Lots of interesting stories in my in box, and I'll give you updates on several running stories later this week. There was a nice story in the UAE National about Homeless labourers in Oman too.
Number of homeless in Oman soars amid economic crunch
...“This is not the only homeless group living by a crust of bread and water,” he said. “They are everywhere in the country. Some absconded after their visas expired and some have entered the country illegally.”
They live in abandoned houses, construction sites, rooftops of commercial buildings, car parks of shopping malls and even behind rubbish bins.
But meanwhile, here's the latest installment of 'Ask an Omani' by our fantastic guest Omani - Omani Dreamer. Don't forget to email me your questions on local aspects of life and culture.
This weeks question: How is the dating scene amongst single young Omanis?
Anyone who has had single female friends come to visit (or an expat teenage daughter) knows it doesn't take long for the local lads to appear, eager to help them find their way around town and naturally, looking to hook up. But there's a lot of action in the local scene too.
Dating scene in Oman
Many wonder about the dating scene in Oman between our younger generation. Well, about 60% of the dating happens in Universities and Colleges! Many of the students that attend these colleges come from conservative families. However, in any case, there is a pattern that you will notice happening on the dating scene.
Some guys come to the college and have never seen uncovered girls (not wearing face cover, or the head scarf). Being sexually suppressed, they start to spot a potential victim. The whole thing begins with them trying to be nice and funny (sometimes the scene is just sad! But some girls still manage to giggle!). After they get the signs of OKAY, which are usually indicated through smiles and giggles, they start by asking help in assignments. Then, the guy starts telling the girl that she is different the rest and that he feels sooooooo comfortable around her…. Etc (you get the point).
Well, I must say that girl’s transformation is the most predictable of all. A girl comes to college and finds many boys that she is not used to seeing. Coming from a conservative family, she “rejects” the idea of even talking to a guy. She gives her “stares” of disapproval and gossips with her “similar mentality” friends about those “sluts” that talk with guys. Now, of course these girls would brag about how they are better than those “sluts” and that they are the “good apples” that are left. After the first month, these girls will find that they cannot help but smile whenever guys try to be funny.
Then, the transformation begins… you start seeing signs of make up on their faces. The head scarf becomes smaller (not bellow the chest). The abaya’s become tighter. After another month, the head scarf becomes loose and the silky (straightened) hair starts to show. All of this includes the smiles and giggles they have been sending towards the guys. Then, girls starts having that special someone in their lives that they talk to every night. Ohh, and yes, these are the girls that start with wearing clothes under their abayas and end up with undergarments under it only!
So here is the dating scene:
In a college, the girl and the boy look for a place that they “think” is invisible to everyone else. So, they might chose the library and go behind the book shelves. If the library is quite, you will be able to hear the giggles. Otherwise, that “invisible” place in not so… invisible. The guy might start touching the girl on her hand, then as the relationship advances, the more touching occurs. Then, all signs of compassion and love between the two appear in public. She leans on him, puts her arms around him.. etc. The difference is, it is not always love and compassion. Guys in this country like to brag about “how many” girls they have. They usually have more than one!
Then, as any relationship, things start to advance. Girls start attending college even when they don’t have classes (parents think they are studying very hard.. well.. they are working hard on something!). However, they are picked up from college by their guys. God knows where they go, but I’m guessing they just stay in the car and the guy gets some action. Once they are done, they guy drops the girl back at school...
Postscript: Co-incidentally there is a really great and detailed post today by Dhofari Gucci on the similar topic of Internet dating in Salalah. Check it out!
Of course in Oman we are still culturally some way away from where we could expect to get any info on premarital sex in Oman - we might all know its happening, but talking about it, or writing about it, still seems pretty impossible.