Saturday, July 31, 2010

American guys have it EASY.

We've learned a lot from my cousins about dating in Egypt. Lots of things that you know are the norms in other cultures, but that are fascinating to learn about firsthand with your other-side-of-the-globe counterparts.

For one, it is absolutely unheard of for a guy to approach a girl he does not know. Proper suitors are either friends of friends/family, or school/work-mates. You see a cute girl across the cafe you want to get to know? Too bad, sir. My cousin's friend once had a perfect stranger give her flowers and a note. He was rewarded with a bouquet of flowers in the face. Whether she had any interest or not, that is the only proper way for a real lady to respond to such a gesture.

Also, it is not usually allowed for young women to have a "boyfriend". If a man is interested in a woman, he should let her parents know he wishes to marry her, and then they get to know one another during their engagement. My 22 year old cousin is one of the exceptions, as her boyfriend is still in school and does not yet have a home/etc. Her parents approved of him and his family, so they allowed him to be her boyfriend. For now.

Before the couple can marry, then man must buy a home and a car, and deposit a sum of money into the woman's account (which she usually uses to furnish their new home). As you can imagine, a woman would never consider a man from a lower economic background or with less education than herself.

Once married, the woman usually does not work of course. However, she is perfectly free to have a job if she chooses. The man is still expected to provide for all of the family's needs, while her income is hers alone to spend and she pleases.

I'm thinking maybe it's high time to move to Egypt!

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