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Listen up Saudi: handsome men are sent to test us

  |  May 5, 2013

Every woman has an image of their perfect man. Some prefer tall, tanned and handsome while others prefer a decent, kind and gentle look. Some even say that physical appearance doesn’t matter.

But the real question is this: what would we do if we found ourselves face to face with Mr Perfect? The answer, according to Saudi police, is that we’d be powerless to resist ravishing the helpless little fellow.

By now the entire world has heard of the three Emirati men deported after being deemed “too handsome” by Saudi authorities, who feared the effect their devastatingly good looks would have on the local females.

A more rational approach, suggested one of my friends, would be to prevent the men from leaving so they could be used as a tourist attraction.

Or, failing that, simply relax and ignore them. Because by making such a fuss those three men have been made far more handsome in the eyes of womankind.

In my opinion, what the Saudis should have done is leave it to the women to act rationally and resist the men’s charm.

The Quran has specific advice for women confronted by such handsome men, and deportation isn’t mentioned.

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest,” says one verse.

In other words, it’s the woman’s religious responsibility to resist the temptation...it’s nothing to do with the authorities.

But perhaps it’s wrong to be too critical of the Saudis’ reaction, as their fears aren’t completely misplaced. Being faced with a devilishly good-looking man can steal a woman’s mind away on occasion.

In my all-girls high school every time my friends and I heard a new Mr Stevens, Taher or Jameel was about to start work we would dream about how handsome he might be.

Most of those dreams came crashing down when those who arrived were well into their 60s.

Perhaps the school did this on purpose. I can only assume that there was some kind of attractiveness scale on which they measured new male hires. If, by popular vote in the staff canteen, the applicant was more than a 5 out of 10 then they’d be ruled out.

It’s different in Italy, where cops are more relaxed about fiendishly handsome males. So relaxed that attractiveness appears to be an entry requirement at the police academy.

On holiday one year some girlfriends and I were eating at a restaurant in Campo Dei Fiori when my wallet was stolen. The Palestinian owner of the restaurant next door worked his wasta and within minutes a patrol car flanked by two motorcycles arrived.

One of the cops climbed off his bike to display his great height, posture and strong body clad in the standard issue uniform designed by Armani. He looked like a movie star.

After interrogating the waitress, he turned to us and explained the situation in the most charming way. And as he did so, we almost forgot the incident that once threatened to ruin our holiday.

I like to think that Allah sent that handsome cop our way to lift our spirits and provide us with happy memories, rather than sad.

And maybe, just maybe, to test our powers of resistance.