My Great Menopause-Induced Cultural Faux Pas


It finally happened. The thing I dreaded most. Well, almost most. I’ve dreaded a lot more things more vehemently. But I sensed this moment would arrive even before I arrived in Abu Dhabi.

The weather is heating up in the UAE, and so is NSB. Between my internal fire and the Emirates’ outside temps, I’m drenched all day and night. During my lunch-break workout today, my fellowUnknown worker-outers and I engaged in a silent air-con war. I turned it on; they turned it off. I would guess the room was 90-degrees, about 1-degree cooler than the outside world. Hot for me; fine for them.

I got home from work at 5 p.m. and unzipped my shirt half-way down to my belly button to let the air conditioning have its way with me. Unfortunately our AC seems to hover around 23-degrees celsius, which is 73-degrees fahrenheit. Hardly refreshing.

An hour or so later, the door bell rang. Our take-out arrived! Vietnamese food in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I took the bags and gave the delivery boy the cash. He was very stand-offish and skittish. But, then again, he always is.

After dinner, the door-bell rang again. Our Egyptian neighbor had come to buy a small side table from us. He and Allan had been in negotiations about it, and had finally settled on a sum.  Allan was out celebrating his Irish heritage, even though he is Scottish, so I was in charge of the cash-table exchange. I actually had never met this particular neighbor before. We shook hands and I handed over the goods. He kept his eyes on my face the whole time. images-1

As I sat back down to watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” on Netflix — about his foray into Libya — I looked down at my shirt.


The Vietnamese delivery boy and the Egyptian neighbor had gotten a glimpse of my bra.


By showing so much of my skin — not too much, though, thanks to a shirt that didn’t spread out — I committed a terrible sin. And I feel terrible about it. I cover myself from neck to knee at work, and elsewhere, to be respectful as well as safe from the sun.

What can I say? The heat bested me. Bismillah. 


NSB in the UAE

One Comment Add yours

  1. Al says:

    Well all I can say is “inshallah” it wasn’t unzipped when I returned home after celebrating St Paddy’s Day, as the unzipped shirt that is not green is a worse faux pas on this day!
    And that brings to mind the question is it correct to refer to a dog who has lost his stuff on your sofa as many times as you have fingers on one hand, as making a “four paw”?

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