I adore laughable examples of hypocrisy in any circumstances, but I have been witness to a few charming ones in the Middle East. I'm not going to delve into the obvious topic of how the "boys" can literally get away with murder, rape, and general mayhem over a girl getting caught bringing dishonor onto her family, because that would be far too easy and a bit of a man-bashing session, which isn't my intention for this post. Anyone with half a brain, an ounce of heart, and the capacity to sit the right way on a toilet (my new favorite expression) knows that's wrong.
No, my subject for today is alcohol. You may not know that in the United Arab Emirates, alcohol may be served in hotel restaurants and bars as well as a limited number of privately owned organizations (ie. The Club also known as The British Club because you get the distinct feelings any other nationality is really not welcome unless you're the waiter, and where there are British persons, there is bound to be copious amounts of fermented vegetable drinks.) Technically, the bars are not permitted to serve alcohol to guests who appear Muslim. My dad got around that airtight, fool-proof policy by wearing jeans and a button up shirt. I guess all he really needed to do was put on glasses, but he went the extra mile...
One day, my family and I were dining at a Chinese buffet (Mandarin restaurant in the Al Ain Palace Hotel, if you must know. The reviews are right. It used to be much better...) when I noticed an Emirati dining alone at a table nearby. I was wondering why he was peering over at us so nervously as we sat down when I noticed the waitress come over to him with a can of Heineken. He called the waitress back and handed her the can, muttering something into her ear.
How sad, I thought, that he would pretend he hadn't ordered it for fear that my family would rat him out to someone who probably wouldn't give a shit either, or that we would somehow find out who he was and broadcast his SHAME to his family. It's not like we caught him playing 'hide the kebab' with a camel...
I could barely contain my amusement at what happened next. The same waitress returned with the very same can of Heineken but with masking tape wrapped around it! Brilliant!! After all, it may have been a Sprite... with masking tape... wrapped around it... yeah.
He should have guessed by the way my family was dressed (no doubt I was showing far too much cleavage and my sister was wearing jeans that were tight enough you could count the change in her pocket, and my brother not beating us for it) that we wouldn't give a flying fuck at a rolling donut as to what he was drinking alongside his dim sum, but I guess he's so used to people with fairly dirty slates chucking stones at anyone who sneezes- he figured we'd be no different.
So, Mr. Man in the Dishdasha, you drink your beer! It's between you and your values/beliefs, not you and me.
It's quite sad that the same guy would probably sooner stitch a red "A" to my chest than offer me the same courtesy for my "sins".