No one loves the ugly American who criticizes smaller French portions, the evangelist who pushes their unchecked religious euphoria down everyone’s throat, or the girls who walk around half naked in Dubai. Although there exists enormous tolerance for western mores, and foreigners are not asked to observe the more conservative Islamic dress code, a little respect goes a long way.
Pink And Mini
While doing my work at a small coffee shop down at the Dubai Marina, a rotund girl pranced around in a little pink mini skirt. She broke every Islamic dress code: her clothes were tight, she revealed a pile of skin, and she was doing everything she could to attract attention.
The marina is populated mostly by expatriates, but outside the coffee shop, a conservative, young Emirati couple were enjoying an early dinner with a new baby. In fact, many local people come down to the waterfront on the weekends or in the evenings. Surely they shouldn’t have to be exposed to this blatant disrespect?
Certain male tourists are guilty too. Eastern Europeans are renowned for boldly displaying their large bellies, and I’ve seen more than one beefy man wearing skin-tight tops to show off their popping muscles.
Such visitors are like house guests who leave dishes lying around, eat all the food, come in late and drunk and stomp around. While this might be standard operating procedure at their house, and each to his own, a modicum of self-governance is always appreciated when visiting someone else’s.
Last week a professional woman’s (admittedly small) belly and breasts kept bobbing out of her clothes. Every Emirati we came into contact with was incredibly gracious and no one asked her to put on something a little less revealing. But I was deeply embarrassed to be associated with her.
Sharing goes both ways:
From an environmentalist point of view, if we want to ask the local people to renew their stewardship of the earth, we can’t dump our ideas (or our dress sense) and run away from theirs. There has to be a mutually-respecting exchange. So gals, next time you travel to Dubai, please leave the little black dress at home.
More on the trials and tribulations of visiting Dubai:
image via michlea