Emirati women wear abaya and some of them also wear a niqab. That transforms them into totally mysterious creatures and makes tourists wonder: how do they move, how do they eat and, the most important question – what’s underneath.
How do they move? Slowly. Either their abaya prevents them from moving fast or they simply don’t ever have to rush. That I don’t know.
How do they eat if they wear a niqab? They either lift it up or take it off during the meal. Judging by the stains they do occasionally spill food.
What do they wear underneath? I was closely watching local women in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain for two weeks to figure that out. Here we go: sneakers and jeans, very tight jeans and very high heels, very high heels and skirts that are not very long, long sleeved tops, very long richly decorated dresses, most often without sleeves. They prefer carrying fancy handbags which is understandable since that’s one of the very few ways to distinguish themselves.
Obviously, I was not watching only women. The question ‘what’s underneath’ applies to men too because most of them wear a thawb (or kandura). It’s white and reveals a plain while t-shirt underneath. Sandals on their feet. But between the t-shirt and the sandals... That remains a mistery.
Elie Attieh - Khidni Habibi