When Fadila was 17, she fell in love with a member of the country’s vast but powerful royal family.“I thought he was the one,” she says.
She tried Tinder but that didn’t work.“They think you’re bad because you go out with them and make out with them,” she laments.“My friends say, ‘If you like him, don’t let him touch you.’”So about six months ago, her heart aching, Fadila gave up and decided to do the unthinkable. Single Saudi adults hardly ever live outside the family home. Then the respective fathers and brothers gathered in Fadila’s home, which is when she first met and assessed her future fiance.And thanks to government efforts at increasing Saudi Arabia's employment rate, more and more women are working and studying near if not alongside men, providing a plethora of romantic possibilities. 24 when the powerful crown prince declared that the country would return to “moderate” Islam and “eradicate” extremism.Unlike her career, Fadila’s love life has been a string of disappointments.But the couple was, in fact, being watched by the religious police. She says it later emerged that he had been having affairs with a number of women and drinking regularly.“They wanted him, but they used me to get to him,” she says.
“They said, ‘If you sign, we’ll take you home and not tell your parents.’ Instead they took me to jail.”Her mother and brother got her released the next day, and the episode has been kept secret from everybody else except her best friend.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The course of true love never did run smooth.
While applicable the world over, Shakespeare’s words are particularly true in swiftly changing Saudi Arabia.
Long forbidden, dating has arrived in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom with some Saudis meeting and marrying without the help of relatives.
Well-heeled millennials meet via Tinder, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram.
Fadila sometimes complied, but often gave a wrong number to prevent gossip.