Thanks to our media portrayals of ourselves, the Arab perspective tends to be that all Western women are “whores”; we all slosh alcohol like an A.A meeting gone renegade (I swear it’s those other Westerners who are throwing back all that ale and Guinness, not us piss beer swilling Americans); we all have numerous illicit affairs outside the bonds of marriage (one of the Arabic teachers actually told me that she thought married Western women were "allowed" to sleep with as many men as they wished); we have all shot at least one person with our concealed Glocks (this pertains to Americans); all Western women's wardrobes consist of nothing but thong panties, stiletto heels, and micro mini dresses (thanks a lot, Brittney and Paris- and they even pushed that one by losing the thongs a few times); and all Westerners, if unhappy with ANYONE for ANY reason will automatically throw the “fuck you” finger in a universal salute (well, that part might be true..). Last summer in the UAE a Western doctor was accused of throwing the universal salute at an Emirati driver and the Western doc was promptly charged with the "crime", but he wisely left the country before his hearing and refused to return. It was a no win situation. An Emirati's word will always be taken as the truth even if there is evidence to the contrary, which I am not saying was the case in this particular occurrence (http://www.7daysindubai.com/Finger-flick-doctor/story-15464335-detail/story.html).
Since I have been in the UAE, I have fallen victim to my American stereotype perspectives towards the Arabic world. I am working on it though, and trying to understand and pick my way towards some kind of unvarnished truth. It means that I have to put my prejudices aside. It means I have to acknowledge those prejudices. It means that daily I have to take a good hard look at myself. That's not always easy, and I don't always succeed. I have to keep my humor and sarcasm intact in order to survive.