Sunday, October 2, 2011

Your tiara or your license?

No, the day hasn't yet dawned when Saudi women in Riyadh, Jeddah, al-Khobar, Dammam, Taif and Khamis get up in the morning, put on their abaya's and drive themselves to work, school and market. But it will. OK, now that we've all agreed on that, let's talk about tiaras.

Some years ago, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts put on an exhibit of tiaras from around the world. It was a fascinating show, because many of the tiaras on display were worn by royalty and fascinating women of the world of a glamorous bygone era. Some tiaras had unique stories behind them. In addition, they lit the exhibit so you could stand in a certain spot and place the shadow of each tiara as if it were on your own head! 

One tiara got my friend Mary and me giggling. It was set with fabulous diamonds in platinum, in an art-deco style. It held its own in the room full of priceless jewels. It looked just like many of the other tiaras there, studded with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies, until we read the story behind it. You see a British man gave it to his wife in the 1920's, but it came with a price. She had to promise to never drive again! Apparently, she took him up on it.

So think about it. Just like in England, the day women drive will soon come to Saudi Arabia. It will be amazing. And maybe some Saudi ladies will manage to exact a similar bargain, if that's what they really want.

Personally, I would never trade my driver's license for a tiara…. or would I? 

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