I slapped at my aunties and screamed when the hair on my private parts was so rudely removed. Yelping in pain, I asked where such a savage custom had begun. My oldest auntie slapped my face for such impudence. She looked hard into my eyes and announced that I, Sultana, was a stupid child, and that as a daughter of the Muslim faith I should know that the Prophet recommended, for the sake of cleanliness, that all pubic and armpit hair should be removed every forty days. I, willful as ever, shouted that the practice no longer made sense; after all, modern Muslims are equipped with hot water and soap to wash away our dirt. We no longer had to use the sand of the desert for such purposes!
My auntie, knowing the futility of arguing with me, continued with her duties. I shocked all present when I loudly proclaimed that if the Prophet could speak in this new age of modern amenities, I knew he would end such a silly tradition. Certainly, I announced loudly, this one issue alone proved that we Saudis were like uninspired mules; we trod the same weary track as the mule before us even if it led us to plunge over a cliff. Only when we evolved as spirited stallions, with a strong will of our own, would we progress and leave the era of those primitive behind us.
My relatives exchanged worried glances, for they lived in dread of my rebellious spirit and felt comfortable only with complacent women. My contentment with the one chosen for my husband was considered nothing less than miraculous, but until the final ceremony was complete, none of my relatives would breathe easy.
My dress was made of the brightest red lace I could find. I was a bold bride, and I took great delight in scandalizing my family, who had begged me to wear a soft peach or pale pink instead. As was my way, I refused to relent. I knew I was right. Even my sisters finally admitted that my skin and eyes were flattered by the bright color.