By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO
When applying for a driverâ€™s license, you have to take a test composed of a variety of road safety and traffic questions. Things like, â€œHow many meters is it safe to follow another vehicle?â€ or â€œWhat is hydroplaning and how is it prevented?â€ Even handling road distractions such as weather conditions, debris and cell phone usage is covered. Whatâ€™s not covered is coping with flirtatious drivers while driving on the road. Granted this is not much of a problem in the USA, hence the absence of recommendations in state-issued driving manuals. However, in many parts or the world, amorous drivers are a force to be reckoned with and are responsible for the degradation of road safety.
Nowhere is amorous driving more of a problem than it is in Kuwait. Male drivers are the primary pursuers of female drivers. However, it is not uncommon to find a female driver chasing a male driver. Since dating and open mixing between the sexes is frowned upon in Kuwaiti society, many paramours hit the road in the hopes of finding love on the open highway. Spotting an amorous driver is easy as he often reduces his speed in order to peep into the windows of drivers on either side of him. His next move is to crane his neck in order to peer into a window, all the while he continues driving when his mind is not on the road. Once he finds an object of his affection, he will pursue the female-driven car in a bid to either talk with her or give her his phone number. This often results in a high-speed chase that not only puts both drivers at risk but also everyone else on the roadway.
The vast majority of women driving on the roads of Kuwait consider amorous drivers to be pests and do their best to avoid them. However, many of the misguided males simply will not take no for an answer. That is what happened this past week, in Kuwait, as a male driver became enraged when a female driver refused his advances and would not accept his telephone number. In an act of retaliation, he crashed into her car several times and rendered it useless. And while he did get away, the female driver managed to write down his license plate number. Kuwait authorities have launched a manhunt to reveal his identity.
The roadways are not the only places in Kuwait where women have to endure unwanted advances from male admirers. Malls and shopping complexes are veritable playgrounds for paramours on the prowl. They openly track girls from store to store whispering words of affection in order to get the attention they are after. If rejected, an imprudent male may launch into a bitter diatribe of obscenities in order to publicly embarrass her.
In a bid to reel in the reckless â€œRomeosâ€ Kuwaiti authorities have begun shaving the heads of any male accused of harassing a female, whether on the road or in a public place. This year alone, at least a dozen males have been hauled off to the police station and had their heads shaved.