Sunday, March 2, 2008

Saudi Gender Expectations

My Dear Sister is in rather challenging executive MBA program (she's smart like that). A lot of the work at said program is done in the same groups, and over time she got to know one of her classmates, a Saudi who works at the embassy. He's a very thoughtful guy, and ever since she told him that we used to live in there, he included her on the Embassy's gift list. This is great, and much appreciated around holidays and other events when the Embassy sends stuff out. This may be at an end however due to one scandalized embassy employee. I hope not , but we'll see.

It all started over this weekend, when a family friend's children participated at International Night at their school. They put a lot of effort into the table for their country, Afghanistan, as they really wanted to show it in the best light. Dear Sister and our mother were invited to come see it, so they went (the mother is a sucker for cute children, and as I have thus far proved uncooperative in producing grandchildren she gets her fix where she can). The Saudi table was next door, and Dear Sister started talking to a Saudi mother standing there. He husband came over as well and joined the conversation. It's a friendly, international school and Dear Sister didn't think anything about this until the following conversation:

Saudi Father: I work at the Saudi Embassy
Dear Sister: Oh really? I have a friend who works there.
Saudi Father: How nice, what is her name?
Dear Sister: Oh his name is Faisal.
- brief silence -
Saudi Father: But that is a boys name!
Dear Sister: Yes, his name is Faisal
Saudi Father: What is his family name? What is his job exactly?
Dear Sister: (realizing now that she may not be doing her friend any favors): Oh, I'm not sure. He's not really a friend, we just go to class together.
Saudi Father: Where do you study?
Dear Sister: -Major (and wrong) University-

Dear Sister then suddenly noticed our mother across the room and ran off as fast as she could. When she came back, the Saudi table was unmanned and the Saudi family stayed away from her scandalous self for the rest of the evening. She then wrote an email to Faisal to give him a head' s up that she may have compromised his reputation.

Ahh, drama!

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