Posts Tagged ‘housewife in Dubai’
I recently met a lady who’s new to Dubai. I met her at a friend’s house, where she was having a cup of tea and getting the low-down on life in her new environs. The first thing she said while I was there made me smile: “I won’t be getting a housemaid,” she said. “I didn’t have help back home so why would I need it here?”
She sipped her tea. My friend and I looked at the floor.
“It’s easy if you’re organised,” she said. “It’s just a matter of being efficient with your time. I’m not one to sit around in beauty salons.”
We kept straight faces. No, really, we did.
“So,” she continued, “what do you ladies of leisure do all day anyway? How do you fill your days with the kids at school? I mean, the maid does all the housework – right?”
In the ensuing silence, I wondered what to tell her. That I invite the gardener in for tea each morning, and play tennis with the pool boy? That Gerlie brings iced gin & tonic to my lilo as I float around the pool?
I thought about the two- or three-hour school runs I do most days. About the homework, the menu-planning, the grocery shopping (which always involves at least two or three different shops as no one shop in Dubai ever has everything); the cooking from scratch (we don’t have much in the way of readymeals over here); the making of packed lunches; the long-distance driving of children to and from activities and play dates. I thought about finding time to actually enjoy being with the children – playing games with them, taking them swimming and to the park.
Then I thought about the peripherals: Squeezing in some time for exercise; having a social life; catching up with friends. The “me-time” that seems to come bottom of any woman’s to-do list.
But could I tell the new girl all this? The woman who wasn’t going to hire a maid because she could do it all herself? Would she want to hear it? I looked at my friend; she clearly wasn’t going to answer.
“Oh,” I said. “Don’t worry. You’ll find things to do.”
And my friend? She left the room quickly. Before the effort of suppressing her laughter blew her ears off, I expect.
I’ve been busy lately, planning the family’s summer holidays. Anyone who thinks you just go onto emirates.com and click “book flights” has no concept of what entails a family holiday. Honest to god, it’s not an easy task.
We have flights. We have stops in hotels because onward flights don’t connect. We have more flights and more nights in hotels because cruises and flights don’t connect. We have The Cruise (more on this another day, I’m sure). We have shore excursions and we have drinks packages. Then we have car rental, Spanish villas, optional WiFi and pool heaters. And return flights, airport transfers and UK car rental. We have different people returning to Dubai on different days. We have the possibility of a Skywards upgrade (fat chance).
And then, after all that’s signed and sealed, we have Gerlie’s flights to organise.
See? Not simple.
So, I’ve been doing a bit at a time. Disappearing into my office after dinner with a glass of Merlot and choosing airlines, seats, meal plans and hotels. Reading hotel reviews, checking airline timetables, viewing ship cabins on You Tube. And every now and then I make a decision and click “book”.
Then I wander back into the living room and collapse on the sofa with a sigh.
“Booked the flights then?” asks DH with a smug smile.
Yes, as a matter of fact, I have. But how do you know?
He knows because our bank calls him up, late at night on the sofa, to tell him that his wife’s booked flights to Europe, a hotel and a hire car in Spain and does he mind? Shall they let her? (And what does she need a 9-seater for anyway?)
Welcome, Dubai, to the 21st century. This, dear friends, is life as a Housewife.
The other day I was telling my handyman about a friend who’d hired him on my recommendation.
“She’s tall and slim,” I said. “Tanned. Blonde hair. Beautiful. Lives in the Ranches. You know, really fit, always wears skinny jeans and flats? Two kids?”
“Well no,” he said. “You’ve just described 99 per cent of my clients.”
He got me thinking: Is there a “Dubai expat” look? Are we women guilty of morphing into each other? Is there an unwritten list of things to which most women here aspire? Sometimes, when you look around the coffee shops and the supermarkets, it seems that way.
Here’s my Dubai housewife tick-chart, researched from a banquette somewhere in the depths of Costa’s and Carluccio’s. Every Dubai housewife, it seems, must have:
– Glossy hair (highlighted)
– A pair of over-sized designer sunglasses
– A nip-and-tuck doctor on speed-dial
– At least 10 designer bikinis
– A pair of one-carat diamond stud earrings
– Gelish nails on hands and feet
– A personal trainer
– Eyelash extensions
– At least one DVF wrap dress
– A finger or two of diamond knuckle-dusters, as big as DH can afford
– A super-large four-wheel-drive
– An expensive, posh or unusual hobby (tennis, polo, dragon-boat racing)
– Several designer handbags including but not limited to a slouchy leather tote with gold hardware for day, and a snakeskin clutch for evenings
– The number of a good “eyebrows girl”
– A golf / polo / beach club membership (Jebel Ali doesn’t count)
– A pair of high-heeled gold sandals
– And, finally, a little “mumtrepreneur” business (“you know, to keep my mind ticking over”), which she secretly wishes would win her the Ahlan magazine Business Woman of the Year Award.