Stranger’s Snapshots: Dubai

A smashing Halloween costume usually requires a decent investment. But spreading terror can be cheap – if you’re a female in semi-tight clothing who happens to step into an elevator full of male Saudi adolescents.

As to be expected, a good number of both expat women and Gulf residents fetishize the dishdashah; fetishize it to the point of, well, artistic achievement, to be honest. The impeccable “starched stiffness” of the popular garment apparently symbolizes “male excitement.” John Donne would be proud.
Dubai is famous for the obvious stuff: islands in the shapes of palm trees, snowy slopes in the middle of a mall in the middle of a desert. What Dubai should be famous for is an occasional sight that’s nearly impossible to come across in the liberal U.S.: a girl in abaya holding hands with a guy in jeans and t-shirt, a guy in dishdashah buying dinner for a girl in a sun-dress.

Sex-tourism is a scary concept. Dubai’s rampant sugar daddy-tourism, however, is amusing. A woman cuts herself off in mid-sentence and walks away from a guy the minute she finds out he drives a Mazda as opposed to a Maserati. Don’t despair, lad, don’t despair, you want to say. Shallow people ought to stick to other shallow people. And you should stick to the high ground. Obviously, you saw so much more in her than the prominent boob-job and rayon-clad hips…

… On second hand, perhaps sugar daddy-tourism really is scary, and we are merely desensitized, as desensitized as we are to Eli Roth’s violence-porn.
All the perfumes of Arabia (and Italy, and France, and other fashionable places) go up your nose in enclosed spaces. Women and men signal each other this way, and the effect is like that of a blow-horn at a golf game. The pious subtlety snobs have a field-day with this, “oh dreadful vulgarity” and all that, but at least some people know how to live a little.
The world may wonder: where is Osama? Where, for that matter, is Blackbeard’s treasure? Where is Atlantis? The Holy Grail? In Dubai, the less adventurous among us merely wonder: WHERE do niqabis shop for the hot, quite obviously sweat-proof eye makeup? Don’t tell me the fellas aren’t looking at the niqabis. They are. And, in the immortal words of Wyclef Jean: “Don’t let the ladies fool ya’ll… They be doing the same thing you be doing.”

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