It's a hard knock life.
It's no easy feat, being a girl - that's multiplied tenfold when you're an Egyptian girl. Between the endless bad hair days, the constant questions about why you aren't married yet – and the subsequent accusatory stares as if you've committed a crime by not having a husband lined up – and foreigners simply not understanding why you, as a grown-ass human over 21 years of age, still have to ask your dad for permission to travel for the weekend – it's a toughie. Here are some things most of the Egyptian female population can probably relate to...
1. Having to explain to foreigner why you still have a curfew when you’re 25. Why are you asking your parents for permission; you’re an adult. Ummm, because my mommy and daddy said so, okay? Why do you even live with your parents in the first place? You’re an adult. *sigh* White people; they'll never get it.
2. When you meet a male friend while you’re with your parents somewhere and you guys make that awkward eye contact that means DO NOT DO CHEEK KISSES, DO NOT DO HUGS; only stiff handshakes are allowed. In fact, if you can limit touching altogether, all the better. Baba is watching.
3. When you attempt to explain to your foreign friends that no, I cannot use a tampon; I can only use pads that make squishy sounds when I move so it seems like I’m wearing diapers, because I don’t want to lose my virginity to a tampon - which is apparently, according to all our Egyptian mothers and grandmothers, what happens when you use a tampon. Even if the box and general science says it doesn’t.
4. You have to provide a detailed report of where you are, who you’re with, and who their parents are at any given time. Telling your parents ‘I’m going out’ is not a thing. A proper report must be submitted prior, during, and after your outing.
5. Knowing that if you do not answer your phone in the first seven seconds, your mother WILL call you nonstop and then begin to call each of your friends individually, frantically searching for you. It will be awkward and embarrassing.
6. Any time you come home past 10 PM or, God forbid, you spend an entire day out from morning to night, you are faced with your mother’s screeches of “AHHHH benty say3a fel shaware3 – allaho a3lam enti bte3meli EHHHH.” I haven't been out prostituting myself mother, I swear.
7. Having to constantly hear the phrase “wel bawab hayefteker eh?” The fuck do I care what the bawab thinks? You can’t come home late because of the bawab. You can’t wear a short dress because of the bawab. Keep in mind, the word bawab can be replaced with virtually anyone. Apparently everybody’s primary concern in life is to scrutinise yours. What will the bawab think? What will people think? What will the waiters think? What will the cats think?
8. Having to always pretend like no male hand has ever touched your body because you're scared that, otherwise, everyone will think you’re a harlot and no one will want to marry you. What? What is this making out you speak of? No, no, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Geez, how 3eib.
9. Having to constantly explain why you’re not married, and when you say there’s no one in your life right now you are met with a sad stare as if you just told them that your house burned down.
10. Whenever you’re at a family gathering – or anywhere with an old crowd, really – people are just trying to marry you off to their sons/nephews; like, literally pulling out photos of their kid who looks like a constipated Ron Weasley and showing them to you with giant creepy smiles on their faces, saying, “eh ra2yeeeek?” as if you’re going to be like ‘Yes, yes! Let us marry!’
11. Having to endure a never-ending stream of strange numbers calling you and the subsequent heavy breathing of the creeper on the other line. HHHHHHHHH.
12. You have to start waxing when you’re, like, nine. And then there’s the whole having to explain to foreigners the need to do halawa. Why don’t you just shaaaave? Because I’m not white; if I shave, my hair will grow back like a bear.
13. Having to constantly hear the phrase “ommal hatakhdy balek men gozek ezzay?” every time you can’t make a batch of molokheya or something. Perhaps I don’t actually plan on being my husband’s full time cook.
14. Everyone of your generation shares your name.
15. When you're an Egyptian girl and you can’t actually belly dance. You've basically brought shame upon your household.