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.