Saturday, May 7, 2016

Some Boys will Never Grow into Men - Part III Saudi Men

This is part three of the series; you do not have to read the previous parts as they are each separate stories, but I will include the links in case you wish to have a look at the other ones as well.

Some Boys will Never Grow into Men Part 1 :click here to open page

Some Boys will Never Grow into Men Part 2: click here to open page

I began Part 1 not thinking that I would ever make a series of these stories, but it seems that boys who are stuck in the bodies of men are very common nowadays. It is very rare to come across a mature male who does not act nor think like a teenage boy for some reason. In Saudi Arabia where the recent generation has been spoiled with the wealth of the country  which has allowed them to live laid back lives, this seems to be a prominent phenomenon.

Due to the tribal origins of Saudi Arabia, Saudis can be identified easily to as where they come from depending on their clan and family name. Some Saudis say they can even identify a person's clan by the way they look or by their subculture traditions. It is because Saudis are so identifiable to one another and they care for the reputation of their clan, they feel safer talking to a foreign woman as she is less of a threat to them and she most likely does not have connections to people from his family and clan to complain of his behavior to them.

So today, we will discuss very short stories of Saudi men who tried to play the game, but failed. There are three characters today who all represent the Saudi working class but in different regions of Saudi Arabia. J and A are from the live and work in the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia, while AA lives and works in the capital of Saudi Arabia. We will begin with J then go on to A and finally end with AA.

 is our first character for today. He works at a well-reputable four star hotel in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia. He is always smiling and that seems to be the reason he was assigned to work at the reception to meet and greet clients and deal with their complaints. I do not remember having any conversation with him aside from asking him to tell room service not to clean my rooms on weekends because I wanted to relax, but he did not even attend to that as room service still came every weekend even when I told them I did not want my room to be cleaned. They still insisted and asked what time would I want them to come back. I also asked him to arrange a wake-up call one day and thankfully he was able to do that. Other than that, it was just exchanging waves during entrance and exits and going to the reception to settle bills or to ask for concierge to help with luggage. I was never over-friendly, but again in Saudi Arabia, even a smile can be taken the wrong way.

After staying at that hotel for quite some time with my company, we left and changed our accommodation. I went back a couple of times to sit next to the pool and have a drink, but that was all. Then my friend suggested that we go and have dinner there so we did. As we were going out from the dining area after dinner, he came to the back door from which we exited and greeted us. I wondered why he was not at the reception, but he told me that the staff told him that I was here. He asked me how our new accommodation was and told me that if we came back they would give us a good deal, so he gave me his number to give to my boss and then told me to contact him via Whatsapp. Of course, I thought that he wanted me to contact him with my boss's verdict of going back, so I messaged him that I had passed on the number and they would contact him if they were interested. He then told me he had seen me last time when I came to get a drink and that he wanted to speak to me, but I did not look as if I was in a good mood so he opted not to. He then asked me what my plans were for the following day and I did not have anything planned and told him so not knowing that he wanted to invite me out for lunch. When he did, I tried to refuse politely telling him that it was not necessary and that I did not want to be a nuisance. I even told him to rest on his day off, but he insisted. He told me he would call me the following day so we could arrange it. Of course, I never answered my phone the following day after he called several times in the afternoon and evening.

I was upset at the fact that he had taken a wrong impression about me that I was willing to go out and have lunch with him just because I am not a Saudi woman and therefore, not reserved or conservative. I felt disrespected because I knew he would never approach a Saudi woman with a similar invitation. He texted me a few times after that, but then when he noticed I was not visiting the Eastern Region anymore, he lost contact which is great for me. I had not given him any wrong signs for him to bluntly invite me out, but I do regret messaging him thinking he was only being professional.

 is our second character. He is from the Eastern Region as well, but he works at a company in the HR department. He has studied abroad in a European country, but it seems like he has not acquired skills to deal with the opposite sex in a mature and respectful manner. A contacted me through a message on the Goodreads website which I use to keep track of books I have read and look for new books to read. He invited me to join a group he had begun on WhatsApp where articles were shared and discussed among the members. He sent me a form to register in the group and I did then he added me to it using my number. We never texted much apart from the group messages as I was not interested in making any friends or whatsoever. He asked me a few times what I thought of the group and if I had any ideas to encourage participation among the members to which I have him my opinions and feedback. He also texted me once asking me not to send too many messages to the group during discussions as others might be bothered. That is really ironic because I did not participate much and I would always find over 20 notifications on my phone when they were having a discussion I was not involved in. Anyways I complied and stopped sending any messages at all to avoid his negative attitude.

Later on, he removed everyone from the group for some reason. He began texting me saying 'Hi' at times of the night and early morning. He would not even start a conversation; he would end it after "How are you?" and to be honest I was not interested in carrying out a conversation either. After he had texted me a few times at very odd times, I confronted him and asked him what he wanted and why he was contacting me when I was sleeping. He then told me that he was lonely and trying to flirt. I put him in his place and told him that we were only friends and if that if I was a Saudi he would not be taking to me like this. He told me that it did not have anything to do with me not being Saudi, but I would not believe a word he said. He then said he was sorry and that he would be happy to be friends.

A  few weeks or even a month after the last incident, he did the same thing again, and told me he was in flirting mode. I told him that he was like my little brother, but he said he did not want to be my little brother and he would not accept that. I told him that he had no choice and he should start showing some respect because I have had enough of this. A week later, he reopened the group and began to add everyone again. It seemed like not a lot of people were responding and I wondered if he had tried to "flirt" with all of them as well. Long story short, I asked him what his job was to write this entry and he asked about the purpose and I told him that I was writing about three Saudi guys who tried to flirt with me and he got upset and blocked me and removed me from the group. To be honest, I am just glad I do not have to deal with him anymore.

  is our last Saudi character for today. His story is probably the shortest as he is a taxi driver in the capital of Saudi that took me home once then started messaging me trying to get me to ride with him again. I was in the street trying to stop a taxi when he pulled up and I asked him if he knew the location I wanted to go to. He did and so I rid with him. He was one of those drivers who had a lot of questions and wanted to talk a lot, so I just gave him short abrupt answers and usually a lot of taxi drivers are curious and want to strike up a conversation no matter what country I am in, so I kind of got used to it and do not really mind anymore. When he dropped me off, he offered me to take his number so that I could call him if I ever needed I ride. A lot of drivers also do this to form clients and so I took his number and he told me to ring him so he could save my number. I did and I went into my house.

Quite some time after that, I got a new phone and downloaded Snapchat as that is my students' means of communicating with me. I did and found several had added me as I was using my old account so I accepted all the new invitations. He sent me a message and I was not sure who it was because he said "Hi honey" and I thought it was of my students, but I was skeptical and asked who it was. He replied with a taxi emoticon... yeah how creative, I was thinking the same thing. Anyways he asked if I was out of the country because I had not called him for any rides, but I told him I was busy and my dad took me most places so I did not need a ride. I then blocked him from Snapchat after he kept using flirty vocabulary to speak to me. Later on he contacted me through WhatsApp and also asked me if I needed any ride and he used the same vocabulary as before. I told him to respect himself and not speak to me in that way and he apologized using the same vocabulary to which I responded more negatively till he stopped. We did not speak after, but I found it interesting that he posted pictures of girls as his WhatsApp profile pictures and they were real girls not the one from magazines. It seems like he is the type to pick up girls and then go out with them. Well, thank God, I have never ridden with him again. It seems obvious why he has chosen this profession. I just hope the girls he speaks to know that he is posting their pictures!

I wish for a day where Saudi men will start respecting expat and foreign women and not treating them as if they were any less than Saudi women. I also hope that they soon find out that not every woman who does not cover her face is looking to go out or have a relationship with a man. I am just disappointed in this generation as whole Saudi or not, but Saudi men have taken it to a whole new level. It might be from the segregation of the genders in all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia which makes them ill-prepared for dealing with the opposite gender. It would be great if they could get training on these essential life skills so that they do not embarrass themselves any further.