Today, I went grocery shopping with a friend. Sounds a little odd, I know, but here the only way to get to the grocery store is by car or by cab and since I share a car with this friend to lower expenses and since the very best time to grocery shop is Friday morning at 8:30 (all the Muslims have church on Friday mornings) it only makes sense to go together. (We also happen to be freakishly in sync. We end up at the registers within 10 minutes of each other every time. Weird, huh?)
Anyway , there I was shopping and this middle aged, kandoora wearing Emirati man came up to me and said, “hello.”
“Are you a teacher?”
Adult female uncovered in a Muslim country, what are the odds? “Yes.” I also kept walking to demonstrate my lack of interest.
“Are you married?”
I’m not, but… “Yes.” Still walking and looking at produce. I was hoping for blackberries, but then I spotted the carrots and remembered that they were on sale. Love my Bunny Luv baby carrots.
“Is your husband here?”
“Yes. He is at home.” In for a penny, in for a pound. Hey look, blackberries!
The Emirati Casanova got the message about that point. Or perhaps I just managed to get far enough away that he wasn’t going to lose face by yelling after me. A few minutes later I saw him approach another woman who pushed her cart away shaking her head. This isn’t the first time I’ve been hit on by an Emirati man. One day I was actually followed through the grocery store by a man with worse English and another time I was approached by a man in a mall parking lot who blocked my car into the space while trying to convince me to help him “practice his English.” (That was actually slightly threatening, but it was the middle of the day and the middle of the mall parking lot. If he had even tried to get out of his SUV, I planned to run screaming.) The grocery store pick-up is kind of annoying. The mall pick up is a little scary until it’s over, then it’s funny. The highway pick up is usually pretty funny. (That involves a man pacing your car or tailing you for several miles before pulling in front of you and then pulling off. I think they expect you to follow them based on the awesomeness of their car or the darkness of their tinted windows. Had that happen once in a cab in the middle of town. Not as funny out on the middle of the dessert between here and Dubai.)
But back to the point. Finished shopping, got in the car and on the way home my friend said, “I had a nice thing happen. A guy hit on me. I was very flattered.”
I was remarkably on the ball and didn’t blurt out that he’d hit on me and another woman or that I found it annoying. I guess it’s a matter of perception. She’s a glass half-full person and I must be a “please leave me alone creepy man, I was eyeing the Pakistani boy stocking the oranges” person.