Professor Justin Thomas, a co-author of the study, says that thin is in when it comes to Emirati marriage. Andrew Henderson / The National
Professor Justin Thomas, a co-author of the study, says that thin is in when it comes to Emirati marriage. Andrew Henderson / The National

Emirati men want prospective brides to be thin, good looking and employed

ABU DHABI // “Tall, long hair, beautiful eyes, good looking and must be in employment …”

The things men look for in a bride these days are a marked change from 20 years ago, when they sought partners who could cook, were shorter than them and did not have or want a job.

The shift has been reported by Emirati khatabaat – female matchmakers – in a study by experts at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi.

“We suspected that the khataba would echo the conventional wisdom, that thin is in,” said Prof Justin Thomas, co-author of the study.

“But we were surprised that the rate of physical to non-physical attributes had reversed so drastically.”

In the past, about 80 per cent of the attributes men specified were non-physical, such as being pious, from a good family, with good morals and a handy cook, Prof Thomas said.

Now about 60 per cent of the attributes men look for in a prospective bride are based on looks.

“The data from our interviews with the khatabaat would suggest that these traditional values still remain important,” he said.

“However, recent decades have seen a greater emphasis placed on beauty and also changes in terms of the attributes considered beautiful and desirable.

“One aspect of this shift that remains unclear is the extent to which these prescriptions independently reflect changing values within males or females.”

Men having more say in choosing a bride may be to blame for the change. Generally speaking, it is mothers who interact with the khataba on a son’s behalf.

The relative input of mother and son in terms of prescribing desirable attributes is likely to vary, Prof Thomas said.

“However, one informant in the present study suggested that males are now far more involved than they once were.”

An unwavering request put to a khataba throughout the years was that the woman has high morals.

But the main request now is for a prospective wife to be employed.

“Several of the khatabaat also expressed concern that nowadays some men were keen for the wife to be employed,” Prof Thomas said.

“This would never be a request in the past. The opposite would have been true.”

The associate professor of sustainability sciences and humanities at Zayed University said the findings had important implications in the context of body image and problems related to disorders.

“For instance, in a context where slimness is increasingly viewed as an important appearance-related attribute, the desire to marry might motivate some women to engage in unhealthy weight-loss behaviour,” Prof Thomas said.

“Similarly, a mother desirous of her daughter’s betrothal might actively encourage such behaviours.

“Logically, the threat of [not finding a spouse] might further propel dietary behaviours aimed at obtaining the ‘desirable figure’, particularly in those females wishing to marry.

“The high rates of body-image dissatisfaction and abnormal eating attitudes previously reported in regional literature may in part be a consequence of this apparent shift in appearance-related preferences.”

The study, Changing Physical Appearance Preferences in the UAE, explored changes in physical appearance preferences in the UAE over the past two decades.

Interviews were conducted with five khatabaat marriage brokers from Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. All have been performing their matchmaking services for decades.

The khatabaat tend to be older women who are well respected in the community.

The study was published this year in the Mental Health, Religion and Culture journal produced by British publishing house Routledge.

Find the right policy for you

Don’t wait until the week you fly to sign up for insurance – get it when you book your trip. Insurance covers you for cancellation and anything else that can go wrong before you leave.

Some insurers, such as World Nomads, allow you to book once you are travelling – but, as Mr Mohammed found out, pre-existing medical conditions are not covered.

Check your credit card before booking insurance to see if you have any travel insurance as a benefit – most UAE banks, such as Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, have cards that throw in insurance as part of their package. But read the fine print – they may only cover emergencies while you’re travelling, not cancellation before a trip.

Pre-existing medical conditions such as a heart condition, diabetes, epilepsy and even asthma may not be included as standard. Again, check the terms, exclusions and limitations of any insurance carefully.

If you want trip cancellation or curtailment, baggage loss or delay covered, you may need a higher-grade plan, says Ambareen Musa of Decide how much coverage you need for emergency medical expenses or personal liability. Premium insurance packages give up to $1 million (Dh3.7m) in each category, Ms Musa adds.

Don’t wait for days to call your insurer if you need to make a claim. You may be required to notify them within 72 hours. Gather together all receipts, emails and reports to prove that you paid for something, that you didn’t use it and that you did not get reimbursed.

Finally, consider optional extras you may need, says Sarah Pickford of Travel Counsellors, such as a winter sports holiday. Also ensure all individuals can travel independently on that cover, she adds. And remember: “Cheap isn’t necessarily best.”


Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2532 x 1170, 460ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Dual 12MP main (f/1.5) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4); 2x optical, 5x digital; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4; Animoji, Memoji; Portrait Lighting

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD slo-mo @ 120fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 3279 mAh, up to 20h video, 16h streaming video, 80h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30m; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + SIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Blue, midnight, purple, starlight, Product Red

In the box: iPhone 14, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh3,399 / Dh3,799 / Dh4,649


"Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the
way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time.

"Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen. It is also the case that some of the
more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. 

"The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture. 

"I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly.

"I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable." 

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5


• Enterprise-grade security and privacy

• Unlimited higher-speed GPT-4 access with no caps

• Longer context windows for processing longer inputs

• Advanced data analysis capabilities

• Customisation options

• Shareable chat templates that companies can use to collaborate and build common workflows

• Analytics dashboard for usage insights

• Free credits to use OpenAI APIs to extend OpenAI into a fully-custom solution for enterprises

The specs: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price, base / as tested: Dh101,140 / Dh113,800

Engine: Turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder

Power: 148hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 250Nm @ 2,000rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed CVT

Fuel consumption, combined: 7.0L / 100km


- 5 wins in 22 months as pro
- Three wins in past 10 starts
- 45 pro starts worldwide: 5 wins, 17 top 5s
- Ranked 551th in world on debut, now No 4 (was No 2 earlier this year)
- 5th player in last 30 years to win 3 European Tour and 2 PGA Tour titles before age 24 (Woods, Garcia, McIlroy, Spieth)


1. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 57:03
2. Mario Mola (ESP) 57:09
3. Vincent Luis (FRA) 57:25
4. Leo Bergere (FRA)57:34
5. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) 57:40    
6. Joao Silva (POR) 57:45   
7. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 57:56
8. Adrien Briffod (SUI) 57:57           
9. Gustav Iden (NOR) 57:58            
10. Richard Murray (RSA) 57:59       

Most Read
Top Videos


The extraordinary stories shaping a people and a nation

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy