Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Useful things I learnt in Syria, continued:

Saudis are the scourge of the Arab internet dating world.

Within any internet dating sub-culture there are accepted truths, such as the fact that the vast majority of internet daters in Mid-West USA are avowed Christians, and that 99.9% of participants fail to perform a basic spelling and grammar check of their profile text before they post it online.

In the Arab dating world (encompassing all arabic speaking regions of the Middle-East) one accepted piece of wisdom is that whenever there's any funny business going on (a fake profile, or a man pretending to be a woman) the culprit is bound to be a Saudi.

Why a Saudi?, you may ask. Why aren't the people of Jordan or Bahrain running amok on the internet causing online dating havoc? To answer this question we must look at the cultural and economic history of Saudi Arabia:

1) Saudis, culturally speaking, have their roots in Bedouin culture. Bedouins are those nomadic people you see in movies roaming around the desert pitching tents, trading arms and herding bedraggled-looking livestock. They don't like strangers much either. "You don't know me! You ain't from mah trailer park!", etc.

Bedouins (I believe) hanging out in the Syrian desert in that tent.

2) Bedouins apparently regard the idea of work (or what some of us might call "wage-slavery") as demeaning and dishonourable. (I do too, but as I'm not too fond of living in a tent I just have to suck it up.)

3) The Saudis discover oil in the early 20th century. Suddenly the Saudis are rich! (Much like The Beverly Hillbillies, but with less swimming pools and movie stars.)

"So we packed up the truck and we moved to Sa-u-di! Arabia, that is. Segregated swimming pools, no movie stars."

4) With all this new oil money Saudis decide to build a national infrastructure. But they lack the skills to do it themselves, so they ship in people from neighbouring countries to do it for them.

5) These foreign workers may be skilled, but somebody has to order them about. So the Saudis send their sons off to learn how to be leaders (not their daughters, because it's hard to order someone about when you're wearing a ninja costume and it takes you half an hour and a complicated clothing gymnastics routine just to eat an icecream in front of a man). Young Saudi men scatter throughout the elite universities of the world to study management.

6) The sons come back, and set about managing the foreigners who do the work.

7) The next generation of sons are sent overseas for their education. But when they come back they find that all the management roles are already taken. Oh noes! What to do? These Saudis went to Harvard and Princeton to learn how to manage people, not to do skilled work!

7) Luckily, Saudi law says that every company has to employ a certain percentage of Saudis, and pay them significantly more than foreigners. A large caste of "assistant manager" emerges.

8) As these job positions were created for no other reason than to simply to comply with the law, there is nothing for these "assistant managers" to do. Boredom quickly sets in.

9) Some assistant managers keep themselves entertained by popping over to Damascus or Beirut to spend naughty weekends with prostitutes in seedy nightclubs. (The locals tend to avoid nightclubs. "They're all full of whores and Saudis!")

10)  On weekdays at the office these "assistant manager" guys are stuck in front of an internet-connected computer with nothing to do. Apparently a popular source of amusement is to go on Arab-world internet dating sites and chat up Arab chicks. Apparently another popular source of amusement is to go on said Arab-world dating sites and pretend to be an Arab chick. This is in order to make a fool of your other assistant manager friends. Not to mention all the other love-seeking souls around the Middle-East.

A love-lorn graffiti artist declares his love (in English), on a wall in a provincial town in Syria. The poor lad is no doubt unwittingly wasting his lustful energies on a Saudi assistant manager.

So what does an internet dater in Syria or Yemen or Iraq or wherever do when he starts to find his virtual "date" a bit fishy? He curses and shakes his fist at those ubiquitous Saudi assistant managers, the Scourge of the Arab Internet Dating World.

(Thanks to Radwan for this piece of internet dating advice.)


At 4:26 am, Anonymous Conor said...

I always suspected this was the case. Thanks for the entertaining AND informative internet dating tips!


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