Some countries like India and Mexico started the service of “women-only” buses to solve the problem of sexual harassment from male passengers. I think this is a good idea especially in crowded cities were passengers in public transportations are crushed together while standing. In such cases men and women may be too close and it becomes inevitable for their bodies not to rub against each others. And the worst could happen.
Some people living in ِNorth America or Europe may think this is ridiculous. But we should never judge a solution unless we experience the problem.
Jordan is not as crowded as India and Mexico hence we don’t have such problem in the public transportations. But we still have cases of sexual harassments in the streets. The worst is of course when there is touching but the common one is verbal. To solve verbal abuse restaurants in Jordan have two sections; one ‘for families only*’ and another for single men.
Most restaurants in Jordan have a section that is limited to families only. The purpose of such segregation is to eliminate the looks and the bad mouthing from single men sitting near by. This segregation is not religious gender segregation but a culture thing.
I don’t like such thing because it can be very stupid. Here are a few examples why “For Families Only” is a bad idea:
I entered a coffee shop in Irbid called “Friends”. There was no sign that says “For Families only” or “Wait to be seated.” So, I pulled my laptop from my bag and put it on the table while three staffs were looking at me. When I was ready to sit, one of the staff came to me and told me this section is “for families only” and he pointed to a coffee table near the entrance that I can sit on. I didn’t care much because I understand the culture but when I was ready to sit on the other table I found it is very close to the entrance door and whenever the door opens a cold drift is going to hit my face so I decided to change the coffee shop.
Now, the section that is according to the staff is dedicated to families only was occupied with girls. My shock was when I found that all girls there were smoking hookah not because they were smoking but because it was 11 in the morning. Who smokes hookah in the morning?
I am 39 years old who has 15 years of experience teaching college students yet the coffee shop denied to serve me some respect in favor of college students who smoke hookah at 11 am.
My cousin (he is my age) traveled from Irbid to Amman (90 km) to return an item his wife bought from a mall in Amman. The security guard at the door refused to let him in because that day the mall is limited to families only. My cousin tried to explain to the security that he traveled 90 km just to return this item but his pledge met only with denial. My cousin is an optometrist and a father of two daughters.
Three 30 something men (two optometrists and one medical doctor) and their 45 year-old Jordanian friend who is visiting Jordan from Italy for the first time after 12 years decided to go to the Dead Sea only to find that they were denied entrance to one of the beaches because entry is for families only. Traveling 173.8 km from Irbid, being 30 something and married, and having a 40 something tourist from Italy with them were not enough reasons for these poor men to enjoy seeing the Dead Sea beach.
This shows how hard it is for single men in Jordan to be treated with respect. Regardless of age or status, men are treated with no dignity or respect if they are not accompanied with a female. Maybe it is time for a business man in Jordan to invest in opening an escort sevice**. How else would a single man be treated with respect in malls and restaurants?
*’For Families only’ sign means a man or men not accompanied by a female regardless of her age are not allowed in.
** I am being sarcastic of course I don’t agree with such line of service.