Friends said that they had tried calling the five telephone numbers listed in a fax message. Three thousand riyals for a nonvirgin.” A leading Muslim cleric described the process to me this way: “The man can pass by anytime, in the morning, afternoon, or evening.Once they got through, a female voice instructed the caller to punch in a secret code “to learn more.” That done, this was what the caller would hear next: “My dear brother, may God help you find a wife to compensate for your troubled life. And he does not have to stay over.” “GUEST WORKERS” like the Filipinos, however, have to find their own means of salving their own tortured souls and aching libidos.
There was no work for a week and most shops were closed during the day. Ramon, a Filipino who had worked in Saudi Arabia for 10 years, was my driver, guide, and friend. We were in a place so alien that the word “loneliness” did not even come close to capturing what one ended up wallowing in for days on end.He said he wanted to show me something that I would enjoy. That’s why the need for physical contact was so acute, and that’s why many OFWs like ourselves sometimes did things they wouldn’t even have thought of doing back home.But not all the men who made themselves available to these women were single; the “marriages” took place because some consulate or embassy official was eager to “help,” for a fee.It was not uncommon to have married Filipino men having another “legitimate wife” in Saudi.It is also a country that has hired fun-loving and eager Filipinos by the hundreds of thousands at a time for the last three decades.
Up to now, no day passes without a Filipino boarding a plane to work there.
But even as intimacy with other women outside of marriage is high on a long list of taboos, some have figured out ways to wriggle out of the rules.
When I was there, some “marriage brokers” offered men “trapped in unhappy marriages” an easy and safe escape — the so-called “marriage in passing” or in Arabic.
The video was obviously taken from a camera hidden somewhere in his room. Ramon was also married and had two children back home. “We love to experiment and we’re looking for someone because she wanted to have two partners. A British pilot was supposed to have been jailed after he told passengers in jest to set their watches 500 years back when they were about to land in the Kingdom.
It was a story I had heard from friends, and I had dismissed it as an exaggeration.
I, too, wanted a house filled with the latest video and audio entertainment systems, a microwave oven, a washing machine.