On Dating in Amman and Such

So I noticed that things have become quite serious around here, and I'm only assuming that my fans are missing my usual quirkiness.

So here goes nothing, again..

Today my topic of selection is dating in Amman. There can be no spot on God's given earth that is more complex in this aspect than Amman. (Ok maybe Saudi Arabia)

So you managed to convince that girl in school or work to see you after office hours after lots of negotiating, offers, counter-offers, counter counter-offers, you get the picture.
Now, the girl will go out with you for 1 out of 3 reasons:
1- She has nothing better to do with her life.
2- She feels like getting a free lunch/dinner/coffee.
3- She sees potential in pursuing a relationship with you.

So the girl walks into the meeting place and peers suspiciously around, like a hunting hound sniffing for tracks. This is done for a one of two of reasons

1- She wants to check if any of her blood-thirsty, broad-shouldered, knife-wielding brothers, cousins, 2nd cousins or x-boyfriends are around. (Please check my Amman corridor post to know what I mean)
2- She wants to check if you are good-looking enough and/or rich enough to be worth the 1+ hour out of her lifetime.

Let’s assume that no major relatives or acquaintances are around and you’re not as ugly as a mountain troll. The girl approaches and sits down. You make a few silly comments about the weather or work, crack a joke or two, ask a one or two questions. And somehow the girl starts yammering about one of the things you instigated. Now, If you like the girl, and would actually like to also pursue a relationship with her the best thing to do is:


Ok let me rephrase.

Put a sock in it. Bite your tongue. Stuff a foot in your mouth. Whatever you choose.

She doesn’t want to hear anything about your 2-day vacation in Syria with your homeys, or your fake promotion or options in your car or your cousin in Dubai who you will move with soon. Let her blabber her brains out about her shitty job, abusive boss and jealous coworkers. Fact is, the more she blabbers the more she likes you. If she sits and stares into space or plays around with her food or drink, then you’re in deep shit and pretty much ruled out already, because no, she’s not daydreaming of how awesome you are or what you will name your 3rd baby, she’s thinking about that other guy who is the exact opposite of you and doesn’t need to flaunter his alleged assets or care much for her feelings and why the hell isn’t she with him now instead of the endless bore that you are.

Here’s the tricky part. Just because her mouth is moving up and down endlessly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand the words are coming out of that hole called mouth because there’s a 50% chance that those words actually mean something. So I’ll strike it up a notch and say


I know how hard it is to concentrate and how easy it is to drift into thoughts about WWF, 50-inch LCD’s, Playstation 3, Pamela Anderson running on the beach naked and so but it’s worth it.

Halfway through the date women tend to fiddle with their cell phones, no matter how interesting you are. Women are in love with their cell phones and most probably she is texting her best friend whom by now knows all about you, something along the lines of “its goin good J” or “this sux L” or “am bored :@” depending on how much you listen to my advice.
So she looks at her watch and it’s 8:09PM already and she says that she must leave. I suggest you listen to what she said if you don’t want to confront her knife-wielding, tongue-twisting, 1992 BMW-riding cousins to beat the daylights out of you.
If your cell beeps a little before midnight with a gentle message wishing you a good night and sweet dreams, then you have to know you have been given the green light to ask her out for a second date.

Which I hope for your sake you don't scew up.


The Rocking Horse

Well, the natural course of thing that preludes are followed by the actual main parts..Duh..

Here goes nothing..

When I read this, it feels like someone else wrote it. Some different person, yet I know it is me, 7 years ago in a dark room, in Amman..I feel like talking to the writer. To ask him about his opinion on things. And I imagine if I ever got the chance to talk to that person I wouldn't tell him anything, I wouldn't open my mouth.. I would just like to sit there and listen for hours and hear out his naive, childish opinions on life, love and dreams and hopes he holds on to them as long as possible..

And so it goes..

It was quiet, star-less summer night. Large, gray clouds veiled a silver, luminous moon. It appeared like a shy, young girl hiding foolishly behind transparent curtains. A gentle breeze blew sending involuntary shivers all over my body. The breeze carried the scent of wild jasmine and the sweet smell of strawberry-flavored argeeleh smoke.
I looked upon our “football-field” A dusty road .Two rocks were sufficient to make a goal. The constant kicking, stomping and occasional falling of the kids sent a cloud of dust making the kids seem like restless ghosts. I shifted my sight to the balcony next to ours. A miserable, tense teenager sunk deep into his tawjihi textbook, clenching it tightly like a pirate would clench to his treasure map. He wandered back and forth like a newborn gazelle that has lost its mother, unnoticing my sympathetic eyes. From the horizon the figure of an exhausted, filthy yet strongly built man shaped. It was the cotton candy guy. He was empty-handed except for a single pack of cotton candy. Usually, he would shake the whole neighborhood with his fresh, joyous shouts and sweet tunes of his harmonica. Today he was mysteriously silent.

The doorbell rang destroying my utopia. I opened the door. The heart-warming face of my father greeted me. “We have visitors” he said. With him was a ragged, untidy man in his mid-thirties. His unshaved beard made him look like a werewolf. He had clumsy features and dark, vacant eyes. He smiled baring yellow, smoke-stained teeth. Holding his hand tightly was a 7 or 8-year-old kid. He wore jeans shots baring bony, hairless legs. On his wrist was a large Casio watch with all its unnecessary accessories. He seemed anxious. Something was familiar about that kid. I realized I was staring at a mirror image of myself 10 years ago. The guests entered.
“We’re gonna sell our rocking horse” my father whispered into my ear. I was dumbstruck. All of my childhood memories hid inside that horse just like the Greek soldiers hid in the Trojan Horse before opening the city for their final assault. I guided our guests to the horse. I turned on the lights of the basement to reveal the horse. He seemed older and weaker than last time I saw him. Dust covered him and rust built-up between his hinges. Some spider even built cobwebs all over his body. The kid jumped enthusiastically on his back. He smiled a wide, ear-to-ear smile as he rocked back and forth, back and forth. Bittersweet memories rocked in my mind, just like the horse; Most kids enjoyed pretending to shoot each other to death, harassing girls or beating the Hell out of a defenseless kid. Yet on his back I slayed hundreds of sinister, cold-blooded dragons, I dueled valiant, iron-covered knights and saved the beautiful Princess before escaping with her to a deserted island. When the darkness of my bedroom would seem too scary and threatening, I would take refuge next to him and he would protect me from all the goblins and ugly trolls. I used to spend hours caressing his hair and stroking him gently; he would answer with a smile .He taught me the secrets of the universe in exchange for a few lousy cookies I fed him. Sometimes I would talk about the real-life dragons I lost against, I would complain about the bullying “knight” of my schoolyard and weep over the Princess whose heart I tried uselessly to win. He would nod understandingly and sometimes, just sometimes, he would speak with a god-like voice lightening my burden. Then we would share our triumphs and forget my losses. He was my best friend.

“I want it Daddy, I want it!” the kid cried beggingly. “You can have it” I answered unbelieving the words I just said. The kids’ eyes twinkled like little stars and he jumped up and down like a bunny. “Thank you, thank you!” he repeated. The kid’s father carried the horse away. Conflicting emotions raced inside me. My eyes moistened and my lower lip trembled as I bid the horse farewell. I managed a crooked, half-smile, knowing that another kid’s childhood has just started.

The horse winked back to me.

The End(for now)


Prelude: The Rocking Horse

I emerged from freshman year in university with an unlikely 3.42 GPA and a crack in my heart the size of my heart itself.

It is always like that with first love.

I shed a few kilos, was continuously 20 minutes late for my early lectures and rarely shaved. Nothing made sense anymore. The pain of the breakup hurt, but the “we know” sympathetic look in the eyes of my friends is what killed me.

The long road to healing started with a decision. My decision was very simple and straightforward; whatever behavior associated with broken-hearts I’d do the exact opposite. I am sometimes like that. If broken-hearts people did badly in their studies, I am going to do excellent. If broken-hearts lost weight then I am going to gain extra weight. That is when I committed to two much-loathed activities; studying and working out.

I got the GPA that enabled me to go further with my studies in a very competitive environment (and a little luck really) and gained a few kilograms that would give people the social permission to come up to me and say things like “you look good”

But really, I am getting off the topic here. What I wanted to talk to you about are the people that are shoved into your path by destiny to unknowingly help you out of what you at that time believe is the end of the world.

My savior knew nothing of my severe condition, yet she showed more compassion than anyone who did. She came in the form of my English Communication skills lecturer which I easily aced without opening a book.

My Professor believed in me like no one did. I heard a lot of people say to me through my still-young life “You have lots of potential” but few people acted upon it. My Prof loved my compositions and always asked me about them after lectures. She said I’d be a great writer someday and maybe this blog wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for her encouragements. One day she told me to remain after class. She said that the university is holding a competition for creative writing and that I should participate. I said I’ll try. It is very like me not to commit to anything, early on. But at that moment I decided to commit to it.
I racked my brains for days trying to come with something semi-decent but couldn’t write a single sentence. I would write a sentence and then scribble it off brushing it away as tacky or worse; artificial, soulless. Then one night after midnight while waiting for then-newly released music video “Bye Bye Bye” of ‘N Sync on MTV India, a light bulb flashed in my head. I started writing and writing and writing. The dawn was breaking, creatures of the night were crawling to their hideouts and birds chirped like I never knew they could. It was 4 in the morning when I finished writing yet the time that passed felt like it was only the 5 minutes that ‘N Sync would harshly and squeekily declare that it ain't no lie. I handed my piece over the next day but my Prof said that the deadline has already passed. I was disappointed yet relieved. I didn’t want anyone to read what I wrote. She said she’ll hold onto it for next year’s competition, which I thought was a white lie that that I was learning that adults like to do every now and then, just because they can, and because no one can commit to anything that long, especially a Prof with classes to teach, assignments to mark, and grades to be given.

But after one, whole year a friend told me my name was hung on the announcement board to report to the Language center. Again, I cynically thought it had to do with my oppositely shameful performance in Arabic Communication skills, rather it was an invitation to read my piece out in front of an audience of students, professors and the Dean of the university.

I won.

My Prof handed me a neat, printed copy of my piece, dotted with punctuation marks and resolved grammar mistakes. I thanked her but she was the one who said it to me..

You have lots of potential. You're the one who won..