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Posted On: 14 March 2016 10:22 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:55 pm

Qatar's Staring Culture

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An undisputed observation that one makes after coming to Qatar is that there is a very distinct staring culture. Everyone stares at everyone. Opposite genders stare at one another and the same genders stare at each other as well. Everyone is fair game.

Initially one may feel self-conscious with the number of stares – and this is far from the standard people-watching. People stare you down and if you make eye-contact or roll your eyes it will not deter them, they will continue to stare with a vengeance.

I met some local girls and asked them about this (this is not just a local thing, everyone stares at one another here), they advised that if the individual staring is male (as I’m female) then do NOT make eye contact, and that I should wear sunglasses, even if I'm indoors. As far as the women staring at each other? Tough, you just have to deal with it until the “starer” gets bored.

One day at a coffee shop I sat down and a young local man sat at the table facing me. He stared, and stared, and stared. Without looking at him I discreetly pulled my sunglasses out of my bag and put them on. Did the young man stop staring? Not just that, but he also got up out of his chair and moved to a table where he could not see me at all. Whoa! I have tried this sunglasses-tactic on other ethnicities… it’s been disappointingly ineffective.