10 July, 2006

Shorts, Tank-Tops, and Flip-Flops, Oh My

Sometimes I wonder about some of my fellow Western expats who live in (or visit) Al Ain.

7:30 in the morning, wearing shorts, tank-top/muscle-shirt, flip-flops, trying to push open a locked store-front door that won't be open until 8. This is but one example of time and situation. I've witnessed the same attire at 5 p.m., walking through the Oasis, or strolling through the Town Center.

It's a little embarressing. I know none of you do it -- and I know Dubai, as far as culturally appropriate attire is concerned, is a different story.

And I'm sure there's always a good reason for wearing the shorts, etc., but it does come across that these few unthinking expats seem to be from another planet. They seem to be completely unaware.

10 comments:

Tainted Female said...

Either unaware, or just arrogant & insensitive. Over the years I’ve watched Dubai turn from a modest society to down-right-out raunchy. I sure hope the same doesn’t happen to Alain.

BD said...

To be fair, if they are tourists or recent arrivals, they may really not know what the cultural norm is. I, for example, lived in Sri Lanka for a while, where unknown to me, people frown on even short-sleeved shirts. It was a long time before I realized this. Even not seeing other people with short sleeves, I never really clued in until someone told me.

OK, short-sleeves might be different from halter tops, but you sometimes just take things for granted.

flic said...

Tainted-
So far it's been few and far between that I've seen. Like you, I hope the town doesn't fully go that way either.

BD-
Yes. Hence, they seem to be completely unaware.

Which on a realistic level isn't very flattering, is it?

You know as well as I do that the UAE (specifically Al Ain) is a place you find out about (either actively or passively), even before visiting.

Okay, people tend to forget, or they don't think that what they've found out is really true, or whatever.

But I'm just saying that it doesn't bode well for the person who just doesn't know. Really, why would they not know?

Whatever the answer is, it just leads back to it not looking so good (and I'm not talking about the shorts, tank-tops, and flip-flops, of course).

John B. Chilton said...

Shouldn't that be "tank-tops, flip-flops, and bares, Oh my"?

Anonymous said...

Few and far between is right...I hardly see any Westerners in Al Ain. Most of em (I think) work for Universities or hospitals (or suchlike) so are almost never to be seen on the street.

Guess we can put up with the occasional pair of shorts or tanktop. (It's a peculiarity of those people, see?)

flic said...

Anon-
Well, of course it's a peculiarity of those people.

Which still brings us back to this:

Okay, people tend to forget, or they don't think that what they've found out is really true, or whatever.

But I'm just saying that it doesn't bode well for the person who just doesn't know. Really, why would they not know?

Whatever the answer is, it just leads back to it not looking so good (and I'm not talking about the shorts, tank-tops, and flip-flops, of course).


Listen, I'm on your side; I make up excuses for even these few people, too.

Desert Lady said...

How many of you know that during Ramadan you are not allowed to bare your shoulders - day or night?

Expats used to get pulled over by the police if they were seen to be dressed inappropriately and told to cover up immediately - I don't remember that law ever changing but it obviously isn't enforced anymore.

Anonymous said...

Well, UAE is starting to tap into the tourist market and get international buyers for real estate. Due to these factors and that UAE sells these kinds of clothes, I don't see this "modesty" rule ever being taken seriously here. Also, most expats haven't a clue about the dress code in Islam and many aren't interested in Islam because they are atheist, non-secular or Christian. So I say...either accept it or politely tell them you find what they are wearing offensive.

flic said...

Anon-
Please remember, I'm talking about Al Ain here. (So delete international buyers for real estate.)

Oh, and I accept it.

And I think you could tell from reading my post and comments...
I guess I'll have to say it again:

Whatever the answer is, it just leads back to it not looking so good (and I'm not talking about the shorts, tank-tops, and flip-flops, of course). [Emphasis added].

I'm by no means offended by what they're wearing.

(Please read the post and comments very carefully).

What I have started doing, though, is an experiment.

I politely engage these individuals in a brief interview and ask them what country they're from. And I record their answers and mark down their country in my little black book. Of course I tell them first why I'm interviewing them -- so as to get the answers from the source.

So, when the experiment is completed, I'll let anyone who wants to know the results to find them out here.

Moona said...

well that's really annoying to see people dressing in an unappropriate way. On the other hand i find it annoying as well to see locals showinf off both men and women -mostly- with ijabis that become turbants and other strange staff.

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