Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Human Rights and Male Ego

Why do guys turn into complete pricks?

Trust me I'm not hormonal, I'm just angry.

Yesterday morning I got in touch with an old business associate. Now this guy is a genius, and if I could associate myself with his company it would definitely kick start my slow starting business.
As you can imagine, I switched on my sweet professional voice and convinced him to agree to a meeting.

The only problem is that he doesn't live in the UK. He lives somewhere I have never ventured to before.

A quick weekend trip didn't seem like a bad idea. It doesn't take too long to fly there, it's out of Europe so I could stock up on duty free... There was one problem.

When Solicitor returned from work I sat down with him and told him that I wanted to ask him something.

"I've got a new business meeting. A really good prospect."

"That's good. Who with?"

"An old associate. The thing is... I'm going to have to travel abroad to see him."

Solicitor frowned.



Have you ever felt icy coldness run down your spine? Solicitor froze. I could practically feel the ice that ran through his blood. His reaction was expected. I sat still, feeling very much like a child asking her parent if it's okay to take drugs.

Solicitor shook his head, clenching his fists.

"No fucking way."

"Look I-"

He sprang up from the sofa, blazing in fury.

"What kind of a business associate invites a woman to Saudi? You're not going. There's no fucking way you're going there alone."

"That's what I wanted to ask you. I'm not allowed to travel alone out there. I think it's against the law. I need you to come with me."

"We are not going to Saudi. They'll take one look at our passports, see we're not married and God knows what will happen to you. I'm not risking it."

"Don't be so dramatic."

"You think I'm being dramatic?" He began pacing the room. "Okay. You do know that you're not allowed to have any flesh what so ever on display there don't you?"

"Yes, but-"

"That's including your face, your hands."

"I know-"

"You're not permitted to go anywhere without a male escort."

"That's why I wanted you to-"

"You're not allowed to wear a fucking seat belt in a car! I will not have you risking your life for a fucking business meeting with some shithead."

"Be reasonable-"

"Reasonable?! Are you taking the piss? You think it's reasonable to be lashed as part of punishment? Because trust me, Elise, you step one foot wrong and they will not hesitate to do something like that."

"So I won't do anything wrong."

Solicitor laughed bitterly.

"Okay, what happens if you get ill, huh? Something goes wrong. You're pregnant for fucks sake."

"I'm sure there are doctors-"

"Darling, you won't be able to see one without a permission slip signed by, let me see, a male member of your family. And before you try to say something, I don't count!"

He ranted for hours. He flung out reasons why the plan was so damn off the mark, I must have some kind of mental issue for even considering it. He paced about swearing at the business associate who must be some kind of sick twisted fuck for expecting me to go there.

I retaliated. I told him that my one chance of a break would be on hold because he's too damn set in his way to even bother to listen. That I'd travelled to the middle east before. I'd been to Bahrain, Dubai, Damascus and the human rights laws are deeply exaggerated by the media.

In the end he won. He's a lawyer. He calmed down and pulled up evidence for his cause, including a list of laws and punishments. Did you know that a male can murder any female member of his family and get away with it out there? A woman can not drive. She can not go anywhere without an escort.

I think it's bollocks. It's illegal to do many things, but is it truly put into practice? If you do your best to follow the law I don't see how it could be "dangerous" to go there. People live there for crying out loud!

I resorted to calling my father. I explained the situation slowly and calmly.

Okay that was a lie. I spilled everything out as fast as I could and begged and pleaded with him to come with me. I was desperate.

"No! Solicitor is right. You are not going. I don't care if I have to tie you down myself"

Damn him!

"I'll take away your passport if I have to!"

What the fuck?! Saudi was supposed to have the human rights issues. Not Solicitor and my Father. Maybe its just men in general. Stupid men.

I called my associate this morning and told him that my partner can not accompany me so we'll have to make other arrangements. I didn't say much more than that be he knew what had happened.

"Elise, Riyadh is not as bad as people think." He sighed. "I understand you're dilemma, I really do. We'll have to put our meeting on hold until the Autumn if you can not fly here. I'll return to the UK then and we can rearrange a time."

Great. Just great. I can kiss goodbye to my glimmer of hope. I feel like crying! Am I being hormonal? Do the guys in my life have a point? Or was I completely cheated?


Trée said...

Well, I've got splinters in my butt because I can see it both ways. Still, it seems this was a classic male overreaction to what they don't want to do, which is make an effort out of their comfort zone and it seems to be masquerading on the old, "I know what's best for you honey so don't you worry your little head" box. I understand their concern. I just don't buy their solution.

Elise said...

What would you say is the right solution? What would you have said and done?

I can't get to your blog Trée! It says I don't have authorisation to entre... You didn't block me did you?! :)

Cocaine Princess said...

For starters I've never seen the 'F' word written so many times in one entry.

I do agree with you, the media will exaggerate on certain things but to be honest I think Solictor has a point. You're pregnant Elise and your first and only priority at this point is your precious bundle and health. And no you're not being hormonal.

Elise said...

Yeah I had to cut down on the swearing... believe me it got worse!

I do see his point, but I wanted this so bad! xx

Trée said...

Elise, if you will send me your email (send to: I'll send you an invite. A delusional reader has caused me to go private for, what I hope to be, a short period of time. But, no, my dear, I didn't block you. ;-)

As to what I would have done. First, said nothing. Second, poured a drink. Third, listened without comment to everything you wanted and needed to say. And fourth; after my second drink, said let's discuss it again tomorrow, now show me how much you really want to go. :-D

Or something along those lines. :-D

Elise said...

LOL! I love the way you think. If he'd done that I probably wouldn't have been so mad if he refused. It would have showed that he cared about my opinion at least.

I must confess I would have been pretty turned on by the prospect of convincing him... Perhaps He should have convinced me not to go instead! :)

E_M_Y said...

He was just thinking of you but maybe he was a bit exaggerated.

Can't the buisiness guy come over here? or maybe you could both meet in another country where you're both safe.

Bina said...

I'm new here. But having an ex husband who served in the military many times in the middle east, and was actually station in Saudi to help train their troops, I think your husband and father are right. I mean, they do have your best interest in mind, and can you imagine if they said, "GREAT! Go! Have a good time, honey!" And something DID happen? It would haunt them for the rest of their lives.

And, having see that show "Locked Up Abroad" there is no way in hell I would go! LOL

Kitty said...

Hmmmm, tricky one. They are both looking out for you though. You know how lucky you are to have a partner and father to do that?


The Divine Miss M said...

Solicitor is being a bit melodramatic.

Firstly most of what he & you state is illegal is illegal for a muslim woman. You'll be looked down on for not being married but not arrested for it. To get a visa you need a sponsor there and someone to meet you at the airport - that would be your work colleague.

You can go to a hospital without his consent and you can do everything without his consent. It is woman married to Saudi men who have to have male consent.

You don't have to wear the complete Burka, it is just recommended that you cover your legs and arms and do not wear trousers.

My friend traveled out there, alone and a girl and she was fine. She followed all laws and kept herself covered and had an amazing time.

Yes it is scary. And yes you can get in trouble but if you do your research and adhere to laws about alcohol & sex adn don't do anything stupid, you. are. fine.

Solicitor should do his research. Yes it is pretty dangerous but hell it would be one amazing experience!

Elise said...

Miss M, you're right. Saudi doesn't seem as bad as people say it is. I'd love to go. I can see where the two stubborn men are coming from, but like I said to Solicitor, as long as I research and follow the rules it would hardly be a danger. He's being so dramatic about it. If I wasn't angry I'd find it funny xx

Malach the Merciless said...

I still wonder why Saudi Arabian is a ally of the US and the UK.

Peter Mc said...

I don't get what the amazing experience would be if you can do fuck all out there! We live in an age of technology, can't you just video conference him or phone conference, or even film a presentation and send it to him! Make the t'interweb work for you!! Travelling to what can only be described as a medieval country can't be the only solution. If you really want this, don't sit there all defeated, get up and make it happen!!!!!!! x

Jagjit said...

I see a point in solicitor's advice though he is being a bit melodramatic. and yes, I am being a man. lol :)

@ Cocaine Princess:
You haven't seen 'F' word so many times in one entry? You should read this one :)

kyknoord said...

They have have a point and their level of concern for your well-being is obvious. Delivery needs work, though.

Hayley-Emsley said...

HAHA get on you Peter!! Love it, i actually agree with Peter on this one!

My little coffee club buddy is actually making sense!!

Elise said...

Hayley, Peter does speak sense. He actually sounds a little like Solicitor! Unfortunately I have to see the guy face to face. I have emailed him and requested a document containing all Saudi laws, Visa details etc. If I can't get out there I'll have to keep in contact with him until October... xx

Natasha said...

Umm I have to say my first reaction is that it was a total over-reaction from Solicitor and your father. I mean you just want to go for a meeting not to live there. You can surely be in and out in a weekend. And if you really need to go there surely it is better in the second trimester when not a lot is showing and there is minimal risk than either later when you are heavily pregnant or when you have a babe with you.

On the other hand it is good that they care so much.

presious said...


I don't know anything about Saudi, and I know the media exaggerates everything. However, I think I'm kinda siding with Solicitor. It's only for your own safety.

I do agree with Tree. His way of handling it is what every woman would like to have. A man who listens to us before going off so emotionally in a negative fashion.

littlesack said...

tough situation! I can see both sides. I know things are messy in the middle east right now, and that civil rights (especially women's) are not up to par.

You are definitely not being hormonal- to be that excited about something and that have it ripped away, id be really upset too.

but, solicitor and your pop make good points about your safety as well.

hope things can still work out in the fall.

Slyde said...

im sorry hon.. i gotta agree with your man.. its just not worth the risk, espeically right now.

Faiqa said...

I've been to Riyadh. You *do*have to wear an abaya (like a burqah, an abaya is an all black shroud that covers every inch of your body except your face and hands). I did not ONCE see a woman in public who was not wearing this.

Also, I'm not Saudi, nor married to a Saudi man, but my family there asked me to keep my passport with me at all times to prove my legal status as a married woman with a legal visa.

Family there were additionally concerned because my husband and I don't have the same last names, and that we would get in trouble for walking around with each other. That said, nobody ever bothered me while I was there, BUT I was always in the company of a male relative AND I was always wearing an abaya (Burqa).

Saudi is very different from Bahrain and Dubai, I don't think the comparisons are at all relevant... they are Arabic speaking nations and they're Muslim, but other than that... Saudi Arabia is far, far more conservative. And Riyadh is considered very conservative in comparison to say, Jeddah.

Finally, your partner is absolutely correct in his assessment that his presence would not mean anything to the authorities in Saudi. In fact, it would be illegal for you to share domicile during your stay there.

All of that said, your associate may have connections that will allow you to travel on your own, etc. I have hear of this happening. I also don't think anything "bad" would happen to you there, because Saudis aren't very stringent in their application of the law to non-Muslims. Note that this does not indicate that they can't, but that they generally choose not to.

Sigh, sorry that was so long, but I felt like since I've actually been there, maybe that would help... Other than all that stuff, it really is an interesting place and culture to visit. I enjoyed it... except for the obvious restrictions that were placed on me.

Feel free to e-mail me if you'd like to discuss it further! :)

Bina said...

Where have you been? Are you okay?