My views, observations, questions about everything in this world ....and that country they call Egypt.

09 December 2006

But Yet So Irresistible

Should I blog about Flamenco music or the Muslim Brotherhood? I don't feel like either now. There is no shortage of blogging material in Egypt. I can probably write a few posts about my experiences with Taxi drivers. I can blog about the various inefficiencies in the system. I can blog about how in Egypt you don't say what's on your mind, and how you gotta find a nice way to getting around saying what you want and only hinting it. I can blog about how in Egypt people are all talk and no action. When someone says "I will do X tomorrow," it doesn't mean a thing. I can blog about my adorable little cousin. I can blog about how unique the Egyptian slang is. I can blog about how exciting a drive in Cairo can be :).

Instead, I will tell you again about my male friends. They have changed so much, though I haven't been away for long. The thing is, they haven't matured! They seem younger, more childish. There is an alarming increase of homosexual jokes. It's a little hard to explain the nature of the jokes if you're not immersed in Egyptian culture. They're not homophobic jokes. It's the sort of thing where two guys pretend they're a couple and make jokes about what they're gonna do or what they like about each other! I'm not sure how to label that. To an outsider this will sound like a gay group of friends. I assure you though, they're not gay, they're not even curious. I'm not sure how to explain this behaviour.

The jokes have become very cheap. Nothing is off limits. Family, seniors, children... whatever comes to your mind. This puts the homosexual jokes into perspective I think. Religions seems to be the only subject that's relatively safe. It's hard to understand this if you don't know that the usual Egyptian gathering of friends is largely composed of making jokes and laughing, of remembering old funny anecdotes. This is central to the Egyptian culture. I don't think the jokes are that cheap with everybody though, I think it's just them.

The disregard for women is at an all time high. The idea that women are less than men is a given. Is it because they've all suffered from a tough break-up? Is it the culture? Women are creatures that are to be approached with care. You have to talk to them in their own language. Egyptian men are schizophrenic. One personality when women are around, when when they aren't. Perhaps all men are like that, but it's a lot more noticeable now... or here.

A non-veiled woman walks on the street and they all turn their heads. They check out every part of her body like they haven't seen a woman before. There is no difference between them and the 'bawabeen' (building doormen) when they look at women. Mind you some of them have girlfriends. I especially hate it when it's a rude look, when the woman knows you are looking at her, when you fix your eyes on her as she goes by. It takes away from their freedom I think. It's a double standard. They see a woman and go "oh look at her xxx...," but when they're with their girlfriends, they can't stand anyone looking at her. I don't get it. Is it sexual suppression? Have we become unable to look at women without sex in the equation?

I feel the pressure to become like them. In fact feel the influence already, I'm giving in a little. Jeez that makes me sound like a Saint or something!!! By the way, I do like my friends :), just remind me to find more positive things to blog about.


Blogger Zee Puppette said...

well, I think ur friends resemble the majority of egyptian guys. What u just listed is far away from surprising really. Its not only sexual supression,its ultimate supericiality and ignorance. Those r the kinda guys which i'd probobly hear saying: there's a kind if girls to marry n others to go out with. N they're also the ones which will probably abuse their wives in the future. They're also the kind of people which i'll call uneducated without feeling hesitant u know. they r literate maybe, but totally ignorant and uneducated. N yeah, they're fun to be with n everything, but because their opinions n thoughts are actually who they are n its deeply rooted, they're not the ones who r goin to change. Eventually he whole am-the-male-am-the-center-of-the-world kinda attitude will take its toll.
And abt the whole gay act-up thing...I think its sick!

10:54 AM

Blogger Reham said...

ew3a ya MC!! ew3a tkoon just like them

9:25 PM

Blogger Will E. said...

It's a chain, they've already given in to the pressures around them.. and without strength of character so will you.. The problem with people is that they don't just want to have a certain opinion but they want everyone around them to have that same one too.. It's part of not accepting the other, and women are not accepted, and therefore an alternate opinion about women is not accepted.. circular really..

11:38 AM

Blogger Marwa Rakha said...

Reading your words reminded me of my brother. I was just at his wedding and I could not help wondering how very different we are.

What your friends do and how they think is culture .. it is also the safe rock they hide behind at times, and at other times they put the rock on their eyes... hang on in there.

10:10 PM

Anonymous DCM said...

Well, young guys look at women. Of course they act differently with their girlfriends. Otherwise the girlfriends might get mad and all the effort and money spent on them is wasted.

10:43 PM

Blogger N said...

that the friends of who you seem to be, and probably most of my guy friends as well, are like that makes me sad.
This behaviour, and perception of women, has no basis or roots in any religeon or theology.
where do they get off being like that? it's ignorance, i'm sorry i'm saying this about your friends, but they do take away from women's freedom, every day every second bit by bit till we get suffocated and feel there is no where to go for some peace and space. if only they knew how they ruined our days..

11:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Essentially I agree with Marwa.
Your friends behavior describes the current glue to the culture, here and everywhere. But it can change. It is changing.

Which side do you want to be on: the side that becomes changed, or the agent which helps cause the change?

Edo River rising

1:47 PM

Blogger Will E. said...

N: in light of our conversation on your blog, here's a thought.. maybe women in the old days needed to be treated lesser than men, but now as man (and woman) has evolved, they don't need to be treated as lesser beings anymore.. more like equals.. Maybe they didn't know what to do with equality back then but now they do.. just a thought :p

12:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue is access to education. Before men decided that it would be a waste of resources and time to educate women. No one asked women's opinion about anything. Actually men were more stupid before, than women. The men now have smartened up a little, while the women have the same common sense, only lacking in education to get access to the truth and other services they deserve.

REMEMBER THIS: man's first teacher is a woman. Do you prefer one who is educated or ignorant as your mother?

Edo River rising

3:15 PM

Anonymous Mohammed El-Hakim said...

Yea yea yea,. First you teach them not to talk about sex. Ever since they were born. "No no no, don't bring up this subject, this is taboo." Then at a certain stage of life, when the human being matures, they do not find support neither from school nor parents to explain what's happening and why they suddenly feel attracted to the other sex. A couple of months later they realize how cool it is to exchange dirty magazines in class, without teachers notice and hide them well at home. Then they get enlightened to the world of the internet ! "What can you do with the internet ? Download porn ! Why not something else ? Because I have not learned about sex yet and would like to know more."
Every day we subconciously watch sexual material on TV. Wether you believe it or not, all them videoclips have something erotic in them. And now you blame the guys...
Women are not like men. They're not less, but they're different. And there's definitely a reason why there are males and females. Why don't we just accept biology and human nature the way it is ?
I like to look at beautiful women. I can't help it. And if I didn't like that, people would think I have sexual problems. In fact, I'd think that myself. I still don't stare at them because I am well educated and have seen enough women in my life.
A couple of years ago, I lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Women would cover their faces and bodies. What most of the people do not understand, is that they're not always forced to do that, it's their culture. And guess what, it does make a difference, women are not bothered by guys looking at them. And guys have full focus and concentration on what they're up to.
Do not blame the people here. It's not their fault. It's an entire system based on brainwash and "stay as far as possible from politics".

7:02 AM

Blogger N said...

mohamed el hakim: are you kidding me?
you want women to wear tents because men have unfortuante sexual education? thats the solution? how can you victimize men so much to the point where they really have no control over offending women and violating their personal space?
no one ever told men not to look at women. women look at men too you know. but there is an appreciative look, and there is an "i am undressing you while i stare at you for 5 mins and treating you like a whore in my mind" look. no women will ever complain from being appreciated, its being degraded that sets us off. i would like to think that men have some control over their urge to degrade women.

10:22 AM

Anonymous Juka said...

I completely agree with N. I can't believe that we are a point that all that ails the universe is the woman's fault and the man is a mere victim driven to act like an idiot and a perv. Oh PLEASE!

12:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a shifting of power in the West, and soooooooo slowly, but as women achieve more access to education, and jobs even if they are paid less. Their influence on society will only grow.

There is one issue that has not been discussed here and I am waiting for someone to bring it up ie. the Mother--son relationship that is one of the sources of this problem. How can I say that? Just think for a moment.

Edo River rising

12:59 PM

Anonymous Mohammed El-Hakim said...

looks like someone didn't really read my post carefully enough.

1:13 PM

Blogger Nephthys said...

"Egyptian men are schizophrenic. One personality when women are around, when when they aren't. Perhaps all men are like that, but it's a lot more noticeable now... or here."

Can't agree more, i see it in the streets, work, transportations, books, blogs and in the comments too:)

if we could forget about biology for a little bit and search for the mind, it would be better.

11:34 AM

Anonymous faisal said...

Im guilty of checking girls out, I have to admit. But I glance (once, sometimes three or four times) and take pains so that they wouldn't notice.

I think girls are amazing creatures. I do it in front of my girl-friend who tolerates it, apparently, because, and I quote: "You won't do anything about it."


Whatever it is that I do, kol kelma 2oltaha 7a2 ya MC. Every single one.

PS If you don't agree with what they're doing or saying: don't give in.

11:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your friends are losers. You are at risk of becoming just like them. Full stop.

Solutions: Talk sense into your friends (if there's any room in their atrophied heads), or get new friends.

5:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am neither Egyptian nor from any arab a woman of color living in the U.S, and yes i do find most egyptian men attractive. I'm thinking of visiting Egypt, but with this egyptian men fetish..hmm i dunno. Anyway, a friend of mine says men pays alot of attention to the blondes (thank God) does that mean i wouldn't get a lot harassment from them? pls.. help...And is all young egyptian men this way?

7:51 PM


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