American in Arabia's chauvinist road-block: Saudi, keep driving Miss Daisy!

Published October 28th, 2013 - 07:36 GMT
A car cover that looks like an Afghani burkah.
A car cover that looks like an Afghani burkah.

The following commentary is chock full of sarcasm and nothing is to be taken seriously. The writer is a champion for women’s rights in the region but can never resist an opportunity for a cheap laugh. Women drivers? Now there's the joke! 

So the powers that be in KSA claim that the law against ladies limousining themselves is both culturally and religiously justified. Nice try Abu Azizis, but let’s just call a spade a spade and chalk your reasoning up to good ol’ common sense. Put your holiness on hold and your politics aside and just say it- Saudi women steering a Ford Explorer is akin to a death wish.

Despite the law, some daring damsels decided to open up on the Auto-ban to protest that their lack of testosterone disqualifies them from cruising. Like a promise by Lebanese politicians to crackdown on corruption, the actual protest did not live up to the hype; no traffic lights were slowed by a mascara touch-up and not one lightpole was backed into the entire day. The only damage done was (misogynistic) hackers defacing the site set up to promote the chicks' cause. 

Let's face it, the path to overturning this law has so many hazard signs and roadblocks, even a teenage driver on her cellphone couldn't overlook it.

The first obstacle will be getting the license. One would have to assume that their instructor will be a native male driver, albeit a cousin, husband or their soon-to-be unemployed driver- talk about the blind leading the blind! I’ve seen Saudi men driving and most of these Al Schumachers careen through the streets like they just robbed a bank and the ski mask is still blocking their vision.  

One Gulfie cut me off in traffic so I yelled out the window, “Hey, buddy! Where’d you learn to drive? In the desert? ” He chided back, “Exactly!” and then blew me a diesel smoke ring.  

Now imagine their female proteges sharing the tarmac with the rest of the world. I shudder at the thought of a niqabi starting fresh behind the wheel of an SUV and dealing with the visibility of, oh say, someone in a ski mask. The face veil - as translucent a variation as these driving divas may have -  still clouds the vision -- and female drivers presumably have their head in the clouds as it is!

Throw in the fact that she’ll probably be balancing on her lap a 5 year-old hopped-up on an early morning candy bar and we'll see how well she can navigate the already busy streets of Riyadh, as well as guarding the shopping bags and keeping those eggs from cracking.

Perhaps the largest hurdle will be a financial one. Initially, Miss Daisy driving may seem like a cost cutter because Mr. Daisy can let go of the 24-hour chauffeur. Soon though, the expenses will add up.

First, one will have to buy that strange, foreign contraption called a ‘carseat’ to buckle the kids in because mom can only carry one on her lap. Then comes the pink fuzzy dice, the Celine Dion bejeweled license plate and the in-dash makeup kit. Tack on the five parking lot accidents in the first month and watch them Saudi Riyals just drive themselves straight down the drain!

People call the ban sexist- I call it genius.  In fact, if Obama wants to get back on the good side of the Saudi royals, maybe he should institute this side of Sharia back in America. “You have shown us, King Abdullah, that by removing the fairer sex from the roads, American women’s ovaries have returned to thier maximum babymaking capacity and the average lifetime of brake pads has been doubled.”

Now if we can just get those Gulf-like gasoline prices to America as well, we men can rule and destroy the world in one fell swoop.

By Brett Weer


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