The Peculiar Arab Chronicles
2011 COLUMN CONTEST WINNER
Nour is an Egyptian girl in her late teens; she is an Asian-sized person with a very long tongue. This description is neither literal nor perverted; it’s an Arabic metaphor for the tendency to be a smart ass with no manners. How she is so small is one of the world’s wonders, because if food were a crime, she would most certainly get life without the possibility of parole, if not the death penalty (death by sautéing, I presume). She likes and dislikes way too many things. Oh, and she is not big on charity.
Love and Defecation.
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or Bends with the remover to remove.
O, no! It is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.
It is the star to every wandering bark,
whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
— William Shakespeare
So in short, love is that thing that obliges you to pretend to respect opposing views, wear deodorant, and fight your gag reflex to watch a movie not of your liking for a special someone.
Love is one of the few default elements in life… much like defecation. You need it for the general satisfaction of your nether region. Some have the good fortune of a healthy bowel movement. Others have constipation and genuine resentment towards those who are doing it so regularly.
Why me? They must wonder, as they write sad songs about love’s painful absence, because while they’re spending the night home alone with a homemade enema, others so easily contract explosive diarrhea.
Love, in Shakespearean and entirely unscientific terms comes out of your heart and you cannot mess with it, the same why poop comes out your anus, and you cannot mess with that either… unless you’re an underpaid Japanese porn star.
From this loving-is-pooping perspective, I systematically scanned my environment to learn something new about my fellow Arabs: how they love!
We’re very passionate people by nature. We throw shoes at those who disagree with us and yell when we greet each other—not to mention the occasional bombing when you really hit a nerve. I hate to break stereotypes, but some aren’t like that. They’re all soft and civilian! And they defecate rather differently as well.
This is why I’ve categorized the different types of affairs that are only available in a country where no one owns an umbrella.
They refer to themselves as “lovers” and modestly flirt via eyelashes, missed calls, and text messages. Arabs are not too keen on public affection, or intimacy, or any physical expression of emotion between a man and a woman. This is troublesome for obvious reasons for a betrothed you couple, so the modest girl must modestly incite the modest guy in order to retain a modest virgin aura. To do so, she resorts to frequent eyelash fluttering and the very Egyptian, cat-and-mouse calling. Usually the guy calls the girl who is not supposed to answer (as not to cost him money), but merely indulge herself in the ringtone.
Unfortunately, the Egyptian movie industry revolves around this category of lovers, which results in grossly sexual movies. Despite showing little skin, they somehow manage to out sexualize French movies (which aren’t gross at all, for obvious reasons!) through this modest-sexually-suppressed demeanor. It’s like being stuck in a humid human-sized, misty glass bottle with your parents fondling each other.
These are people who have been soaked in the bitterness of their own tears inside the sad, rusty jar that is their life. They are single, and acutely aware of it. This category includes the fat, the flat, the spinsters, the widows, the ugly, and the barren. The celibacy takes its toll on the males first, who then channel their frustration onto the closest female relative or neighbor. They refer to themselves as “secret admirers,” with extra emphasis on the secret. Their hobbies include stalking, hair sniffing and love letter writing.
Female pickles, on the other hand, merely eat and glare at their surroundings. If love really was poop, they would kill for the weakest breeze of a fart.
This is when a pickle meets a romantic, and they fall in shit.
It’s double the misery, because they’re in pairs. They’re always a young couple; old sufferers go to a retirement farm or switch to full-time pickles. They suffer from the same old sob story, it’s either lack of money, parental approval or less likely, conflict over religion. They must spend several years eye fluttering and text messaging, before finally coming to terms with reality.
As far as Egyptians movies are concerned, one of the sufferers must die or get paralyzed from the waist down by the end of the movie. Also they must feature a train in a climatic moment.
When the sufferers do it, baby.
To Arabs this is the equivalent of taking a gun to the relationship’s head and pulling the trigger. Theoretically speaking, intimacy should breed love and pheromones. But apparently, all it does is “taint” the affair. The girl is commonly grief-stricken to the loss of her ticket to the land of the happily married, while the guy is hit with the sudden realization that he cannot marry a girl who slept with him before marriage.
In movies, the sinful always produce an illegitimate “seed,” which is to be flushed out by an unethical doctor in a shady clinic. The girl is destined to wretchedness and shame, while the guy moves on and marries a “good” woman.
They were lucky enough to evade the four categories but ended in the fifth and worst.
This category includes everyone in their late 20s and above.
They are fucking married.
SUGGESTED READSDiversity In the News: Column 5: You Can Sleep When You’re Dead
by Ellen Ferguson (1/6/2011)
The Convergences Contest: Contest Winner #11: Love and War
by Kim Wood (6/27/2006)
No Fear of Flying: Kamikaze Missions in Death, Sex, and Comedy: Hail Mary
by Michelle Mirsky (6/20/2012)
RECENTLYMorgan and Jeff’s Divorce Party Invitation
by Blythe Roberson (3/7/2014)
List: The University’s Pre-Spring Break Lecture Series
by Paul Gaszak (3/7/2014)
Dispatches from Iceland: Stykkisholmur: Eating the Pylsur of Heaven, Part One
by Kurt Caswell (3/7/2014)
POPULARKama Sutra for Couples Who Have Been Dating for Over Three Years
by Chelsea Davison (1/15/2014)
Open Letters: An Open Letter to Men On the Subway, Specifically During Morning Rush Hour On the A Train Between Jay Street and Canal
by Jenna Clark Embrey (2/21/2014)
I Hope You Enjoy This Artisanal Knuckle Sandwich
by Keith Wisniewski (2/26/2014)