Dec 10, 2014

Real Housewives of Doha

IMG_9990-0.JPGI need this to be a thing. These Qatari women could show our darling NeNe Leakes a thing or two about being “very rich, bitch”.

I attended a bonafide Qatari wedding about a week ago {WEEK AGO!!! *shmoney dances*} as the guest of a friend of mine, Carla. Carla was kind enough to also invite my friend and colleague, Shondale, as well as my mother. My mum couldn’t miss out on this rare opportunity. As we rolled up to the convention centre, our tiny Toyota was dwarfed by Rolls Royces, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis of varying colours and models.

I was not ready.

Upon entering the venue, we were asked to turn over our mobile devices and, in return, allowed entry into one of the most fantastically decorated spaces I have ever seen. My nostrils were filled with the combined scents of lavish perfumes and high end incense. Not to mention the heavenly aroma of the thousands of orchids covering the pillars, ceilings, and walls of the entire room. Delicate fabrics draped and weaved their way across the flowers and intertwined themselves with long strands of Swarovski crystals. The whole room shimmered. The scene was only enhanced by the gaggle of beautiful women sitting, sashaying, and dancing in their finest gowns and highest heels. The only man in the room was on a large projector screen singing in Arabic at the groom’s venue. The rhythmic drumming felt like the band was actually in the room instead of miles away. Safe from the eyes of men, the women were free to remove their ornate abayas and mysterious niqabs and reveal form-fitting dresses, flowing tresses, and glittering necklines, wrists, and henna-stained fingers. When I tell you these women were FABULOUS. Manicured to perfection; faces beat into oblivion.

Carla introduced me to the family of the bride who were seated regally at the entrance of the hall. The bride’s mother was gracious and enthusiastic and immediately had us escorted by the waitstaff to one of about fifty lavishly set tables. Before we could even settle into our chairs, we were surrounded by waitresses with trays in hand offering us several varieties of juices, teas, pastries, nuts, and appetisers. When our view was finally clear of the pampering women, I was able to observe the bride’s…throne, for lack of a better word. A bejeweled, pristine white chaise lounge in the middle of a round, elevated stage. Upon further inspection, I realised the stage was attached to a long catwalk that led to the main entrance. Some women took to the catwalk and danced kahliji, a delicate, coquettish dance, while others shook what their mamas gave them. Seriously, I haven’t seen hips and waistlines move like that since my last Trini fete. And the mamas in the crowd proudly showered the dancing guests with riyals, the currency of Qatar. I watched this scene completely amused, clapping and squealing with Carla in excitement. I wondered if this was the closest I would get to a strip club in Doha. I later learned that, typically, the money is thrown by mothers of unwed sons and directed towards women who could be a potential mate, as marriages are still commonly arranged in Qatar.

After politely waving away yet another waitress with yet another tray of food, I noticed the catwalk had been cleared and the lighting in the hall had softened. The bride appeared at the entrance and made her way to the stage in a painstakingly slow glide across her runway. That dress. That gotdamn dress. Listen. And her RING. I just… I didn’t even know you could cluster that many diamonds together on one ring. She was stunning. Once the bride finally reached her chair, the women flocked to her for Qatari kisses, a series of four short cheek to cheek touches, and photo ops. While I gazed at the charming display of congratulations, Carla explained that the bride would remain on her throne for the remainder of the evening until her groom arrived to collect her. She would not eat or drink or dance. No flying garter belts or clumsily tossed bouquets. Just a porcelain doll on her pedestal.

An hour had passed when the music suddenly switched and, almost in unison, all of the colourful, twirling gowns and flowing hair were once again sheathed by black abayas and shaylas. The groom had arrived. Another hour of professional camera flashes and praise for the bride and groom who shared nothing more than a glance and a smile with each other during the whole ordeal. When the sparklers adorning the hundreds of small dessert plates had extinguished themselves, the bride and groom made their way to the door to start their new lives together. Watching them saunter down the catwalk for a final time, I thought about how exciting and nerve wracking it must be to walk out of such a momentous, meticulously planned event and into the unknown.

I also considered strolling on over to the catwalk and doing a little “get chose” dance of my own.
Bad mon forward. Bad mon pull up. Palance.

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