Katherine Zoepf has been doing a NYTimes blog series on dating in Saudi Arabia. Her latest entry is about numbering – when Saudi boys drive in cars alongside the cars of Saudi girls and wave their phone numbers on cardboard and send Bluetooth messages, hoping to get some reply.
But I want to draw attention to this portion of the post:
I looked around. We were surrounded by several other cars, all containing young men and all trying to get the attention of the figures in the GMC, while simultaneously trying to edge each other off the road at high speed.
“Isn’t this getting a bit dangerous?” I asked.
“Yeah,” said Fahad. “Sometimes the girls get really scared, there are so many cars chasing them. Sometimes they’re in their car, crying and screaming for us to go away. It’s fun to make girls angry.”
Just in the sentence before, Fahad admits that the girls “get really scared,” but then he dismisses their genuine fear as getting “angry” and says that “it’s fun.” I’m sorry – can he repeat that again? “Crying and screaming” equates fun? I’m charmed.
This eerily parallels claims in the U.S. of harmless, fun, but ultimately very hurtful jokes. For instance, that rape jokes are funny. Or that fun can never hurt people.