gender bending: all’s fair in Arabic chat
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 18, 2008
Lak, my friend C (not his real initial – I’m calling him C for “Casanova”) said online to me the other day, during an inconsequential chat about the weather in our various parts of the world
“Lak”? I said back, confused. “Lak” means, more or less, “Look, you (male)”. I’ve mentioned before that because of my name I am often addressed as “Sir” – but surely C should have lived up to his nom de blog and sorted out my gender by now.
Ma bta3erfi shou ma3net lak? C asked – or, “You don’t know what “lak” means?”
How about “leyki”? I replied. As in: hello, I am not a guy.
Oh well, C said, unruffled. True. But when flirting, you bypass gender – like Um Kulthoum, or Abdul Haleem.
Hunh. I didn’t know that, I thought. Nor would I have had the chutzpah to put myself in league with two of the Arab world’s best-known 20th-century artists. But I can figure it out – and I can do it too.
Leyki, I wrote.
Looooooool, C replied. You can’t do that.
Sigh. I don’t see why not: after all, turnabout is surely fair play. But then again, I did start the week by attending a “master class” rehearsal of one of Shakespeare’s many cross-dressing romances.
So I switched back to English, and we moved on to safer subjects, like the health of various family members. No need for flirting-friendly genders there 🙂 .