NOTE: This is only a journal entry and has not been a product of any racist thought. I am not a racist and I strongly respect every other culture. This journal is just to express one bad experience with a certain individual only, and does not, in any way, generalize an entire nation/race.
***written on July 7, 2014
***updated Jan. 14, 2015 (see 5th paragraph)
I was on my way home late at night. I attended the 7:30 – 8:30 PM mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church near Oud Metha Metro Station. From there, ‘took about 30 minutes to reach Business Bay. And so, I arrived at about 9 PM, or should I say, past 9 PM already! There were no more cabs waiting on the lane by the station so I decided to walk the way across the so-called “desert” to reach my second home.
I was singing a jolly song while trudging my way through the intense desert air, my boots would dig deep, almost getting stuck into the cream-colored sand. The warm breeze of the night seemed to leave a superficial burn on my face and on the thin layers of exposed slit of skin on my forearms. Yep, my first summer here in Dubai! And seriously, I can’t get enough of the heat! ‘Just kidding!
Anyway, I was still feeling giddy and excited with the thought of finally resting my bone-tired body and drained soul into the soft sheets of the welcoming bed in the cozy room or perhaps, cuddle the sofa while watching a TV drama or two as soon as I reach home.
When I stepped on the sidewalk, I didn't notice at all that I was crossing paths with these two teenagers, both young boys at about 17-18 years of age. One of them exclaimed to the other, “she is so beautiful and very nice hair!” The other responded “yeah!” and they started whispering to each other, as if they were discussing an evil plan. I started walking fast as I ignored them and I was still singing a rock song a little loud as I usually do at this time of the night. Then the boy who spoke earlier said, “What did she say?” as I could assume he was having a big grin on his face, thinking that I was trying to relay a message to them…but no! Excuse me, I was just singing my song!
I thought that weird encounter was over as I walked farther from those two who stopped far behind at the edge of the street. All of a sudden, one of the boys jumped his way in front of me and started asking these questions---“Are you married?! Do you wanna marry me?” I didn't know how he got there too fast; he could have run so swiftly. I remembered one of my female friends telling stories about "instant" marriage proposals from men here that happened to a lot of ladies she know in her circle of friends---asking a woman's hand after his first glance on her face! (***I would like to make it clear that I mean no offense to Arab men, I have not intended to generalize in this journal, as I speak of an individual only. Well, I am certain, based on my interactions with them, that Arab men are the best gentlemen you could ever find on this Earth and are not in any way like this kid... for sure, after having been exposed to quite a few job-related multinational conferences, I cling to my conviction that adult Arab men are very respectful and would never mean to harm or offend anyone or any person of different race. In fact, they seem to have this inherent gentleness and an air of mystery in the way they interact with people, which I find as very surprisingly fascinating1 ).
Well- back to the story---sorry, in our culture, this instant marriage proposal is quite odd...extremely odd!
Anyway, I wasn't that surprised ‘cause I know exactly how I should answer. I started responding with a big resounding “NO!” and I wanted to give him a big slap in the face but I know he is an kid from here and I was thinking of the possible consequences so there was no choice but to control myself. (Duh! He is from this country and what would become of me if they press charges of assault against me?! And if I’d be the one to press charges against him, it will surely be no good for I’ll be in the losing side.)
When I said no, he even got more persistent as I walked even much faster, but then he followed me along the long path beside the bay, trying to stop me from walking. I started saying, “Hey!” with a frowned serious look to stop his behavior, ‘hoping he’d just walk away. When I think about it, that scenario might just be an ordinary scene to the other people who were walking by the sidewalk, thinking we were just an odd couple trying to make up after an argument. I also remembered, though I found this funny- when I saw another lady walking in the same direction (but she was wearing an abaya) and I told him, “Go to that girl! She’s more beautiful!” He just ignored and he attempted to touch my hair but I strongly refused and shouted, “Don’t touch me! Go away!” He was too young, yet too full of himself!
He kept on insisting “C’mon now, marry me…” and then, he started muttering some stuffs that no one would imagine a teenager as young as him would say! I started realizing that he was CRAZY, or he must be too high to say those stuffs (perhaps he must have taken some woolah, or something…sorry for the term, but I never have used this before in writing and this is the first time I've ever written this word). I was thinking of calling any of those security guards near each parking entrance to each tower, but then I chose to handle the situation alone…”This is just a crazy kid, I can handle him!,” I thought.
That moment, I was feeling very irritated that I really wanted to give him an uppercut, or just twist his head 360 degrees like how the professional assassins on TV would do it. I was like a boiling kettle with a tough irremovable cover. I didn’t care if he was good-looking; I was picturing myself scrubbing his face into the rugged earth! He must be a rich kid who thinks he could get anything he wants in an instance. Indeed, what he was muttering was a big insult to me but due to the “high level” of self control winning over me and the fact that I have just gone to church on a Sunday, I let go of all the negative thoughts and just told him “Just pray to God, my friend…” He asked “Why?” I told him, “so that you would have a clear mind and clear thoughts,” and I continued to walk. Feeling disappointed, he later asked in return, “why would you not marry me?” I instantly answered in a sarcastic manner, “’cause you know what, being alone is the best thing in life! …so that you can find yourself.”
He responded, “F*** that!” Arrggh, the kid was getting into my nerves! Despite my resistance, he never stopped tailing me (as if he was a stalker!) until I reached the inside of the mall, halfway to the flat. I finally said, “You’re freaking me out now!” He got silent and then, he finally went away. Thank God! I didn’t want to think anymore of how worse the situation could become!
Thinking he might have just hidden himself and might follow me home, I walked towards the opposite way to the grocery store and was eventually forced to buy a few stuffs as I kept on looking around, making sure he was not there anymore. Yes, somehow, he freaked me out because of his persistence. Anyway, aside from feeling irritated, I felt pity on him, too for he is just another immature young man who desperately wants to grow up just to experience the “adult stuffs.” And that’s how I see it.
Too bad I wasn’t able to tell him what just came to my thoughts after I reminisced about all of what happened, what I should have supposed to tell him --- “Trust me, no girl would ever marry you if you have never learned to respect a person; if you find a girl whom you would respect the most and who will accept you for who you are, then I’d say that is the best time you could ever be ready for marriage…and one more thing, the money or wealth that you have now isn't really yours, those are what you get from your parents’ pocket, so do not be so proud of it!” Yeah, I should have driven him to a tongue-tied mode!
And marriage? Someone should teach him that it is definitely NOT a joke! A woman’s hand for marriage should never be asked after just a few minutes of meeting her. Marriage is sacred and this should be thought of when a man is determined that his feelings, as well as his partner’s feelings, are real…when both are ready to commit and be one in the eyes of God! Well, at least, this is my view and no one could ever change it for now. The truth is I wouldn't fear if I encounter him once again because I surely know how to respond. Some kids nowadays, like this one, are just too much! A marriage proposal like that (plus the extra words he was muttering) was never flattering but instead, extremely insulting!
Thinking about what happened, do I really look that “easy” for that boy to say stuffs like that to me? I don’t think so! I know myself better than anyone else. He just doesn't have that big R, that thing we call RESPECT! Whatever, rich kid! If only I could just slap you in the face, or even more, do worse…
Well, for sure, this is just another story of a bad night. Dubai is still a very safe place, one of the safest that I know. You’ll just be very unlucky to encounter mean persons who could perhaps ruin one of your nights. It will be your choice whether you will let people like this create fear in you and let yourself be shattered in any way, or move on strong and set aside the negative energies.
Anyway, peace to all people…even to those who do not want to live in peace with you!
(I surely want to know your views on this matter...feel free to leave your comments below.)