- All Arab women cover their head.
This is not true. Actually the majority of my students do not cover their heads but the majority of the mothers do. So it seems to be something they do later, around the time they marry. But it is also quite normal to meet women with bare heads. There are a lot of Syrian and Lebanese here and they don’t all cover up.
- They wear pajamas under their Abayas.
Yes this is true in a lot of cases. I have been told that often they can’t be bothered to dress on the weekend and the Abaya is a wonderful way of staying in your PJs all day long. There is also the other school of thinking: Heels are the only things to be seen so for all I know it could be heels and PJs.
- They are fat.
Yes. Sadly this is true. A great many people here are scarily over weight and Diabetes is rife. I have students who waddle up and down the stairs and seem to gain pounds by the week. Of course there are also the super sporty football and gym folks who are slim and healthy but sadly this is a minority. It is entirely blamed on a sedentary lifestyle with too much fast food.
- They don’t drink.
Some do, and they drink a lot. But it is frowned upon and they know they shouldn’t. There are also those that smoke weed. This is dangerous as the penalty if you are caught is 5 years in jail.
- There is no dating.
That is what dark cinemas are for. They lie to their parents, they tell their drivers where to go, they tweet and text and figure it out and then they end up in the back row of the cinema. But in truth, there will certainly be a higher percentage of virgins in the graduating class than in other schools I have taught. In fact, losing your virginity before marriage, for either sex is the greatest of sins. One prophet even declared that the murder of 99 people would be forgiven before pre marital sex. Despite this standing for both girls and boys, should a boy lose his virginity before the wedding night, it would be quietly ignored and put down to expected male behaviour and needs. But if a girl were to do the deed…. the shame would be unspeakable. One girl I know is not allowed to ride a horse in the fear that she might inadvertently lose her maidenhood!
- Mosque or Harrods?
- Bikinis or Abayas?
Bikinis in the Maldives. Often women in full Abaya and veil will do the dance of the 7 veils on the plane and arrive at their Maldivian resort sporting teeny shorts and bikinis. Apparently the old adage: what happens on holiday stays on holiday is true. What happens at home is subject to the hundred scandalous whispers of the nearest and dearest. Reputation is everything.
- Do any of them work or do they all live off handouts from the King?
Yes they work! Lawyers, doctors, head of the Police force, bankers, civil servants. The same as anywhere else. They just get paid a ton of money to do it here. Some do get handouts. Many have their houses given to them. A lot of food is subsidized, local schools and hospitals are free and gas is the same price as water. This last fact is totally true.
- Cost of 5 litres of petrol. 5 Dinars. ( $12 US)
Cost of 5 litres of water. 5 Dinars. ( $12 US)
- Arabs are hairy.
True. And from what I hear from my personal waxing technician: the ladies take it ALL off.