Men kissing and holding hands

Men being physically affectionate with each other is very common here. They hug, kiss, and hold each other’s hands as they walk around. It is very “cute”, but I have had to recalibrate my perceptions a bit. In DC, there’s no question what this would mean. here, and many other Arab places, it is just normal, everyday stuff.

I was caught off guard by Sufian today. We were about to cross the street when he reached up and clasped my hand. My initial, rural Virginia boy reaction was, “Dude, what the…” I quickly remembered where I was and he never was the wiser. I’ll probably mention it to him though, he wants to come to the US one day, he better know what to expect:-)

Public affection between men and women is forbidden here. There is no hugging, kissing, etc. I did see a guy and a woman holding hands, but he had that “Yeah I’m holding hands with my girlfriend, what you want to do about it?” kind of look in his eye. Luca tells me that most of the men in the internet cafes spend their time IMing with girls. They smoke, chew Qat, drik water, and chat with girls from Lebanon, Jordan, or Syria. It’s kind of sad to think that this may be the only contact they have with women…

Luca also informed me that there was a bit of a controversy when the internet cafes first opened. There used to be private booths for each computer. It turns out that guys were looking at porn (surprise surprise) and this outraged the community at large. There were even bombing threats against a lot of them because of their easy access to porn. This was gotten around by having all the computers out in a comon room. My housemat tells me that some people still look at stuff. They minimize the window so that it’s really small and try to hide the screen with their bodies. Sad… Surely there must be a happy medium between the total segragation of the sexes and conservative religious beliefs…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.