Important Notice

It is not my intention to denigrate Saudi Arabia or its people. It’s like everywhere else, there is good and there is bad. I would rather focus on the unusual and the humourous. Offence is not intended.

“The country is not perfect. The media cannot be trusted, mistreatment of religious minorities is common and there are some that live in fear.” You can decide for yourself whether that statement is about Saudi Arabia, the UK, or any country for that matter.

To quote the Joker, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

That is all I will say about either subject.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Missed Universe

Well done Miss Japan for winning Miss Universe. I missed the show, but I'm sure your suggestion to bring about world peace was a sound one. I wish that just once a contestant would answer the token question with honesty:

Interviewer: If you're crowned Miss Universe, how will you forward the cause for women worldwide during your tenure?
Contestant: Do I look like Hillary Clinton? I didn't just strut around in a bikini to forward the cause for women worldwide. I did it to make lots of money and become very famous. Why don't you forward the cause for men worldwide by talking to my face instead of to my cleavage?

It's natural for men to cast admiring glances at women. I catch men looking at my wife all the time. If it's a glance it doesn't bother me, but if they leer then I give them the patented "Margrave stare". Women should not have to tolerate leering and neither, frankly, should their husbands.
In Saudi, in spite of all attempts to subvert it human nature is still human nature and Saudi (and expat) men are still men. But because there are so few outlets, there seem to be fewer admiring glances and many more leers.
Recently I was at Debenhams when I observed a man opposite me go through a typical leering manoeuvre. As the lady walked towards him he stared at her head, and then let his glance travel down her body with a pause to ogle idly at her chest. As she walked past his leer followed her, with his ogle this time being slightly lower down.
Like all leers this was rude, but it was amusing because the lady was completely covered from head to toe by her abaya. In this country men have fantastic imaginations.

In Saudi we don't have Miss Universe, but we do have Miss Automobile. Last week we went to the car souk in Riyadh. When we got there we noticed an unusually large number of Saudi guys all standing by the road waving frantically. We wondered why all these men were trying to hail taxis. Had prayer time just ended? Had there been an accident? I slowed down. The men started to swarm towards the car shaking their fists at us! What the hell?! Lock the doors! Get the hell out of here!
As we sped around the corner it became apparent that the men weren't angry honkey haters, they just wanted to buy our car. This is a part of town where men drive their cars up and down in the hopes that someone will buy it. All men are welcome to come and watch the show. You can glance at the ones you can afford and you can leer at the ones out of your reach. No angry husband will hit you. Just don't restrict your inspection to its cleavage and don't expect it to have a plan for ending world poverty.