A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

in the country of men

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 1, 2007

After a week with no head of state, I’m looking forward to a president – and especially to a law & order one.

Yesterday three men tried to chat me up on my way home from work – two made comments when I walked past, and one apparently assumed that his turning onto the street on which I had been walking indicated some kind of passionate interest in him (rather than in, say, the street, or getting home).

Of the two who approached me, one was an ISF guy (of course …) and he simply said: “helween”. The other was an older man, standing on the sidewalk in the way that so many men do here – catching flies, as the expression goes. To be honest, I don’t know what he said, because he spoke so softly. But I do know from years of experience in the region that when men standing on the street step forward and start speaking in an undertone, they do it only to women – and the words are not nice.

And this morning, while I was walking home from the gym and from my usual Saturday errands, an old man I passed on the street called me a whore – not accusingly, but again in that soft undertone.

(I should note here that when I go to the gym or out on errands I am not exactly tarted up. Post-gym, carrying dry cleaning and grocery bags, I might at best be mistaken for a slightly mangy soccer mom – and at worst for a housekeeper. But neither of those identities seems likely to inspire much lust – or scorn – in male passersby.)

One of the things that rape counselors always note is that an act of rape is not about sexual desire – its about power. I think the same applies for lesser “sexual” attacks as well – and judging from my experiences the past two days, a good number of men in Lebanon are feeling pretty powerless.

So please, gentlemen of the political and religious classes, sort out your differences and put someone – Sleiman, Harb, Aoun, anyone – on the presidential throne. Reassure these men so that they can get back to their usual hobbies – adjusting the hang of their genitals in their trousers, clipping their fingernails, and offering unsought advice on parking – and leave me in peace.

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2 Responses to “in the country of men”

  1. intlxpatr said

    LLLLOOOLLLLLLL! You NEVER look like the cleaning lady! You always look fresh and sporty and even angelic! Shame on those men, shame, shame. You need your auntie there glaring at them and hitting them with her walking stick!

  2. 🙂 “fresh and sporty and even angelic”? you only think that because when I’m done with the gym I sneak back into your house when you’re busy with something and can’t pay attention to how grubby I am (ask my mom and Sporty D – they’ve gotten the full effect!).

    But yes, come to Beirut – and bring the walking stick. If you can’t whack the whisperers, maybe you can knock some sense into the zu3ama 🙂

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