A British paper reported the other day that an unnamed Muslim ambassador who had been courting a Muslim woman in Dubai (and then married her) was horrified to find, on their day of betrothal, that underneath her Muslim niqab (the head covering) was a prodigious patch of beard hair.
The ambassador was not overly enamored with his woman having a beard and he left the festivities forthwith and headed to get himself a lawyer to get out of the deal, leaving his new bride weeping and squinting (she reportedly was also a wee bit cross-eyed.)
The thing is that during the courtship he never insisted on seeing the woman’s face. Presumably there is a religious basis for that. But how cruel to the woman for the ambassador to be this shallow. One had to wonder if the woman couldn’t have simply shaved? Barring that, was she actually a man, peut etre?
Normally, I’d be too horrified to find any humor in a situation like this. But here is an outtake from Rod Liddle of Timesonline. He had some advice for men similarly situated to the ambassador with respect to ascertaining, before marriage, whether the person under the veil (Muslim niqab) is male or female. I have to tell you it was hilarious:
An Arab diplomat last week demanded an immediate divorce when he tore off the niqab from his new wife’s face and discovered a large, bushy beard looking back at him. Not what he had expected. Good job that his explorations stopped there; instead of delving further, he called in the lawyers.This must be a problem, though, if you are about to marry someone who has, for the duration of your courtship, been dressed from head to toe in hessian sacking and would get her head chopped off if she flashed even a bit of ankle. So here’s my cut-out-and-keep guide for Muslim fundamentalist men who want to be sure they’re marrying a woman.
1. Ask your fiancée what her favourite album is, and who played bass on side one, track three.
2. Drive her to downtown Riyadh at rush hour and ask her to park the car.
3. Ask her for her analysis of last night’s edition of Top Gear.
4. See if she can eat three scotch eggs in a single sitting.
If your fiancée completes these tasks, expect to find, at the least, a beard under the niqab. If not, it’s a genuine woman. If she responds to each task by going “maaaa, maaaa” and has curly horns, then you are about to marry a mouflon. Still, any port in a storm.
That was seriously hysterical. My favorite part, personally, was the parking the car in downtown Riyadh at rush hour bit. I mean, I like to think of myself as ALL WOMAN, and I recently got my driver’s license after about a decade of trying. And I just can’t tell you how much that Riyadh line cracked me up when I thought about all my escapades in trying to get a license. It’s just that I never thought my shortcomings had anything to do with me being a woman. 🙂
Check out this post I wrote a year back about my second attempt at getting a driver’s license. (I passed on my third, btw. Yeeeeeeaaaaaaa!!!)