In the search to find a good partner, what happened to traditional values?

Earlier this month this newspaper published an article about young Emirati men favouring attractive, working women when they searched for a bride. The story sparked plenty of debate, caused a few arguments and even led some people to question the validity of the study, which had been carried out by experts at Zayed University.

It was uncomfortable for some people to hear that physical attractiveness is the most important quality that men look for when choosing a wife. The study also found that these men value a woman’s earning power over more traditional virtues.

The study marked a change from a few years ago, when the most important qualities in a prospective bride were considered the strength of her character or her being from a good family.

It is true that we do not know the number of people who were surveyed, the demographics or the research methodology used in the study.

However, there is no denying that physical attractiveness has become a very important factor in society.

Dr Ellen Berscheid, a psychologist at the University of Minnesota, has been studying physical attractiveness for 15 years. She believes that looks are more important than ever. She says that physically attractive people receive preferential treatment in society, a fact that profoundly affects their lives, including who they make friends with and what career opportunities are open to them.

Most young unmarried Emirati men would admit that they would prefer a wife who works, although this could be explained in part by the rises in the cost of living in the UAE.

Young men now want assistance from their wives to fund the cost of the luxury homes, cars and holidays that they will purchase throughout their married lives. Even so, Emirati men today are still expected to pay for the major monthly expenses although they now prefer to receive at least some financial contribution from their wives.

When it comes down to it, men will choose their ideal partner based on what they think they want.

But it is surely the responsibility of parents to teach their children, from a very young age, how to value and measure other people.

People are not a commodity and attributing so much attention to a person’s physical appearance is not treating them fairly. Parents should encourage their children to choose friends based on how kind, diligent and well-behaved their classmates are.

Children should understand that they must choose to befriend those who make them feel valued and accepted. A young person who values good manners and good behaviour will know how to choose a good partner.

We should reward our daughters for being clever and well-behaved and not just for being pretty or wearing a cute dress.

Our children will value what we value. That little boy, with a developed and clear value system will grow into a man who values others in a more complex way than a mere skin deep appreciation of beauty.

Whether or not you agree with the findings of this study, the UAE is full of attractive, employed, single women. If you are a man looking to get married, or have a son, make sure you find a wife whose character stands taller than the heels she wears.

Reema Marzouq Falah Al Ahbabi is an Emirati homemaker and MBA graduate

On Twitter: @rm_ahbabi


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Disturbing facts and figures

51% of parents in the UAE feel like they are failing within the first year of parenthood

57% vs 43% is the number of mothers versus the number of fathers who feel they’re failing

28% of parents believe social media adds to the pressure they feel to be perfect

55% of parents cannot relate to parenting images on social media

67% of parents wish there were more honest representations of parenting on social media

53% of parents admit they put on a brave face rather than being honest due to fear of judgment

Source: YouGov

A meeting of young minds

The 3,494 entries for the 2019 Sharjah Children Biennial come from:

435 – UAE

2,000 – China

808 – United Kingdom

165 – Argentina

38 – Lebanon

16 – Saudi Arabia

16 – Bangladesh

6 – Ireland

3 – Egypt

3 – France

2 – Sudan

1 – Kuwait

1 – Australia


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

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Moment of the day Not much was expected – on Sunday or ever – of Hasan Ali as a batsman. And yet he lit up the late overs of the Pakistan innings with a happy cameo of 29 from 25 balls. The highlight was when he launched a six right on top of the netting above the Pakistan players’ viewing area. He was out next ball.

Stat of the day – 1,358 There were 1,358 days between Haris Sohail’s previous first-class match and his Test debut for Pakistan. The lack of practice in the multi-day format did not show, though, as the left-hander made an assured half-century to guide his side through a potentially damaging collapse.

The verdict As is the fashion of Test matches in this country, the draw feels like a dead-cert, before a clatter of wickets on the fourth afternoon puts either side on red alert. With Yasir Shah finding prodigious turn now, Pakistan will be confident of bowling Sri Lanka out. Whether they have enough time to do so and chase the runs required remains to be seen.


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0 to 100kph: 7.3 seconds
Range: 418km
Price: From Dh149,900
Available: Now

Unresolved crisis

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a bitter conflict since 2014, when Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly president was ousted, Moscow annexed Crimea and then backed a separatist insurgency in the east.

Fighting between the Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces has killed more than 14,000 people. In 2015, France and Germany helped broker a peace deal, known as the Minsk agreements, that ended large-scale hostilities but failed to bring a political settlement of the conflict.

The Kremlin has repeatedly accused Kiev of sabotaging the deal, and Ukrainian officials in recent weeks said that implementing it in full would hurt Ukraine.

Four motivational quotes from Alicia's Dubai talk

“The only thing we need is to know that we have faith. Faith and hope in our own dreams. The belief that, when we keep going we’re going to find our way. That’s all we got.”

“Sometimes we try so hard to keep things inside. We try so hard to pretend it’s not really bothering us. In some ways, that hurts us more. You don’t realise how dishonest you are with yourself sometimes, but I realised that if I spoke it, I could let it go.”

“One good thing is to know you’re not the only one going through it. You’re not the only one trying to find your way, trying to find yourself, trying to find amazing energy, trying to find a light. Show all of yourself. Show every nuance. All of your magic. All of your colours. Be true to that. You can be unafraid.”

“It’s time to stop holding back. It’s time to do it on your terms. It’s time to shine in the most unbelievable way. It’s time to let go of negativity and find your tribe, find those people that lift you up, because everybody else is just in your way.”

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

Look north

BBC business reporters, like a new raft of government officials, are being removed from the national and international hub of London and surely the quality of their work must suffer.