Family marriage is a bit more risk-free," says accounting student Maryam Abdullah Bin Bilaila, 19.Instant messaging But other young people are treading a cautious, secretive path towards love marriages, aided by technology.Even with national girls, it is possible to keep it secret: "Hotels, flats, houses, anything - there's always a way," he says.But he wants to marry a virgin eventually: "The girls I have sex with are different from the girls I would marry - these girls want to play around," he says.Among UAE nationals - as the minority of the UAE's residents that are not expatriates are called - it is generally considered impolite for a man to speak to a woman he is neither married nor related to in public.Traditionally, a young man's first amorous approach to a woman is supposed to be a marriage proposal made by his parents to her parents.If I'm working with a girl and I think she is suitable for me, I can ask my family to go and ask her family about her to see if she is suitable," says Saeed Suwaidi, 27, the leader of the student council.'Perfect talk' Among national girls, it is virtually impossible for a young woman to admit to clandestine meetings with boys, although from the tales young men tell, it is clear that these take place.
They talk often by mobile phone, but their meetings are limited to the 10 minutes between her leaving work and arriving home. And Saud, 22, met the girl he describes as his girlfriend two years ago on the internet, through instant messaging software.For them the issue is how much they will be involved in choosing their wife."Nowadays people are really open-minded, although we still follow our culture.Bluetooth is a feature built into some mobile phones which enables the user to transfer data to another wireless device nearby.But crucially, it also enables one person to contact another within a 10 metre radius without knowing their phone number.Most want to wait until they are established in careers and in their late twenties before marrying.