement a year before, that ended in what can only be described as
a painful way. She’s a single woman, approaching her 40s, but she still
believed she had all the time in the world to chose and be picky and get what
she had always wanted.
My other mentioned cousin (Sara) was 32. She was equally beautiful, and our
family’s social star. She was friends with everyone. She was always smiling,
always in a good mood, and not in a naïve way. Whenever I felt down or
depressed, I talked to her, and she never failed to help me see the full half
of the cup, and feel better.
Sara had a suitor who had stalked her for a couple of years, and whom she had
ignored continuously due to his ‘sticky’ character. She was also dating someone
at the time, and she thought it was going to end up happily ever after, which
sadly enough, it didn’t. After her break up, her suitor stalked her even
further, and in an attempt to scare him off, she told him she was done dating,
and that at the time, she only wants to get married. Unfortunately, instead of
scaring him off, he proposed.
Now, all this is normal so far. What wasn’t normal though and what shocked us
all, was that Sara said yes. Her now fiancé was a vulgar man, with little
manners if any. He wasn’t well educated, nor was he socially bearable to be
around. He had no respect for anyone around him, and was too proud. But he was
our cousin’s fiancé, and eventually her husband, so we had to make nice to him.
Eventually, and because of the endless embarrassing situations that her fiancé
placed her in, Sara began disappearing. She did not show up at family
gatherings, did not have that smile on her face, and was no longer the Sara we
knew and loved.
During that time, Hala had met someone, and soon enough, we were introduced to
her fiancé: a spectacular young man who not only had a respectful career and a
great family, but he also came with a joyful character. He is that person who
would pull you to the dance floor in a wedding, make jokes when seemingly
inappropriate, and is friends with our baby second cousins, and my elderly
grandmother. He is charming, fun to be around, and most importantly, he loved
our Hala endlessly, and made her very happy in the most obvious ways. Hala
ended up getting married after Sara did, but she won the final prize.
This story has always made me think that I should never settle for only what I
can barely get. It made me realize how dangerous our desperation can get to be
sometimes, that it may have a huge influence on the rest of our lives. It made
me believe to my deepest cores of how important it is to have self confidence
and an out-of-this-world extreme optimism towards the future- even when there
are no indications whatsoever to that future.
People often settle to what they can get, thinking that it’s the best they
would be offered. Why would anyone want to escape an ‘opportunity’ that is
readily available, and lean towards a future one that they may, and may not,
eventually get?
Well, if you are the kind of person who had no previous assumptions to how you
would like your future to be, then so be it. Settle, and just take whatever
life throws at you, because you won’t be losing anything anyway. You won’t be
losing a dream that you have built day by day since you were a child, nor would
you be risking losing an excellent future, because you have never imagined one.
But if you had thought about what you wanted, if you had built an image of your
perfect life, if you had put up with the struggles and the waiting and the
painful comments and the envy of your friends and their successes, wouldn’t you
want to make all that worth the wait? Wouldn’t you want to believe that it was
all for the sake of something big, something that will add value to your life
in ways that you could have never imagined yourself?
Another factor that I think of often, is that this wait becomes harder by time.
When we are young and have all the time in the world, it is easier to wait for
the perfect job, for that first million, for that special someone that would
take our breaths away.. The older we get, the more tendency for panic we get.
We start thinking that we should compromise this or that, in order to be able
to make it just in the nick of time. We shift our perspectives and dreams, we
delete some them completely, and we start settling.
I don’t want to settle. Not against my wishes or dreams. Not against everything
that I wanted so badly when I was younger and when life seemed to be easier. I
don’t want to settle, until I get what I had always wanted, and if I don’t get
what I always wanted, then I will settle, but only for something that is as
equally rewarding, and equally satisfying. I will make other dreams that I can
get. I will work on the things I can work on, and pray for others that I can’t.
But I will not settle, and so shouldn’t all the gorgeous single Arab women out


  1. I love your blog! I read all entries and I could so much relate to each and every one of them.
    I’m single Arab Woman in my mid 30s, and I believe all single Arab women have so many things in common no matter which cultural background we come from.

    Your writings are so enjoyable. Keep it up

  2. Thanks Mais! I am a strong believer in that we all have a lot in common, too, even when it doesn't seem like it.
    Your comment made my day, stay tuned for more, because now I am even more excited to share more stories with you all :)