In another lifetime maybe.
I'm actually a 44-year-old wife and mother with an office job. The hottest thing about me these days is probably the occasional inferno flashes that threaten me with spontaneous combustion at the most inopportune moments.
Even my footwear has become decidedly un-hot, since I mostly wear sensible heels to work so I can take the stairs in an effort to counter my expanding @$$. My grey roots are an inch long because I'm trying to time a dye job perfectly for a wedding in October.
If I sit a certain way, my belly forms three rolls that vaguely resemble a burger between two buns. Oh, and for the last four days, I've developed pitted oedema in my feet ... apparently no reason to be exceedingly alarmed according to the disinterested doctor I consulted yesterday, but enough to furrow those wrinkles on my brow just a tad deeper.
And yet despite the granny flats, frizzy hair, constant air of bewilderment and exhaustion, ever-expanding posterior, Shrek feet and muffin top, I had a busload of labourers ogling me with unbridled lust as I got stuck behind them in traffic on the drive home from work.
These are the moments when I realise how truly lonely their life must be here in the ME. And while their sad plight leaves me disillusioned, I have no illusions that I'm the hottest thing to have crossed their path since Indonesian curry.
It's one of those things that's always irked me about Qatar: the inflated ego of many a woman in the desert. An impression that they're suddenly irresistible to the other sex. It's like a warped episode of Mudd's Women from the original Star Trek series ...
It's a scary sense of false flattery that's born of the shameless stares of a breed of desperate labourers thousands of miles from home. Men sharing living quarters with thousands of other like men. Men with no other distractions or real entertainment to speak of. Men who often don't even have a TV to watch in the evenings. Men exhausted from long hours of hard labour in exasperatingly hot conditions. Men who sometimes go years without seeing their families/spouses back home. Men whose noses have become so congested with the smell of their male roommates' sweat and stinky feet that they could smell a splash of Channel No. 5 from 20 miles away. Men in a country where the ratio of men to women is 4:1. Men in a country where approximately half of that female ratio is either veiled, under the age of 5 or over the age of 60.
So those dudes whistled at me on the drive home yesterday? No s&*t Sherlock! They'd likely flirt with a rotting papaya fruit if you sprayed it with perfume and put a blond wig on it.
Then there are the other men who hit on me shamelessly. Like the strange Turkish dude at Carrefour who shadowed me down the fruit and veg aisle one day. At first I thought I must be mistaken. He couldn't seriously be staring at my toes, sinfully bare and peeking out from under my floor length skirt? But sure enough, when I turned back with turnip in hand he'd edged just a bit closer and was by then completely transfixed by my left foot. I shooed him away with a cry of 'haram' and a threat to take his picture with my phone and report him to mall security. A few days later, sharing the embarrassingly sordid tale with a good friend, she realised she'd been trailed by the same guy at another Carrefour across town. I later learned he was a known freak with a specific MO and a preferred 'type'. I've hesitated to wear open-toed shoes while grocery shopping ever since. Blechhh!
The male fascination with me doesn't end there though. Once in a while the 25-year-old guy working on commission at the cosmetics centre at The Mall will wink at me as he tries to spray me with Coach perfume, whispering seductively that all Dutch women love this scent because it's so 'sexy' (imagine not-so-subtle purring as you read the word 'sexy'). This really turns me off. Number 1, I'm not Dutch. Number 2, I'm actually just passing through on my way to MegaMart to buy spaghetti squash. Sorry dude, wasted breath, no commission from this cantankerous Canuck ...
Should I even start on nightclubs? Let's just say that if a group of women between the ages of 25 to 50 decides to go out for drinks and dancing in Doha, they're sure to get hit on at some point in the evening. That's because in Doha nightclubs the ratio of men to women is likely to catapult to 20:1. And chances are half the men in the room are wearing beer goggles, have just returned from a 30-day stint offshore and haven't seen a woman in just as long. The other half are the guys who work at the Coach counter at The Mall; they're just hoping to bag a few free drinks from a disillusioned middle-aged expat wife. No amount of physical negligence will manage to make you unappealing to this crowd. Un-manicured nails, forty lbs. overweight, zit on your chin, greasy hair, cankles, hairy legs, smelly pits, baby drool staining the front of your dress, a run in your stockings ... there is truly no effective deterrent.
Finally, there's the gym. After 8 years in the ME, I've come to the conclusion that there's a running betting game amongst gym rats as to how many desperate housewives each can entice. Does the attention of unfettered muscles fool me into thinking I'm all that hot in my grey sweats, mismatched socks, 1980's sweat band and decades-old tattered Gold's Gym sweatshirt? Uhmmmm. NO.
It's a strange, strange world we live in here in the ME. The occasional reality check never hurts. A trip abroad is a must if one hopes to remain even remotely connected to the real world. I need only spend a single day in London or Montreal to realise that Mr. Mudd's Venus pills just don't work in other hemispheres ...