Saudi Arabia: Subtle Flirting


Some marriages continue to be arranged in Saudi Arabia.  These can be marriages to first cousins, second cousins or into a tribe where there are good relations and history.  I always enjoyed watching how the young men and women from within an extended family or tribe would subtly flirt with one another.  In most families segregation between young men and women was practiced.  They could be in the same home visiting relatives but would be in separate rooms.


I could always tell when a young woman was going to “mistakenly” enter an area where a young man may be seating.  She would not have on her abaya for she’s been segregated with the other women.  She may go to a nearby mirror where she freshens her make-up and her hair.  She may also spray a little more perfume over her body.  When she believes no one is watching her, she casually walks towards the area where the men are located.  Normally the door to the men’s salon will be open and she will walk past allowing the men a quick glance at her in her uncovered glory.  Of course if someone, such as another woman, were to say something or worse yet, if a man were coming out of the salon, she would feign great embarrassment and return speedily to the ladies salon.


Most of the time these incidents would take place when men were leaving.  The woman may enter the hallway where the man can catch a glimpse as he walks out the door.  This is known as the subtle flirting of unmarried Saudi women inside the home.



12 Responses

  1. “Some?????? marriages continue to be arranged in Saudi Arabia.” Talking mutiliating facts.

  2. @Ali: Some? I am becoming aware of more and more marriages which have not been traditionally arranged.

  3. While working I would ask men if they had the traditional arrangement if I felt I could get away with it. Some said yes. Some insisted on meeting their future mate outside of kingdom so they could get to know them. Understand you have to have some wealth for this to happen.

  4. Yes some marriages are no longer traditionally arranged- especially in families that let their children and young adults socialize with the other gender.

  5. I think it is part of human nature to flirt, regardless of religious or cultural background.

  6. Subtle flirting. I don’t know saudi women do that, “give a quick glance at their bodies !!!!” wow

    I guess I am so naive

  7. “I think it is part of human nature to flirt, regardless of religious or cultural background”

    I would like to add that it’s healthy

  8. Many times the children are mixed with their cousins and their friends at parties while growing up and become life-long friends. It seems that they will always feel lke they are related to each other as if they are cousins, even if they haven’t seen one another in years. Sometimes through these friends and their parents they may end up meeting each other as well.

  9. Just through interest. Presumably the house has its own garden, how do they get round the men going out in the garden to look at how the plants are doing (as best they can in the climate) and possibly seeing the women through the window. Obviously a curtain/blind/ or frosted glass would prevent this. So what do normal saudi homes have, or do they go that one stage further and do not have any windows in the “womens room”. Maasalaama, Amelia

  10. Amelia,

    Most Saudi homes take into account that the women’s area should remain secure. For example, our home had a courtyard which was divided by a wall which separated the men from women’s areas. Therefore both could enjoy the courtyard but not each other.

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