Well, its Spring time in Kuwait (or what passes for Spring over here – read warmer weather, thunder storms, dust storms and surprisingly heavy rain) and there must be something in the air, because while driving to and from work the other day I was hit on no less than three times. Given the restrictions on socialising between the sexes in this part of the world, the locals have developed new and rather inventive measures for finding love.
The most popular of these seems to be cruising Gulf Road (six lanes, but not quite a highway) in your pimped out car (think an Escalade with an Armani logo in Swarovski crystals) until you spy a likely prospect, then chasing them along at speeds of up to 120km, till you finally box in your prey at a traffic light, where you can proceed to ask for a cigarette, a phone number, or, for the very bold, a date. It’s wretchedly annoying, because not only can there be some rather dangerous driving (evasive manoeuvers), but frequently two cars full of fellas will settle on either side of a single carful of ladies and mosey along while chatting, which blocks the road for the rest of us who have places to go and people to see.
I will admit to going on a traffic light date once, but the guy made such an effort it would have been rude not to. He caught me by surprise singing along to the radio at the top of my lungs and asked where I worked. I was so surprised I answered, thinking nothing of it. My firm has no website and the phone directory here in a maze, so I figured it was reasonably anonymous, but somehow he found the number and called me at work, so I eventually agreed to meet him for a (non-alcoholic) drink at my favourite sheesha bar.
As it turns out, Khaled was a very pleasant chap, with pretty good English- he was perplexed to learn that asking out a random stranger wasn’t so common, and asking out a stranger at the traffic lights unheard of, and wanted to know how Westerners managed to date, which got me thinking about how to meet a man. I couldn’t help thinking of a friend at home who’s lamenting the lack of suitable partners on the market. Is organised dating, like speed dating, really that different to meeting someone at the traffic lights? How about a blind date? At least you have a friend in common with that I suppose.