October 21, 2007

Blind Dates...



I have a "friend" let's call her Mona...

Mona is supposedly a friend, or pretends to be, or at least we have this tacit agreement to pretend that we are indeed "friends."

Mona wants to be my friend.
My heart tells me, beware...
But I play along, the social game of "friendship," female friendships.

Feminine Solidarity ? Please do not make me laugh...
And if you add, femin(ist) to it, you will be cracking me up in giggles...

You must be wondering why all of this ? Wait till you hear my latest.

Mona calls me. She says:

- Hiiiiiiii, why don't you ever pick your phone?

Mona has a "strange way" of extending, stretching her words...

- Mona, hello, I hate phones. You know me.(or so I assumed)

- Listen, I want you to meet him.

- Him, who is him ?

- Listen, he is a grrrrreat guy. He is a man of this world?

- Man of this world? You mean a playboy, an Arab Don Juan, an Arab Casanova ?

- oufffff Laylaaaa. Why do you have to complicate things. He is divorced, and has been around...I think you should meet him.-

- Been around ? What do you mean?

- Ya'aani, you know what I mean. He has been around...

Of course, I did not know what she meant by "been around"...

What was this guy? Some kind of Marco Polo on some discovery expedition of "new territory" ?

- Mona, if he is so swell, why don't you date him yourself ?

- Laylaaaaaaaa, you know how much am into X.

X. happens to be some guy who dates every air head in town... Mona loves X and hopes she will "land" him soon...

I have often wondered why some women use the word "land."

Are they fighter pilots, about to land some airplane in stormy weathers?

Like " please fasten your seat belts, put your life saving jacket and head to the nearest exit" kind of landing ?

and Mona goes on...

- Yalla, enough. Your ass is full of cellulite from too much sitting around computers...

- How do you know Mona, have you seen my ass ?

- Noooooooo, but you are always sitting around some computer...

- My ass is in perfect shape, despite occupations and what have you...

- efffff, Layla. Yallaaaaa meet him, forget about politics.

Frankly, I had my cell phone in one hand, and my eyes on some report on Iraqi women, and to shut her up...I said:

- Ok, Mona, I shall meet him, Next ?

- Grrrrreat. I will give him your phone number, and wear a dress plzzz.

- Okkkkkay Mona, I shall...byeeeee


A few hours later , my "beau" calls me. We arrange for a very blind date, late afternoon.

Late afternoon is not early evening, is not early dinner, is not late night drinks.
Late afternoon is late afternoon.

To cut a long story short, I wear a dress, black, of course. And for a change, pick a pair of high heel shoes...put some lipstick and dab some perfume and am all set...for the emergency exit.

The place where I live is filled with holes...
What I mean is that the pavements are covered with huge cracks.
Of course, "Layla on a date," had to step into one of them and trip with her high heels.

And here I was, landing on my face and ending up with a sprained ankle and a bruised elbow, thinking of my "beau" waiting for me...

What a bad omen, I thought to myself...

I picked myself up and hailed a cab. They would stop and stare, honk and drive away...

As you know, there a theee things you really don't want to mess with in the Arab world. The three sh's...

1) Shurta (police). 2) Shofarieh (taxi drivers) and 3) sharameet (hookers).


What the fuck is going on here?

Last time I felt so jinxed was during my brother's wedding when his wife threw her wedding bouquet my way...

Ever since, I have known no peace. And we got invaded soon after...Not that am blaming my sister in law for that.


To cut a long story short, I finally made it to our "rendez vous."

I looked around, searching and "my beau" was nowhere to be seen.

I finally spotted some guy in a dark suit, sitting in a corner holding a cigar...

I secretly prayed "God, please don't let it be him..."

Again, God did not listen to my prayers... For it was him indeed.

I waved in a Mona style,"hiiiiiii", and introduced myself...

Oh Mama ! What a moment of truth...

Finally seated, I faced Marco Polo or should I call him Robinson Crusoe?

- Sorry am late, I...(of course I could not tell him I fell on my face, sprained my ankle, and bruised my elbow).

-It's okay, he waved, sucking on his cigar...

Oh Mama! I had one look at his face and all I could see was some horizontal mustache spread from ear to ear like some Antar.

You know Antar? He is the guy from the fable of Antar and Abla. The stud who saves Abla. And I was no Abla for sure...

I was just a Layla with an excruciating pain in my ankle and high heels shoes too tight for my poor feet.

But,I was not the only one with "tight" around.
He, too had a tie so tightly knotted around his neck, I felt he was about to die, from self strangulation any minute now...

His face took on red colors and he looked as if he was gasping for air...from the tie.

I nearly fainted...

I was polite despite my fainting bouts...too polite if you ask me. I tried "Western Christian" tolerance...

After all, it is not his fault for having such a long mustache and only God knows how much I hate facial hair. Maybe a reaction to seeing too many bearded ones suddenly sprouting out of nowhere...

I did what I do best, let the other talk, except this one would not stop...

My listening skills consisted of monosyllables, like " hmmm, ohhh, ahh, emmm..."

But the "tournure", the turning point came about when Marco Polo asked, sucking on his cigar :

- So what do you do for fun?

- Fun?...(I had lost the meaning of the word fun for quite some time. What is fun ?)

I know your brave boys shooting for fun, or raping for fun...Someone give me a new definition of fun. NOW please.

Of course, Mr. Marco Polo did not even bother to hear my reply, he continued...

- Entertainment has become so available and cheap these days.

- Oh really ? What kind ?

- You know...

And I saw that twinkling smile in the corner of his eyes, overshadowing his horizontal mustache...giving it some brightness, some light...some force...some male power...

- No I don't (playing dumb as usual)

- You know, ever since...

- Ever since ?

- Ever since, you know, Iraq ...

- What do you mean ?

- Ever since...there are so many "poor" Iraqi women around...


He needed say no more...I understood. Perfectly, understood.


If there is one aspect of the Occupation that I detest most...
If there is one consequence of the American Occupation that I loathe the most, it is that one...

Of course, I hate all of its aspects, but this one is the hardest to swallow...

That of seeing young and old Iraqi women, selling themselves...

Never mind your Adam Smith theories of supply and demand. Never mind, your old adage of it being the oldest trade around. I simply don't buy it.

My question is thus, how many horizontal mustaches "sin frontera" did it take?


Ok, let me try again.

How many motherfuckers, Americans and various other nationalities did it take to turn our women into forced " prostitutes" ?


Are you shocked by the words "motherfucker" ?

Everytime you "fuck" with one of us, you are a motherfucker...

You are indeed fucking your own mother.

Does not matter if she is 16 or 60.

We are holders of that "essential knowledge" being the first and most likely the last around...

And no, you know nothing about civilizations. You are too busy with "it".

But our women do...They know everything about it. They saw it. They saw civilization in pieces, reflected in your eyes, whilst you were doing your thing... and whilst they thought of their kids and the bare, empty, rotting, dining tables...


Despite their heavy make-up.
Despite their dancing around some cigar smoker, horizontally mustached Antar.
Despite waiting for those 5 dollars bills falling in their lap after some "motherfucker" like yourself, has thrown it their way...

WE hold that knowledge.

And we fuck you, you don't fuck us... Do remember that one.

Since you could not get us through sanctions and bombs, you try to get us through our bodies...

Oh! That body, how many a times it was violently exposed to your lust.

Reality is crude and I am Reality.

How you lusted after those virgin breasts, those virgin thighs, those well preserved openings...

You did everything in your power to make sure the gates would open...

Forcibly open, for some horizontally mustached guy or some clean cut brave boy, or some impotent cigar smoker motherfucker handing out his dollar bills...

A 5 or 10 dollar bill that will feed a baby's suckling mouth. A 5 or 10 dollar bill
that will buy some bread, finally delivered on some rotting table...

And you can go on sucking on your cigars, slogans, theories or whatever the fuck that turns you on...

And you spend the rest of your time filling in gaps...

Finding the right words, the right sentence, the right political theory that "fits."

That fits the holes...that fits..."the sociological" anaylsis...of cause and effect....and you produce your articles.

So well thought out, so well structured, so well balanced...
Articles, statistics, reportage, documentaries, films...
And you celebrate great achievements. You stroke your shoulder, in moments of nostalgia, remembering that pat on the back...for being o'so humane...

And you lay back, smoking your cigar or your slogan, like some brave hero, figuring out what to say next...


And I sit here, on a blind date, searching...
Searching for some hand that will save me...save me from words, from perceptions...from theories, from a reality that you created and are too busy analyzing, explaining, defining...or fucking...

And I sit here, across some horizontally mustached man...
And I see in his eyes hundreds of horizontal women, waiting, in the blindness of the night, waiting...for it to be over, for it to cease, for it to turn around...


And I can't help think, of them, of me, of us...And I see your faces, turned away, theorizing, cashing in, or shooting...

All blindly...shooting away words, shoooting away bullets, shooting away...some virility...

Sucking on cigars, or sucking on guns...

And I look around and see nothing but blind faces, blind eyes, blind souls...and wonder with all this blindness, when will the final date come.



Painting: Iraqi artist, Raed Farhan.