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.


Hosam said...

you stumbled into a dangerous path my friend.
those people are scary!
i drive by them almost weekly when i'm on my way to visit my grandparents and they're always waving and almost blocking my way just trying to stop me to see if i want to sell my car!

there's another interesting character you could find in the car souk "as you called it", it's the "shraity" which is the guy who's trying to buy your (or sell you) car. he's so manipulative and sneaky in ways you can't imagine.

well, i don't think "car souk" is not one of the places where you could take your wife with in saudi arabi. it's just not one of them!

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

You came so close but just skirted the reason men here must takes so much longer to work out the details of what's under our abayas! A simple glance just won't do. It's a real challenge to see an outline of a hip or breast and takes true dedication. And I must say, our Saudi boys excel at it don't they?

And about the 'car souk'; as a 'honkey' you may just want to avoid ever doing business there. Just as hosam said, there are some shady characters there. If you ever choose to go and buy/sell there, you may as well start out impending transactions by turning around, bending over and saying "go ahead boys, have at it" because you'd get royally screwed over! Best to leave the wheeling and dealing to the natives who themselves get screwed over there on a daily basis albeit, to a lesser degree than you would. Ask my husband about the lemon he almost got duped into buying there that luckily, stalled in the middle of an intersection during the test drive.

Kizzie said...

I really enjoy reading your blog:)

" In this country men have fantastic imaginations." lol, a taxi driver told one of my friends here in Cairo that he thought that "neqab" and "abaya" are sexy because it leaves room for imagination.
Another guy told my bestfriends that he has a fetish for "women wearing the face veil".
It's very scary to think about it.

Jason said...

One thing is that especially with the shoulder abayas (coat-like abaya - hooks on the shoulder) is that they are usually tighter and leave less room for imagination... If the woman uses a head abaya (hooks on the head) that leaves lots of room for imagination...

I personally have not seen any men leering at women with head abayas... Maybe I missed 'em...

Aysha said...

As for the women in Saudi who do tolerate the leering, I would assume that they are a Miss Saudi who unfortunatly found no contest to be part of!

I have noticed, Margrave, that life spent in Saudi is beginning to show in your tone in writing, and the subjects you tackle. For example, only when you are in Saudi you start to say things like: Women should, and men shouldn't, and I as a husband should not... That sort of tone, trust me, is inescapable when you are living that black white atmosphere.

I agree with you though, on how men and women do the same thing..everywhere..but using different languages!

Anonymous said...

you better write in 3rabic mr. English Man ..

ibraman can give u idea$

faris said...

I agree with you , women shouldnt
have to tolerate being leered on .

it is just that men here are raised to be rude. those who are not, are just different !

they also learn 'while growing here'
to easily blame females for their actions " she didnt wear her veil , she didnt wear her abaya properly .. bla bla bla"
where it is as simple as : you are rude . you are disgusting . you just cant control your self . period .

anyway as for miss japan :
to be honest is one thing , to be smart is another !

Life Out East said...

I really must pay more attention to what is happening, I had no idea there was a Miss Universe comp (not that it would have made a big difference if I had known). Japanese winner eh, sounds good. I've always thought that Japanese women are very nice.

Re the leering thing. I've just returned to the UK from Thailand and as we head towards summer and hot weather (well maybe) the women have started to strip off. Wander around any town on a sunny Saturday and you'll see girls and women with trousers/shorts worn low revealing a good few inches of arse cleavage, bellies are almost universally exposed and breast cleavage so wide open that the only thing you can't see is a nipple. Can't help thinking that leering is acceptable in this situation as those being leered at clearly court the attention of those doing the leering. Not that I condone leering in any way of course.

hedoorientia said...

Very well written and as always with humour! I also liked the comment of Life out East - remembering how I (western woman) behaved when arriving in Thailand after quite some time in Pakistan... I wasn't an inch better than the paki leerers I came across every day and detested! LOL!

عبده العمراوى said...

شركة قمة الدقة
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالخبر
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخبر