Being back to Abu Dhabi life has been pretty lackluster for me. There’s just work and trying to be responsible and little fun and no bae. Last weekend I felt very numb to my social endeavors, to the point that I didn’t even attempt to make plans for the first night of this weekend. Instead I spent this Thursday (our Friday) evening on Skype with bae for roughly six hours. (Hashtag Skype lyfe.) Tomorrow I am going to a birthday party and I will socialize with humans in the flesh, but for tonight I really just couldn’t pretend to care.
He told his parents that I exist this week. It’s a huge deal for a lot of families here to admit there is a girlfriend/boyfriend. For this generation, many young adults think dating is normal, but the parents still want to pretend premarital sex doesn’t happen and there’s only light courtships and flirtations before engagement. So people date on the low, sometimes for years, and if you’re in public and you see a family friend, you drop each others’ hands and pretend you’re just chilling and not madly in love. Telling the parents is formally admitting, “This person is the one. We’re probably getting married soon. That’s where I’ve been all this time. You can still pretend the time was spent platonically if you’d like.”
As he was recounting the conversation to me, I was highly amused. “Is she Muslim?” was one of the first, (to be expected) questions. And when he said no (and then no to “Is she converting?”), she asked, “And what about your children? What will they be?” (Muslim. Duh. Chill.) She also asked if I wear bikinis. And at one point she asked if I’m going to be a “partier” or “live in.” And I was like, what the hell does “live in” mean? From his explanation, I gather that it doesn’t translate well, but comes down to whether or not I’ll be around the house to take care of things.
He (accidentally?) lied about how old I was. But only by a year, which still leaves me three years older. When I asked him why, he admitted, “I don’t know!” I gather that he was nervous, which is cute. And aadi. (Aadi means normal.) I do recall being nervous to tell my mom, and my mom doesn’t even care what I do with my life.
His mom also asked “Is she blind?” at one point. Which is hilarious because she wanted to know how on earth I could love such a son, who has no money, no degree, no job, and a lot of silly habits. She meant it affectionately and jokingly, I gather, but also semi-seriously curious about my level of delusion. She sounds charmingly hilarious.
His dad said little in the conversation, but apparently that is aadi.
The next step is for me to meet them, I suppose. His mom wanted me to come now, even though he’s in Cyprus. And he was like, “No way am I sending her into that lion’s den.” But when he comes to fulfill the rules of his UAE visa in April, it’ll possibly happen. It’s far enough off that I’m not totally scared yet, but holy shit will I be scared as it gets closer. (I told him that I’m going to wear a bikini and pretend to be blind when I meet her. He didn’t find the joke as hilarious as I did.)
He’s already met my mother, on Skype. And when I told my mom that he existed this summer, she only asked how old he was and what he did. (Four years younger and nothing…) But she didn’t really seem too concerned with the answers, problematic though they are. Then again, my mother is notoriously detached from expressing any strong emotions about my choices in life. My life is fully mine to live.
His life is far too tied up in his family, if you ask me. Today we were talking about our theoretical wedding and he said if it’s here in Abu Dhabi, there’s going to be like 700 guests from his side. There is no way I’m being judged by 700 strangers! His immediate family is more than enough for me, kthxbi.