Life with the Big Blue

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Nose-Kissing Problem

Disclaimer: this post was not written under the influence of mind-altering substances.

Visitors of Arabia are always confused by how homosexual the behaviors of traditional Arab men could seem, like holding hands and public embraces. However, perhaps one of the most revolting sites to foreigners is nose-kissing. Two men would stick their noses together then make kissing sounds with their lips. In certain cases, one would kiss somebody else's nose. Kissing somebody's nose is a sign of respect and a recognition of superiority. Look at the figure below for clarification.

hey...don't look at me that way!......i find it repelling too.....neither myself nor any member of my extended family do it.....

In the oilfield you run into interesting cultural phenomena. One of them I like to call: "the Nose-Kissing problem". Since workers in oil locations are required to wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), which include hard-hats, nose-kissing ability is impaired. See the illustration below.

Nose-kissing attempt with hard-hats, introducing the nose-kissing problem

The Nose kissing hard-hat trick!

The Omani Bedouins, being the brilliant problem-solvers they are, came up with a solution to this problem. It's simple! One party would tilt their heads to one side and the other would stand steadily to graciously receive the traditional greeting. Unfotunately, I couldn't convince any of my colleagues to perform the trick on camera!

By the way, I got an answer to why oil locations are given female names in Oman....cuz they're full of sexually-deprived men who are there to drill holes! :-p


  • Funny post! I like your blog. It's really interesting reading about the cultural differences and life in Oman.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:48 AM, January 11, 2007  

  • Man, what's up with the self-deprecation? Isn't it bad enough that Western cultural and scholarly discourse is constantly trying to portray Arab culture and identity as backward and laughable? Do they really need help from you? What's so "disgusting" about the tradition of nose kissing? Frankly, I find lying about weapons of mass destruction and then systematically murdering tens of thousands of Iraqis much more disgusting. Why make statements like, "one of the most revolting sites to foreigners...i find it repelling too.....neither myself nor any member of my extended family do it..." What's the problem, bruv? What are you ashamed of? Who are you trying to distance yourself from and who are you trying to impress? Don't drag your own culture through the dirt for the benefit of others, mate, that's all I've got to say.

    By Anonymous Sa'ad, at 2:56 AM, December 09, 2007  

  • hey Sa'ad, get a frickin life. That shit is disgusting. Not to mention the guys funny rules with the chicks are the biggest hypocrites. For instance, the saudis that come to Dubai for "entertainment" over the weekends. Now, now im not saying dont have fun, but if you want to dont be a 2 faced arsehole about it.
    So just read the blog and laugh !!

    By Anonymous Kill hypocrites, at 5:27 AM, February 08, 2008  

  • well, talk about gay marriages in the west. that would sound freakingly funny to me.
    these are traditional ways of greeting.
    but the other is traditional ways of you , so called men (gays), fuckin each other.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:22 PM, May 18, 2013  

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