Showing the Jones we are Good Girls


Anna and I hosted a party at our mansion two days ago. We’ve got the ultimate space for a good house party, but we are expected to be ‘good’ girls and have no male visitors, no loud music and no booze in the house. We thought we could kind of fool the people in our building by starting early at 5, but most of our friends started coming around 8 anyway.  A few of our friends are devout muslims and showed their faces at the local mosque ( the mosque right next door) which can’t be a bad sign. If people see we’ve got pious (muslim) friends they might  believe there is still hope for us (as far as I know our neighbourhood and building is predominantly muslim). We had a very relaxed, civilized little gathering, where the amount of booze consumed was only a plastic bag full. Since we are good girls we didn’t want to put all the bottles and cans in the bin right outside our flat so the bawaab (sort of concierge), who empties all the bins on an almost-daily basis, would find the evidence of our sins and gossip about it so the whole building would know that we’re dirty little whores. So all bottles and cans with apple-juice-for-grown-ups and other stuff went into a separate bag and the last remaining non-muslim friend was kindly asked to dispose of it in a bin on the main road on his way out. If our bawaab had inspected our rubbish, which he would have done, he would have been able to tell that we had a party besides the fact that he and other residents of the building would have heard people coming and going from our flat. He would have found our bin full of plastic plates and cutlery and bits of food but no evidence of any drinks (soft drinks were consumed but no bottles or cartons were emptied). We and our guest have only been drinking water and tea. How good are we…

How sad are we that we have to keep up a certain image which is deemed respectable to our neighbours. How sad are our neighbours that they ‘force’ us to behave like this. But even if our attempts to keep up appearance failed because we are loose western women no matter what we do or don’t do, what difference would that make?  We would keep on living our lives. They might gossip about us, which they probably do anyway, but that’s about it. We don’t know what is really in their heads but we know what’s in ours. We know we’re good people, who work hard and are grateful for the Egypt-experience, although it’s not always easy. We’re grateful for the the flat we live in and the friends we have. How wrong can it be to celebrate that.


About Lemba

Non-conformist Writing Soul and Language Geek from the Lowlands with a South London accent, currently living a nomadic, location- independent lifestyle. While executing the Big Fat Writing Plan I’m invading cyberspace with my views on 'expat living', travel and other lifestyle choices, current affairs and other randomness. Welcome to the Dark Fairy Zone.

6 responses »

  1. It is not limited to you as a foreigner. An Egyptian couple would lower their voices when they fight because neighbors might hear and gossip. A girl who comes back home very late will try to sneak so nobody will notice. A married couple will put the used condom in a plastic bag before trashing it in the bin. .etc.

    This does not make nosiness acceptable or justify it. It remains an ugly trait of the society. Or more precisely of certain classes of the society.

    There is a code here: you do what you like to do but you have to keep up appearnances that don’t conflict with the common values of the society…. waite…isn’t that called hypocrisy?!!

    • Hi

      Thanks for your comment.
      Not sure if I should be relieved or saddened by your comment. I previously wrote about the behaviour of (some) Egyptian men towards women and I realized that their (mis)behaviour towards me is not necessarily because I am foreing. Egyptian women have the same problems. Same with gossip I guess. You mention class in this matter. Would you be able to elaborate on this? And to people gossip the way they do here because they are bored?

  2. Hi Lemba!

    It’s nice to see you’re enjoying Egypt and getting a break from Wmin at the same time. I miss you though, so imagine my delight when I realised you’re keeping a blog!

    Enjoy every second of this experience, love, before we’re all too grown up with more responsabilities than we’d like. And don’t mind about the nosiness over there, it’s annoying but part of the cutlure.

    Even in Lebanon everyone is always worried about “shu ra7 y2uulo il jiraan?” Gossip is a big way of life, it keeps us entertained when we’re not on the receiving end of it, and pissed off when we have to cover our tracks when we are. The lengths my granny goes to to make sure she knows everything about others and that they know nothing about her… 🙂

    • Hi Daniel

      Thanks for your comment and so nice to hear from you!
      I love gossip, but is that not what celebrities are for?! The way people here want to mind your business can be rather endearing and also well ff-ing annoying. I mean, don’t these people have a life?! Eh… no.
      Are you in some exotic place at the mo? Hope you’re well and keep me posted!


      • Hehe, that’s the thing Lem, they don’t have a life! I’ve known the Arabs to be like this all my life…it’s just one of those things you have to take on the chin I’m afraid. In the Mid East everyone is a celebrity and worth talking about it seems.

        I’m still in exotic London actually, I passed over the chance to go abroad – I have too much going on here. Also I want to go back to Italy next year, so the quicker I finish at Westminster the better.

        I wouldn’t say no to an invite to Iskanderiyya though…


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