“Do you have A'za makeup?” I looked in astonishment at the girl standing next to me popping her bubble gum. The receptionist slowly answers with a pained expression, “What do you mean A'za makeup?”. The girl answers like its the most obvious thing in the world “Makeup for a funeral! Duh!”
It is the new phenomenon in Kuwait: social networking at funerals. A strong and bold topic, A'za (funeral) makeup is one that would normally be quite taboo, yet I feel sufficiently outraged enough to make a fuss. Reasons being that it is off the charts unethical and not to mention disrespectful.
Girls in their teens and twenties are using funerals as a way to parade themselves on unsuspecting new aunties and mothers in law. As I sit in the corner, contemplating the meaning of death and what it would feel like to lose someone close to me, in comes wafts of perfume, red Louboutins and the blonde locks of an A'za invader. Whilst I look at the heavily bronzed faces and the chains of Cartier necklaces, I wonder to myself “Who are you people?”.
In marketing, the product has to be greatly desired and so in the interest of time conservation, it is important to start marketing as soon as possible. Here we have the novelty of the teen A'za Invaders. Barely 13, and yet looking 20, these girls flock to funerals to convey their condolences. Previously this was seen as bad publicity (young girls going to a funeral) but now as with the advent of premature nose jobs and breast augmentation, anything goes.
Have things gotten so bad that we have to resort to these tactics? Most of these girls are not actually related or in contact with the people of the A'za as I find out later, yet their behaviour is tolerated by people who are too busy mourning to even give them a second thought.
"It has become a game, a strategic marketing plan," I find myself explaining to my fellow colleague. It's not about how nice you are or what you have achieved academically. It’s about being bold and beautiful. A frightening combination. One that is all too common these days.
With women discussing the stock market sitting two seats back and those swapping diet tips two seats forward, you start to lose a little faith in humanity. What happened to good old fashioned silent mourning? I, myself, have found myself lapsing into this category, and also need a little reminding when it comes to being silent in a funeral. We are here to support other people in their moment of need. They will remember our conduct for a very long time including what we have chosen to wear, such is the mindset of our culture.
Next time you’re at an A'za, sit back and observe. You will see it all….
Guest-Blogger: Dr. Fejer Al Majed
Illustration by Alaa Balkhy