Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Why don’t people smile?

with 5 comments

One of my little hobbies is to go cycling in the morning. Although I kid myself it’s for fitness, I probably don’t push myself hard enough to make it count that much, but I really enjoy it. 

This is the path I cycle – it’s gorgeous! What’s not to smile about?


I love being out in the early morning sunshine, smelling the flowers around our compound and resting my eyes on the greenery (you can spend too much time looking only at sand-coloured things in Dubai). Along the way, I meet other cyclists, joggers and walkers, and I whizz past gangs of chainsaw-wielding gardeners. Often it’s the gardeners’  breakfast time, and they sit in circles on the paths under the shade of the dusty trees, their tiffins of spicy food creating yet more nose-tingling aromas.

Because I’m generally quite friendly, I smile at everyone. The gardeners are the friendliest – they always shout good morning (as do I) – then the joggers, with whom there appears some sort of tacit understanding that we’re all in this fitness lark together. Most manage a smile – some even a sweaty and breathless hello.

But I’m always amazed at the number of people – usually those walking – at whom I smile and who don’t even respond. I look them in the eye as we approach each other and they absolutely, wilfully, refuse to crack even the smallest little smile in return.

What’s all that about? It must take more effort not to smile than to return a smile. Let some joy into your lives, people. Smile at a stranger, you weirdos!

And, I  have to ask, WTF is up with WordPress? First I lose 2,830 precious subscribers overnight, now I can’t even upload a pic. Technical glitches big-time!


Written by mrsdubai

October 3, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Perhaps they’re not smiling b/c they use wordpress.


    October 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm

  2. I know what you mean! I think it’s maybe got to do with being a woman….people don’t want to smile back at a woman in case it seems that they are being forward. We used to live in a predominantly Emarati area of al twar earlier and I just used to look at the ground if I came across anyone in a kandura on my early morning walks. After living so many years in the States, where everyone says hello to everyone on the street, I found it very odd indeed.


    October 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    • Hey Shalini, you know it’s often the women who won’t smile. I see a couple of elderly Indian men most days and they look unsure about whether to make eye contact but, as soon as I say “Morning” to them, their faces open up into a big smile. We rarely see Emiratis here – it’s largely an expat compound. xox


      October 4, 2012 at 11:28 am

  3. Just say hello and cycle purposefully by. People may not initially trust you. This shouldn’t happen but I can see in your area it could.

    I find most pedestrians are ok saying hi to a cheerful cyclist during daylight.

    Keep smilin’ and ridin’! You are getting exercise even if you aren’t exerting yourself real hard. Enjoy it, that’s the whole point above all.


    October 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

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