For those American women reluctant to wear an abaya (the all-encompassing black cloak) and for those Saudi husbands who did not make an issue of the abaya prior to arriving, the intense public scrutiny that starts at the airport—given to a western woman who is accompanying a Saudi male—is usually the catalyst for the eventual covering up.
Since the overwhelming majority of American citizen wives never travel to the Kingdom prior to their marriage, they are abruptly catapulted into Saudi society.
There is the universal recollection of approaching Riyadh and witnessing the donning of the black abayas and face veils by the fashionably dressed Saudi women.
For many women, the Saudi airport is the first time they see their husband in Arab dress (i.e., the thobe and ghutra).
Others have found solace in kindred spirits (see the posting of Becs).
Still others have drawn conclusions from their own experience and offered these for general use (see the posting of Standfree).
After a slow start, the discussion took off and now has 14,000 comments, or about four a day.
I believe this to be a premier website for this topic. Daniel Pipes.org, about one in eighteen comments on the website are on this page.
the Saudi-American relationship virtually always blossoms in the States, in a climate that allows dating, cohabitation, children out of wedlock, religious diversity, and a multitude of other Islamic sins which go unnoticed by Saudi relatives and religious leaders thousands of miles away.
American citizen wives swear that the transformation in their Saudi husbands occurs during the transatlantic flight to the Kingdom.
It is remarkable for its undiplomatic and anecdotal tone, so distant from the department's standard bureaucratic style.