It’s a guy thing. If you give every woman a dollar for every time she hears that, she’ll be a rich woman. After all, I’m an arab typical male/man/husband. Guilty as charged, yes sir/ma’am. The funny or sad thing is that this mentality carries on anywhere you go. Whether in America or Jordan, an arab man will always be an arab man. So I’m not stand up here and defend the action of an arab immigrant man, but rather will present them hoping that it makes an woman smile, and a man thinking “dude…you have given out the secret”.
On one day, we were invited to a her friends house. She had this Jordanian friend and she wanted to introduce me to her husband. I went along her plans of course. Now, I was brought up in a mansaf infested home. A home where mansaf has a rituals. It has to be made the right way, or else, I start to hallucinate. So we walked in their home and ..uhhhhh..the aroma of jameed and mansaf is filling the house. I knew I was going to be good friends with this guy. The two ladies started the conversation and we got involved. He was a Christian Jordanian man. A very nice man I shall add. So we talked about the usual arab topics; food, politics, and how we value the super bowl commercials. Then came the time for the seductive mansaf to kick in and we sat on the table. I suddenly saw spoons and plates. I panicked, but quickly gave up to the looks of my wife daring me to open my mouth so she can hit me with her purse. I remember her purse, and no I will not want to be hit by it again. So I shut up. I gave him the benefit of the doubt that they may have thought I eat mansaf out from the plate and with a spoon. Then I saw the mansaf..but..but..wait a minute..what is that? White meat? Chicken? Now I lost it. And just as I was to open my mouth, she pinched me in my leg. Ouch..that hurt. I looked at her, and she looked at me begging me to keep my mouth shut.
How can withstand seeing mansaf with chicken..in a plate..and a spoon laying next to it? If my dad ever found out that I ate mansaf with chicken, he will send my cousins to assassinate me. What to do now? I wanted to scream, but knew if I did that, I’ll end up sleeping in the garage. So I decided to shut up tearing inside, eating chicken mansaf. I went through hell before, but this was a different hell. I couldn’t wait till I got back to my house.
My wife is a peaceful lady, but she is Jordanian too (well, off Palestinian origins like me). When I married her, many of my friends advised me to look for a veiled muslim woman. I was smarter and searched for a good quality woman. So one time, we went to the mosque for a social gathering. My wife wasn’t praying at that time, and she wasn’t wearing veils. The usual jeans and the t-shirt. So we walked into the mosque, and she grabbed a hold of a veil from the mosque and simply placed it on her head. Her hair was showing of course. I was sitting with the guys. Then the time to go home came, and we got in our car. She started complaining about this Syrian woman who refused to shake my wife’s hands in the mosque. I told her relax honey, this is how people act in the states. The funny thing is that my wife never forgot this story as you’ll find out soon.
2 years into our marriage, she asked me “would you want me to be veiled?” I said “it’s all up to you for your doing it to God not me, and you’ll always be you regardless if you wear veil or not”. So she decided to wear the veil. And we were invited to a birthday party, and the Syrian woman was there. Now, I know my wife real good, and as I said, she is peaceful, but she is an arab woman after all. So she goes and sit down without shaking the hands of that woman. I was watching of course for I knew that my wife will do something. Then the Syrian woman approached my wife and I could hear her congratulating my wife on the veil. My wife was smiling at her, but I knew these smiles real good. They are the smiles before the storm, believe me I know you arab ladies. Then the Syrian woman said “I’m glad that you wore the veil, because I honestly didn’t shake your hands because of the lack of veil”. Here, I looked around searching for a place to hide behind. My wife told her “aren’t you ashamed of your self? How can you reflect a good image of muslims? If you thought I was wrong by not wearing the veil, you should’ve tried to talk to me, but to do what you did, that was a shame”. I laughed so loud, and I saw my wife getting up and coming to me asking if it’s time to go home or not. Now, to all of you, this may sound like a question. But to me, it wasn’t. It was a command “you either get your behind up now and take me home, or I will start a fight that you will not be happy about” So we got up and execused ourselves and drove home.
Or the time when I acted so stupid..just for a box of chocolates. So it was her birthday…and just like all arab men, I forgot about it. I walked home, and she was sitting down. I sat down, and said “the food honey?” She started crying and here I knew I was in trouble. To make a story short….she was mad at me for forgetting her birthday. I got mad at her for getting mad. She said “not even a cheap box of chocolates/”. I got up and started eating by myself, and that box of chocolates caused me 3 weeks of no chocolates. Till today, I refuse to bring the chocolates….it’s a guy thing.
So now she needs a driver’s license. I started training her on how to drive. Bad idea because I am a lousy driver, and I get angry a lot. After few trials, I called my friend and he started teaching her driving. On the test day, I took her, and in the car, was comforting her preparing her to fail. “honey, it’s ok if you fail from the first or second trial..look at me, it took me 3 trials to get my license. We went into the place and her turn came. A guy approached her and said “bring your car around”. So she did. Junior was only 7 months old. So I started thinking about how to comfort her when she comes back with the failing results. 30 minutes later, she came. I stood up and prepared myself for the lines I was memorizing the past 30 minutes. I said “lets go honey, we’ll talk about it in the car”. She said “no, I need to have my picture taken..I passed”. What? No way. A side of me wanted to yell at the tester for passing her. How can she be better than me? Again, it’s a guy thing.
Back in 2005, and when she was in amman, I decided to buy her anew minivan. So 3 days before she was to arrive to Detroit airport, I bought this brand new minivan with DVD player and all kind of options. When I picked her up from the airport, she was happy to see the new car. 2 days later, she hit the garage with it. Minimum damage but was enough to hold it against her for eternity. A guy thing of course.
It was difficult for us to make friends. I was very picky, and so was she. We hade our great Christian Jordanian friends., A Syrian couple and 2 palestinian families. We were hanging out together always. Friends were a rare thing to find in America. We needed people that we can communicate with, and feel comfortable around. But then she started making friendship with Americans. This was nice because it will allow her to pick up the accent. So suddenly, she started going out to the mall with her friends. Then to the hangout, the secret woman’s place of the olive garden in Westlake ohio. That proved to be a good step for her.
I wish I can talk more about the behavior of married arab men, but I fear the guys will take revenge against me. But it’s a fact, that arab wives put up so much with our behavior. We could be living in the states for 20 years and it would mean nothing. We still don’t know the value of the cheap box of chocolates, or the simple “I love you” statement. We think that the twins in the bud light commercial is what women should look like, but in the end of the day, we go wild if we see our wives dressed up openly in the public. Damn…now that I’m stuck in some hotel room in Cincinnati hundreds of miles away from her, I feel the need to call her before I go to bed…again. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to leave now. Hope she is still awake now.
Crazy & random thoughts
8 years ago