Seriously everyone, what's up with the staring? I have always noticed, but this year it seems worse. Maybe I've just gotten more sensitive (a definite possibility....).
Some say it's because I'm a woman.
Some say it's because I'm a foreigner.
I'm sure these are elements to the cause of the gaping, slobbering, vacant stares I've been getting. However, I don't buy it. Why not? As being a westerner in possession of a vagina seems enough reason....right? I said in my last post that I will never understand their perception of me. And that's true. I think, increasingly so, that is crucial to look at the rational and experience of the other side. But, what if there doesn't appear to be any brain wave activity on the other side?
In any case, I don't think being a foreign chick is the reason for these particular stares because it's not just me, and it's not just men staring at me in this way. Women stare at me. And they stare at each other. And the men stare at other Omani men.
Now, let me explain. This is a very distinct stare that I'm talking about here. This not the stop and point, giggling and talking all the while stare. While more active, this type of normal staring seems somehow healthy and is less perturbing. I'm talking about the stare of a cow shot by a stun gun. Eyes wide, mouth wide, and sometimes there is drool. Occasional minor retinal movement, but usually it is dead pan and missing any sort of intellectual activity. Not even negative judgment. Just nothing. It's sort of scary.
My husband describes it as saying it looks like their brains are disintegrating and any minute are going to start dripping out of their mouths. Couldn't be more accurate.
Now this is not everyone, of course. It is not even the slight majority. But it is nevertheless disturbingly frequent.
In Muscat it's rare, but the farther into the mountains you go, the worse it gets. Perhaps the most terrifying density of such starers was in a eastern fishing town called Khaloof. All I can say is run away. You might get nightmares.