Saudi Arabia: Public Behaviour
Acceptable public conduct
Although women are active in most, if not all five of the professions as well as such commercial activities as banking and some retail trade, they do not drive cars or travel alone and social encounters are segregated. Within same-sex encounters, however, the normally reserved Saudis are much more tactile than westerners in their behaviour.
Whilst loud speech and raucous laughter are deplored as vulgar, firm embraces, kissing on both cheeks and walking hand-in-hand are customary. These are gestures of close, brotherly friendship and have no sexual implications whatever.
At the very least, Saudis always shake hands with every man present but not with women. If a man knows a woman well enough to touch her at all, he knows her well enough to kiss her [e.g. blood relatives]. The respectful greeting for Saudi Royalty is to kiss the shoulder.
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