eyes on YOU
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on June 19, 2008
As H and I were heading off today on an afternoon adventure (more on that in the next post!), we started to feel a bit self-conscious. Like we were on display, maybe – or like we were being watched:
These eyes are incredibly popular with taxi drivers around the region – and to me they capture an essential part of Levantine culture: the staring.
When I first moved here, back in early 2006, I was invited to an elaborate dinner party given by an old friend from New York. I knew almost no one at my table, but ended up having a delightful conversation with a Saudi woman who married a Lebanese man and has lived here for several years. She told me one of the most useful insights about the country I have ever learned (although a bit less entertaining than my friend’s “helpful hint” that a real Lebanese man looks at a woman’s pedicure before asking her out on a date. Badly maintained toes are a no-go, at least in his social circle).
This is a staring culture, she told me over the main course. It was a real shock for me when I moved here – in Saudi Arabia staring is considered extremely rude. But here everyone stares, and no one bothers to hide it.
She was absolutely right – this is a staring culture. I don’t really like it, especially the egregious starers, who stop whatever they (and the they is almost always male) are doing so they can devote their full attention to watching me. But I do get a huge kick out of the decorative eyes.
We got a kick out of this car as well, although we couldn’t quite figure out its message:
“One eye is as good as two when its a TURBO”, perhaps 🙂 ?