Reem’s Happily Ever After: It Is Funny…

It is at most once in a lifetime that we find a twin soul, a friend whose life mirrors ours in a spiritual and personal way. But it’s even harder to imagine that soul could be found one day, while surfing Linkedin and connecting with people, simply on the basis of a hunch, or a name we find beautiful. But that’s exactly what has happened with the fantastic Reem Adeeb, whose name popped up one day in my “You Must Know” list and in her I’ve found a voice so perfect, so inspiring, it almost needs no introduction. Make sure to check out her beautiful blog, by clicking on her name below, and read her fascinating bio at the end of her piece!


By Reem Adeeb

I was born in Geneva but am not Swiss. I spent two years in high school there yet I never felt an affiliation to this quiet antiseptic nation. I come from a Middle Eastern background:  my father was born in Jaffa, Palestine, his family fled to Cairo at the outbreak of war. My mother was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, spent her youth in Alexandria and fled her first husband… stumbling straight into the arms of my charming father. I have dual nationalities, having grown up and lived in London a better part of my life before fleeing the parental home for freer pastures. The day I swore allegiance to the Queen made me a proud royalist and a British citizen. I have been told that my accent “makes me more British than the British.” London is my home even when in fact I live in the South of France.

I have made writing my life now after having spent the better half of my youth faffing about, never really following one thing through: I have a BA in Fashion design yet learnt late in life that my true passion lies in writing and not in pattern cutting. Thankfully we were raised in Europe, in a well rounded environment with parents who knew better than to force old traditional values on us and who gave us the liberty of choice when it came to career options. This made my sister and I fiercely independent and probably scared off half the Arab population of eligible men who sought meeker wife material back in the day.

As for my Arab peers and many cousins, they all followed the predestined path to married life with the right person and yet…. divorce litters the paths of many. Their kids are now adults to my ever progressing years and I steadfastly remain “Happily Unmarried Ever After”. I never wanted children and never felt like I missed out on that experience especially after my hysterectomy last February due to a rather large fibroid the size of a small foetus… I carried that for a while and it was more than enough for me. I firmly believe that children are a product of a union and not the adoption accessory du jour. Thank God for Angelina Jolie, she does us all proud.  My friend’s kids are a pleasure to me, seeing me as both cool and unconventional; I wear that badge with pride.

Obviously I did dream the dream; I am after all a child of the 60s, a product of a Barbie filled youth and the “Mattel happily ever after” generation. But Barbie and Ken aside, I was not destined to follow the yellow brick road towards the nearest wedding planner.  Back in my daydreaming teens, my father temporarily took leave of his senses when he decided that a match could be made between me and the son of one of his closest friend, who happened to be a doctor. I was horrified when I found out, no more so than the eligible doctor himself who, as luck would have it, turned out to be gay. My father’s match making days were over, the embers only slightly stirred 20 years later when a nephew of his, a college professor in sunny California, decided to marry and put his sister in charge to scare up some relatives with potential. For some reason, I was put under the microscope, never having met the guy, let alone aware of his existence. I was only to find out later, after kicking his intentions to the kerb, that my cousin in New York had been the first under the radar.  “Why didn’t you go for it?” I proclaimed rather loftily annoyed by her complacency and the fact that she had been chosen first. “Because he is a cousin and he’s short… I am short, who wants to be known as the cute short couple?”… The little people?

Growing up, my sister and I were always well surrounded by our multitude of cousins and friends, all from good Arab breeding. My parents, who knew their parents, encouraged these friendships never once doubting that it would not end up in a match for either one of their daughters.  We were destined to dip into the European gene pool and come up Aces, but that comes later. Until then I was always in a darn hurry… to be older, to be thinner, to be noticed, and swept off my feet. I inadvertently attracted the attention of a local charmer and Hispanic Lothario, known for his business acumen and his love of women. He was in his fifties to my budding 20s and married. He had the charm and the tenacity to pursue me with ardent fervour, while I laughed off his invitations for dinners and helicopter rides to enchanting destinations.

You see, I had become disenchanted when my first love, who happened to be my 2nd cousin, came to an abrupt and messy end thanks to family intervention. Apparently, his parents felt the need to meddle believing our fledgling romance would lead to marriage and abnormal children. The only abnormal thing about this whole scenario was his parent’s acute interest in our childish pursuits that would have died a natural death all on its own. Marry him? My father would have killed me and frankly, I would have eaten him alive. But all the pressure from the fall out left me feeling a little off kilter, knocking my healthy teenage dose of self confidence to the ground.

Back in London and after graduating, I set my sights on the goldilocked son of my mother’s hairdresser (for the lack of interest in anyone else) and was getting nowhere. My beautician told me about the virtues of Jo, a “White witch” who had helped her out in the past with her white magic. Never one to shy away from a mystical challenge… I sought her out in her basement flat in St. John’s Wood. There was nothing graceful nor enchanting about Jo; she was a rather large and over bearing woman bordering on a bully. Out went the dreams of magical saviours and in came the endless demands for money to maintain her unsuccessful gambling habit while doing her “magic”. I soon snapped out of my fairy tale reverie when she wanted me to pay her a further £250, (my love remained unrequited) so that she could plant a potato at a crossroads at midnight. My occult days were over and so was my belief in fairies.

I thought I found true love again in the form of a broken hearted man who came back into our lives one hot summer in 2003. He was a friend from way back when, a charmer with an easy smile and a big personality. I fell hard and while I was falling, I failed to realize or chose to ignore, the fact that my sister had fallen too. We spent an alcohol fuelled summer tending to him and his broken heart which he proceeded to mend by feeding off ours and leaving us wanting more. I was guilty in believing he had chosen me, when in fact he had chosen me, my sister and the ardent attentions of a rather big girl with big money and even bigger demands. Guess who won?

I thankfully regained my sister’s trust deep in the heart of Costa Rica, during a much needed getaway. We bonded over our mutual fear of creepy crawlies and apple martinis, toasting my fortieth birthday at the Mandarin Oriental in New York.

My final quest or test was in 2007, when my friends decided to set me up with a Belgian friend of theirs who was coming to spend a few days with them on the Riviera. I had met him in the past when he was still married to his sultry ex wife… I have never met anyone to whom sex clung so desperately, she simply oozed it. So fired up was she, that she repeatedly cheated on her hapless husband, left him and their Von Trapp family, for her lover with whom she had yet another child… one more for the chorus line doesn’t hurt. We bonded over a shared duty towards our friends who made the effort to match us up. It was never meant to be much, this starter romance, other than shared drinks and a few dinners during my trips to London. There were a few sparks that led to… A flaming waste of time. His indecision spurred on by his job loss led him to give me the “It’s not you but me speech” which was so futile and obvious, that it bored me senseless. The classy “I’ve moved on…” text message appeared on my screen one afternoon in early spring, while my sister, her Italian husband and I were chasing the sun in Covent Garden. That put a nail in that coffin and I vowed to myself then and there, never to fear solitude again.

I rid myself once and for all of the warped and toxic notion that a relationship would define me and I felt free for the first time in my life. I was happy and thriving in this new found strength until one fine day… I met a man.

We are nearly 3 years into this relationship, living together for the last 4 months. My Arab friends and family, whom I wanted so to emulate and from whom I always feared disapproval, were actually very happy for me when I finally plucked up the courage to tell them. After all, who is going to deny the happiness of a woman in her mid forties who has passed her prime? No one. It was pointless to fear any ensuing scandal from the family, I am simply too old for it to make the slightest ripple. As one of my dearest friends told me when I broke the news:

“Finally Reem! We just wanted you to meet someone that makes you happy… And I am sorry to tell you this but nobody cares anymore… Go on and live your life.”

I am living and loving but I still remain “Happily Unmarried Ever After” and that suits me just fine.


With a BA in fashion design under my belt and a niggling feeling that somehow I had chosen the wrong route… I set about looking for work in wholesale, retail and as close to fashion as possible. But I never really scratched the surface of the itch deep in my bones. One summer, I enrolled in a creative writing course in London never expecting that I would one day be given a jog writing for an overseas publication. “Pashion”: the Cairo based and newly launched fashion/lifestyle magazine gave me my start in journalism and kick started my love affair with writing. I was a contributing editor at first, following the trends and fashion shows as well as injecting a splash of humour. This splash led to me to having my own column and the freedom to write whatever I pleased. I parted ways with Pashion after 6 years and started my blog “Frockanrolla” in August 2010, treating it as my own magazine with my own deadlines. “The Dad Hatter” came a little later, it has absolutely nothing to do about fashion, travel or the restaurants I like to write about and yet… you will find a little of all and a heavy dose of humour. If I am to be Alice then my father is the Dad Hatter… It is an open invitation for all who want to lose themselves and partake in some of the hilarious situations and one liners only my father can come up with. This is my little treasure and the book I hope to publish one day, help me make it so.

All images courtesy of Reem Adeeb

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6 Responses to “Reem’s Happily Ever After: It Is Funny…”

  1. Debashri:

    I had a lot of fun reading this. Wishing you all the happiness in the world Reem! :)

  2. Maye:

    Love it Reem and love you!! Keep doing what you do best!! Big kiss xxx

  3. Karine:

    You made me laugh..! Love you Reem !

  4. Mahmoud elRamly:

    All the best

  5. Philippe:


    I enjoyed reading the piece, the reference to the Von Trapp family had me laughing out loud! and yes your Belgian friend’s wife did ooze sex appeal.


  6. Anu M Singh:

    Reem dearest…..That was hilarious…..just keep writing…..eagerly awaiting “the Dad Hatter”! xo anu.

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