Expats spend their tax-free salaries eating, drinking and generally showing off in public, so there is ample opportunity to meet the desired sex. This is not a place for shrinking violets; striking up a conversation with a stranger is easy and normal.
It's a shared experience that brings a sense of unity With such a transient populace, impenetrable cliques are rare. You will find yourself collecting more business cards than you know what to do with.
Moving to Dubai is much like your first year at university. Thankfully, there are loads of 'second' and 'third years' more than happy to show you around. The usual answer is under five years.
Yes, you can consume alcohol in Dubai, and a post-work drink is a perfectly acceptable first date. However, it will be in a sterile hotel bar and it will cost you a fortune. You could opt for a dingy hotel sports bar, but you are unlikely to see the girl again unless she is a chain-smoking football fan. A cultural date might involve an art exhibition in the Al Quoz industrial district, or a burlesque show at The Act — a faux-baroque supper club on the 42nd floor of the Shangri-La Hotel.
If you settle on a cinema date, take a jumper as the air-conditioning in cinemas would make a penguin shiver. That way, you can be a true gent and offer the garment to your companion. Date night Many Dubai men ascribe all their power and self-worth to their car, much like Samson and his hair. Pick Sophie up in a car and it will show that you are independent. It will also take taxis out of the equation - no one likes waiting for a cab in the blistering heat Getting-to-know-you chat in Dubai is often fascinating because you are meeting women from all over the world.
Sometimes Dubai is their first taste of travel, but more often their lives have been nomadic, and their stories reflect that. You will be able to glean whether Sophie is planning a future in Dubai with a husband and children in her sights, or simply treating the city as a working holiday, complete with holiday fling.
Either way, matters of the heart can always change the best-laid plans. Would you like to come back to mine for a coffee? Once you have picked up the bill — only the most emancipated woman insist on paying their share in Dubai — you may suggest going elsewhere for a drink.
If you hold a personal alcohol license, or habitually break the law, you can invite Sophie to your place for a digestif. Only in the privacy of your own home should you consider going in for a kiss.
Public displays of affection — or PDAs as they are joylessly known — are forbidden in Dubai, and can land both parties in a lot of trouble. You can chance a cheeky snog in a lift, but you run the risk of the doors opening before your floor, exposing your misdemeanour.
Even the back of a taxi is dodgy ground for kissing. If your taxi driver takes offence, he may well report you to the police. If Sophie does stay the night, you can expect disapproving looks from security staff when you leave your apartment block in the morning. If your guest is of a certain ethnicity, they will assume she is a prostitute. Some security staff will confiscate her passport at reception on arrival, and return it when she leaves. This insidious code of conduct can make you feel like mischievous teenagers.
If no one is getting hurt, and no one winds up in trouble, what harm in a little sneaking around?