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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tales from the Ladies, Part I: Mr He's Just So Into Himself

The other night I was having drinks with MadGlam and Blonde Bombshell and we were discussing - what else - the male species. BB said that she really enjoyed my blog entry about Mr. He's Just Not That Into You, and asked if she could write in about her disasterous dates with his could-be cousin, Mr. He's Just So Into Himself. I thought it was a great idea and started thinking about the experiences of other Lebanese babes with similar stories to tell, which is why I decided to run this series, Tales from the Ladies! So, without further ado, here is Part I, straight from the horse's mouth:

Dear Anissa,

I really liked your blog entry about Mr He’s Just Not That Into You and I was wondering if we could exchange notes, because I went out with Mr He's Just So Into Himself and thought I’d share with you what it was like to date him!

I’m sure we’ve all heard about Narcissus, the guy who was so into himself that he actually fell in love with his own reflection. Well guess what? He’s not just a story, but lives among us, and I actually dated him! Let me start with my first outing with Mr HJSIH, which I would qualify as ‘educational,’ to say the least. I got to learn all about his measurements: jean size, tee-shirt size, etc. It was actually hard not to memorize such important information, since he kept reminding me how in shape he was and what weights he lifts at the gym everyday – with a private trainer, of course.

Although he is well over 40, Mr HJSIH is like the teenage boy I never had. He has the same preoccupations, maybe the same raging hormones and, just like a regular teen nowadays, he also has ADD (or like Carrie Bradshaw puts it, Another Disastrous Date). It made it impossible to have a conversation with him and difficult to make eye contact, because he was always checking out the crowd around him. I was, however, able to hear the details of how he got to select his ‘premium’ phone number, and how he has already started working on his tan. Phew, thank God for that.

On the second date - yes I did go on a second date with him, maybe because I wanted to discover if there was anything behind this fa├žade, or maybe because I kind of liked the measurements (don't judge me!) - he told me about his deepest darkest worries: the opening dates of La Plage and Sky Bar have been pushed back!! How could they do this to him? Especially considering that he already bought the sunglasses he will wear at the beach while sipping his margaritas and the swimming trunks he’ll parade around in to show off his biceps and abs.

All this opened my eyes to the shortcomings of my own existence: how the hell could I forget about classic Lebanese summer rituals? Why am I not thinking about tanning and getting in shape! And, most disastrously, how could I possibly still be wearing last year’s sunglasses!! SHAME ON ME! Ahhhhhhhhhhh, my life is obviously sooo not worth living, Anissa. At least Mr He's Just Not That Into You complimented you – he actually liked someone other than himself and his date. Mr He's Just So Into Himself only compliments, well, himself!

When my friends joined us, he barely took his eyes off his BlackBerry, so they told me that maybe they didn’t interest him because they didn’t show up with smelly cigars and a million dollar Rolex. How shocking that I have non-Rolex wearing friends! Note to self: make friends with plastics who make Paris Hilton seem down-to-earth.

Anyways, Lebanese society is all about the looks, the muscles and the tans. Summer is the ultimate season for partying, working out and meeting a lot of shallow people. It made me realize that if Lebanese women are superficial it is because men WANT them to be like this ... and also because they are not much deeper themselves.

Hmmm, well it sounds like other people out there have been on dates almost as bad my blind-date-alogues! Any more of you out there?? Oooh, do tell!! In the mean time, get ready for Part II, when Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds dishes all about her uber fun time with El Cheapo Grande. Yikes! Sounds like another match NOT made heaven!

Until then, you know you love me, XOXO, Blogger Girl!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

The other day I was shocked to find myself talking to a Lebanese male who actually reads ... as in books. Anyway, he asked me what I like to read and as I began to list my faves, he arrogantly interrupted me, saying, "Please don't tell me you're into that whole vampire crap." Okay, well, I wasn't going to mention those books because I've already read them ... all ... but after his whole condescending tone I found myself a little bit peeved and so I replied, indignant and proud, "Actually, I do love those books. I know you guys don't get why we women are so into the whole Twilight and True Blood stuff, so allow me to explain: sometimes fake vampires are just so much better than real life men." I then began to list the ways...

1. Grooming
Vamps: In the Twilight and True Blood books the vamp heroes (Edward and Eric, respectively) are beyond hot, especially Eric (MadGlam can totally back me up on this one). In short, they are perfect looking, with Edward not only having great hair but also irresistible breath and Eric having a towering Viking bod that would make lesbians drool.

Real dudes: Well, I know I'm no Gisele and so when I'm at the gym or beach, I don't really expect to see a real life guy that has a killer bod, but hello, at minimum if your back makes you look more like a werewolf than a human, then WAX IT. No, taking a shower and wearing deodorant is not enough! It really irks me that most guys in this country take no time to groom themselves when we women are expected to look flawless at all times. From unibrows to hairy backs, we've got it all, which is why we'd rather get our hunk fix from out of a book than in real life.

                        I 'll take this           ...          Over that!

2. Manners
Vamps: They're suave, sophisticated, attentive and charming. What more could a girl ask for? When Edward and Eric love, they love hard and make us sigh dreamily with every romantic gesture. Who could blame a gal for swooning at Edward's undying love for his beloved? And Eric - well he is just so damn hot! 

Real dudes: Some friends wanted to introduce me to a guy that they described as every bit as fantastic as a hunky vamp, so I agreed to yet another setup (because I never follow my own advice). Anyway, as you probably already guessed if you read my blind date blog, he was, unsurprisingly, a total troll. But that wasn't the main problem with this guy, he was so completely rude, so completely the opposite of a gentleman that right in front of me he asked his pal about this busty blonde at the table behind us! Did I mention that he looked like a troll? Yeah, you see, Edward would never do that!

3. Attitude
Vamps: Edward is a total gem - he is moral, honorable and respectful, and treats his lady love like a jewel. In fact, his attitude could not be more admirable. Now when it comes Eric ... okay, admittedly he does have a little bit of an attitude problem, but who cares? He is just so damn hot! So unless your over 6 ft., blond and completely ripped with Viking roots, don't think you can get away with the same antics. 

Real dudes: In Lebanon, because there are hardly any single men left, most guys think they can get away with completely abominable behavior, like not calling when the say they will, standing you up for a soccer match on TV, or trying to convince you that getting a massage with a happy ending is totally ok.

Now do you see why we find vampires so much more appealing than what real life has to offer? It's just like the Rolling Stones said, I just can't get no satisfaction!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Karma is a Bitch!

I once read that the Dalai Lama said inner peace is about choosing how you react to a situation: you can choose to be mad/angry or you can choose to let it go and be happy. Hmmm, well he must never have come to Lebanon. I really want to be one of those people that can do that, though, I really, really, really, do. They say, after all, that it's all about Karma - i.e., you get what you give out. So, I always try to be polite and considerate, expecting the same treatment in kind, but that just doesn't always happen. The reason? Karma really is a bitch, and guess what? I've met her ... more than once!

Before I begin my tale, however, I must insert this short preamble. In Lebanon, it's in the people's DNA to immediately remark on another person's weight, whether colleagues, acquaintances/relatives or even complete strangers. They will just come up to you, say hello, immediately followed by, "Yiiii, shoo nashanee," which translates into, "Oh my, you've gotten so fat." They will then follow the statement with either, "But it looks good on you," or, "What have you done with yourself," depending on if your reaction is a 'what the *#$*%*?' facial expression, or an amiable admission to said weight gain, respectively. For the record, I have never been so rude as to tell anyone that they've gained weight, yet Karma has still found a way for me to be on the receiving end of such bitchy remarks.

Take for example one fine day in Beirut, when I was on my way up the elevator to get to my office (I was working at this unfortunate company at the time) and these two receptionists were having this conversation at the front desk in the lobby right in front me as I stepped in:
Bitchy Receptionist #1: "You know what's weird about Anissa? Some days she looks really thin and other days, she looks really fat."
Bitchy Receptionist #2: "Yeah, you're absolutely right."
[Both look straight at me as elevator door closes and my jaw drops in shock]

And then there was the time I was in the locker room at my gym and I was making sure everything was tucked in the right places in the mirror before heading out to the treadmill when this random chick comes up to me and starts this lovely conversation:
Random Locker Room Chick: "Hey, have you ever considered liposuction for your thighs?"
Me: [Face in total horror at extremely inappropriate remark from complete stranger] "No! And I can't believe you just told me that."
RLRC: [Noticing my horrified facial expression] "Oh, I was just kidding, ha ha ha."
Yeah, nice save Random Locker Room Chick, who I don't even know and even if I did WHO SAYS THAT?  

And so-called friends can also jump on the rude bandwagon, like the time I was having lunch with Miss Bitches A Lot and we had this short but illuminating conversation:
MBAL: So, do you want dessert?
Me: No thanks.
MBAL: Oh why? Is it because of your thighs?
Me: NO!
Now, how can any normally functioning female emit positive energy after hearing that? Actually, maybe those people do exist - they're called ROBOTS! Oh wait ... positive energy, positive energy, positive energy.

Okay, so obviously I still need to work on the whole 'learning to let things go for inner peace' thing. But sometimes I wonder, is Karma trying to send me a message about my thighs? If so, then seriously, what a bitch!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Hunt is ON!

The other week, I was flicking through TV channels and caught an interview with a professional matchmaker in the US, Rachel Greenwald, and I wrote about it in my latest column for Sayidaty magazine (April 2010 issue). I was a combination of outraged and amused by what she had to say and so I thought I'd write about it on my blog as well.

So, Greenwald wrote the self-help book, Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School, (yes, that is the real title) and although I am no fan of self-help books, I decided to check it out - for research purposes of course! In the book, she writes about ‘The Program,’ a 15-step guide on how to find a ‘wonderful mate.’ Readers, however, are warned that the road to finding Mr. Wonderful is arduous and pricey so she recommends having a special find-a-husband checking account. Hmmm ... Prada bag or husband finding fund? Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Okay, so I should admit at this point that I have not actually read the book. I did head out to the bookstore to find it, but here in Beirut, such desperate measures are apparently not in-demand, despite the supposed ratio of one man to every five women. Anyway, a little more research led me to an online article by The Observer, in which the 15 steps of Greenwald’s husband-hunting tips post-35 are listed (results guaranteed in one year to 18 months).

So bring out your checklist and get ready for the hunt!

1. Marketing focus: make sure you really want to find a husband

2. Marketing support: seek the help of a best friend

3. Packaging: improve your appearance and always look your best
Look good to attract guys?? No way! SHOCKER! I had absolutely no idea. Thank goodness for these totally not obvious tips!

4. Market expansion: hunt for a man in as many places as possible
Do I need a spear? Or will a club suffice?

5. Branding: show what makes you stand out from the crowd
Although I’m completely anti-smoking, maybe I could borrow the slogan from Camel cigarettes: ‘Anissa – Where a man belongs.’

6. Advertising: Ask anyone if they know of a possible date
Readers, I’m depending you – email me!

7. Online marketing: use an online dating service
Maybe it’ll be more effective if I just get ‘Marry Me’ tattooed on my forehead.

8. Guerrilla marketing: get out of the daily grind
I guess I could take up pole dancing.

9. Niche marketing: ask your married friends if they know any suitable men
Well, I suppose I could live with the nickname Ms Desperado.

10. Telemarketing: call everyone you know and ask about possible dates
See above. 

11. Mass marketing: think of everywhere you might meet men and try them all each week
Yes! My night vision goggles will finally come in handy!

12. Event marketing: throw a party and invite single men and friends who can bring some
If I knew that many single men, I wouldn’t need this program.

13. Product life cycle: if it’s not working, take a break to recharge your batteries
If only I were the Energizer Bunny, then I could keep going and going and going and going and going ...

14. Quarterly performance review: take a hard look at why you’re still single
Uhm, because this ‘program’ sucks.

15. Exit strategy: how to decide if you are going to dump him or marry him
What helpful advice! A conclusion I could never have come up with on my own. Let's see, I think I'll dump him ... no marry him ... no dump him ... no marry him then dump him then marry him again ... or... I DON'T KNOW. TOO MANY CHOICES. SO COMPLICATED. HEAD GOING TO EXPLODE!

Obviously, the above program is not for me. Perhaps I’m too cynical, or maybe I’m missing the point, but you never know, dear readers, you could have better luck. Happy hunting!