Dress Code Emirati Style

I was recently invited to a party by an Emirati colleague.  A gorgeous mother of 5 kids, was hosting her annual ‘girls’ get together’ at her home.  Mums and kids invited.  No men…reminded me of girlie get togethers all around the world!  Excited to be going to my friend’s party (along with my munchkins who adore her), two questions shot through my mind: ‘What is an appropriate gift’ and ‘What is the dress code?’

Having canvassed female office opinion on both questions, ‘flowers or chocolates’ was the answer to the gifts….as for the dress code, Madam Hostess with the most unbelievable ‘Mostess’ dictated ‘boobs and legs‘ as the official dress code.  Stunningly stunned, I picked up my jaw from the floor and convinced myself she was joking.

I cannot pretend that I was a tad disappointed that I would have to make an effort to dress up.  My-planned-for-comfy-code of jeans and snuggly sweater (evenings at this time of year can be quite chilly – as I write that I hear friends in Europe cackle at the thought of 17 degrees being chilly!  On the contrary….it’s shorts and flip flop weather there!).  I had been thinking more along the lines of  jeans, flats, a top and warm wrap around; maybe even a scarf.  Kids were sorted – jeans/leggings, long sleeved tops and sweaters.  Ooohhhhh…if only that dress code would apply to me…..

Alas…..despite my repeated efforts to convince the hostess that my knees are too wrinkly to be on show, that it would be too cold, that the ‘boob’ requirement would be futile without the latest technolgy in Bravissimo bras (about which I have no clue), that the heels would make trekking back and forth on cobble stones akin to trekking across the desert in Christian Louboutains, my pleas went unheeded.

When I spoke to a number of other invitees, I got to thinking about this kind of party.  Abaya/sheyla wearing women were soooo excited.  The thought of ‘coming out’ and wearing clothes of their choice was almost intoxicating.  Plans were made.  Hand gestures against legs defined how short the dresses/skirts should be.  Anything 5 inches above the knee was too long…..just covering the ‘butt’ was a key requirement.

Still stuck on the idea of wearing jeans and running around after my kids in bare feet on damp, sandy grass, I began to mentally rifle through my disorganised, unprepared wardrobe.  ‘Boobs and legs’????  OMG…doesn’t this woman know I am way past that stage of my ‘social’ life???  I cannot think of anything suitable to wear.  As for make-up, I knew I had no chance.  Middle Eastern ladies apply the war paint with perfection.  Flawless, dewy, cinematic beauties.  How does one match that???

Scribbling on my eyeliner and stuffing on some lash paint…..I changed into my ‘boob and legs’ dress.  Looking at my reflection in the mirror I thought ‘glamour’.

Kids = Reality check.

‘Mummy, you look like a vampire.

‘A what????’ I screamed loud enough for the neighbours to hear.

‘Mummy, you look like a very nice vampire’ came the response.

As if that makes a difference.

If ever there was a testament to how much make up I don’t wear.

How do I compete with the local lovelies????

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