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12 June, 2004

Daring Disguises

Boot polish sales soar in Saudi as foreigners take extreme measures to blend in with the locals. While paleface women simply don a black abaya, it's far trickier for their pasty menfolk. Western men are having to grow goatees, darken their hair and be fitted for dishdashes and shalwars.

But surely far more excruciating than this is expats having to Saudify their cars:

"Prayer beads or Qurans hanging from the rearview mirror, a sheepskin rug, a tissue box and a checkered headdress on the dashboard," a European woman said, giving tips on how to make cars appear more Saudi.

Other tips for non-locals wishing to pass as Saudi men:

1. Leer at every single woman you see, no matter her age/nationality/marital status, or even if she is a six-foot brickie with a blonde wig
2. Make advances to every single woman you meet - in whatever context - regardless of whether she is your masseuse, waitress, air hostess, secretary, business partner, business partner's wife, boss, dentist or doctor
3. Drive to Bahrain every Wednesday night, and spend the entire weekend getting drunk and visiting massage parlours before returning paralytic to a neglected wife (or wives) and kids
4. Visit Dubai for an all-expenses-paid business conference, taxi straight from your hotel to Cyclones or Arif Castle and notch up a few dozen massages and fermented grape beverages on your expense account



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