Posts Tagged ‘Omanis’

Okay, I’m bored and sometimes when you are bored at work and have a bunch of customers chitchatting amongst themselves, you tend to.. well.. listen in. (Not like they are discreet).

They were a bunch of girls and guys (they seem college kids to me, worst kind of costumers). They are complaining to each other. The guys are complaining that all girls assume that they are trying to flirt with them when they try to ask a question or something, and the girls are complaining that the guys are misunderstanding them. …

This is the new trend in Oman. I guess we almost passed the phase where the two genders are segregated, and flirting between them (it’s harassment in the law’s definition) is slowly turning into conversations (though few are actually meaningful or intellectual conversations).

I remember when I was a teenager wondering around al-Qurum natural park (it used to be a dating area). We used to go there very often with the whole family. It was a tradition for us, though it grew to be an unsuitable place to have fun once the girls in the family became older. We were constantly harassed by guys that would follow us around trying to get us talk. They were annoying, but the definition of harassment those days was not clear. Everyone responded to the problem with the explanation that guys are just dogs and want to flirt with girls, and that to avoid it, you should keep your girls locked up in their houses.

Also, I remember the situation became worse during 2000-2005 when all the horror stories of men sexually harassing women started to come out. During that time, it seemed as though all the women I know had a first hand experience with some guy trying to touch them. The explanation was of course that the guys just can’t hold themselves! and that women should avoid public places. (the solution was always to lock up the women)

I think the situation started to become better once the two genders are not segregated as much. I mean, before many of these men never interacted (usually high school and college kids) with women. Plus, sexual deprivation does wonders. So they only saw females as sexual beings. However, today… the two genders talk about these issues. These days you hear these phrases over and over again “We are not flirting with you girls” or “you girls always think we want to flirt” or “You guys misunderstand us”.. etc. Communication, though sometimes on lame topics and unintelligent, brings the newer generation closer, and allows them to understand each other better.

Today, instead of kids looking at each other through “What gender are you?”, they are looking at each others personality and talk to the other’s intellectual side (even if that intellectual side only thinks about cars) rather than the physical. Nevertheless, flirting between them will never end, but lets hope it’s flirting and not harassing.


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Embarrassing People

Have you ever went to a place full of expats and you had one arrogant Omani guy who thinks that he is “special” and you just felt so embarrassed that you are in the same room and wearing an abaya?

Yes, Oman like any other Gulf/Arabic country is full of  wasta (I will use Nadia’s Def.: “Wasta is getting what you want in life when you don’t deserve it by using your social connections and the grapevine”). It goes to the extent where people are offended if you don’t let them slack off or give them a break when they mess up. This guy who happened to make me feel embarrassed, was giving an application to a woman at this place and didn’t have enough cash. Now, according to the policy, the lady cannot accept the application or keep it with her (pending) till this guy goes and gets the cash. He was insulted. Apparently he thought his old age look (around 50’s) gave him the right to demand a special treatment.

“For God’s sake, look at me!”, he argued, “look at me standing in front of you!, and you tell me you cannot accept the application!?”
The lady, very patiently, responded “I am not trying to disrespect you, but our policy does not allow me to accept your application”
He looked at her in disbelief and said, “Where is your SUPERVISOR!”… this word is usually said to scare who ever is working  from being fired or deployed, but the worker is an Oman woman and I’m sure she is not afraid of deployment!
She excused herself, went to her supervisor. During this time, this middle-aged guy (really, he didn’t look old) managed to scam the money out of a naive and well prepared Indian expat. Not just that! The Omani guy was arrogant about it too. After the Indian guy gave him the money, he said.. “I will pay you DOUBLE what you just gave me!”. He was loud and obnoxious! As if this Indian guy was getting a great DEAL out of this..

It was embarrassing to see.  The guy took the money, finished his application, and went to the bathroom. Later, he returned like nothing happened, sat down and waited for his name to be called.

This whole thing unfolded just like this Omani guy wanted: he got what he wanted the way he wanted.

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