I like this girl, she’s got spunk. Having spent 9 months abroad in the Middle East to date, I sympathize. It’s funny, I am told that I should be more culturally aware - make sure to wear my hair up, not down (but, really, shouldn’t you wear a head scarf if you’re in a Muslim country? - false.), wear more baggy clothing, don’t smile at people! (oh no! God, forbid).
I remember in my fusha (Modern Standard Arabic class) last term at AUC, my professor asked me to make a sentence using a set of five Arabic words which were written on the board. Given the limited number of topics one can talk about with so many words given, I said:
"Every time I ride in a taxi, the driver asks me if I have a romantic relationship in the US or if I am dating an Egyptian." (in Arabic)
Upon hearing this, she got extremely worked up, asked me if this was true. When I said it was, she responded with “DON’T EVER TALK TO, SMILE AT, OR SIT NEXT TO AN EGYPTIAN TAXI DRIVER - AND DON’T TAKE TAXIS BY YOURSELF!”
OH, okay THAT makes more sense, avoid all human interaction with the person you’re in the car with AND don’t ever travel by myself… okay MY bad… -___-
Really, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. It’s impossible not to do at least one of those things, though I often hit more than one on the checklist.
And yet, I can say, that given my experiences, I have become much more antisocial and cold since I first flew to Jordan last June. I find myself glaring at any man, walking down the street, driving my taxi, ringing up the price of my groceries, daring him to look at me, say something creepy, ask me if I want to date him or go with him to his house while his wife is gone and fuck.
No, asshole, I don’t. None of the above, k thanks.
It’s unfortunate, how the actions of the minority can discourage you from discovering the nuances of befriending those of a new culture. And still, all of this said, I will never know the true difficulties the women of this culture face, each and every day… to them, all I can say… God be with you, and if you want to sneak a sucker punch every now and then, I didn’t see anything…