BEIRUT: A ban on smirking in enclosed public places has prompted protests across Lebanon.
The ban, which came into affect earlier in the week, has already hit expensive, upmarket bars where smiling in an affected, self-satisfied manner is ubiquitous. Anyone breaking the ban faces a $90 fine, while bars who turn a blind eye to smirking could be fined up to $2,700.
“It’s completely ridiculous,” said Beirut bar owner Fadi Rhinoplasty. “People have been smirking in my exclusive cocktail lounge for years, it’s traditional to sit there with a smug look on your face while supping a hideously overpriced drink amid our ostentatious settings.”
Rhinoplasty, like many other bar owners across Beirut, believe the ban with hurt their businesses, with several hinting that they could be forced to close.
“About 70 per cent of my customers are regular smirkers, as you probably would have to be if you can afford my prices and have made it past the doorman,” he said.
There are fears similar smirking bans across the region could be even more damaging, particularly for VIP nightspots in Dubai.
“I just don’t know what we’d do if [the smirking ban] was brought into force here,” said Peregrine Farqua-Tosschops, owner of Dubai-based Club Smug. “We’d be ruined.”