Lists and parentheses

Posted on June 25, 2008


There are two advantages to being an Egyptian woman, as opposed to an Egyptian man:

  1. No compulsory military service. I can think of nothing that I would not do to avoid that, short of self-mutilation. I’ve heard some good tales regarding avoiding conscription from the men of my acquaintance: alleging homosexuality; purchasing African passports; sham-marrying a non-Arab; and self-exile from Egypt until the age of thirty. I’m really glad I don’t have to do any of that.
  2. The ability to wear skirts. I try, as much as possible, to wear skirts full-time throughout the summer (from May to October), and so do my female friends. It’s effing hot and I appreciate the extra ventilation (although not the increased area of skin available to collect pollution and to stick to filthy seats). In fact, I’m fairly smug about it. It’s not often that there are advantages to womanhood here. Mystic Mo pointed out, however, that men can wear the galabeya if they wish to ventilate. But that’s NOT the same, because there are many places a man cannot go, or will not be treated with respect at, in a galabeya. Moreover, a lot of them are totally see-through and if you have to wear something underneath then it confers no aeration. So, yeah. Whoo-hoo. Now, if someone can direct me to where one can purchase more skirts of Egypt-appropriate length, I’d be grateful.

E and I are going to Italy next month. It ought to be interesting, is all. Our personalities are probably not set up for travel companionship. We agreed about our trip aims beforehand:

  1. Food. Copious food.
  2. Culture and history.

We’ve discarded: hooking up with hot Italian men (I am turned off by European accents and she has a boyfriend); beaches (a person who grew up on Egyptian beaches cannot be expected to adjust to the indifferent weather and rocky shores that an Italian beach offers, apparently); and shopping. Well, I’ll try and fit some shopping in but I’ve kind of lost interest in keeping up with trends, due to lack of affordability and disapproval of current fashions (those empire-waisted/tunic things are unflattering to most), and she lives in Dubai, and so is set for consumerism. Some other ground rules have been established: I get plenty of breaks from walking, and she needs to do something about her teeth at night.
Nothing much else is new. I can’t believe anyone’s even hanging around for this much.

Posted in: Egypt, friends, gender, travel