The perfect beach weather is providing a perfect storm as regards appropriate public dressing for the culturally sensitive in Dubai.
The latest to raise a storm are reports of male beach-goers who stay close enough to the beach to feel comfortable to walk home, well, bare-chested.
They do have to walk a stretch of public roads and when they enter their apartment complexes, run the risk of offending families sharing elevator space with them.
Hathim Barak, an Egyptian businessman says of his experience at Dubai Marina. “My wife and my two daughters were with me, and these men did not have a shred of clothing on their upper body.
“Many people were staring at them, but they hardly seem to bother,” said Barak.
When asked whether the men were coming out from the beach, Barak retorted, “They did not look as though they just had a swim. But even if they are, they should know that public decency expects them to wear a t-shirt or wrap a towel around them at least.”
Public decency laws in Dubai require people to dress decently in public places. Recently, shopping malls and other public places have displayed notices requesting visitors not to wear revealing clothes.
Most of the foreign embassies and consulates also advise citizens to dress decently in public places to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.
The British embassy in their ‘Understanding the UAE’ section on their website, states: “Clothing should not be transparent, indecently expose parts of the body or display offensive pictures or slogans.
“Any form of nudity is strictly forbidden, including topless sunbathing.
“Swimwear should not be worn in any other area outside the beach, water parks, or swimming pools.”
Anne Jonathan, an Events Manager from Australia tells Emirates 24|7 that it is common, especially in the new Dubai areas to spot men walking around bare-chested.
“I have seen it many times in Marina and the JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) area. I don’t know what these men think when they jump into a lift without their shirt on, and walk to a nearby supermarket.
“In our home countries, it may be common but it is embarrassing to see these people behaving with utter disrespect to the laws of the country,” says Jonathan.
A top Dubai Police official speaking to this website said, “We will respond to a complaint if someone does call about men walking around bare-chested.
“However, we reason with the person involved and more often than not, that person understands.
We do not want to start arresting people for this, but people should be aware and dress appropriately in a public place.”