Having no such personal experience, I had no clue up to a few days ago but now I know that, at least, he is deported from Saudi Arabia. So if you thought that there’s no flip side to being impossibly handsome, think again! That’s simply because you have never been exposed to the gross truth behind the horror of good looks. At least three men attending an annual culture festival in Saudi Arabia were kicked out of the country after religious police officers thought they were too handsome to stay. The men, delegates from the UAE, were minding their own business at a safe distance from Saudi women at a cultural festival in Riyadh when members of the ‘mutaween’ suddenly stormed the pavilion and removed the men by force. According to the officials, the three Emiratis were taken out on the grounds they are too handsome and that the Commission [for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices] members feared female visitors could fall for them. The Emirati delegates were subsequently deported back to their home country. Omar Borkan Al Gala (whose photographs are provided here), an actor and photographer from Dubai, was one of these men. He is the one deriving most publicity out of the incident. With his perfectly formed cheekbones, captivating gaze, and well groomed appearance, it’s easy to see why actually the authorities felt so threatened by his good looks. With little opportunity available to these men to corrupt any impressionable women, the police may have felt that that some women –after riding their bicycles to the festival- might suddenly start stripping naked and throwing themselves at the men in question. Hence the best option was deemed to remove them from the country.
This reminds me of a survey a few years ago asking men and women why they had had ‘relationships’. The top explanation men gave was “curiosity”. Most women said “I couldn’t help myself”, so perhaps the Saudis have got a point. But then it is a country where the women are covered up on the pretence that men would go crazy with desire if allowed to see them. It is somewhat satisfying to see them flipping the genders. In their bid to protect the rights of Saudi women from the evils of good-looking men, Saudis can perhaps define how handsome is too handsome in order for other attractive male foreigners in the country to know when they need to cover up. Some pictures of merely handsome men should do, as anyone who considers himself more handsome than is advisable can adopt necessary precautions to lower their rating on the hotness scale.
Not that I feel jealous that why during my various visits to the Kingdom I was never scrutinized for my attractiveness to those who matter. I am quite mindful of the ordinariness of my visible physical attributes. But still not to own up to a tinge of envy would be less than mannish. At least I could have received a verbal caution. The envy was compounded by my friend Arif’s declaration that he can relate to it. I can understand he was a good looking boy at the school and may have been deported for the risk of arousing inordinate sexual appeal. This also worries me a little about another friend, Maruf, in Riyadh who should now consider trying to look more ordinary like me than what he is. So guys if you are too handsome and happen to be in Saudi Arabia, I hope you will learn to be successfully unattractive. Even if you are dangerously handsome all is not lost, you can lower your appearance with a little bit of work on your part. The first step in preventing the disaster of being too attractive is to shun diet and exercise. Then, look bored, don’t smile, and avoid all passion for life. Never look confident and ignore your grooming as much you can without losing your job. If you need further advice, please write to me for I have already used up the space allowed to this article by the editor.
Finally, looking at Omar Borkan’s picture that betrays a boyish doe-eyed soulfulness, I am not so sure if it was visiting Saudi Arabian ‘females’ the authorities were worried about. What are we on about here?