A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

aggression with silicone: Beirut husband-hunters

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 2, 2006

My friend Katherine, who usually lives in Damascus, has been spending the fall in Beirut. It looks like she has been putting her time there to good use, documenting one of the scarier aspects of life in Beirut: the desperately competitive Christian and westernized Muslim and Druze women. My women friends are one of the greatest gifts in my life – but friendship in Beirut reminds me of middle school.

Katherine says:

“For a few weeks twice a year, after Ramadan and before Christmas, thousands of Lebanon’s young men return from jobs abroad – and run smack into one of the world’s most aggressive cultures of female display. Young women of means have spent weeks primping and planning how to sift through as many men as possible in the short time available.”
The sad thing is how little choice they have. As Samir Khalaf, one of her interview subjects, points out, the male-female ratio in Lebanon – and particularly among men and women of marriageable age – is almost 1:5. This isn’t the United States – without a husband, a Lebanese woman has a much more difficult time being accepted as a full member of society. When I’m not actively frightened of them, I have great sympathy for the lubneiniyyat – their lives are not easy, and the standards by which they are judged (weight, fashion, beauty) are not kind to the poor or the aging – or to the smart, the intellectual, and the hard working.

I’m not sure that Samir Khalaf is the most logical choice to serve as a source of wisdom on this subject, but he certainly is media-friendly.

The rest of Katherine’s article is available here: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/02/news/beirut.php?page=1


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