Signs That You’re Becoming a ‘Tita’ In Riyadh

My friends and I are admitting the inevitable: we are now in the beginnings of becoming a “tita”. A “tita” doesn’t mean a literal aunt. Haha. It’s a term we use for older women who we’re uncomfortable of addressing as “ma’am” or “mrs” because we know them personally but are not super close. A “tita” is also someone who feels and thinks and acts like she’s older than her age. It’s the perfect tag for someone who’s pampered in life: goes to the salon, eats good food, goes on brunches, dresses well, etc. and can’t take the reality of someday losing their vitality, energy, beauty, etc. Being a “tita” is fun and funny at the same time. I’m not sure if this is just in Filipino culture but I’m pretty sure in Asia, we have the Indian “aunty” who asks you time and again when are you getting married (or what are you studying?) or the Singapore “auntie” who warns people about the dangers of the world because “if it can happen in the US, it can happen here” or the Saudi auntie who tells you about the sister of a nice boy she met in a wedding recently and if you would like for her to talk to your mother to talk to the sister… Yup, you know it. There are ‘auntie’ or ‘tita’ anywhere. But then again, why look further when you can assess yourself and see if you’re turning into a ‘tita’ yourself. Tan tan tan tannnnnn…

Here are the signs that you’re becoming a ‘tita’ in Riyadh:

1. You get irritated so easily. Especially when it’s hot.

This is one of the most notable observation my friends and I have for ourselves. Years ago, friends tell me how patient I was. I’m not your usual lady who gets mood swings easily even when I’m on my period. But nowadays, ask my husband and he’ll be bewildered as to “who’s that patient girl and where did it go?” I get irritated and annoyed easily. Ask a question that has been already answered in our Facebook page and I try so hard to stop myself from replying snarky. It’s a feat. Reina usually gets into arguments in the supermarket over the little things to the point that her husband would probably want to drag her out or just deny he’s with her. Haha. If you find yourself arguing with shopkeepers a lot, you’re a certified ‘tita’. Hahaha. Thankfully, our husbands are patient men and they haven’t evolved into “uncles”. Haha. The hot Riyadh weather has also something to do with it, probably. The heat goes into our head and ignites all sort of nasty thoughts. Haha. We need to chill, we know.

Mood swings?

2. You give unwanted observations.

It’s a Filipino thing when you see someone and all they can ever tell you is “uy, tumaba ka” (“hey, you got fatter”). WTH seriously? Of all the good things someone can tell you, it’s that? I mean why can’t they say, hey you’re blooming or hey, you look good. Or at least comment on my new, beautiful abaya instead! I feel offended when they think I’m fat when I’m wearing my black abaya (black already giving the illusion that I’m slim, right!). I muster the courage not to go sarcastic and say, “uy ikaw naman, panget pa rin” (hey, you’re still ugly). It’s so easy to clap back, really. But sometimes, we also find ourselves guilty of giving these unwanted observations and asking unwanted questions: “Why are you still single?”, “When are you going to get married?”, “Why do you look puffy?” STAHP. Just stop. As they say, if you don’t have anything good to say, just don’t say it.

3. You feel stressed by events that don’t affect you. 

Because gurl, you gossip too much! Haha. With the popularity of Facebook in our midst, gossiping has proliferated too because we learn things about a person – that most of the time we don’t even know directly. Who broke up with who? Did you know he proposed to her? But why? He died of this and that. She eloped with the scum bag. She got into a messy investment scam. Oh may gosh si Ano hindi pa nagbabayad ng utang!!! Wow fellow titas, aren’t we the life of the party? Haha. We know things about other people and we get affected. It’s like their problem is ours and we try to think of ways on how to fix their problems but really, we don’t know the person to begin with! Haha! Maybe we should go off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and have a break huh? Again, chill.

Tara, usap tayo! (Let’s talk!)

4. You have an opinion to everything.

Of course you can’t help yourself from commenting to every issue you watch and hear. You give advice and tips to newbies in Saudi Arabia and you already sound like the ‘tita’ you first met when you were the newbie in Riyadh. “Iha, all Filipino men in Saudi Arabia are married. Wag kang paloloko.” “Iha, ask for the CENOMAR first ha. Like agad agad!” “Iha, if I may say so, don’t eat too much shawarma and kabsa.” When I see someone new in our workplace, I sound off advice like that in my head and smile knowingly. We sometimes feel like since we’ve been in Saudi Arabia for years, we know everything and we can already dish out advice and opinions on every thing. But sometimes, it’s better to have your opinions kept to yourself especially when it’s bordering on intrusion to one’s life. You are well-informed, good for you.

5. You are sensitive to “ageing/aging”.

And so this is where anti-aging products succeeds in raking in money. Reina and I are so guilty of this. It seemed like we just woke up one day and we became determined to stop time and reverse aging. Of course, we’re just delaying the inevitable but still, we began using sunscreen every day (we’re lazy af to put this on every friggin’ day), put on more moisturizers (we used to scrimp on them to save money), invested on gentler facial wash and masks (we’re done with “pwede na to“), etc. We freak out at the sight of a wrinkle and a pimple (we’re no longer teenagers to be attacked by acne!). The eye bags, we cannot do away with. Haha. We are this close to using an umbrella when we go out. What’s stopping us? Because we rarely go out, and if we do, just to walk a few meters to the waiting car. Haha. We may feel like a ‘tita’ but we don’t want to look like one. Haha.

No wrinkles, no lines, no color. Lols.

6. You love discounted stuff. But you love free stuff more.

You know the deals, promos, and offers in most stores and restaurants and you make it a responsibility to share it with everyone whether they want it or not (case in point: The Pink Tarha). What can you do? You love sales! You love the idea of buying things at a discounted value. It gives your purchasing power a boost. It makes you feel good to buy what you want because you earned it. Yes, ‘titas’ go on a retail therapy! Excuse me, retail therapies! You need to fill up those balikbayan boxes… for your parents, our siblings, our nieces and nephews, etc. But what’s better than a stuff on a discount? Stuff that are free, of course! There’s no stopping you from collecting as much free stuff as possible but then after getting them, you spend much of your time figuring out what you’ll do with them, who you can give it to or just plain ignoring them. You, pack rat, you. Guilty!

7. But you also love designer stuff.

Especially bags. Naloka na si Louis Vuitton sa tagal mo mamili! Because you’re more mature now, you go for designer everything. No matter how expensive it is, if you can flaunt it, get it! Your cabinets are filled with designer bags from LV to Chanel to Fendi. Your shoe rack has Manolos and Louboutins. You wardrobe has Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci. You have to bring them to your next brunch or dinner with your amiga. One of you have the LV Neverfull? Either you have to get it to blend in or not get it to avoid being a copycat. Thankfully, we are not in this level still. But that’s because we really have no money to purchase these expensive goods. Haha. It’s great that people can reward themselves, and no, we are not judging you from obtaining all these things. If you can afford it, go teh. It’s not our money to burn. It’s your husband’s. Lol. Kidding. As long as you’re happy, we’re happy for you.

8. You find yourself buying more household items than clothes.

Gone are the days when we used to buy for clothes, shoes, and bags. Nowadays, we spend more time in the hypermarkets and riyalins for house items like cooking ware, linens, pillow cases, duvets. We’re older now, we have amassed more clothes to last us a lifetime and so we focus on the “real stuff” now: pots, pans, bed sheets, etc. Haha. Or groceries, of course. If you’re like us, you now spend hours and hours just checking for the labels of food in the grocery. You peruse market catalogs now instead of fashion catalogs. It’s part of being a tita… growing up with our choices. Naks. Hahaha.

9. You are making healthier choices.

A few years ago, ask me what flaxseed, quinoa, etc. are and I’ll give you a blank face while stuffing my mouth with Cheetos. Nowadays, a healthy diet has been added to my mind. At the back of it, but still, it’s there. Haha. There are many healthier options in restaurants and hypermarkets now that you can consider. Health has always been wealth but when you become a ‘tita’, it gets more ingrained in your being to give importance to it. Of course, exercise too. Reina and our friend Jou got into an exercise and diet regimen before while I enrolled in our gym. Obviously nothing happened to my gym membership and I’m on the verge of cancelling it. But we feel pains in parts of our bodies now. Muscle weakness has been used as an alibi to get out of an errand or get-together a couple of times (shhhh). That is not a good thing especially when you think of activities you can do as a certified ‘tita’ later on: ballroom dancing, ladies! Haha.

Give me a year or two to get into shape. Round is a shape no?

10. You rise early, then you go to bed early too. 

No matter what I put in my alarm every weekend, I always get up at around 7:30 AM. WTH. I wanted to doze off more but my body clock is saying, “get up!” When it’s 9:00 PM, it automatically shuts down and by 10:00 PM, I should be asleep or else, I will wake up with a headache. Of course, when there are TPT events and coverages, I have to plead with my body to continue working like I’m still in my 20s. However, it’s part of being a ‘tita’ to go to bed early (#beautysleep). Or you suffer the consequence the following day. It’s also a part of being a ‘tita’ to request more awake time because hello teleserye is life.

11. You’ve learned how to stop the drama.

The drama of your 20s are real. But once you become settled into a “tita”, the seduction of a life full of complications and drama no longer attract you. I’m speaking for myself here when I say that I used to be engulfed in petty bf/gf fights and spewing out emo statuses on my social media when I was younger. Thanks to the “On This Day” memory feature of Facebook, I now find myself laughing out loud to all the antics I used to say/post.  Since turning thirty, I’ve realized the benefit of not indulging on every single thought and feelings that come my way. There is so much more peace in having the power to let negative things go and keeping quiet.

12. You’re not into crowds anymore.

The party scene is no longer our scene. Getting drunk and wasted from a night out isn’t enticing anymore. We’d prefer quiet bars or coffee nights instead. We’re not social butterflies who can engage in small talk at gatherings for more than an hour (it can be exhausting). We like how we have a few, close-knit friends and we don’t feel the need to please anyone else beyond our circles. I do think it’s harder to make new friends at this point because we’ve grown with who we’ve been with and we know that they know us best already so the only best thing we can do is to focus on nutruring those relationships instead.

13. You’re more confident in who you are.

We’ve all been programmed to believe that getting older is horrendous, but if you’re ‘woke’ about this entire process, you’ll see how the years have helped you become the person you are today. At this point of “tita-hood”, you already have an idea of who you are as a person, what you’re capable of and what you intend to achieve by the end of your lifetime. It’s no longer a period of uncertainty but a period of possibilities! Getting to this phase in life as a tita or as a woman is definitely empowering and I think it should be embraced with an enthusiasm and gratitude.

Oo, maganda ako! (Yes, Im beautiful!)

So, tita ka na ba? Are you a tita already? Let us know so we can have some coffee tea and talk about our tita-ness in Riyadh. Haha.

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Janelle
Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

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