Tuareg Dating

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At the annual Cure Salée in July, the Tuareg and Wodaabe gather at In-Gall near Agadez for a month of camel racing and speed dating before the nomadic groups splinter off again into the dusty expanses of the Sahara and Sahel. One evening, the Tuareg gathered for the “dating wheel” in an empty expanse near their pitched tents. Women, decked out in their finest, sat atop donkeys loaded down with decorative leather household items in maroon, teal, and midnight blue. Turbaned men wheeled their towering camels this way and that to show off the elegant swish of long leather tassels hanging from the animals’ humps. When it was time, the women steered their donkeys into a circle and began parading them in a counter clockwise direction. The men on camels quickly formed a ring around the women and maneuvered their camels in a clockwise direction. They continued in this way for a while, giving both men and women a chance to check each other out before approaching their love interests after the event.

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