Talking Too Much
So this weekend I got a short break from my sister. She went camping & touring the Northern Emirates with my uncle for the weekend. I knew it meant I could relax because:
1) Am not around. If she senses I don't approve of something, that's all the motivation she needs to take it to extremes. My sister deliberately does things here that she's not allowed to do at home - knowing it will get her in trouble with my parents - just so she can get me into trouble too. She knows that because I brought her over here and because am supposed to be the big sister, everyone will hold me responsible for any outrage she perpetrates while 'in my care'.
I can't BELIEVE I brought this on myself. I am never, ever taking responsibility for her like this again. The next time I invite her to stay she will be over 21. If we're still speaking by then.
2) She always loved my uncle & tends to behave like an angel with him.
So I gave in to my husband's request to be his date for a beach party with his friends. Not exactly my idea of heaven but I felt I owed it to him because he's been kind of neglected since my sister came. She's been taking all my time & attention plus she stresses me out & I know I've taken it out on him a couple of times. And he let it pass. I just hope her visit ends before I've really pushed my luck with him.
So as I said, I owed him. If I didn't, I would have tried to find a way to wriggle out of it. Being around these particular friends of his wasn't exactly what I needed to unwind. I have misgivings about them but because they seem so important to him, I have to be civil. And I have to look like am enjoying myself. It's quite an effort actually.
I toyed with the idea of inviting a few of my own friends to act as a cushion & minimize my exposure to his friends but he told me it was a private event, by invitation only & that we only had two cards. So be it, I thought.
Now I don't swim in public. I am 30 years old & I've long since established the limits of what I'm comfortable exposing in public. A wet swimsuit is not within those limits. I grew up swimming at the Ladies Beach, the Abu Dhabi Ladies club, Ladies Day everywhere else or private pools/beaches. And I'm happy with things that way.
So what do I normally do at beach parties - given the fact that I don't drink either? I eat, enjoy the music, dance, smoke shisha etc....Last night didn't work out that way. None of them had any interest in dancing & I couldn't very well dance all by myself, could I? No fun.
And they all spent all the time in the water, which left me sitting on the beach by myself & left my husband torn between babysitting me & his obvious desire to be in the water too. The fact that I did not fit in with this group could not have been more glaringly obvious.
In addition, it was so hot & humid that night that I was stifling & sticky in my dress. It was the kind of weather where you should either be naked in the water or indoors with airconditioning.
No matter. I tried to put a brave face on it. Spent a lot of time on the phone & then ended up striking up a weird conversation about black magic of all things - with the bartender. Usually, I complain about running into people you know everywhere in Abu Dhabi. That night, I prayed it would happen. Nothing. Murphy's Law etc....
I got so bored, uncomfortable etc...that when guys would come up & ask me to dance, I was almost tempted. But I got a funny feeling that dancing with strange guys might not contribute very many positive things to my marriage.
I did not want to say I had a headache & go home early because I'd done that once before with the same group of people. It was too lame an excuse to use twice.
And then B.- one of my husband's friends - joined me at the bar. Terrific. Small talk time. In that weather, I wasn't exactly in the mood.
I was still trying to think of something to say when the matter was taken out of my hands.
B : Why don't you live a little?
Me: Excuse me?
B : Chill. Have a drink. Get in the water.
Me: Thanks but I'm fine.
B : Sure. You're just fine sitting there sweating.
Me: Really B., you don't need to worry about me. Am a big girl.
B : I mean, look at what you're wearing. It's not like you're mit7ajba. You're not so holy. But you think you're somehow more moral than the girls who are out there having fun.
Me & this guy tend to argue a lot. But usually about abstract, general issues. He's never criticized me personally before. And I also avoided getting personal with him up until that moment.
However, I wasn't going to sit there & let him put me on the defensive that way. I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine. If he could criticize me then I had a mouth too & he wasn't a saint.
Me: So how come you're dateless tonight? I thought this was a couples thing.
B : I got friends in high places.
Me: I guess S.(his gf) couldn't make it?
B : I don't know. I didn't ask her.
Me: Why not?
B : No reason. Know what? Maybe I will ask her.
So he picks the phone, calls her, tells her he's at a this party & has an extra card & does she want to come. And she says yes. No questions asked. He gives her some directions & then hangs up.
I stare at him.
Me: You're not even going to go pick her up?
B : Nah. She'll get a taxi. She's a big a girl too.
Me: She must really care about you.
B : Wa omoorhona mo3alaqaton biforoogihina. (A quote essentially meaning that women's affairs are linked to their private parts/sexuality)
Me: You're so gross.
B : Yes. I know. Holy L. So much above it all. So much better than everyone else.
Me: I never said I was better than everyone else!
B : No but you act like you think it.
Me: What? Just because am not wearing a bikini & don't appreciate your sexist remarks?
B : Ah so now I'm sexist.
Me: What you said about women & sex was very sexist & you know it.
B : I think I see where you're coming from. When you and other women criticize men all the time for being hormonal, sex-crazed creatures, that is fine & egalitarian. When a man points out that women can be just as bad, all of sudden he's a Talibanist?
Me: I didn't say you're a Talibanist.
B : Figure of speech, L. You called me sexist. The Taliban are the ultimate in sexism.
I didn't know what to say to that. I was confused but still very angry.
Me: I just think it's wrong when a relationship is based on using each other for sex. A man who respects women wouldn't think like that.
B : Oh come off it L. Look at you and K. You two are so oversexed.
I should have put an end to the convo there. It was getting way, way too personal.
But I was too stung by what he said.
Me : We are not oversexed! We're in love. How dare you?
Him: Yeah, let's see how that works out when the sparks have stopped flying.
Me : They won't!
Him: Oh, they will. They always do.
Me : So what you're trying to say is nothing can exist between a man and a woman but sex?
Him: 'Course not. There's money too.
Me : So those of us who are not nymphomaniacs are prostitutes?
Him: What's wrong with nymphomaniacs & prostitutes?
At that point, I knew I had to end the conversation. I just got up & walked off on him. I was so angry I briefly considered snitching to my husband, telling him that his friend called me a prostitute. But I took a walk to calm down & decided that:
1) Since I was constantly complaining that they let my husband tell them what they can or can't say infront of me, I couldn't exactly go running to him the first time one of them speaks to me out of turn.
2) B. was probably more than a little drunk.
3) It was my fault for giving him the chance to prolong the conversation when I knew that his views on women are rarely pleasant.
Now am left with the unpleasant sensation of having talked too much & heard too much from someone I barely know & don't really like. If only I could roll back time.
Oh and then there's also the fact that my dislike of these people's company clearly isn't as well-concealed as I thought. Which is not going to improve future social situations, is it?
Could the guy have been so drunk that he simply wouldn't remember anything? What about the rest of them?