Growing up in a society where husbands and wives don’t publicly hold hands, exchange flirtatious looks, or say “I love you”, Saudi girls find alternative in romantic movies and Turkish soap operas. When I say “publicly” I don’t mean public exchange of love out in the streets in front of strangers, I mean in front of their families or kids, where other people can feel love vibes in the air.
In Valentines Day, even though so many Saudis do not (or pretend that they do not want to) celebrate such occasion, Saudi women “or most of them at least” would be so hungry to see manifestations of love. Any sign that shows there exists happy couples who are head over heels for each other. Anything that illustrates that marriage is not a parallel with dullness or routine, but rather a bond of friendship, love and deep respect.
The excitement to reach February 14 of each year is not in the Valentine’s Day as an occasion of love, but rather to feel the love they get to only watch on TV.
The vibes Saudi women receive when witnessing power of love are important to re-establish wrong buried beliefs that stereotype Saudi men to be non-romantic, and Saudi women to be materialistic and careless.
Now, you may wonder, why do not Saudis show love in public?
It’s simply a society thing. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion. At all.
People are not used to public display of affection. Couples get often afraid of being judged as “too sentimental”, “inconsiderate of the feelings of singles” or “actors of fake happiness” in front of others.
The produce of love poverty is a new generation of young women who want wedding, not marriage. Women who all they care about in a man is being romantic and would scream “I love you” down her window. Women who want to marry a man who constantly validates his love for her through gifts she can show off in snapchat and Twitter to her followers and friends.
The produce is a generation of young men who think it is manly to let your woman beg for affection and love.
I am glad that some young Saudi couples have started a positive trend of change where emotions are expressed publicly and spontaneously. They are being criticized and attacked, yet love always wins and it will always do till the end.
P.S: this article does not represent all Saudi men and women. There are always exceptions.
My name is Noor and I’m a Saudi writer.
I love to read, dance and eat bagels.
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