On Dating in Dubai and Such

This is the post that you’ve all been waiting for. I know that you are all giddy and excited by now in your seats and skimming through this post jumping to the main, juicy parts.


I spoke before about dating in Amman. Now dating in Dubai is a totally different thing like the difference between, let’s say, penguins wearing sunglasses and RFP’s ( I just had to put that somewhere)

Dating in Dubai starts with a phone call.

Her: Hiii
You: Hey
Her: Listen I’m going to be 20 minutes late. I am stuck in traffic. I’m so sorry.
You: Okay..

(10 minutes later)

Her: Hi again
You (a little exasperated): Hey
Her: Where is the place again?
You: Take a left from Jumeirah Road..

30 minutes later after reading the newspaper and calling a random childhood friend you haven’t heard from in the last 10 years and texting your sister, your date shows up.

At least she is looking gorgeous and is not too worried about revealing a little too much of the merchandise.

Pleasantries are exchanged. Shortly afterwards, what would be considered unthinkable elsewhere other than Dubai and major cities happens.

Business cards are swapped.

Now, even if business cards are not PHYSICALLY exchanged, and an eye doesn’t directly shoot unto the title and company, and fingers feel the texture of the card, they are mentally revealed through a few open-ended questions and insinuations.

Then, a quick algorithm is executed in her head that includes variables such as hotness and how fun you are vs. possible financial revenue. A junction is quickly reached.

Is he too hot that he is worth more than the hefty bonus I can get through business with him which will enable me to buy that Louis Vuitton handbag I really want?

A few minutes and a fantasy later that includes you cuddling with her under a blanket (or lack thereof), a verdict is reached.

For courtesy’s sake, this decision is not put into words, but can be conveyed from the turn the date takes. If it is mostly office stories and salary negotiation-like discussions, you know that you’ve been relegated to the “business contacts” category. If the date takes a turn towards playfulness, flirting and accidental physical contact you know that you’ve been delegated to the “possible romances” category.

You’d think your work is over by now. It’s not.

Your father didn’t tell you this, but women have categories for everything.

Later on, a second algorithm is executed. A quick skim at such things as your watch, shoes, teeth, car-key chains and few others depending on her kinkiness will provide the variables. The second algorithm will decide the longevity and permanency of the relationship. Please note that the results of the first algorithm are absolutely unrelated to the results of the second.

In contrast to dating in Amman, dating in Dubai has no curfews and is open-ended and can include two activities or more (ahem) Another point of difference would be the bill payment. Women in Dubai like to think of themselves as independent women enjoying freedom and success (HA!) so they will insist on breaking up the tab once it arrives whilst women in Jordan will pretend sheepishly to want to pay, but they fully expect you to.


On Misadventure No.6: The One Where I Learn not to get into Fights with Brown, Cleaner Dudes

I breathed a sigh of relief when I grasped my high school certificate that the days of getting into spur-of-the-moment group fist fights in the yard after school were long behind. That the time now has arrived for socializing, meeting people, partying, lying back and enjoying life.

Boy was I wrong.

Not only did I get into the heaviest, most violent fights in my life, but the crudest weapons were also brought upon those fights.

It was a beautiful, spring morning. It was the first day of spring when you realize that the days of fistfuls of water dropping on your head and snaking down your neck and muddying your boots and the lecture rooms are long behind. My mood was as sunny as the weather. It doesn’t take much to lighten up my mood. A blazing sun, a good shave, and a starched white shirt will always work the formula. It was one of those days where you walk around, chest pumped high in the air, waving to people, winking to people, pointing imaginary guns at guys (ok I don’t do that, but I was just conveying the sort of mood I’m in), girls complimenting you.

Such a beautiful day for new beginnings.

When my lectures were over I hung around to socialize. A habit I become notorious for during my freshman year that it was rumored that I locked the university gates behind me after I made sure everyone left.

All of a sudden, an impromptu scuffle broke out. People started swearing on each other, fists and punches flew in every direction. It didn’t develop into a full-fledged fist fight, not until I showed up there attempting naively to break it up. The sides were evident.

(Deep presenter voice)

In the blue corner, dressed in jeans and shirts, weighing 100 something pounds, carrying their engineering rulers, are the college dudes. In the red corner, dressed in filthy rags, weighing 80 something pounds, carrying their broomsticks, are the cleaner dudes.

Somehow the sides shifted and turned masked by a cloud of dust, so that I found myself right in the middle and in front of one very pissed cleaner dude, blindly kicking and punching the air. I put my hand against his head keeping his distance away, in a vain attempt to calm him down, but his punches were landing everywhere. Two, three punches later, my favorite shirt was ripped beyond redeem. That’s when I lost it. I swiveled and threw the biggest arc of a slap I ever will. The smack landed on the middle of his face and he disappeared like those enemies that fade into nothingness once you kill them off in video games.

A few minutes later the fight was broken up by security. I used a mechanism that helped me survive demonstrations, car accidents and police arrests:

Mingling with a stupid-ass, Mary's-Little-Lamb face.

I emerged as I came minus a shirt. Thank God my partial nudity was quickly solved by a T-shirt from a kind friend. We stood there to discuss our heroisms, each retelling and bragging his contribution (or lack thereof) to the fight. But I didn’t say a word. I was too pissed about my shirt and was making vows to myself never ever get involved in any fight.

A friend of a friend was looking at me and smiling.

Me( Still in the fight adrenaline rush, fully ready to get into another one if the need rises): What are you looking at?
My friends tensed , sensing in my tone a little more than aggravation.
Him (Still smiling): Oh nothing. I just wanted to tell you that there was a cleaner guy chasing you with a broomstick. And I saved you from him.

I have no awareness or recollection of anyone chasing me with a broomstick. But the guy seemed truthful enough. And the conceding nods of his mates suggest that it is true.

Me (smiling): Then I guess I owe you my life.

The circle of friends broke out in relieved laughter.

It was a beautiful day, up until it dawned upon me that I could have been killed off with a dusty, filth-infested broomstick. Not the prettiest way to go, I'm telling you.


On Misadventure No.5: The One Where I Almost Got Killed by an Iraqi Mad Man

This misadventure took place right after I deservedly earned my driving license and ventured to rent a car to assuage the humiliation of waving taxis who brush you off like you were a fly on a wall in Dubai summer heat.

I came back late one day, desperate to find a parking at 1 in the morning. Now I am wise enough to realize that I might just as well wish for aliens to abduct me and perform experimets on me than to find a decent parking after midnight. When I did find what seemed like a too-good-to-be-true parking, I stopped my car, shuffled home for a deep, guiltless sleep.

Events taking place at 7:23:46 AM the very next morning.
(Me and Friend walking towards the newly-rented car)
Friend: Why did you take us from the sandy road?
Me: We’re late man! (In my polite tone voice used to shut people up before the normal flow of nutrients and caffeiene runs its course in my veins)
As we walk we passed by an angry Iraqi man lining up some stones against the pavement.

Iraqi: God damn those people, blocking the parking entrance. Aren’t they ashamed of themselves? Damn them to Hell.

My friend stopped shortly, to find out what the man’s problem was.

Me: Yeah, yeah old man. Damn them sure!
Me (to friend): C’mon man, forget him. We’re already late.
(Seconds later)
I stood in complete and utter shock trying to digest the unbelievable spectacle lying a few meters in in front of me.
I blinked a few times, to see if it was the haziness, or me imagining things after last night's late arrival.

My rental car had all 4 doors wide-open, and an orange construction cone mounted on the ceiling as if my car was a dunce, forced to face the wall, and a scibbled note was patiently waiting for me to unfold it on the windshield.

Let’s just say the note didn’t have any nice words except “You”

History does repeat itself, except the wearing cones part.

Me: Fuck, what the hell is this?
A bespectacled, bald Egyptian guy and a Sudanese magically show up. When I say 'magically', I mean that one second there was no one there, the next they pop out of nowhere. The duo would have been completely comical and laughable under different circumstances. The scene was reminiscent of early Arab dreams of unity. There we were; a Jordanian, Egyptian, Sudanese and not so far away, an Iraqi, discussing the neighborhood affairs like politicians should. I hardly supressed the urge to chuckle, but the garveness of the situation stopped me short.

Egyptian: Lei ba2a? (Why?)
Me: Why what?
Egyptian: (Lei 3amalt kida?) Why did you do this?
Me: Why did I do what?
Egyptian: You blocked the entrance for the garage. All those cars can’t get out now. People want to get to work. (Waving to a horde of parked, immobile cars, with people looking out of the window, relieved to be able to finally move, and enraged to see the source of their inconvenience - me)
Me (in my head): Shit!!
Sleepy Sudanese: (Lei ya zoooowl? ) Yes man, why?
Egyptian: We called the police to remove your car. They came and blah blah blah, yadda yadda.

As I was explaining to the Egyptian that I had no clue whatsoever, the Iraqi came chasing after me, running towards me, picking up a rock to squash me to my shameful death.
Sami: Fuck man we're done! This is how it will end, in the hands of an Iraqi enraged mad man. Say your prayers quick!
Me (refusing to go away just yet, to my friend who was still in shock and stood motionless): Get in the fucking car quick.
Friend blanks out.
My friend snaps from his hypnosis and obliges.

Afterwards, all you can hear was the screeching of my tires skidding against the hot asphalt as I zoomed away through the narrow roads desperately dodging bystanders, looking behind my back for a black 4 wheel drive mounted by a fuming Iraqi.

When I knew I was safe on the highway, I started laughing hysterically, having known fully-well that I have got myself into yet another random misadventure, glad to be alive to retell it.


On Getting by in Dubai and Such

So it’s been a year (ok maybe a little bit more) since I landed in Dubai and started the best blog in the universe (Ok no one said I wasn’t the most shameless self-marketer and my self's biggest fan). It’s been a roller coaster since, though it tends to slow down as you grow with the city.

Here are a few unofficial pointers for getting by in Dubai that all sorts of people can make use of, but is intended to the particular niche that Jordanians are.

1- Get an Indian friend: If you think I’m joking, I’m not. Indians know the ins and outs of all the legal and illegal systems and pointers for getting through any process. If they like you, they'll help you. I advise to kindly refuse any sweets offered to you. That face you're pulling masking your pain won't pass as delight whatsoever.
2- Get a Lebanese socialite. It is no secret that Lebanese get well with almost every other nationality, because they secretly hide contempt for every other nationality. In order to know all your restaurants, hot spots, night clubs and brands you need to tag along a Lebanese socialite like a loyal dog. Beware that this lifestyle can ensure a le in your pocket and head. Proceed with caution.
3-Don’t get a Jordanian boss: Your fellow countrymen are most likely to use and abuse you on the pretext that you are their fellow countryman. What’s a couple of extra hours at the office between family? Before you know it you're a living incarnation of a zombie and you have bags the size of boxing bags under your eyes and you're stupidly smashing through glass doors. So you’ve been forewarned.
4-Get your shit sorted out: You can’t as much as pee in the bathroom in Dubai without having a proper residency. I suggest you get it sorted as quick as possible and don’t be a moron and stall as if nothing is at stake. A useful tactic is a strategy religiously followed by married women called the infamous nag.
(Flashback one year ago)
Boss: How is your task coming up?
Me: I’m almost done. When will my residency be issued?
Boss: It’ll be ready within the next 3 days, don’t worry

(1 hour later)
Boss: wanna have lunch?
Me: Sure, when will my residency be issued?

5- This pointer was made for my own personal preference. Spare us the “We have this in Jordan” lame-ass joke. I heard it so many times on every single aspect of Dubai life that it churns my stomach every time I hear it.
Newbie from Jordan(looking around Sheikh Zayed Road in awe): Hatha zay tloo3 il-shabsogh 3ina, hehe (This is similar to Shabsogh street (Ok the Jordanian version is much funnier, so if you don’t know Jordanian, well, you’re the one to blame)
Newbie from Jordan (Looking at Dubai Taxi): Hatha zay sarvees il-3abali 3ina, hehe (This is like the taxi ride at Al-Abdali. For some reason, I feel obligated to explain a little more about those particular taxis. They are white, faded 70-something Mercedes Benz that carry 4 people for the lavish rate of approximately 1 Dirham through certain long routes. It is worth mentioning that such luxuries as personal space and air conditioning are non-existent and that’s where the famous hand-roll above the window evolved from. No really, if you see a guy with his hand rolled above the rolled down window holding a cigarette stuck in traffic, you can know that he’s an evolved specimen from the early Taxi driver.
And the most popular one..
(Drum roll)
Newbie from Jordan(Looking at Burj Dubai): Hatha zay Bawabet 3amman 3ina, hehe..(This is similar to Amman gate towers) It is also worth mentioning that those are the first towers to built in the mountainous city of Amman. It has taken 2 years and 2 poor Egyptian worker lives and is nowhere near completion. Ah well..

In conclusion, please leave the knife-wielding, belt-carrying, negative, complaining, bitching and moaning, tight-jeans, flat shoes - wearing, gel-styling, pinky-fingernail-growing, "p" "b"-switching, chain-cheap-cigarette smoking-Jordanian self behind.
Oo mishan Allah ma tidfa7oona, mish na2seen..

(And yes, I left this untranslated for a meaningful reason)