Westerns, but to be quite particular mostly Americans have this expression that they tend to be very open and friendly, whether they are in or out of the premises of Saudi Arabia. Not only this, they are individuals who can be approached easily and without even a second thought. Well let me make sure that I do not forget to mention that this post is oriented for the expatriate woman who may be new to the system of Saudi Arabia and how things and people go about here but they really are gradually getting to know some Saudi women.
Now let me start praising the Saudis. I mean I’ll just state the facts and you’ll realize what kind of individuals they really are. Saudi individuals are portrayed to be extremely hostile and friendly. They are known for their love and affection for every human being they are related to, they are great hosts and will make you feel like you are their own in no time yet they tend to retain their privacy when it comes to family and home. This is not because they have some kind of insecurity or thoughts, it is just that they are brought up this way as even members within a Saudi family such as cousins or even siblings will not know personal details or their private life such as salaries of each other.
Well the story gets kind of contradictory from here. For some reason, the ‘why’ to this reason is still yet to be unknown but when a Western woman is with Saudi women, she may be asked questions she would not be expecting at all. As far as the answers for these questions would concern, at times some may be either straightforward and direct or some might reply in a polite manner stating that they do not feel comfortable answering such personal questions if unsure how to respond to such personal questions, an expatriate woman would smile kindly and say, “I’m sorry but I don’t reveal such personal information. Do you?” Well I mean of course the Saudi woman will agree with the expatriate woman and then the topic drops. Let me get you familiar with such questions:
- If she or her husband is Muslim?
- If her husband is the one working, how much does he make?
- How much did her abaya cost?
- How much is the rent where she lives?
- How often does her husband travel?
- How much does she pay her driver?
- If she is the one working, how much does she make?
- How much does she pay her housemaid?
- How much do different items inside the home cost?
Interestingly, Saudi women will typically not gossip of such details about each other but if an expatriate woman responds to such questions, then that is fair game for discussion. Though shockingly some of the western women have answered these personal questions because of the fear that they might sound offending, well from my point of view, to some extend this is exactly the reason which has encouraged such questions to be continued to be asked of expatriate women.