Monday, December 6, 2010

One of the things I would miss about the UAE...

... 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.


Songwriter F Space said...

Strange that a nation composed almost entirely of expatriates is unable to get accustomed to the presence of multi-ethnic people. I am sure what you will not miss is the unending staring from Asian gentlemen who will stare at anything that moves. Ogling comes natural to the male species but those from the Subcontinent ogle at all that is not stationary. Before anyone accuses me of racism, I am from the same place so please, forgive my ingratitude to the land of starers. I scream at three of them on average when they look at my pregnany wife as if she is a five-wheeled motorcycle.
That said, the UAE offers unparalleled security in my opinion, which is ideal as a parent.
My two cents.

Ann Marie said...

It's true about the staring... I'm not a fan either but I guess I'm used to it. In the beginning I just used to pretend I was famous.

rosh said...

haha! very clever!

Verdi said...

One of the best entries I've read anywhere for a long time. The intimacy and the detail make this a masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to say something about staring done by asian men: they stare at other men too. They stare at men, at cars, at babies, at goods in shops, at food, at everything. It is something that requires getting used to, but women shouldn't feel that they are singled out by the staring.

If it moves, it worthy of being stared at. And if it doesn't move, then it must be something special also worthy of staring at.


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