Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

With change of social status comes a change of social circle

Now, with a baby on the way, I am surrounding myself with friends who are happy to chat about kids.

Once upon a time, I was a single gal who liked to hang out with single pals. No, let me rephrase; I preferred to hang out with the "singletons", a well-loved term I was introduced to by Helen Fielding in her first Bridget Jones book.

It made sense: it was natural to seek out like-minded individuals, all of whom shared a similar social status and all of whom found our "other" friends, those who had paired themselves off into couples, a little changed. Suddenly, their evenings out meant trying out new restaurants, which required prior reservations for parties of an even number. No spontaneous nights out to the cafe around the corner; couples have a routine they like to abide by, with their other couple friends, and it was no fun for a fifth-wheel singleton.

There was something too uncomfortable about sitting down to those even-numbered dinners with couples holding hands, gazing at one another, completing one another's sentences. My best friend and I, also single, used to opt out of those dinners (where we'd inevitably get paired together).

Then, it happened. I changed my social status and left my single days behind. And suddenly, I began to crave the company of other couples as well.

It wasn't as pronounced a need when we were dating, or buried in the mire of wedding planning. But after Mr T and I settled down into married life and began figuring out what the rhythm of our days would entail, it became clear that more couples were needed in our lives.

Dinners out at the newest restaurant in town began to take on a much more attractive appeal. It provided a venue with the perfect atmosphere for conversation, and hanging out with other couples meant Mr T and I do things together, after being apart on a work day, instead of splitting up to see our respective friends. The convenience of having the same friends, who happen to be couples as well, knew no bounds. We shared wedding memories, or reflected back on how much more we were looking forward to the honeymoon than the actual wedding. We divulged exactly where we bought all our furniture from, and got the number of an excellent carpenter. We described travel plans. We joked about our spouses' offensive habits.

Now, pregnant and intimidated at the imminent changes that are going to affect our rhythm as a family of two, Mr T and I have been scrambling to add a new category of friends to our roster: friends with kids.

Which of these restaurants we like to frequent allow babies and toddlers in high chairs to be part of a dinner reservation? Which have enough room between the tables to navigate a pushchair? And how do parents manage to maintain some semblance of a social life with a baby but without a babysitter?

These are the conversation topics circulating around our recent dinner reservations, which more often than not include new parents and their offspring. We are by no means shutting out our single friends or those couples who are enjoying still their status as a family of two, but do they really want to be subjected to a rambling conversation on the merits of a breast pump in a working mother's life, or exactly when to introduce solid foods? I think not.

artslife@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National