It would be four hours before I was to board another jet to London. Emirates was changing air crafts in the Middle East. I was in Dubai learning things by the minute. The officer who confirmed my flight number and arrival time in the UK, was good-looking, as many Middle Easterners are or so I like to think.

Space from the sofa I sat on extended to the surface of the glass table on my right. The PA System was echoing “O-whayyy…” now and then. An Arab guy, X, sat next to me on the left. Another, Z, came by, chatted with X and soon Z sat on the table on my right. I didn’t mind the seating arrangement at first. Their conversation was animated and I quietly enjoyed the foreign audio.

Their wide faces inched closer to each other. The proximity was making me uncomfortable. Two large yakking males sandwiching a 38-kilogram, Asian female. Such sight must have looked strange in that part of the airport lounge. And then these men made it clear that they didn’t care what someone they deliberately flanked was feeling. Their breaths clashed in front of my eyeballs threatening my nostrils. What a show of psychological civility!

Their language no longer piqued my curiosity. I stood up and dragged my bag to find a seat as far away as possible. And that’s when I had my first taste of Arab attitude. X and Z jeered in my back. For a moment Dubai International Airport transformed into an opulent, post-modern jungle.

Behind a smooth composure, I wrestled against turning and giving them the main reason why I extracted myself from their midst. Their body odor was an olfactory assault. Other than that their behavior hardly was overwhelming actually. For one who has survived a nasty divorce two, rude men behaving like they were intimidation heroes were pink cupcakes, albeit rotten.

Arab profile in my books hasn’t changed much. I still think they are mostly handsome. I just don’t think I’ll be transiting the dessert when I visit Europe again.