Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

The Christmas “open house”

with 10 comments

It’s at this time of year that my inbox starts to clog up with invitations to “exclusive open house” events, at which local artisans, fashion designers and small-business owners set up tables to sell their beautiful homemade or self-imported goods.

I’m all for “mumpreneurs” running businesses that allow them to have some kind of satisfying work while retaining a presence at home for their children – and they usually sell lovely things – so I try as far as possible to support the ones I know.

But the “open house”? Honestly? Jumping into a tank of piranhas might be more fun.

Take one I went to the other week.

I walked through the open door and the buzz of chat stopped immediately as 25 pairs of eyes gave me the “Dubai once-over.” You know: The “Oh my God, she’s wearing that?” look, followed by the “What’s she doing here? She doesn’t look our type; bet she doesn’t even live in this community” look (“Oh god give me strength,” I thought, poking a flip-flop further into the living room).

To be honest, I could see why the eyebrows would have raised, had the Botox allowed: The sellers were as dressed-up and made-up as if they were going for a night out at the opera. I’d never seen so many tonal silk scarves in my life. Furthermore, despite it being only midday, they were all clutching glasses of bubbly (“They’ve been at it since 10am,” said the friend I’d popped in to see).

I, on the other hand, had been working at home all morning and was dropping in to the “open house” en route to the first of two hot and dusty school runs, so I was wearing something simple: A strappy vest, ¾ length jeans and flip-flops (I did, of course, have a great handbag). It looked alright, but polished it was not. My makeup was bare minimum and I’d committed the ultimate Dubai Mum faux pas of no lippie.

Not even a Bobbi Brown neutral.

When I finally got both flip-flops into the room (not even Havaianas, dahling), there appeared to be no genuine customers, so the sellers, tipsy, loud and, honestly, a bit precious, were all trying on each other’s stuff. Even if I’d wanted to get my wallet to their tables, I’d had to have broken through their ranks first.

Some of the other sellers had the alcohol munchies – they were stuffing spring rolls into their chops in the kitchen while trilling that faux-naughty, giggly line of “I’ll just try one of these….mmm…. there’s so moreish, Jessica! Did you make them yourself?”  (No, she bought them frozen from the supermarket and got her maid to deep-fry fried them you numpty).

My overall impression of the first “open house” I’ve actually attended in two years was that of intruding at a private party. Sorry girls – next time I’ll buy from you directly.

Written by mrsdubai

December 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm

10 Responses

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  1. You’re so funny! And honest!

    I’m a local (expat) designer – and if I ever have an open house I’ll make sure it’s a flips flops no lippy kind of gig 😉

    Love your blog!


    December 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm

  2. Oh how I relate to so much of this post–especially the sideways glances from other expat wives. Sounds a lot like Singapore where I live and struggle to find my more granola, less pretentious scene.


    December 6, 2012 at 4:24 am

  3. MrsDubai, I always look forward to reading your updates, it’s like you have crawled inside my mind and written down my thoughts. P.s email me as I have a photo I took in Carrefour that I think may appeal to your sense of humor!


    December 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

  4. Hiya Mrs Dubai! I’ve just discovered your blog and this post was so funny and relative! I’ve had those looks thrown my way many times! thanks for a fab post! from a forever in flipflops gal! x


    December 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    • Thank you so much, both for reading and commenting 🙂


      December 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

  5. Haha, nothings changed in the 10 years since I lived there. Then all the “Jumeirah Janes” held court. “Oh she’s from Awwwwwwstrayyylya…….” said in a loud explanatory tone like it was some kind of contagious disease, was the preferred explanation or excuse for my presence. Just about to return after enduring five years of the same in Kuwait. However a harder shell to crack now. Should be interesting.


    December 10, 2012 at 2:40 am

  6. Haha, so funny and so true, sure they all had manis and pedis done specially and of course the brand new heels to match the tonal scarves, flipping the bills to their hardwoking hubbies whilst they kid themselves they ‘have a job’ dahling.

    Lizzie English

    December 17, 2012 at 11:36 am

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