Monday, October 30, 2006


All I have to say about holidays is that they don't last long enough. It was great to see my parents. It re-orients you somehow. Like suddenly landing on familiar, more solid ground. You feel safer, more secure and focused. Funny. I wasn't even aware that I had been feeling lost or insecure.

And of course, my mother & female relatives all insisted on sending me back to my husband like a new bride. There was so much excitement about it that I didn't have the heart to object. Even my sister got into the spirit of things. The hamam, the hena,the slumber parties. A few days of being pampered & beautified. And a farewell party too. It was almost like having a wedding all over again.

To be absolutely fair, my siblings and I always loved going back home for our holidays because of the royal treatment we get. The wonderful welcome, everyone wanting to invite you to their homes for elaborate meals, people bringing you presents and everyone crying when it's time for you to leave. As a little girl, I remember sometimes feeling guilty because I didn't feel as attached to my relatives as they did to me. I mean, to me they were just people we saw once a year for a month or too. I didn't miss them when I was away because I never lived among them. But they seemed to miss me, to have all this love & concern for me. I felt like a cold, horrible person for not being able to return these emotions with the same intensity.

Later, as I grew older, I came to realize that their love for me was really an extension of their love for my parents. They didn't know me any better than I knew them - but to them I was my father's daughter or my mother's daughter, their flesh and blood. I was family. And I learnt to care for them in the same way.

Anyway, if that's the way we were treated in normal circumstances, I should have known that when I come back as a new bride, I'll be even more of a celebrity.

As for the Crete getaway with my husband, it was just what I needed. Crete has been a dream destination for me ever since I read "My Family And Other Animals" at the age of 12. It is beautiful. Not commercial. Not touristy. Not as luxurious. But beautiful. I wish we could have stayed longer. But neither one of us could extend.

And now, back to reality. Work is reality. And work is giving me new headaches. The way things are turning out, I will be travelling again soon. I have to recommend a system for a client. Two potential vendors are in the States. One is in Europe. The hardware has to come from overseas. And two things have become very clear:

1) I cannot recommend that the client invest millions in equipment that I have not seen.
2) It's unreasonable to expect the vendors to fly everything over here at their own expense just so I can look it and see if I like it.

So the verdict seems to be I have to get over there. Europe I can handle. But I haven't been back to the States since I finished school. That was before Sept.11. Before Guantanamo & secret prisons & secret evidence.

Maybe it's irrational to worry about this but I transferred money using Western Union a few times before and after Sept.11. The difference is spooky. Before Sept.11, it was pretty straightforward. Now, they'll ask me for the strangest pieces of documentation. They'll make me go back and forth 4 or 5 times. And they seem to have a particular problem with my family name. I keep thinking maybe there's someone in the system with the same last name that they're interested in. And if that's the case, will they give me a visa?And if the Embassy here issues a visa, does it mean I'll be safe going through immigration over there?

I don't think I look like a terrorist but you read about all those people thrown in jail for months & years without being charged with anything and you have to wonder and many of them don't look like terrorists. Even if it's unlikely that things will go that far, I don't want to face being interrogated, strip-searched or otherwise singled out for abuse from among other passengers etc....I don't want to be subjected to that. I just want to do my job and come back home to my husband.

Who still has to be told am going away for 2 weeks. And possibly not coming back for God knows how long if the worst happens. And who will most definitely not be pleased to hear any of it.



Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ramadan Reminiscences

First Friday of Ramadan

We're sitting in the living room watching TV just after the Friday prayers. His cell rings. It's a call from work. He's talking for a long time - explaining something to several hospital nursing staff - one at a time. Ya 7abibi long monologues always make him thirsty.

So am sitting there absorbed in some silly Arabic soap. From the corner of my eye, I see him get up, go to the kitchen, get a glass of water, come back, sit down, drink it, talk on the phone a bit longer, then get up to get another one. But somehow it doesn't click. Wasn't paying enough attention I guess.

Then I hear him from the kitchen:

Him: Ba2a ana 3amal ashrab maya min elsob7 winti saybani?(Am drinking water & you're just letting me?)
Me: Oh yeah what are you thinking?It's Ramadan daytime!
Him: Ya salam yakhti. Lama iftakarti. Ba3d kharab Malta?(Now you remember to tell me?)

So it's my fault he accidentally broke his fast. Sigh. I should've known it would somehow turn out to be my fault.

A few days later

My alarm goes off & I get up at 6:00am. For some reason I get confused and think it's 6:00pm i.e. time for Iftar. I get up in a panic, thinking we both overslept & missed Iftar & upset that I didn't get up in time to cook. Half asleep, I get up & wash my face, go to the kitchen, have a glass of water & some dates, then I rush around heating up leftovers, making juice etc...When I have the table ready, I go & wake him up. He stares at me, gets up, follows me into the kitchen, stares some more then bursts out laughing.

Am seriously offended at first. Ok so I didn't have time to cook an elaborate meal but that's no reason to laugh at my food. So I overslept. So what? So shoot me!

Then it hits me.

Not too long after

My second day off work. I find myself unable to sleep in as long as I want to. I start thinking of things to do. I get a bright idea. As I said before, my hair is an indeterminate, uninspiring shade of light brown. To liven it up a little, I've always opted for lightening it, using Sun-in, adding blonde highlights or just going for an all over lighter shade. Then my cousin - who has more or less the same coloring - went & colored hers a really dark, vibrant brown. I thought it looked great on her. So I decided to go darker for the first time in my life. I briefly considered blue black. But then I decided that would be too big a change, too hard to get used to. I thought I'd try a dark brown first then if I like it maybe I can go blue black later.

So I bought 2 boxes(yes my hair uses up 2) of trusted old L'Oreal hair color(choc brown), threw them into the bottom of a drawer & forgot all about them for ages until that idle morning in Ramadan when I suddenly remembered them.

In my excitement I rush to put on gloves, mix the color & start applying it on the front of my hair. Then it hits me that I'm wearing a very expensive robe that's actually part of one of my favorite sets. I wash my hands, take off the gloves & take off the robe to keep it out of harm's way.

Not the smartest thing I ever did. Coloring my hair while naked that it. It just meant getting haircolor stains all over my body, not to mention all over the bathroom. I am messy when I color my own hair. That's because I have wild uncontrollable hair but we've been through that.

Was about half-way through applying the haircolor when I saw my husband in the mirror. I didn't hear him come in because of course I had music blasting from the bedroom.

Normally that wouldn't be awkward at all. I mean, we're married right? But in Ramadan daytime, we're both fasting so we try to keep nudity to a minimum. So I froze a bit. He did too. Then I started telling myself well I was covered in peroxide & stinking of it to high heaven so that's got to have at least the same effect as clothing in terms of inhibiting the male libido etc....Or something equally stupid. I was desperate ok? There I was, without a piece of cloth in sight that I could pull on because I'd moved them all out of the bathroom - even the towels - for fear of getting choc brown haircolor on them. And he was just standing there, fully clothed STARING like he'd never seen me before. Not saying anything. I have never been so embarrassed. Then I mumbled something to the effect that I would like to wash my hair now. And he said ok & turned around & walked off.

Didn't wash my hair of course. But I'd figured out he must have wanted something from the bathroom. So I put my hair up without even coloring the rest of it. When it wouldn't all stay up, I wrapped a plastic bag around it. A plastic Co-op bag, that I was planning to use as garbage bag to line the dustbin. I cleaned up the bathroom as best as I could, took a quick shower only to discover that the color stains on my back weren't going to go away until they were good & ready which wasn't just then.

When I came out & shouted that he could go ahead if he wanted the bathroom, I thought I heard him swear at me! Something Egyptian & highly obscene. I wasn't sure. So I said na3am(excuse me)?And he said nothing, thanks. Then he asked where I was. I said in the kitchen. He was in the bathroom for a few minutes, then he left. Didn't actually see him leave.

Later, after Iftar, I asked if he'd said what I thought he said. He just looked at me & didn't say anything.

Last night I asked him again on the phone, he said he couldn't remember when he'd wanted me as much as that moment, that he was just frustrated because he couldn't do anything about it.

Mixed reaction to that. Am always pleased when he says he wants/wanted me but when after almost one year of marriage, your husband tells you that the moment he wanted you most was the moment when you were wearing nothing but peroxide, what does that say about you, him, all your best lingerie & what you should wear for him in the future?


Monday, October 16, 2006

Eid Mubarak All

For those of you who celebrate it, Eid Mubarak & Kol 3am wa into bikhair.
For those of you who don't, I hope you spend those days in festivity and celebration anyway:)


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Going Away

Two weeks off. Won't be going back to work until after Eid. It wasn't easy but my work requires concentration & a clear mind. With my recent sleeping problems I found I couldn't cope. Even my manager took one look at my face & signed my leave. He just told me not to switch off my cell. That I can handle I guess.

Seems a shame to waste a week of my annual leave sitting at home doing nothing. My husband is so overwhelmed at work he's even operating on weekends. We're going away for Eid but I was in the mood to go spend a couple of days in Dubai. I had visions of a luxurious hotel room, days spent at the spa being pampered & late-night slumber parties with the girls. Just for old times sake. A couple of girls I know are going.

But when I told my husband, he acted like I was trying to say I was leaving him or something. I don't get it. What's wrong with going on a trip with my girlfriends? It's not like he has time for me these days anyway. Why does he want me sitting home by myself?

He pointed out that if he wanted to go away with his friends I'd freak. Which I thought was a really low blow. I would freak - not because am opposed to the principle - but because I think his friends are bums. My friends are nothing like his. I pointed out that he has been on two trips with them - one to Sweden & one a local camping trip. He said that the trip to Sweden was to take his exam. They just happened to come along. And that when he went on the second trip, we weren't married yet so he couldn't take me with him or he would have. He said that we're married & when we go away on holiday we should be together. Then he said something to the effect that he really doesn't feel we've been married long enough for me to be a needing a break from the marriage etc........

I let it drop at that point. Didn't have the energy. And I don't want to go if it means I have to pay for it later by having him go off on extended trips with those guys.

Was just speaking to my father & he said why don't I come out to see them?If I can get a reservation, the idea is starting to look good. I would enjoy the last few days of Ramadan in Casa. Ramadan has a completely different flavor there. And I figure K can't very well complain if I want to go home. A week in Casa. Then I can fly out to meet him in Crete - our Eid destination. Morocco to Greece is not that long a flight. Just across the Mediterranean right?

Let's just hope the travel agent can make the connections work. I'll try to fly out tomorrow.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Allergic to Sleep

Didn't get any sleep last night. Not a wink. Just lay there all night listening to my husband breathe - too exhausted to move or do anything positive but too hyper to sleep. Miserable night. I think I teared up a couple of times. Wouldn't be the first time I ever cried from insomnia, from this horrible sensation of not being able to unwind, night after night. I hate it.

I'd almost forgotten what it was like. Why did it come back? I really thought it was gone for good.

When I heard the call for Fajr(Dawn prayer), I waited for him to wake up & find me. I wanted too much to be found. That's the worst thing about these attacks. The loneliness. Being left behind long after everyone else has gone to sleep. And I can't stand being alone. It's like a phobia.

As luck would have it, he didn't get up for Fajr today. He missed it. Poor thing. He hasn't been sleeping much either the last couple of days. Trying to keep me company. He wanted to give me sleeping pills but I declined. Hypnotic drugs he calls them. Never heard them called that before. I've tried sleeping pills before. They work for a little while then they stop. I develop a tolerance for them or something. Short of outright anaesthetics, I doubt that anything can knock me down for long.

I think that's when I started crying. When I realized he wasn't going to get up for the prayer & I would have to be alone for God knows how many hours more when his alarm goes off & he gets up for work.

But really, why did it come back? Marriage made it go away for a while. Regular sex helped I think. And also being held, having someone sleeping in the same bed was very soothing. But not anymore. So what does it mean? That I developed a tolerance for these things too? Like the sleeping pills?

My mother said that maybe Ramadan disrupted my sleeping patterns. Or, she said, with winter coming, I might be reacting to the change in climate. She remembers that happening to me when I was little.

All the doctors I've ever seen have told me basically that chronic insomnia can only be treated if you treat the causes. That it's like an allergy. You have to find out what causes it.

Well I don't know what causes it. What I know is that after spending all day in bed today trying to relax & sleep, I finally managed to fall asleep just before midnight. Now it's 1:30am & am wide awake, blogging. Less than an hour. Less than an hour of sleep in 72 hrs.

My husband has 9 hrs of surgery tomorrow. I had to let him get some rest.

This can go on for days & days. Last night I prayed & prayed that it wouldn't last long. I will do the same tonight.


Monday, October 09, 2006

On Birthdays

K.(to a fellow motorist while driving): Eh ya 3am fi eh?(Hey what's going on?)
Me: Fi eh?Inta elghaltan.(What do you mean what's going on?It's your fault not his.)
K.: Kida ya LouLou?Bitbi3eeni?(You're selling me out?)
Me: No I just think you're driving sucks today.
K.: Tayeb mana 3andi fikra hatraya7ik witraya7ni(Ok I have a great idea). Ma teegi inti tsoo2i.(Why don't you drive?) Madam inti shatra awi kida.(Since you're so good.)
Me: Let's go get my car & I'll race you.
K.: Race mara wa7da?Hatkhushi ma3aya rally?(He's scoffing at the idea that a feeble female might actually win a car race with him.)
Me: Yeah.
K.: Tab mat-khushi ma3aya 7aga tanya.
Me: What?Scared you're gonna lose?
K.: No, you're gonna lose. I drive better & my car is faster. It wouldn't be fair.
Me: Your car is just new. Mine is mature.
K.: Mature?7ilwa di(That's nice).
Me: Don't make fun of my car. Manta badal ma you get me a new car you got yourself a motorbike.
K.: Eh lazmito ba2a ela2ar di?Inti 2olti 3ayza 3arabiya wana 2olt la?(Did you ask me for a new car?)
Me: No but you could have offered - since you're clearly feeling rich. And my birthday is coming up.
K.: Tayeb ya sitti adi i7na feeha.(Ok I'm offering now) If you want a new car I'll finance it.
Me: Really?Any car?
K.: Within reasonable limits. Ya3ni mish tigeebili 3arabiya binos million.(Don't pick a car worth half a million.)
Me(kissing him): 7abibi. Thank you.
K.: Ay khidma(Anytime). Ha?3ayza 3arabiya model eh ba2a?(So which model do you want?)
Me: No it's ok. I like my car. Besides, if I wanted a new car, I can finance it myself. I finished my loan.
K.: Sob7an allah feeki wi fi tab3ak.Omal kol shwiya bit2atameeni gibt linafsak wi ma gibtish wi ma 3amaltish leh(Then why are you giving me a hard time about what I bought for myself?)?Kol ma asa'alik 3ayza 7aga ti2ooli la 3andi(Everytime I ask you if you need something you say no you don't want anything from me) mish 3ayza minak 7aga. Lama inti mish na2sik 7aga ab2a ana 7or ba2a. (If you have everything you need then I'm free.)Ageeb motorcycle, ageeb tayara ma 7addish loh da3wa beeya(I can get a motorcycle or a private plane, it's no one's business).
Me: I never said mish 3ayza minak 7aga(I never said I don't want anything from you).
K.: You don't have to spell it out. You don't like it when I spend money on you.
Me: Why are you yelling at me?
K.: Ana asif.(I'm sorry)
Me: Wana kaman.(Me too)
K.: Winti kaman eh?(You too what?)
Me: Asfa.(Sorry.)
K.: Tayeb ya sitti asfa mish hat2ooli ba2a 3ayza eh fi 3eed miladik?(So are you going to tell me what you want for your birthday?)
Me: I don't know. Let me think about it.

Seriously, what do I want for my birthday?He wants me to spend his money. By special request. I really should get to work on that.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Friends

1) A.: Swedish dentist. Half-Egyptian, half-Swedish. K's family & his know each other back in Egypt. Old family friend of K's. But apparently since they grew up in different parts of Sweden, they only got to spend a lot of time together after they both came to work in UAE. A. has been here for 6 years. Was present at the wedding. He's the guy who got my husband the job offer here in UAE.

Speaks no Arabic but good English.

Probably the biggest drinker in the group. They say he's only ever sober at work & since I've never seen him at work, I've never seen him sober. Very funny guy. Will make you laugh like crazy.

Divorced with 2 kids living in Sweden. Not an amicable divorce & lots of problems over custody, visitation etc....Sometimes goes through periods of severe depression.

My husband worries about him a lot.

2) B.: Swedish dentist. Also a surgeon. Arab origin. Iraqi actually. Spent his childhood in Iraq until age 10. Went to college with my husband.

Was present at the wedding. Charismatic guy. Very charming. Extremely well-read. Fluent in several languages including Arabic & Kurdish. Knows the Quran very well & enjoys taking it apart. Always arguing religion & politics with me & my husband.

Gets a lot of female attention which bugs me because he treats them all like crap. Don't some girls have any pride?

He keeps rubbing me the wrong way because he likes to show off about how little he respects women, making lots of sexist remarks etc....I don't know if he does that when am around to bait me or if it's really how he thinks.

The guys all like him & say that he's very loyal & would do anything for his friends etc...So apparently he's only horrible to women?

Besides the womanizing. B. is probably the wildest in the group. Reckless driving. Crazy sports. Drinks a lot at parties but not everyday like A.

I liked him at first. He seemed like a very interesting person - with a lot of unique views. Very intellectual. But on top of the contempt for women, he has this bitter contempt for all things Arab. He has contempt for most things actually. Is always talking about how much he hates patients. I can never tell if he's serious about that but if he hates his job, he has a funny way of showing it. He's like my husband. Quite a workaholic. Very ambitious. Can't stop studying. Has every degree & certification under the sun. They're collaborating on some of their research at the moment.

My husband doesn't worry about B. He thinks this guy will settle down eventually etc...

3) C.: Finnish dentist. Origin is Kurdish/Iranian. K's ex-gf is this guy's cousin or something. They met through her.

The only one who didn't fly out for the wedding. But he hangs out at our place more than the others. Feels free to drop by for tea & sheesha anytime. Haven't talked to him much because of the language barrier. He knows very little Arabic & his English is so bad I wonder how he manages to work here.

He & B. are the ones who went on that tour of Europe.

Why would someone still be good friends with his ex's cousin?

Those are the 3 that worry me most. The others - the non-Muslim, non-Middle Easterners - are actually quite sane. So much for so-called ME conservatism.


Friday, October 06, 2006

A Friend in Need

My friend S. (on how to get rid of my husband's friends): Tell him they hit on you.
Me: What?
S.: Do it. It's how I get rid of my husband's friends. Works like a charm.
Me: But they do not hit on me!
S.: Make them hit on you. Show them some cleavage.
Me: But, but...
S.: Shoofi 7abibti(look sweetie), you're not going to get very far in life if you're going to be protective of your cleavage.
Me: They've seen my cleavage. They did not hit on me.
S.: Then try your legs. You have good legs.
Me: They will NOT. There's no shortage of women around them. They won't lose their head over a pair of legs. Or cleavage.
S.: They might if they're drunk. And if you flirt. You're husband's crazy about you.
Me: Am crazy about him too!That's why I don't flirt with his friends. Or with anyone other than him for that matter. Ba3dain elduniya Ramadan(Besides it's Ramadan). 7aram 3laiki.
S.: Bas inti neetik khair(But you mean well). Allah biyghfir lik(God will forgive you).
Me: Khair?Flirting with my husband's friends is khair?Mashallah 3laiki lama btifti.(You're so good when you issue fatwas.)
S.: It's for his own good. Hadol rofaqa2 soo.(They're a bad influence on him). Fi kteer a7adith 3an rofaqa2 elsoo.(There are lots of Scriptures about friends who lead one to temptation.)
Me: That's so manipulative.
S.: Ya 7abibti Allah khala2 elrijal 3ashan(God created men so) we manipulate them for their own good.
Me: You're nuts. I am not doing any such thing.
S.: Ok then don't do anything. Just tell him they did.
Me: He'd never believe it.
S.: Bas ra7 yiwaswis.(But he will wonder.) Inti zogik kteer biyghar.(Your husband is very jealous.) He would not hang out with them if he had doubts.
Me: S., he's not stupid. He's not going to believe all his friends suddenly couldn't resist his wife.
S.: Ya habla.(You idiot.)Don't say all of them. Just pick one. He'll go off the whole group.

No comment.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's Official

I dislike my husband's best friends. I have been in denial, not wanting to admit that even to myself. It's more than the fact that I don't have much in common with them, that I get bored etc...I seriously dislike their attitude to life & to women. They represent a lifestyle that is essentially foreign to mine. And what really disturbs me is that I know that lifestyle was once his. Being with them is like seeing a side of him that I would rather not see.

I don't want to sound like a religious prude but they are too wild, too Bohemian. And they somehow manage to combine this with a decidedly hypocritical, chauvinistic attitude that often has me gritting my teeth. Sometimes I wonder if this is what he's used to, then won't he reach a point where he finds our present life too boring, too restricting? Am I supposed to compensate for the excitement & adventure? How can I compete?

The first incident that really alarmed me happened a few days after he came for dinner at my brother's. At the time, I was so much in love & so stressed out about our future, whether I would have to leave & whether my family would like him etc....that I just blotted it out of my mind & refused to think about it until quite recently.

We went out clubbing with his friends. One of them A. had a date. I knew the girl. I'd met her a few times before at parties through mutual friends. They all had a few drinks. And then the girl looks at another guy B. - who is incidentally my husband's best friend - & tells her date you know what, I like B. better. Upon which B. instantly grabs her & French-kisses her.

I was shocked. I started looking around to see if anyone was watching. This kind of public display is scary in Abu Dhabi. But I was the only one who was disturbed. They all burst out laughing. Even A. He just told B. what?again?Come on man or something like that. And the girl ended up leaving with B. They all seemed to think it's really funny & started recounting incidents in the past where they stole each other's dates etc...

I remember feeling so disturbed that I wanted to leave early. We went for a drive & we talked about it. I was trying to get him to comment on what happened. And I got frustrated because he wouldn't say much beyond the fact that if all 3 of them weren't bothered, it was none of our business etc...When I kept pushing him to tell me if he thought this kind of behavior was normal, if he'd done that sort of thing etc..., he just said something to the effect that I shouldn't think he'd always been an angel or anything but that he loves me & is committed to our relationship. And he refused to get into any specifics. Except to give me that tired, old chauvinistic line about how I shouldn't compare myself to these girls because it's like apples & oranges etc...And I got pissed off & told him I wasn't comparing myself to the girls, I was comparing him to the guys & I wanted to know where he stood. We fought & fought about it & then we just let it drop.

The same girl kept dating B. for a few months after that. And they went out with us a few times before & after our marriage. And although I hope I never let it show, I was never completely comfortable with that situation. It was too much of a culture shock I guess.

After K & I had our katb ketab, he went on a camping trip with the same bunch of guys. And he came back teasing me about a Morrocan girl who tried to pick him up etc...He was trying to make me jealous. And he was being so obvious about it I just cracked up. I didn't take it seriously. But then I found out that since he wasn't interested, the girl ended up with the same guy B. And she was staying at his apartment while she looked for accomodation since she'd just moved from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. It was this crazy situation where I was expected to socialize with a girl from my country, my hometown even, a supposedly Arab, Muslim girl who tried to pick up my husband and was currently living with his best friend who was also sleeping with another girl who had initially been the date of another friend of theirs who was part of the same social circle & who was sleeping with someone else! And again, the entire situation was an open joke that no one was particularly embarrassed about! This time I told him it had to stop. I didn't want this girl anywhere around us. He told me not to worry, that knowing B.'s track record, she won't last long. And she didn't. And he couldn't understand why I kept nagging when in his opinion, the situation had resolved itself. That simple!

The other guy A. once came along on a trip to Dubai with me & K & some of my girlfriends & he was hitting on my friend D. so heavily she complained to me. And I told K. K told him that am his wife & she's my friend & to leave her alone. And the guy backed off. Out of respect for K & the Male Chauvinistic Brotherhood, definitely not out of respect for me or my friend.

These guys will talk openly about threesomes & foursomes. When K was last in Sweden taking his exam, two of these guys flew there with him. Apparently they spent a week in Sweden & then they went on a tour of Europe. The tour they came back from with reports of orgies etc...Some of the girls they met on that tour have since been here visiting.

And I never asked the questions because frankly if my husband had ever been part of that life I don't want to know it. I made it a point never to grill him too deeply about his past because what I learn will bother me & what's the point when it's over & done with?

But now I'm not comfortable with the fact that he's still so close to people who live like that. They don't fast. They never did. They all come from families which are not practicing Muslims. They like dangerous sports. They're all heavy drinkers - even in Ramadan. They all drive motorcycles & I'm always scared stiff when he's out on his bike with them because they're so reckless.

I know he's different. His family is more like mine. He was raised religious. He doesn't drink. He prays & fasts. But still it bothers me that these are the only people he seems to get along with.

I know I shouldn't say this & I have no idea what to do about it but I wish he would make different friends. These people make me nervous. I don't want them to be part of my life.


Sunday, October 01, 2006


True hardship is being forced to live alone in very close proximity with someone you're violently attracted to & not being allowed to touch them or to even think about it. I never actually heard anything conclusive about whether or not strong sexual impulses break your fast if you don't act on them. I hope they don't because really I don't see how you can help wanting things. You can exert self-control and not actually reach for what you want but surely you can't help wanting it?

I don't get it. I mean it's not like we used to have much sex during the day anyway. That's the time when we're both at work. So we shouldn't miss it much right?Wrong. It's the idea that we CAN'T. It drives us both crazy. We haven't experienced this level of sexual tension since we met.

We both come home early these days because Ramadan working hours are short. So there are these few hours before Iftar where I might sit in the living room watching TV while he sits in the study infront of his PC. And I keep coming up with lame excuses to go in the study & talk to him. When I'm cooking, he comes into the kitchen & offers to help - even though we both know he hates cooking. Under normal circumstances, I'll be begging him to at least keep me company while I'm cooking & he'll be complaining that the smell gets on his clothes and his hair & puts him off the food. We've long since reached a compromise. I cook and he cleans. But now he hangs around the kitchen, pretending to chop vegetables I always end up having to chop again anyway. For a surgeon, he's remarkably useless with a knife in the kitchen. And having him around just makes me so jumpy. His voice drives me nuts. If we fall silent then listening to his breathing drives me nuts. Sometimes I get so irritated I want to scream at him to get out of my kitchen.

Later - after we've broken the fast - we laugh about the way we were acting all day. We agree that it's ridiculous and that of course it can't happen again tomorrow because we'll have adjusted to Ramadan etc....But then the next day is exactly the same.

We never touch each other. We never even flirt. But talk about the elephant in the room! The other day, we got into a conversation with a bunch of friends over sheesha after Iftar. The topic was what married couples were allowed to do during the day in Ramadan. And someone said you could kiss and hug if it's "bidoon shahwa"(without sexual desire). And I was thinking I can't even look at him without shahwa these days. No one else admitted to having this kind of problem. All the couples present were nodding wisely & talking about how they all live like warm & cuddly brothers & sisters during from sun-up to sun-down these days because that's the spirit of Ramadan & they are all too occupied with their spirituality etc...We felt so left out.

I am seriously considering moving out for the remaining 3 weeks of Ramadan.