Sunday, February 24, 2013

Perverts, Beware.

Sometimes I get royally pissed off. Today was one such day.

I was feeling grumpy like the Grumpy cat pictured above.
Let me tell you why.
It started out The Perfect day, lovely weather, clear skies, let's walk to the park. Everything seemed promising.  Until the day was ruined by the World's Most Perverted Perverts.

I normally try to ignore the pervert creep-o's around here and just walk past them. I pretend what they're doing doesn't affect me while in reality inside I'm about to explode from rage. In my head I'm screaming "STOP STARING AT ME YOU FREAKTARDS! You're acting like wild animals and you're in Saudi-Arabia for fugs sake BEHAVE!"
Sometimes, enough is enough. We all have our limits. So this day, my bag of creeper-crap became full. So full the shiz really spilled out and hit a tornado.

Ok so I go to the park a lot here in the Diplomatic Quarters. You can check out why here.
DQ is an abaya free area so I usually take advantage of this and opt for normal clothing because the black abaya does become really hot to walk in direct sunlight. That doesn't mean I'm walking around in a miniskirt and tank top though (although some women here do). I would normally wear loose fitting and over all modest clothing and my hair covered. So in other words, everyone would know this most likely is a Muslim woman coming along. But does this stop the perverts from oggling?


So as I was walking this time to a park further away, we passed by lots of construction workers mostly from Asian countries. They work in the DQ daily and should be accustomed to seeing women. With or without abaya. Does this change their behavior though?


Most of these men are Muslims. They should be aware of the aya in the Quran which addresses FIRST men to lower their gaze and observe hijab, THEN it advises women to dress modestly. Does this have any effect on these men?


Sometimes I walk around in my abaya past these creeps. Does that stop them from staring at me and send a message I don't want to be looked at?


In fact, if I were to walk BUTT NAKED on the streets in Finland, people would stare at me less than these men do here despite the full covering. I have never been stared at like this anywhere in the world. I mean there have been bad places, lots of harassment and other things happening but it's NOTHING compared to the scale it's happening in Saudi Arabia.

These guys are something else. Only a woman who has lived here and experienced this can truly grasp the feeling of being somehow violated by their actions. I would even call it a form of sexual harassment.
Walking past these kind of men is infuriating, stressful and tormenting to say the least. They could really use a pair of:


I must point out that by far the most well behaved men I've seen around the Diplomatic Quarter areas are the Saudis. Most will lower their gaze and not look at me or other women at all regardless what they're wearing. But then once in a while you run into an idiot like the one on this particular day.

A friend and I were passing by a bank where a Saudi man was standing in the parking lot. He took one look at us then started waving and asking to come to his car. He obviously thought we were prostitutes. Rumor has it there's a secret brothel somewhere in the D.Q. Maybe he thought we're employees, with two babies in tow? We ignored and he started shouting out offensive suggestions to us. Do these a-holes have ANY brain activity?


So there I am, one baby strapped onto me and the other in the stroller, and all I want to do is go and PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE. Now I'm not a violent person, people, don't get me wrong. But some men just need a good ol' punch in the face to lighten up.
But we moved on. Next we passed by a mosque and it was prayer time. Three workers of some sort (well I didn't see much WORK being done) sat on a bench opposite to it. They noticed us from far and started ogling at us wide-eyed like some sort of owls.
Hoo-hoo, Oggle-Ollies. Is anybody home? Watch out that your eyes don't pop out of their sockets.

I was taking a pic of the mosque and decided to point the phone at them and experiment if that would stop them from ogling. You would think they'd feel ashamed for being exposed and turn away right?

WTH. At this point I was already annoyed BIG TIME. As we walked past them I said in a loud voice "stop staring!" I turned around to see if they had lowered their gaze only to see they had just turned their heads and their eyes were now the size of golf balls.
Watch out you don't break your neck.
 You b**tards.

Next we passed by some more workers, all busy doing something really important like moving stones around. Not anymore. See women are coming! Hey lets stop everything and stare at them like mindless idiots.

Check out this dude. He needed to lean on the truck thingy so he can concentrate all of his brain cells onto the two females in his visual field because standing without support while gawking would be too complicated. Again as we had passed I made a surprise attack with my iPhone to check if they were still looking:
Ha! Busted!
So the leaner-creeper is still staring and didn't turn his face around even when noticed me taking the pic but the other guy at least felt some sort of shame. I think. Awww..Or did you think your pic might be posted online and your scumbag-ness be exposed? Too bad you were right. You messed with the wrong lady.

Ugh....I was fuming at this point. But more was to come. To our horror we soon realized we had to pass another construction area in order to reach the park. I felt like screaming to all the pervs on that street and throwing rotten tomatoes at them but of course I couldn't with the kids there. I tried to control myself and only raised my voice every once in a while saying "stop staring" Nobody did. In fact, it seemed to only spark even more interest so I stopped.

Walking along this street made me feel as if I'm completely naked and the men are raping me with their eyes. So blatant and immoral they were.
It was like walking in the gay parade or something. Spectators watching on the sides of the street cheering leering at the parade.
See the pervert guy in the turban? I will call him Mr. Turbert. Funny how the bearded guy (outwardly trying to appear so religious) was the most perverted of them all. Mr. Turbert actually started following us.
Who are you calling? Your wife, while you're gawking at us? Go drink some hot sauce.
I can see you Mr. Turbert. You think you're clever, huh? Why don't you just jump off a cliff.
The only man on this street that didn't leer at us was the old guy pictured here. God bless his soul.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to...
Mr.Pervert Universe.

He surely thinks I snapped the pic because he's ALL THAT. Wrong. It's because you actually took this relaxed position to enjoy staring at the female parade from a long way.
When we came closer I made a surprise pic of him but he didn't get the memo and kept enjoying his time. The look on his face is so smug it's just begging for someone to come and pour glue all over it! Ugh.

Oh hey look it's Mr. Turbert again! I hope you walk into a pole. No a landmine.
Actually it's not a turban, it seems to be some sort of a 'silly hat'. And Mr. Pervert Universe seems to be thinking some perverted ideas in his head which I really don't want to know.

So we arrived at the park after this walk of horror. I felt a sigh of relief. All too soon, since the perverts had populated the park that day. They actually came to pray there, Mr. Turbert and his buddies. On the way they all took a looooooong look at us in the playground. How pious of them. One guy even gawked at us WHILE praying.

You know that weird feeling you get that someone is staring at you?
Noticed this chap leering from the parking lot. Snapped his pic too to include in this photo-collage. So he noticed I was taking the pic and I started yelling at him to stop staring. Did that help?

Of course not.
 He just changed his position and kept staring. No shame, no respect, no decency. I was outraged. I wanted to go and kick him in the groin.
After five minutes, Mr. Hand In Your Pocket Putter is still staring. Leaning on the car and chewing on miswak just enjoying his sweet ol' time. I swear if looks could kill he would be a corpse by now. Didn't your mother teach you ANY manners? I can think of a name to call you which begins with MOTHER.

What a day. I hate perverts.
Freakin freaks!
Just leave us women alone!
Next time I'm going to be armed with water balloons. Filled with vinegar! HA!

DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to make fun of any specific race or nationality. This post is about MEN behaving badly, and I'm calling them out for it. If you found this post racist in some way, you are very wrong and perhaps should do some self reflecting. About 90% of this post is written with HUMOR and as a rant without much planning. If you don't get my sense of humor (which I admit sometimes might be very sarcastic and black) then that's fine. We're all good.
That's it folks. Nothing more to this, so please don't make anything else of it. Thank you!

P.S. The camera or iPhone in this case was pointed at the men AFTER they began staring. They are not looking because I'm shooting them. I was there, I know what happened, you weren't, so please spare us your expert comments on what was going on and who was leering at who.


Hope said...

I love how u use your camera as a weapon lol maybe if u use the big one it will have more effect than the iPhone camera.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Maybe because it was friday? The workers day off?

Its form their culture, doesn't bother me, I just ignore them.

OManis though, if they act badly, I tell them off. Saudis though, that doesn't work. Omani guys get all scared though of a woman telling them off and lecturing them Islamically. Usually works. Bets to ignore says my husband, but honestly that teaches nobody anything.

Desert Housewife A. (The Canadian in Jubail) said...

Ahhhhh yes... My former driver Sarwar from Pakistan taught me how to curse at them in Urdu. They think it's funny and a game, sometimes i fake a limp or hobble just so they look away in disgust haha :-b

But if u ever notice them *doing anything in their pockets* call the popo ASAP cuz that's just wrong and even more sick if there are children around!! One guy was doing that outside a PLAYGROUND and my Kuwaiti friend went psycho on him and called the police, who caught him right away. Friggin' weirdos... My husband has gotten in their faces becuz of their inappropriate behavior.

They are scared of "arbab" LoL

Layla said...

I actually wrote this before few days so it didn't happen on a Friday.

Layla said...

haha yes I was literally shooting them.

Layla said...

I could use a few curse words in Urdu, Hindi, Pashto, Bengali and whatever else.

Had to lol at your faked limp and hobble, hehe

Anonymous said...

thanks for the laughs! brilliant!but couldn't you report them to the cops? or those morality police at least!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what makes these men different from any other men in the world. Men all over the world stare at women. Especially women who stick out and who are stopping to take pictures of them. DQ or not, you're still living in Saudi Arabia, and even if it's allowed to walk without abaya there, the men working there are going to look at you if you choose not to wear one. It's no different than women who wear niqab or abaya in the West. It may be allowed, but it's not the norm, so people are going to stare.
I didn't find this post funny at all. I find it a bit silly in that you're making a big deal out of something that you should have just ignored. I also fear that this post may take away from the actual harassment and assault that some women experience here.

Anonymous said...

Eww they're so disgusting. I think you should continue this, "Perverts of the Month" or something, and maybe your Saudi readers will spot a family member or a neighbour from the pictures and hopefully realize their vileness.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

That's what the Haiyaa are for! Give them a call and they will bury themselves in work quicker than the owl can go "whooo"...

For most of them its a sight to see a WHITE person, without their being differentiation between a male or female... must be an amazing (and weird) sight for them - much like bigfoot or lochness is to a westerner.

My Own Fairytale said...

Woow this is so bad!!
This way i really would not like to go outside.
And that`s just crazy, cause women have the right to go outsite whenever
they want.
Uuugh those man are disgusting!!

XO Arezu

Layla said...

lol Hai'a could have a field trip with these guys!
HOWEVER they would of course blame the women of being immoral and saying they brought it on their selves. Which of course is not true, like I mentioned abaya or not, niqab or not, whatever the woman is wearing, this will happen.

Layla said...

Perverts of the Month ha! Good idea.

Layla said...

If I didn't have the kids with me I could. Once I was walking alone and I went straight to the cops to report harassment, they were really helpful and respectful.

Anonymous said...

not that it's any excuse - they prolly do the same in their own countries - but wonder how much of an effect it has on them that their wives are not allowed to live with them in SAudi, - ie they are all forced to live as single men due to the labor rules over there. i know it's no excuse but maybe they excuse themselves for this kind of behavoir cause they say to themselves they are so deprived that they deserve some thrills.

Anonymous said...

lol this is the high of immorality especcialy when you supposed to be @work and its also rude to stare

Huda Umm Mahmoud said...

Ugh, horrible. This kind of thing really makes me mad. Yet they call the west depraved etc etc, but at least here I can venture out of my house without expecting something to happen. Yes, stuff happens here too, and we grow up knowing we have to be on our guard and all that, but I would dare say it's less pervasive than in other parts of the world.
Maybe you need to start the KSA branch of Harrassmap?
I hate how if you say anything it makes it worse. They have no shame. I would love to hear of the Hai'a giving these guys a whuppin'!

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Jeddah, spent quite a bit of time there, actually - one day in the Salaama, when it was new, I had my backside grabbed by a 14 year old on a bike, (hit and run)Sadly, at the time, I thought Saudi Arabia was immune to such abuse - haha, worse place next to Yemen I have ever been in for being objectified as a female sex object...All these pictures,and it's this way every day, and it's not just Pakistanis- led me to one conclusion. That what Al Qur'an teaches is balance and moderation. I do not believe that the Abaya and how it us used... or the culture encourages either. I cover modestly here in the US now and wear an Abaya most of the time, but as the culture is diversified, I receive very little notice. Although there may be a lot more Fitna here, the men are more respectful to someone who is modest. They are not lingering in their repressed fantasies of sitting with a woman, (or more) and experience some longed-for female companionship. It's up to Allah to reprimand, and guide. We are all accountable.

Georgette Jupe said...

Maybe covering yourself by wearing an abaya just makes you that much more enticing to stare at? Its crazy to me how bad it is! I live in Italy and while the men love women here, the thought of that kind of non-stop staring is really really sad :(. I think a 'pervert' of the month post is a GREAT idea.

Dohan Diiva said...

you can just imagine how they are in their own country. We lived in India for two years and it was horrible!

Zue said...

Try waving at them frantically with your entire arm and yelling "Helloo"", or when they are close suddenly bark like a dog. The reactions are priceless. It helps me to forget how horrible the situation is and I laugh and I go about my day in a better mood. I really refuse to be made angry, it's only me who suffers in the end.

Anonymous said...

"Rumor has it there's a secret brothel somewhere in the D.Q."


Anyway... For some strange reason, Some Saudi men think that if a woman ignores you flirting/catcalling/propositioning her that insulting her is totally ok and that it might actually make her come to you or something.

Layla said...

To anonymous 1:24pm
"I didn't find this post funny at all. I find it a bit silly in that you're making a big deal out of something that you should have just ignored. I also fear that this post may take away from the actual harassment and assault that some women experience here. "

You didn't find this post funny at all?
GOOD! I'm so glad to hear that!

Care to elaborate on how exactly this post takes away from 'the actual harassment and assault'?

Anonymous said...

Hi Layla, Since u go to the DQ frequently maybe u could post their pics around and write something in arabic to the effect that theyre perverts and ppl need to watch out? It got so bad for me that I left the kingdom in tears. I felt like I was being constantly raped by their stares. It was violating AND nauseating. Wish u luck.

Kat said...

Water bazookas work. And yes, I am serious.

Anonymous said...

Everywhere in KSA you see this type of women harassment, yes you are right most of the womens feel insecure on men starring all the way wen your is bad & illitrate attitude of most men here in KSA...thanks layla for posting & feel sorry for you..
May Allah save all women from any kind of harassment.

Umm Gamar said...

You should read this piece and the ehole meaning of pervert will shatter you! I hate it when men gawk at you, it is just wrong! But I guess those guys being far from their spouses etc makes the gawking even more so, not excusing them but trying to understand.

Read up this article and I felt sick to the stomach at the nonchalance in the writers article about his idea on gawking at girls who are the same age as his daughter.

Gubbi said...

Oh, Blue Abaya, I love your blog so much ... but this post made me scratch my head a bit.

(By way of background, I'm a long-time lurker, first-time commenter: American woman, have lived in Dubai since 2007 and spent a couple years of that commuting back and forth to KSA for work.)

Now, I get it: no one likes to be leered at. In fact, I often joke that after spending so much time in this part of the world, my body has shut down its ability to perceive being stared at – almost a means of self-preservation, so I don't try to punch the daylights out of every third man I pass on the street. :)

But I have a couple of (hopefully constructive) thoughts on this post -

1. What I try to remember in situations like this is the cultures and backgrounds that these laborers come from. From my experience (and from the helpful pictures you provided!) I would guess that these men hail from Peshawar / the Swat Valley / Kandahar or environs – regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan that are some of the few areas in the world to place MORE restrictions on the presence of women in the public sphere than KSA. They've come to Saudi out of sheer economic necessity to find work, meaning they’ve left behind their families and hence the normal day-to-day interactions they’d have with female relatives. Of course, it’s not like you see a ton of ladies out and about in Riyadh – and add to that the fact that on a salary of, what, SAR500-1000 a month, laborers can’t exactly afford to frequent shopping malls, restaurants, or other places where they might at least develop a general familiarity with the “crazy” phenomenon of seeing women. Add to all THAT the fact that they hail from a culture where staring is not seen as particularly rude or demeaning (even if, as you point out, staring at women is prohibited in Islam – but that’s the pesky rub between culture and religion), and you can see why it happens so pervasively. I know you probably know all this, and I am not at all trying to excuse the behavior... but I think the context is important to keep in mind.

2. I fear your tone and language contribute to the pervasive denigration of South Asian workers in the region as being almost sub-human. Calling them idiots, bastards, scumbags, comparing them to animals… I get it, you’re mad and annoyed and it’s your blog so you get to lash out. But one of the things I love about your writing is that you attack stereotypes and social problems in the Kingdom head-on… and yet you seem to be doing the opposite here. Incidentally, the “silly hat” you mention is called a pakol, and it’s an important symbol of Pashtun identity. Imagine if some Western expat took a picture of your Saudi husband wearing his shemagh and agal and labeled him a “silly towelhead” … you’d think that person was ignorant and a little mean-spirited, wouldn’t you?

3. Last point, I promise, and I’ll tread delicately here – but does calling men who are silently staring at you “perverts” undermine the real and more serious consequences of those who act on perversion? If we call these guys perverts, what on earth do we call the cleric who raped and killed his daughter? Again, I’m not sure on this point – just want to put it out there for discussion.

Rebecca said...

You had me laughing the whole way through thanks Layla for the grand start for my working week!My boss asked what I was laughing at I told him nothing, just perverts!

Layla said...

Hi there Gubbi and thanks for the lengthy comment!
I agree with everything you say on point 1, and surely this all does escalate the problem. Still I think it comes from the culture, since the same behavior can be seen in all countries where foreign workers from certain countries come from.
I don't mean by any of my comments to derogate them being Asian and this post is not racist from my point of view, ido not see them as men from certain nations, but as MEN. Men, who are behaving badly, and they know it.
Men who are behaving badly even after it's pointed out to them.
That's unacceptable in any culture and I'm not the type of person who will just accept everything as "normal". I know it's "normal" here, but so is littering, driving like crazy, treating women like small children, torturing animals..All of which come from cultural backgrounds..All of which I think we should try and change and fight against.

Point number 2 you said "I fear your tone and language contribute to the pervasive denigration of South Asian workers in the region as being almost sub-human. Calling them idiots, bastards, scumbags, comparing them to animals… I get it, you’re mad and annoyed and it’s your blog so you get to lash out. But one of the things I love about your writing is that you attack stereotypes and social problems in the Kingdom head-on… and yet you seem to be doing the opposite here. Incidentally, the “silly hat” you mention is called a pakol, and it’s an important symbol of Pashtun identity. Imagine if some Western expat took a picture of your Saudi husband wearing his shemagh and agal and labeled him a “silly towelhead” … you’d think that person was ignorant and a little mean-spirited, wouldn’t you?"

Ok, I get your point, but I want to add that I would call any man from any country or race the same names, were they to act like animals..If it were Finnish men, even better because then I could actually go up to them and talk, now there's a language barrier and I can't communicate my feelings and thoughts to them, which kind of makes it even more frustrating, I guess.
So please keep that in mind, I can't help that where they are from, and like you said this is a RANT, something I wrote while outraged and wanted to let some steams out because of my anger about the situation..and it helped, that's why I write sometimes, it's kind of like therapy.
Re the hat :) That was totally a joke and again, something I wrote in the rage state of mind.

If someone were to call my husband a silly towel head? LOL I sometimes call him silly names when he's wearing the shumagh, just to tease him :) I know some people would say that out of being mean, but I don't see why I couldn't take it as a joke, were it to be written in such a context, and not to make fun of the actual culture behind it per se.

Hope this explains things :)

Layla said...

Wow Umm Gamar, that was really really disturbing.

Arr said...

:( I live in the UAE and know the feeling. You'd think that they woman is a new invention or something.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. This is what living in KSA does to women's perspectives. What I hated most of all was seeing my little girls (aged 11, 10 and 7) being stared at in that way. Made me feel sick. When I got back home to the UK it took me quite a while to re-remember that men aren't (don't need to be?) like that in other cultures. And although the same problem exists in the UAE with Asian men, it somehow doesn't feel quite so sinister as in KSA.

Unknown said...

ahaha niin Saudi Arabia! I feel your pain, me käydään Riadissa kerran pari kuukaudessa, jotenki siihen kuitenkin vaan lopettaa kiinnittämästä huomiota...

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is a terrible situation and have experienced it myself in the DQ. Such a pity that it is an area where you can walk without the abaya, nevertheless such people do not allow this kind of freedom by their behaviour.

I am sure they do it also in their own countries and they dont feel shy about it at all. After all they were raised to believe it is all the womens fault and us westeners are always to blame.

Truly I do not know if I would like my daughter to grow up in such an environment.

Anonymous said...

Esselamu aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

sorry to say that but as much as you are right about the men's duty to lower the gaze, I feel that they are still our brothers in Islam and so I would avoid calling them names. Remember that they will be held accountable for their deeds but we will be too. May Allah guide us all! Ameen!

Your sister in Islam,
Selma :)

Anonymous said...

@Anon 4:21PM..
They were staring at your 7 -11 yr old????? WTF now that is sic but an entirely afferent issue that needs to be addressed in KSA.
Im putting myself in ure shoes blue abaya and thinking; how would i feel after coming home from a walk after feeling eye raped.
I would be PIEVED to say the least..and rightfully so.. We get that they are away from their wives and it looks like your friend was wearing short sleeves and like you said DQ is an abaya free zone so its even more intriguing for them but that doesn't strop the sick feeling you get when a mans eyes are looking through you and not at you...they literally are not respecting your feelings or personal space rights! lol
I don't know i guess the way to not get even more upset is to just ignore or like another lady said..bark like a dog!!! LOL genius idea

Anonymous said...

So funny! I love that you are calling these bozo's out. Do they have no shame? They are so obvious that it's borders on pitiful.

Coolred38 said...

Having lived in Bahrain for so long I know the feeling but I have to agree with Gubbi...the post was rather condescending. Men who are merely staring are not perverts. Rude yes. I was stared at by men all the time, specially when I first arrived there and stuck out like a sore thumb with my red hair...but the ones who actually physically touched, grabbed, or somehow assaulted me were considered Pervs by me.

Also, what does it mean that you felt like you were walking in a gay parade? You are a female being gawked at by homosexual tendencies there I presume.

Layla said...

Coolred-really? I'm surprised you felt that way, especially knowing your background and bad experiences with men IN GENERAL. Like I said before, it's nothing to do with nationality, but the rude behavior and disrespect of women. They know perfectly well which country they are in and how strict the rules are here..

Gay parade, because it was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about a parade that would draw lots of curious spectators.. that's all.

I don't know why I'm even explaining these things to people here, if you don't get my sense of humor, then..well you don't and that's fine :) but don't come here calling me a racist when I'm far from one. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I found your blog about a month ago and haven´t felt the need to comment before, but I´d like to tell 3 little stories about the subject.

As being a mom and a wife and an estonian, I feel like we have the same background. Ok, here we go...

This first one happened in Estonia. This was about three years ago, when we went to this little island for summer holiday and you have take a ferry to get there. And there was a young woman (local) and a little black girl. They were mother and daughter. And the whole ferry looked at them. You problably think this was very disrespectul thing to do, but I would say it was just impolite. Beacause to the outsider our coutry is very rassistic. But there of course are historical reasons behind all that, we have been occupated for centuries. Every foreigner is feels like an enemy.
Being an expat myself in Western-Europe I am stared at all the time, because of my blue eyes. In the shops, in the restaurants we get the attention, me and my sons. It does not bother me.

We are living in the suburbs and have neighbours from India, but they are Muslims. I started to talk to the lady and she was very friendly and so on. This one time, we were passing by their house and the their whole family just got out of a car. And the indian husband reached out his hand to introduce himself to my husband and he did´nt even look at me. Ok, I felt confused, although I know about the customs. Why I was confused, because the man works in a very big international company, how does he manage not to shake hands with a woman here in Europe. I thought it was very impolite thing to do, but not disrespectful.

Third story is about this situation what happened in Estonia as well. Some highschool boys were playing around in the classroom and started to bully the teacher.I think there were 4 boys and one of them started to film it. And then he put the film on Youtube for everyone to see. Somehow it leaked to the media and it was an enormous scandal. Nowadays theachers are absolutely without protection, they can not do anything without getting fired. So, the teacher in this film just stayed calm and let the boys do their thing. Guess, who got the fine and got expelled from school? Only one boy. The one, who decided to film it and to make it public. So, maybe you are harrasing them. Ok, that was a joke.

But yes, you are an alien in this society and you always will be. People will stare at you for the rest of your life. You can´t get all the benefits from two cultures.

And this situation about you walking buttnaked in the streets of Helsinki and nobody would pay attention, I´m sorry, but you can´t see this kind of asexuality anywhere else like in Finland. This was also a joke. Almost.

Greetings from the capital of EU,

Noor said...

This is why I always wear niqab and abaya.

Shannon said...

At first Layla this blog was funny, but then I found it oppressive. Saudi's are just as bad, if not worse, than any foreign worker. Besides, they've implemented and sustained a culture which represses women and any possibility of freedom.

How does one raise girls in Saudi Arabia!! It reminds me of "Inside the Kingdom" by Carmen bin Laden.

That's why I got out! It's a golden cage, especially for our daughters.

Layla said...

Noor-abaya, niqab, whatever you were the treatment is the same.

Layla said...

Eveliina-thanks for taking the time to post such a lengthy comment. Indeed the examples you wrote are very familiar in Finland, I see people stare at foreigners especially in the countryside in a rude way. My husband (and I) get stared at a lot there too. That kind of staring is totally different from what is going on here.
Like I said, if you haven't experienced it, it's hard to grasp that feeling. You can see from the comments how women who lived here or in UAE have the exact same emotions about it.

Naturally, I am stared at more everywhere I go to in KSA. I'm used to that already, been here many years, that kind of staring happens everywhere to all foreigners my dear :)

I've been to 59 countries, and of all of them this is by far the worst experience in this regard. Only a few other places did I eve feel so anxious and met men who behaved so badly. For example, some Latin american men I found very sexist and being a lone woman traveler there was not easy..

And I didn't say walk butt naked without getting any attention, I said less attention than these guys give, so that should give you a good idea how horrible this situation here is.
There just simply is no comparison.

Layla said...

Shannon-did you notice I mentioned the Saudi man in this post too? and again, it's not about where the men are from.
I have written about Saudi men behaving badly in previous posts.

Coolred38 said...

Never said you were racist...but I also don't see the humor in this particular post.

And what does my personal experience with men have to do with my opinion? It remains the same.

Layla said...

coolred-my comment was meant in general for everyone not directed to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure men are entirely to blame here.

I'm reminded of the picture you took of the sad looking lion in the zoo. Surely lack of companionship has done as much to crush its spirit as lack of space.

Men are simple creatures at heart, and without women in our lives, we go a little crazy. I refer you to the priesthood or the army for examples.

Social interaction between the sexes is positive and healthy. It breaks down barriers of misunderstanding and shatters myths.

When you make friendships, harmless flirtation, dating, etc. difficult or even illegal, then this is what happens.

Great post as always!
- Glenn in Vancouver

Anonymous said...

I didn't find your post humorous at all;more disturbing than anything else. I do not feel apologetic for these men as Glen in Vancouver suggests...quite contrary, these men know they can get away with it, so they go ahead and stare without any thought or care; to use culture/nationality as an excuse is just inexcusable. It is just plain bad manners and extremely rude to stare.It shows a total lack of awarness, a total lack of self control and a total disregard for others(women in this case). I think you were justified in your post due to the frustration you felt at the time of posting. Unfortunately this issue will not go away anytime soon, if at best try to reslove within yourself and find a way to not let it get to you so you achieve this ??? Is another dilemma which I have no easy answer for...even covering yourself from head to toe will not stop ignorant men from staring. Women need to teach their young boys manners so that they drow up more respectful...perhaps in another 100 years men may have more respect for women???Hmmn?

Ms. Riyadh said...

Great post! I am a black American and before I came to Saudi Arabia I thought that Southern Germany and Hungary were the absolute pinnacles in the staring sweepstakes. But Saudi Arabia takes the absolute cake! It seems the men here have a woman radar that is able to penetrate even steel - case in point: riding with my husband and having men on the road side follow the car with their gaze at me. On the other hand, when I wear my abaya with hijab, niqab, big sunglasses and huge black sneakers, for going out in the neighborhood to visit the hairdresser, I am no longer very interesting to the workers and this is as close to a stare-free state that I can render myself. In my experience, Saudi men do not stare quite as much and do more of what I call "Yul Brenner Eyes" at me from the other side of the vegetables at Tamimi. When this happens I slide over to my husband and make it clear that I am not on offer, along with the potatoes.

On a positive note, I can say that the South Asian drivers I have had are absolute gentlemen and my daughter and I experienced extreme kindness from them in Dubai with them standing up to offer us their seats on the metro and on the Creek's water shuttle. One even gave my daughter some bread crumbs to feed to the pigeons while on the boat.

bigstick1 said...


Anonymous said...

Well I for one found it very funny but that might be due to the fact that I can fully step into her shoes having experienced the same hands on.
Those creeps really need a lashing and some even have been known to physically harrass women (not western but maids in parks)they are a real threat not to be taken lightly and I salute Layla for bringing this up!

Lighten up people!


mmarinaa said...

I live in the UAE and the workers here do it too, somewhat. It used to annoy me, but now I'm mostly immune to noticing. Sometimes it freaks me out when I'm in a taxi and I accidentally make eye contact with someone who's gawking and then I'm like "shit, that's going to encourage him. Look away, look away, look away."

I definitely wouldn't take pictures of them or ever speak to them. They do not deserve attention from me.

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

Taytyypa vastata kun oli niin mielenkiintoinen kirjoitus!

I am a Finn, married to Indian man and we live in India. Every single day when I walk around and just try to live my every day life, take care of things and my kids, I get stared at and hear all kinds of comments all the way from hellooo, what is your name to hey beautiful, sexy girl...

I used to love going around and actually looking at the scenery and people. But during these years in India I have had to learn to create this "I'm gazing into nothing, hear absolutely nothing yet manage to avoid falling into all those pits and puddles on the Indian roads and yards"-thing. The only thing that seems to work is zero attention. Whatever you say, no matter how rude language you would use even in their own language, they just get encouraged.

That is something I still can not fully understand - where does this everlasting self-confidence come from?! How can a rude comment make you want to try even more and most probably the response will transform into a hot meeting under a coconut tree once they are talking with their friends...

And it does not matter if I am carrying an infant in my arms! Most of these guys have no shame! They have not even heard about it for sure!

Reshmalai' said...

omg this is so funyy i luahed so much my stomach hurts lmaoooooo yh if i had my way i would be a radical feminist :) xx

Hope said...

I live in the DQ and I've encountered the same issues as you have. I do wear an abaya and a scarf when i go out for walks and I still get the same stares. I usually start yelling and asking if they do have a problem. They usually get scared or embarrassed and turn their heads. I do recommend that when it happens next time to call security on them or let their manager know.

One year ago, as me , my husband and children were heading out of our house for a shopping trip, we ran into one of the friendliest guys who cleans the floors outside our home and we greeted him as we passed by. When we came back home, our nanny ran to us and frantically told us that as soon as we left our home, some guy knocked on the door and asked to come in. She didn't open the door and asked him what he wanted. He told her not to be afraid and to let him inside. She told him to go away but he kept insisting to come inside and that he only wanted to talk. My husband and I felt so violated and infuriated when we heard about what happened. After she described him,we put it together and figured out that it was the same guy we greeted on our way out ( he took the opportunity as soon as he watched us leave.). My husband ran out of the house looking for him and found him in the garage washing the neighbors car. He approached him and asked him why he would dare to come inside and what he wanted from our nanny. The guy couldn't deny it but lied and said he just wanted to sell her some phone cards. My husband told him that he was an untrustworthy jerk and told him he will tell the manager about his sneakiness. All of his friends/co-cleaners approached and begged my husband not to tell the manager but my husband refused. This is no joke! Telling on the guy was a lesson for him and his likes.

Anonymous said...

The Mutawa should have undercover female agent!