Ask Bee: Young and Single in Jeddah
We have a great bunch of readers at Jeddah Blog who we simply love hearing from. They send us suggestions, queries, information, and even ask us for advice. They are our sounding board, and they provide constant feedback on all the material we work so hard to bring to you.
In days gone by, Jeddah’s favourite Agony Aunt, Bee has imparted her pearls of wisdom to readers about picking up essential Arabic phrases, what to avoid while shopping for makeup, how to get round the problem of a lack of fitting rooms for women, getting out and about without being able to drive, her top makeup tips and even getting a job in Saudi Arabia.
In her latest column, Bee dishes out her straightforward and practical advice to a young, twenty-something who is conflicted about making the move from the UK to the Middle East. Will Bee have all the answers this time?
Bee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do.
Sorry to bother you, not too worried about this making the website, but was looking for a bit of advice! I’m a single 25 year old British girl & lived in Dubai for 18 years (my family are still there).
I’m currently living back in the UK and looking for a change. I’ve had a career opportunity open up in Jeddah and am in two minds whether to take it or not…! I’m very independent, I enjoy driving and, like many young women, enjoy a glass of wine to celebrate a special occasion! However I equally enjoy the beach, weather, culture and laid back lifestyle the Middle Eastern countries have to offer. So my question is mainly about demographics I suppose… How many young, free, expat females are there around, and what are their views on the lifestyle? And/or would I be able to be put in touch with a few to pick their brains?!
Hey thanks for being in touch and for giving me a glimpse of life that I once had, wished I had, know will never have. you seem to be doing quite well for yourself and since you didn’t tell us what exactly is your profession, I am going to go ahead and assume that it is something fun. Let’s take your query and break it into its constituent parts (sounds very professional, no?)
Young, Free, Expat Females in Saudi
Contrary to what the matchmakers sites may tell you, there aren’t many single (and desirable ) female expats out here. It could be because the visa restrictions are just tighter if you are a single female, but also because girls of a certain age do not want to move to a country that doesn’t offer many gender mingling opportunities. The only exception to the rule would be female nurses, teachers and some doctors. However, when you are a single female working in Jeddah, you will most likely be giving accommodation facilities by your employer because it is very rare (and unsafe) for females to live alone in apartments, and compounds would rarely rent to you if your are single. So the answer to this is; there aren’t as many as you would find in Dubai for example, but if you are working in a female-centric profession or organization, you will definitely find company. Also don’t rule out the possibility of mingling with young Saudi females, they’re quite progressive and fun to be around.
Da Glass O’ Wine
Not happening; this is Saudi Arabia, my friend.
The Beach and the Laid Back Lifestyle
This is TOTALLY Saudi. There are many options (mostly very expensive) where you get access to private beaches that are almost as good as the ones you find in Dubai. Shopping is the main activity and yes the lifestyle is a little laid back but also family-centric. Do keep in mind that all day shopping sprees as in Dubai are a rarity here since all shops close for prayers and spending 45 minutes loitering around 4 times during the day isn’t optimal for mental (or physical) health.
How to get in touch with Single Female Expats
I suggest expatriates.com and the Jeddah Blog Facebook Group as ideal places to look for your target demographics. Since I am an old hag myself, all expats I know are married so can’t really help you there.
To Sum Up:
Saudi is a good place to live if you are looking to make some good money all the while enjoying a laidback/ lavish lifestyle. Not exactly the kind of place where you would expect to hang out with single/ opposite gender friends or go hang out at the beach. There are, as always, exceptions to the rule, and a lot depends on the organization you are working with. My office has lots of single males and females (all Saudis) and it’s a mixed office so we get to hang around in office and outside. It is generally very conservative and there is the constant threat of the Hayya (Saudi religious police) if you are seen in an appropriate (by their standards) situation. The safest bet in such cases is to live in a compound if you can find one.
I hope that answers some of your questions. If you do decide to move to Jeddah, get in touch with us and we can take you under our wing. Can’t promise the wine, but can guarantee good company.