It has been over a month now, since my mother set me up with a friend of her friend’s son and what I thought was going to be a torturous evening with another git turned out to be the end of my single life…well, at least for now. I’m not one of those hopeless romantic types, who croon about the beautiful skies and have a skip in her step when she’s in love, but the weather has been great from inside my central A/C apartment and I skip to my way to work each day. His name is Neal; an investment banker, he was born and bred in Dubai. He was the guy who loved his luxurious cars, crisp fashion (phew…and yaay!) and his humus and khubus.
In the beginning of each relationship, you become extra careful about every inch of your body. All of a sudden, you are on time for all your waxing, threading and facial appointments. There is no such thing as a bad hair day. There can be no bad hair day. Your face is painted all the time, even when you’re done with dinner and just driving back home, you can’t help but touch up those lips. So it was but obvious that I had to look my fabulous self when he invited me to his best mate Sid’s house party. This was going to be a tough crowd. The friends usually are. They grill you in their own way and try and get to know you. But with the guys it’s easy. They have basic conversations, look at you and always give their approval with one look or a nod. It’s the girlfriends/wives of these friends who had a sea of questions in their head let’s not forget, we are in Dubai after all. There will be the top to bottom check out. From your hair to your shoes; everything will be under scrutiny. Everything will be judged and no apologies will be made for it.
We arrived at the Emirates Hills villa… rather mansion, sharp on time. A fleet of the finest luxurious cars parked neatly greeted us. The house was something Saffron – The Society Insider would cover.
We stepped in.
There it was, the whole Fall 2016 collection in one room. Everywhere I looked, it was as if all the brands in the Fashion Avenue of Dubai Mall had collectively decided to throw up in there. Suddenly, I questioned my choice for the evening. When I had bought the studded Valentino shoes, I thought they would stand out. Over there, amongst the Emirates Hills and the Palm Sindhi crowd, the signature shoes were present in every possible color the brand had to offer. The Chanel’s, Gucci’s and LVs were hanging off almost every shoulder making my McQueen clutch looked like the new nerdy kid in school. Air kisses were everywhere and made me feel like I was back at a fashion week. I met the friends who seemed kind and gave that instant approval just as it was predicted. Then came the girls. After an hour and a half of what felt like high school all over again, here’s what I learnt about surviving a Dubai soiree.
On my way back home, I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself. I had endured my first party and as per the feedback, it seemed like I had passed with flying colors. Although I don’t think I would be able to relive that ordeal again.
“Well that was nice. Everyone loved you.” Neal said.
Of course, he would think that. The real conversations would have begun on my exit.
Instead I said, “It was nice.”
“So, Sid said that Maya loved you and that we should join the couples kitty”, Neal said.
“Couples kitty?” I asked bewildered.
“Yes, it’s when couples meet every fortnight and try out new restaurants”, he shared, “and it’ll be great for you to get to know the girls more.”
I just sat there staring. I couldn’t think about being around those women again. It was exhausting the first time around.
I looked at Neal, with his perfectly coiffed hair and sharp cheek bones. If I had learnt anything in the past three hours, it was time to put that lesson to good use. With a shrill in my voice and a little excitement I said, “I’d love to.”