I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but haven’t been able to do it without sounding ingratiating and over-zealous.
I love Omani women. I would leave this post at that but that would mean leaving those of you who read this (and don’t live here) in the dark about why they’re lovely.
You’ll agree women world over are lovely. What makes Omani women so special is their fantastic sense of fun. Add to that their dignity, grace and mystique, they’re just gorgeous. Mostly, they aren’t as snooty as their Emirati counterparts. They used to be not as made-up but these days I see many of them hiding their gorgeous skin and lovely eyes behind layers of makeup. Hey, I like makeup, ok? But sometimes it’s nice to see scrubbed clean faces and pretty, natural smiles.
Growing up here in Muscat, I hadn’t had the opportunity to mingle too much with Omani children and their families. But having come back to work here, I meet Omani men and women on a regular basis and I find them warm, intelligent, driven and strong. I know this comes across terrible — like a Gregory Roberts Watsisname talking about India but I cannot ignore the fact that these people are truly very hospitable, graceful people.
Not to mention articulate, funny and well read. The women I’ve met these days are all young — in their 20s. Most of them dress according to norm (hijab, abaya, etc) They are extremely graceful in the way they conduct themselves — their well-modulated voices are a complement to the swish of the very fashionable abaya, their lively eyes fit perfectly in faces framed by scarves, their accessories and their radiant makeup are a complete eye-popper. This mixture of tradition and modernity is fascinating for me.
For example, a really vivacious woman comes up to our floor to chat with a colleague (also Omani). The former, I’ll call her Nabeela, always has a hello for everyone present in the room. She waves and smiles with those full lips of hers. She’s a lovely olive-complexioned woman and while I know she’d look much better without the makeup, she does it so well that I lose sight of the fact that it’s there.
So anyway, she breezes in, her robes dancing around her ankles, her eyes just as a lively, the only highlight on her face is bubblegum pink lipstick. After a big smile and greeting, I ask her what it is exactly that she does here and she tells me. Meanwhile, she asks me about being married (if I am, that is.) So I ask her the same and she says no, she’s enjoying herself, and gives me a wink and a five! And I say go for it, girl. To which she says what everyone in this part of the world says: Inshallah.
And it really made me happy that this woman wanted to continue being single in a society where most women are defined largely by their marriages.
I’ve met a few other women like that, recently. I am quite sure I am not imagining it but a lot of these women I’ve met have a streak of naughtiness. Like they know a secret that we don’t. It’s in their eyes, in their often sexily lop-sided smiles. It’s in their breezy waving. They talk confidently of the many experiences they’ve had. They aren’t hesitant with their opinions, they are able to express themselves in flawless English and most of all, are so comfortable with themselves and being juxtaposed as they are, with the ‘modern world’ coming to them via the Internet, their phones, television and their strong sense of family identity. From what I see they seem to be handling it with such great equanimity.
Way to go, girls.