As we’ve learned from this great No Woman, No Cry video by Hisham Fageeh, Saudi Arabian rules ban women from driving. This must drive them and their love interests crazy because provocative eye contact and inter-gender chat between strangers is also taboo. The religious police will arrest anyone caught violating these laws: flirters be warned.
The blogger behind website Sex and Beyond: Saudi Arabia conducted an anonymous survey of 40 single Saudi men and discovered that 14 stated that they had not only talked to a strange woman but actually moved into full-blast flirting.
He asked participants to list their success strategies for flirting with a girl in Kingdom. The most common ploy is for a man to write his mobile number on a small piece of paper, walk by a girl in a shopping mall or a park, give her a wink and throw the paper on the ground. The girl then collects it when no one is watching.
Another tactic is when a man sees a women walking on the sidewalk, he’ll drive near and throw that same “number on a paper” from the car window, hoping she’ll pick it up and call him. Neither of these would work here in Jordan, where everyone throws paper – and bottles and cigarettes and plastic bags – on the ground all the time. Or am I just a crank who’s missing the romance underlying chronic littering?
Flirting happens more freely on internet chat rooms and web-based forums. A few told of putting their phone numbers on Twitter, BB, Facebook, Whatsapp or through Keek to troll for a bite from women in the digital ether.
There’s better chance of a cross-gender bump-up in the few workplaces where genders mix, such as hospitals. And guys frequently collect girls’ number from their pals, but cold-texting your sweetheart runs the risk of her father or brothers intercepting the message.
In some Saudi cities, new “walking areas” are being constructed, lengthy footpaths built specifically for people wishing to stroll outside. The sidewalks are wide enough to prevent physical run-ins with passersby, but perfect for exchanging longing looks. But be careful if you are too handsome. Omar Borkan al Gala was kicked out of Saudi for being too hot.
Most pathetically, some men call random numbers. When they reach a girl, they tempt her, beg her, cajole her to not hang up until she “accepts” him. The website doesn’t offer explanation as to what exactly “acceptance” entails.
One participant explained that, “One flirts in Saudi Arabia not necessarily because of sexual desire but because of boredom and for fun. Boredom makes one do things outside the human boundary.”
Sex and Beyond: Saudi Arabia is written by a male Saudi professor in the United States. The website is blocked in Saudi Arabia, yet it reportedly has readership spanning 168 countries worldwide and has been translated into seven languages.
It features other unscientific surveys on Saudi Male Views on Marrying Relatives, Saudi Female Views on American Women, Saudi Male Views on Marrying Germans, and the improbable Sex and Saudi Ghosts.
Top image via Reuters