Last night I went out to join a group of friends at a local club which has been having a Lebanese Night every Thursday since the war started. Basically all the proceeds from these nights go to a couple of relief organizations currently working in Lebanon. I missed the first few because I've had other things on my mind and haven't really been going out on the town. But they told me last night was supposed to be the last one because you see now there's a ceasefire so the Lebanese have completely recovered and are no longer in need of assistance and we may now forget about them just like we forgot about so many other 'causes'.
The height of irony was that last night the group I was with included - among many others - a Southern Sudanese, two Iraqi Kurds, an Afghan, an Iraqi Shia, two Palestinians(one of whom was my friend D.) and numerous Lebanese. The Iraqi Shia - an old friend - told me that right here around this table you have all your favorite charities - just pick up the bill and you have your good deed of the year. There were a lot of similar attempts at humor - which tells you how depressing the evening was at certain points. Well I didn't pick up the bill of course - as if that many Arab guys around would ever let one of us girls even read the bill. I was glad. Apart from me and D. and the other girls, almost everyone present were pretty big drinkers. Even if the proceeds go to Lebanon I don't want alcohol on my credit card bill. I just don't.
I had my first alcoholic drink last night though. Bacardi Gold. Some kind of rum it seems. It was an accident. In the dark I picked up somebody else's glass by mistake and being quite thirsty, gulped down a mouthful before I realized. It tasted awful. I asked him what it was and he told me. Didn't have much of an effect though. Didn't make me happy or anything. Just a faint nausea which disappeared as soon as my food arrived and I took a few bites.
More and more people kept arriving - because everyone was calling everyone they knew etc...At one point D. and I looked around and counted 36 people sitting with us of whom we could only recognize 5 or 6.
The music was terrible to start with. The band started out with a few patriotic Arabic songs about Lebanon. After 2 of those, people indicated that it wasn't going down very well. So they switched to normal Lebanese songs, a great mix really. Folkloric songs, wedding songs, dabki songs, Fairouz, love songs. Most of them we already knew so we were singing ourselves hoarse. And then of course there was the dancing. The club was packed full of Lebanese people. You can't expect any gathering of Lebanese people not to involve a lot of dancing. That was fine with me. I love to dance. Couldn't manage dabki though. All that jumping was too much for my foot so I stopped. A bit of a downer that because the pain was gone, I was wearing heels again and I had assumed it had healed. Oh well the doctor did say 3 weeks so I guess I have to wait 3 weeks for a full recovery.
At about midnight, the Lebanese Night was supposed to be over. The Arabic band left and the DJ came. I happened to be standing quite close to the DJ while he was setting up. He smiled at me and asked me what I'd like to listen to first. Without thinking I said Luthor Vandross. He asked which one. I told him "If I Didn't Know Better". And that was the first song he played. It sort of set the tone for the rest of the night's music. I was thinking how nice that DJ guy was to play all my favorite songs when he and some of the people I was with who I thought were my friends all conspired to stick a mic infront of my face and force me to sing "Spanish Guitar". Without music. The least said about that the better.
Afterwards, I was sitting down alone resting my foot. Everyone else had either left or was on the dance floor. I had my feet up on the bench and was lost in thought for a few minutes. I looked up to find this guy detaching himself from the group he was with and walking over to me. And I thought oh boy. He asked me to dance. I asked him if his friends dared him to dance with me(I could see he was being pushed towards me). He said yes. I knew it. I asked why. He said because they all thought I was South American, that I was hot and that I was a good singer. I said well am not South American. He said you're not Arab. I confirmed that I was. He said he was born in Iraq. The Australian accent had me fooled there. Then he said he would still like to dance. What even though am not South American? Couldn't resist that.
I was tempted. When you're a 30-year-old woman and a 24-yr-old guy is telling you that he and about 6 of his 24-yr-old buddies think you're hot, it's utterly unexpected and very, very flattering. But of course I couldn't. I had a husband who was supposed to join me any minute or at least show up to pick me up given the fact that I still don't drive these days but he had not yet made an appearance, called or picked up any of my calls. Sigh.
K showed up about 12:30am or a little after, he sent me sms saying that the bouncers wouldn't let him in because he wasn't dressed up and that I should meet him outside. Which nearly gave me a heart attack. Visions of him fighting with the bouncers- who could be quite rude if they didn't want to let you in - in a repeat of the performance with that cab driver dancing before my eyes, I rushed outside like a madwoman. But he was standing chatting with one of the bouncers who happened to be Egyptian. Whew.
He was in khakhi shorts, a black sleeveless t-shirt and flip-flops. Now don't get me wrong. I think he looks great whatever he chooses to wear but the thing is, he knew I wanted him to be with me tonight and given that he showed up so late the least he could have done was go home and change. The way he will do anything to avoid socializing with my friends really gets on my nerves sometimes. If those were HIS friends he would have been on time, properly dressed and we would have stayed until the club closed at 3:00am.
As it was I left with him despite the fact that I was enjoying myself and didn't really feel like having my evening cut short.I was silent in the car so he said that if I wanted to go back we could go home and he could change. I said no it's ok I was tired let's just go home.
When we got home, he said he was hungry. Which pissed me off even more. He brought me back from a party to make me spend the night in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove cooking his dinner? But he said he ordered food and I was glad I didn't shoot off my mouth.
Over dinner, I asked him if he didn't like my friends. He said he has trouble keeping my friends straight, that he doesn't enjoy socializing with a lot of people he doesn't know like me etc....
Well it's true that his friends are not a big bunch and we know them all pretty well. But it's also true that I don't always enjoy evenings out with his friends but I still make the effort not to ruin them for him or for anyone else.
I didn't really know who is right and who is wrong there. What I did know was that I didn't want to fight with him about it. So the subject was dropped. Marriage is like that. You drop things.