... and I can't believe I am saying this, but it's the honking. The honking sometimes bothers me, usually when the car is passing close to me and I am startled or scared by it.
But on mornings like today, when I took extra care to blow-dry my hair and wear a dress because I woke up feeling not-so-hot, it's a-okay.
I got five honks from male drivers in the minute or so I waited to cross 15th Street this morning. One was from a young fellow, not much older that 20, who slowed down his pickup truck and waved frantically as he passed by. Who would fail to be perked up by that? A lot of women are bothered by male attention when they move to the UAE, and continue to be impacted negatively by it. I don't like being mini-stalked and I don't like being mistaken for a prostitute, which also happens from time to time in my neighbourhood. At least that's what I realised the other day, when I was followed by a truck that kept overtaking me, waiting until I passed by, then overtaking me again, only to wait until I passed by to mutter something I couldn't hear. It happened about four times until I yelled "go away!"
But I turned 40 earlier this year and realised something on my two trips back to Canada since. I am definitely getting to that age (if I'm not already there) where I don't turn heads the way I used to. (Don't argue with me and say I do; I did an informal, internal survey every time I went to Starbucks on those trips - it's true and it's a fact of life) It's a vain thing I guess, and I'm cool with it – mostly.
But Arab men don't seem to notice things like age. My uncovered head and lack of abaya is often all it takes to prompt admiration. I think here I hold a mystery similar to what a very blonde woman would back home - men are so conditioned to love blondes, a blonde woman can often grab their attention no matter what her age.
If their lowered standards can appease my inner diva from time to time, so be it. Because I know when and if I leave, wherever I go it's going to seem awfully quiet.