What 'The Bachelorette' Finale Would Look Like In The Middle East
Last night, another glorious season of "The Bachelorette" came to an end. Kaitlyn Bristowe is engaged, and it seems her Prince Charming, Shawn Booth, is still willing to marry her.
I watched these adorable TV moments, recorded thousands of miles away from me, in Egypt, where an equivalent show does not (and currently could not) exist.
If Arabs were confronted with the principle ideas of this show, their reaction would be, “What do you mean, that lady dates 25 eligible bachelors?”
My Arab boyfriend liked the idea of watching "The Bachelor," where a man dates 25 women, especially when the crew was on mud-fighting dates, and the women got down to serious business to secure roses. But men making a fool of themselves for the affection of a woman?
In a region where we are still struggling for gender equality, a show like “The Bachelorette” would simply be unfathomable.
Watching this season unfold in the Middle East, I started wondering what an Arab "Bachelorette" would look like. Even the basic concepts of the show would be illegal.
Why an Arab version "The Bachelorette" does not exist yet, and what it would look like if it did, is as simple as this:
A woman calling the shots
Women in Egypt are still not considered as equals to men. For a woman to appear on national television selecting her future husband from a pool of studs is simply not going to happen right now.
While, in most cases, marriage is a mutual agreement in the Middle East, the slut-shaming we’ve seen on Western platforms would be laughable in comparison to what we would experience here.
Women are beautiful, respected and praised by men, but the proud Arab man would not involve himself in a situation where he could be dumped in front of millions by not receiving a flower.
What’s with all that nudity?
Arabs love nudity as much as everyone else in the world. The only difference is that, around here, one will probably not admit to it.
In a region where revealing my shoulders in public constitutes sexual harassment, a TV show portraying a woman in a bikini, wrestling with boys, who are equally unclothed, in a pool would literally blow Egyptian's minds.
In Germany, a similar dating show draws in a large number of viewers every week.
In the German version, participants are on a deserted island with nothing — and I mean nothing -- but each other. Everybody in that show is rocking the birthday suit.
In the Middle East, programs with nudity are completely outlawed, and we would not be seeing Kaitlyn and her dates go to the beach or snuggle up in a hot tub.
And, if the Arab "Bachelorette" was smart, she’d even leave the mini skirt at home.
Where are Kaitlyn’s parents?
The aim of the show is marriage, so you would think Arabs would totally be into it.
Marriage is a big deal in Egypt. In fact, Kaitlyn and 99 percent of all Arabs have the pursuit for marriage in common, but the approach on how to get there couldn’t be more different.
In the finale, Kaitlyn’s parents got to meet the final two boys. In an Arab engagement, her parents would have been at the first rose ceremony.
Chances are, if Kaitlyn was an Arab girl, her father would have disapproved of all 25 bachelors because he hadn’t met their parents yet.
Around here, the engagement happens when both families have decided the marriage is a good idea, not when the two actually join in holy matrimony.
One aspect is the same, though: In the Middle East and in "Bachelor" nation, actually knowing the partner before agreeing to get married is just an added bonus.
When Shawn got jealous, everyone in the Middle East could relate.
Arab men get insanely jealous, even if the object of their affection isn't dating 24 other men. (I can’t stop asking myself why a jealous man would enter the show, but apparently it happens.)
To imagine 25 Arab men competing for one woman makes me sure at least some would die, or at least be severely hurt. Rubbing an Arab man the wrong way can end in an explosion. If you thought the bitches on “The Bachelor” go nuts, you haven't seen nothing yet.
Arab men do not appreciate other men making moves on their women. One can only imagine what would happen on a show where that is the entire premise.
Public displays of affection
If Arab viewers were to watch a fantasy suite episode, only one guy would be left in the running, and there would be a ring on his finger. Premarital intercourse is still a taboo in the Arab world.
Of course, behind closed doors, I have experienced many exceptions to these religious rules. On TV, however, having sex before the couple says “I do” would never be broadcasted.
In fact, even less drastic PDAs would, at the very least, be off camera.
There is a reason why none of these dream dates ever took place in a romantic city in the Middle East. They would never allow those public makeout sessions.
A dream date in Egypt for me is going to a restaurant with my boyfriend, hoping no one else gets into the elevator (so we could make out) and ignoring the stares from 80 percent of the people around us.
Meeting the family… of 100
The episode in which the "Bachelorette" meets her suitor's family would need a little more air time. In the Middle East, there’s a lot of family to go through.
But usually, until there’s a ring on the finger, or there's the possibility of one being on it very soon, partners would not be introduced to parents.
If the engagement follows, the crowd would go berserk. Hundreds of aunts, uncles and cousins would want to be part of the action just as much as mom and dad.
A televised Arab wedding, however, would be 10 times as entertaining. Hundreds of relatives, completely sober, would be going insane and celebrating the couple.