Imagine the scenario. You’re in the clothes section of Carrefour supermarket in Mirdif City Centre in Dubai. You have picked a skirt off the rack and suddenly you see the right woman. You stop her with barely an ‘excuse me please’ and before she’s even had a chance to respond you stick the aforementioned skirt directly right up against her waste to size it up and see if it looks okay.

Slapped!

If I actually did that – whaddya reckon? A slap in the face, a slew of outraged curses, reported to security, accused of sexual harassment, arrested by police, deported?

Probably all of the above.

And yet this is exactly what happened last night. Except the other way around.

Minding my own business, face buried in my phone as usual, I was accosted in exactly such a manner, when a not unattractive woman stopped me in my tracks. I froze in some state of complete bemusement as this random stranger then pressed the top of a pair of trousers against the side of my leg and proceeded to examine it.

Momentarily she seemed satisfied, pulled it away and thanked me with a smile. I smiled back, asked if it was okay, and then thanked her for buying me a new pair of trousers. Actually I think I only said the last bit in my head. Afterwards.

We proceeded our separate ways. My moment as a temporary made-to-measure mannequin already fading. Once I got over the initial surprise and slight bewilderment at the sudden unpermitted invasion of personal space, I didn’t really mind at all. Frankly it was funny.

But it got me thinking. What if the roles had been reversed? It might not have been so funny after all, and I’d only be relating the whole tale to you once I got out of prison on good behaviour several years hence!

Sexual equality? Pah!

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