The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seen a huge increase in the number of people seeking blind dates.
The UAE has the highest number of blind dates per capita, and according to the latest figures, the UAE has seen over 400,000 people request a date for the last three months.
According to the data, women account for over half of all blind dates, and more than a third of those dates are for men.
In 2016, the number for women had grown to a whopping 9.2 percent, but in 2017, that number had dropped to 5.7 percent.
For men, however, it is up to a quarter of all dates to be for men, but the figures are even more extreme, with the number rising to 8.3 percent for men and 4.5 percent for women.
“I am really not happy that the number is increasing.
If I were to look at this data and say that it is going down, I am not happy about it,” said Aisha, an unemployed mother of three from the northern city of Dammam.
“We have to work more to make ends meet, but sometimes, it’s hard to find a date.”
“I want a date, and if it is for a man, I want him to wear a suit, because I have to wear makeup to be considered attractive,” she added.
Aisha said she did not see the need to use makeup on a date because she had always done it before.
Women who do use makeup for a date face a significant disadvantage in the eyes of others, with Aisha pointing out that the men she met on her date were very respectful of her appearance.
Even when a man asks her out, Aisha said, she does not have to use any makeup at all.
On the other hand, when a woman asks her for a kiss, Aita said, it takes a lot of effort for her to get a response.
“For men to want a kiss and have no problem with it, it might be a good idea, but I don’t think a woman needs to have a kiss,” she said.
She said that when it comes to women, she did find it strange that men were not interested in her.
“Women have their own needs and their own time, and it’s not like I am asking them to do something for me, so why would they want to do it for me?” she added, adding that she was uncomfortable with men not wanting to date her because she did have a date.
“Men are used to looking at women and not being attracted to them, so they have no interest in dating me.”
The UAE is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and the country’s growth has been fuelled by the increasing number of middle class Emiratis living abroad.
However, the country has seen an increase in gender inequality and a rise in the country being known for its strict Islamic law.
According to Al Jazeera’s Mamdouh Al-Hariri, the rise in inequality is not necessarily a result of the strict Islamic laws that govern the UAE, but more of the increasing economic dependency on foreign investment.
“The number of women in the workforce is increasing, and they are also more likely to be in debt,” she explained.
Although some women are starting to challenge the strict regulations in the name of women’s rights, she said, the laws have not changed much.
“In the UAE we still have laws, but they are much stricter than in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or any other Muslim country,” she noted.