Saturday, February 07, 2009

Lecherous Beasts, the Men. All of Them!

Men. Here. Except, they really aren't. If one was to believe every single thing printed about men in this country, you would be led to believe men have ONE thing and ONE thing only on their minds. [And, the men here are different from anywhere else, how?] Yes, I have had a couple of run-ins with young men who see a Western woman with an uncovered blonde head of hair and they automatically think, "She wants me." [And, for the record, no. I. Do. Not.] A few times at the mall or downtown young men - the older ones, never - have done their little teeth/tongue click, click, clicking sound. I'm not exactly sure what it means, but supposedly it is some sort of signal that means the young man seems to think that I am going to be willing to drop everything I am doing at the moment, throw my life to the wind [you, know, having a husband - married Seventeen Happy Years, today! - and all], and trot off to some secluded place to do the wild thing. Not going to happen, guys. Not in this lifetime, not in the next one, and I am more than positive it didn't happen in the past one, either.

There has not been one single time that a more matured - not necessarily older - man was anything but respectful to me - that I can recall as I type this - in asking for directions, or asking about merchandise in a shop, or at the bank, or anywhere else. Not once has any man over, say twenty-five or thereabouts, ever "click, click, clicked" his tongue against his teeth at me. I have a theory about the younger men - and I've posted on this before - that because this society is so segregated the young men just do not have the social skills they need to know how to act or behave around women - either young women, or women my age [who aren't so young - but are "uncovered meat" in the words of some Iman from last year - when they are not dressed head-to-toe in black]. The young men here know no differently. It really is not their fault. They are not allowed to mingle on the playground in school growing up or through junior and senior high school and they miss out on a tremendous amount of "life" in that regard from those days, forward. They are not allowed to date. Heck. They aren't allowed to be with any woman not related to them - just about ever! [I am not giving the young women, here, any breaks with this - but today this is not about them. Which is not to say that they are not part of the problem. I believe they are almost - but not quite - as much at fault.]

There is an article in one of today's papers about pick-up trucks being a nuisance to residents in Madinah. As I was reading it earlier I had to pause and just say to myself, "No wonder men here get such a bad rap. Given their 'ulterior motives.'" It says, "Small pickup trucks... have become a nuisance to the residents of and visitors to the holy city, particularly women who complain of harassment by the drivers." Ladies, give 'em a break. Lend 'em just a little bit of slack for goodness sakes. I've seen some of you uncovered and you are NOT all that and a bag of chips! Trust me on this one - if the men saw you "uncovered" they'd run, fast and far. [Which, again, is not to say that there is not some stunning beauty, here. Oh. There is. I've posted on that, too.] What? Did the driver of the truck ask you - as a cab driver is likely to do - where you needed to be dropped off? That constitutes harassment?!? I think not. "Many residents and visitors... especially women, say these vehicles are filling a gap caused by the insufficient number of licensed taxis." They probably are. If women could drive themselves wherever they needed to go, NONE of this would even be an issue. But they can't and they never will, not here in The Sandbox. [That is a whole other post - the degree of control that some men fear they would lose. I'm not going there today, either.] "These drivers are aggressively seeking out customers, which has given rise to the phenomenon of strange men in unmarked cars offering their services to women. Some say the drivers often have ulterior motives."

Come on. Be real. I don't know what is being shown on all those Saudi soaps you are watching because my Arabic is so basic, and I know Oprah is on MBC, but obviously you are watching far too much of both. Turn Oprah off. She has nothing worthwhile to say. She is an angry, bitter woman who just happens to have a lot of money. Try watching Monk or Lost or 24 or just about anything else. I'd be willing to bet that MOST of those men have no other motive than trying to make a living. One woman who, naturally, didn't want to be named, said "The concerned authorities are turning a deaf ear to thise phenomenon. We are being harassed openly by the drivers of the pickups and nothing is being done to deter them." She agrees with me in part though, and did "not condemn all of the drivers saying that some are simply trying to make money, but others seem to be flirting or otherwise directing untoward attention at women." What? Did someone "click, click, click" his teeth/tongue at you? Yeah. I didn't think so. Like I said. Someone simply was being a gentleman and opened the door of the truck for you, placed your groceries in the back of the truck bed and asked you where you wanted to go. Oh. My. Pretty untoward if you ask me!

A woman not afraid to identify herself, Hanadi Al-Subahi, said "I was expecting to see a fleet of (marked) taxis like those in Jeddah... Instead, we saw a large number of pickups whose drivers were quarreling to take us... In the process, they exchanged bad words that I feel ashamed of repeating [don't be shy, Hanadi, we've all heard bad words before]. We had no other option but to take one of them though it was dirty and the seats were uncomfortable. Where are the officials who would stop these drivers, who roam the streets?" Pssst. Hanadi. Let me fill you in on a little secret. You know all that Saudiziation thing trying to happen? A lot of cab drivers from other countries were fired so that Saudi's could have those jobs. Know what happened? Many of the Saudi's that were hired couldn't be bothered showing up for work. The cab companies are having an incredibly difficult time getting drivers. Oh, and back, again, to the fact that if authorities were that worried about you getting in a car with a driver who might have "ulterior motives" then they would let you rent a car and drive yourself. Pick your battles. You can't have it both ways.

Another brave identified woman, Manal Al-Qathami, says she "was surprised that women would use these gypsy cabs, but said she could understand the situation, thanks to the small number of available taxis." Bingo! She "would like to see officials form the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice crack down on these drivers who harass women." Sweetie, they are much too busy already protecting your butt from anyone who has a camera phone and a couple of pictures on it: blackmail. It is a very big problem here. She finally got in a pickup truck after she "waited in vain for a taxi for more than 45 minutes." It was worth "risking harassment." [Did you actually get harassed? No? Yeah. I didn't think so.]

Another resident - who goes by "Mother of Muhammad" and can't be bothered to use her real name said that "she can't believe that a city as big as Madinah would not have enough taxis." Believe it. A city much smaller, where I live, doesn't have enough either. [See above. Not enough drivers.] "Whenever I want to go to the market, I can't find a taxi; just these pickups, which are designed to transport goods and animals." [Some material just writes itself. I'm staying away from that one!] She says that each time she uses one of these drivers, she ends up dealing with uninvited and crude advances. [I already called B.S. in one post today. Can I do it again? It's my blog. I call BULL SHIT on that!] "I wonder when officials will take necessary measures to protect the dignity of women... and protect them against this vulgarity." Again, see above. Who wants to bet she is one of the women who SHOULD remain covered at all times and not one of the stunning beauties I've posted on? Five riyals says she is hideously ugly and fat, too...


  1. Ok after commenting on the previous post...I apparently have breasts on my mind as I read the title as Lecherous Breasts!!! lol.

    I need to go sit down and think of nothing for a bit. ;)

  2. And I double-checked to make sure I didn't have a typo, there, Coolred. Yes. Go sit down and have a nice cup of tea. Think of anything BUT the human anatomy.


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