Alexander McNabb

Topless Butlers in Dubai? Just Another Ho-Hum

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Gulf News has finally learned its lesson from the mighty Daily Mail (the world’s leading news website, the Mail pulls something like 100 million views a month) and has harnessed the public shock horror story.

Residents, we are told, are in shock to learn that a Dubai event management company is offering topless butlers. Although the story does not contain a quote from a resident saying ‘I am shocked at this news’, which you’d have thought would be sort of essential to standing up a ‘residents in shock’ headline, the news would certainly provoke shock in many quarters of our rainbow society. I have to confess my own eyebrows went on a little trip up my forehead when I saw it.

Basically, you can have two young chaps decorating your event clad in collars, cuffs and swimwear. It’s Dhs500 per chap per hour (minimum two chaps for two hours). We can only assume they are fit and hearty young things, rather than pot-bellied, flaccid old men the colour of old brie.

But this is Dubai. Generally tolerant in the extreme, but nevertheless a conservative Muslim society, surely this sort of thing flies in the face of society’s values. When GN’s reporter called Dubai’s Department of Commerce and Tourism Marketing, doubtless hoping for a stentorian condemnation of the silly scheme (I know I would have been, it would have elevated the story to ‘Dubai government slams sleazy servant scheme’), she got a ‘what people do behind their own doors is their own affair’, which pretty neatly sums up how Dubai treats much of what we get up to. As long as you’re not causing problems for others, you’re generally the beneficiary of that famous ‘laissez faire’ attitude.

It’s funny, but I swear the longer you live here the more you are likely to walk up to that half-naked nymphet in the shopping mall and ask her if she understands where she is. Similarly, I can’t help feeling topless butlers is a bit, well, off.


What do you think?

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