Monthly Archives: January 2006

Get stuffed ….

Life just isn’t fair for Amber, who is constantly fighting the urge to shove skinny women down the drainpipes at Media City. Her case isn’t helped by the fact that in the vicinity of her office is a pizza-guzzling part-time model.

Amber is battling a second urge – to stuff her face with Cinnabons – after the latest travesty. “Today she’s chomping down a Big Mac and large fries. Unfortunately, she seems really nice, which is a real pain in the (tiny size 0) butt – according to the sister code, I have to hate her.”

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Delayed broadcast

Jefferson texted me from across town to let me know that E! Online’s Live from the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes was on – knowing that this is my idea of celluloid (and cellulite-free) heaven. But when I turned on the TV, I had a completely different programme on and Live from the Red Carpet didn’t start for another 30 mins. Since when did Dubai span across more than one time zone?

Stop, look, and listen

As you leave the BurJuman car park, there’s a sign informing motorists that they should stop for the red light, and go at the green. Helpful road information of course, but it seems that this is a case of closing the stable / car door after the horse has escaped – you’d hope the rudiments of traffic lights would have been learned by the time people started to drive, let alone negotiate a Dubai car park.

Non-relief aid

Poor Mercy. Her festive spirit was significantly dampened when flying back into Dubai after her holiday recently. She was detained at Customs for trying to import a rabbit (not of the pet animal kind, but a member of the Sex and the City species). Luckily, shame and embarrassment no longer form part of her vocabulary – “it would have been a whole lot worse if I had been travelling with my family,” she points out.

Apparently, the Dubai customs men were nice and polite, asking her first if she had “anything rubber” in her case, before spelling it out in single syllables when her jetlag-fuddled mind failed to get the drift. “They took me into a private room and asked me if I would unpack the offending item, which was luckily sealed, unused and wrapped, therefore not likely to whizz and jump around the floor.

“When I handed it over, they did ask me if I was sure I didn’t have anything else in my case – and did I have any handcuffs with me. By this time, I was able to see the funny side, and responded ‘not this time, officer’.”

After filling in forms, Mercy was released with no charge (certainly no electrical charge anyway) and rather quaintly, the officers handed her back the unused batteries. Of course, she should have known better, but tried to justify the shenanigans by saying there were no written rules of what she wasn’t allowed to bring into the country. “And besides, whoever would have thought nine inches of rubber would show up on an airport x-ray machine?”

Kissing with confidence

At a recent party in Jumeirah, the delicate issue of etiquette came up in conversation, particularly when it comes to kissing. Is it one, two or three kisses? The wrong guess can leave a girl lunging into thin air, or avoiding a prematurely proffered cheek. After years leaving here in Dubai, the standard formula seems to be: 1 = Dubai new blood, usually a reserved Brit; 2 = Dubai native; 3 = Lebanese or hot-blooded Spaniard.

And what about the degree of proximity of the kiss? Cheek? Millimetres away? Just a gesture inches away from the face? Or, in my case with Tall Paul, about a foot away from his head despite being on tiptoes and platform shoes at the time. In the mega-diverse Dubai of today, all rules seem to have gone out of the window, particularly thanks to an increasing number of PR bunnies – mwah mwah – and UK chavs, who seem to slobber over anything that moves.

So, over to etiquette expert Philip Howard, writing in The Times. He says: There is no “correct” custom, just custom. In my observation, British females are almost as enthusiastic kissers as the French, though perhaps a little less elegant at the performance. The British simulated “Mwaagh, Mwaagh,” is Charlene and naff. But whether in Middlesborough or Marseille it is good manners to let the lady lead. Boy scouts: girl guides.

Let the ladies also select which cheek to start with. In London the left cheek first is favoured by about 63 per cent of kissers. The number of kisses is also best left to the female. One is cold. Two kisses are regular. Three or more are a bit continental.

Of course, Mercy had to have the last word. “For me, it’s on the lips or nothing these days – cheeks are so 2003.”