If confidence is the sexiest trait and sex sells, why isn't Karim Rahman getting laid/making money? Our self-proclaimed sex columnist wonders...
According to an article I stumbled upon while trying to illegally download a book, the average man thinks about sex once every two hours. Surprisingly, the average woman thinks about sex twice as much. Not one to take the word of accredited psychologists at face value, I decided to do some research of my own. Between varying results and blatant exaggerations, I've come to the conclusion that there is no average rate for the amount of times someone thinks about sex. There is no average man and there certainly isn't an average woman (backing my sisters up here). Truth is, sex is something we constantly seem to be thinking about. Whether it's the actual act of carnal pleasure or just wearing a sexy cute dress to impress the gentlemen, it's a background to most of our thoughts and actions.
In a big city like Cairo, where there are over 9.12 million people, sexual tension is the plat du jour. Whether it's in the form of sexual harassment on the streets or a classier version of it at one of the socialite-laden parties scattered around town, sex is constantly there. I'm not entirely free of blame; I think about sex ,or rather the lack of it in my life, all the time. It's quite common knowledge for anyone that knows me that I am not an overtly sexual human being. In layman’s terms, I just don’t have that much sex. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that a certain amount of feelings should be involved before you can sleep with someone (I would never call it "making love", though). While most people in my culture may agree with my point of view (replace the term "feelings" with "marriage"), some are just natural born rebels.
In an attempt to celebrate being a successful, young thing trying to make it in the big city with even bigger dicks, I went out with G for a night of sashimi, wasabi and a whole lot of sex talk. A couple glasses of wine into our successful, young thing dinner and we were compiling a list of all the people we were ever with; that includes kissing, inappropriate frottage, making out, blowjobs or the holy grail that is "all the way." With me racking up a total of eight (compared to G's staggering 28), I was faced with the fact that, for someone who was (watch out: self-delusion coming your way) garnering a lot of attention and scrutiny as a sex columnist, I wasn't having that much of it.
A recent theory I came up with, while strolling around Zamalek the other day, is that most recent shop owners/entrepreneurs seem to be all sexed up, with bulging biceps and tight t-shirts, long skinny legs and short dresses. Not that I have any problem with that because, seriously, we need prettier people running businesses here in this country, but it got me thinking…Did looking like that give them the confidence push they needed to take the leap, invest 75% of their net worth and start a business? Did it help with sales?
Popping up everywhere I looked, sex, apparently, was no longer confined to the bedroom and, in a culture where the topic was of the darkest and unfathomable taboos, that was a surprising feat. "Nobody cares about your accomplishments if you have a belly and a receding hairline. Sex sells, Kiki," a friend of mine told me during one of our frequent midnight rants. I was never one to base my own self-worth solely on how I looked, but…should I have? Sure, I may not have bulging biceps or distracting pectorals, but I was fine with that. The question, however, was this: was the rest of the world okay with that? In a world where sex gets you places, did more sex appeal mean more power? In fact, how important is sex?
Here's the thing: in the Cairo social scene, double standards rule supreme. Everyone wants you to think they're having sex but they don't want you or anyone to talk about it (just as long as it’s implied). Every guy wants to get laid, but would settle for nothing less than a virgin to settle down with. It's only sexual harassment if the person harassing you is ugly and you can't call a girl "sexy" because she's wearing a short dress but she'd be offended if you didn't. If you're a virgin then you must be a prude, but if you're not then you're a slut. There's no winning here. In a city where sex is the elephant in the room that everybody loves pretending they don't see, I started to question my own position in the sexual hierarchy. Is it okay to not care about how others view me sexually? I'd love to turn heads by simply walking into a room (and I do, but for flamboyant wardrobe choices rather than sex appeal) but would it be so wrong to just be okay with the way I looked? Wasn't confidence the sexiest trait a person can have?
In the end, it was quite clear to me that the pressure of being sexy and of how high your sex appeal should be far outweighed the pleasure of actually having sex, or feeling sexy. You're still going to be judged whether you want to or not. You're still going to be thinking about sex in the back of your mind whether you'd like to admit it or not, and you're certainly going to hope that providing your new boutique with a sexy image will get you more customers. If you're going to go through that anyway, you might as well just be comfortable with who you are and how you look.
But now and again, you get that friendly reminder that things don't always have to be so black and white and that your morals and self-values can change at any given moment. While walking home late one night from a party, I got the most sincere and heartfelt: "Hey sexy, do you need a ride?" from an oncoming stranger who was kind enough to slowly drive by. After the necessary amount of indignation and confusion about whether or not to feel like a two dollar hooker, I couldn't help the smile that tugged at my lips as I took the stairs back to my apartment.
Sometimes, it’s good to feel sexy.