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Thursday, December 8, 2011

1 Broke Girl!

Dear readers, this year has not been stellar for my business. It was so bad that I didn't even make enough money to buy a single new designer bag. I know, so tragic. Forget about the Arab Spring and global warming - this handbag situation is the tragedy of the year. Okay, so I'm exaggerating - what else is new? I can just imagine the litany of angry emails I will get in response to that last statement: you compare Marc Jacobs camel tote to Middle East revolution?? Oh, who am I kidding? Like anyone ever sends me mail in response to this blog (that no one reads) anyway!

As usual, I digress...

So, business has been really bad and I have been forced to reevaluate my whole business plan (yes, I have a business plan!). Should I stay in Beirut, where let's face it, the amount I make from one brochure means about the only thing I can afford in this town is a Starbucks coffee - a Venti, but still. After reviewing my invoices for 2011, I realized that if I were living in the US, local churches would be coming around giving me charity gift baskets as if to say, 'Oh, we're so sorry you're so poor, here, have a banana muffin.' And if I were still living in the US, I would so take that gift basket and enjoy that muffin with my Starbucks coffee, or my net worth as it were.

The trouble with being poor in Beirut is that no one admits that they're strapped for cash. It's like this giant taboo. I mean, people are actually ashamed that they can't afford the latest $8 million cell phone or ridiculous sports car that transforms into a rocket and flies to the moon. In fact, I would go so far as to say that admitting you have money problems is worse than, say, admitting you never graduated high school ... or that you robbed a bank ... or that you still wear Speedos.

I know that some people would even prefer to sell an internal organ in order to pretend that they live la dolce vita. Kidney? What kidney? Who needs that itty, bitty thing when you can get knee-high Christian Louboutin boots instead? I know what you're thinking, but the thought has never crossed my mind. Really! Why don't you believe me? I'm telling the truth. Honest! I'm not even a fan of Louboutin! Okay, okay. I'm kind of a fan. Minor, really ... a passing fancy, if you will. Perhaps maybe with a medium sized appreciation for the supple leather, pretty heels and oh so hot red soles. Nothing major. Alright, a little major. Okay, alright already, so I'm a huge fan! HUGE!

Other than being frustrated at not being able to purchase new, pretty things, another problem is explaining to friends that I simply can't afford to do certain activities unless I resort to the Daddy ATM machine, ever so popular in Lebanon but a place I haven't visited since 1995 (okay, 1998!). To some Beirutis, though, admitting that no, you can't just hop on a plane to the south of France for a 30 day vacation at a ritzy five-star hotel that costs $2,000 a night is tantamount to saying that you're homeless and living in a cardboard box in an alleyway off Hamra Street, practically starving if not for the LL250 mankoushi that Abu Mustapha, the guy with the neighboring impostor perfume stand, gave you after selling his eighth bottle of faux Chanel No. 5.

So I've accepted that I'm not going on any shopping sprees at Saks any time soon, but with Christmas and FOUR birthdays coming up, my bank account is still in a major panic. Wouldn't it be great if I could just buy everyone socks and they would all think that was the best present ever? Even the kids, would be like, Yay, socks! So awesome! Anissa is the best aunty ever! If that completely believable scenario doesn't happen, I could always feign innocence and be like Whaaaaat? Socks aren't a marvelous present? Why, I had no idea. Look, they have ducks on them!

Oh well, you know what they say:  It's the most  expensive wonderful time of the year  !!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Easy As Pie

Every Thanksgiving, I do the obligatory thing and ask my mom what I can make for the big meal. It's more of a ceremonious thing than a genuine offer. And knowing how useful I am in the kitchen, she usually says, "Nothing" - although I have over the years, miraculously, churned out a mean apple pie, pecan pie and once, a pumpkin cheesecake. But those flukes of culinary success were few and far between. In fact, my ability to get things done in the kitchen is about as advanced as my ability to last five minutes on an Ultimate Survival quest with Bear Grylls.

To my mother, a traditional Lebanese lady with tremendous cooking talent, having a daughter so completely hopeless in that department is a disappointment that has taken her over 30 years to come to terms with. Although she has somewhat accepted the fact that there is no inner great chef in me, her eyes still glimmer with hope whenever I attempt some small cooking feat. It's like subconsciously she believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and somehow mastering that art just may land me a husband. It's very Field of Dreams - you know, if she bakes it, he will come.

I wouldn't say I'm a bad cook per se, because I just don't do it. My desire to enter the kitchen and prepare a meal equals my yearning for a root canal ... without anesthetic. (Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating. Nix the 'no anesthetic' part.) But if you want to know the truth, my mother only has herself to blame. As a kid, everything my parents made me do, I refused to do as an adult. For example, I no longer eat steak or bananas, and don't drink milk. (I used to also not eat eggs until a few years ago, when I had a particularly delicious chance encounter with an English breakfast in London that forever changed my once prejudiced taste buds.) And helping mom in the kitchen was numero uno on that list.

You see, my parents used to entertain a lot when I was growing up. It felt like nearly every weekend there was some lunch or dinner they were hosting. I used to absolutely DREAD them, because I was expected to help in the kitchen. TORTURE. I'm pretty sure I ended up being more of a pest than a help. I never knew where anything was, which drove mom crazy - "Don't you live in this house?" she'd scream. And worse, she'd ask for utensils in Arabic, leaving me dazed and confused because I barely knew what they were in English. And back then, the extent of my Arabic vocabulary was murhaba (hello), mneha (I'm fine) and busa (ice cream). Mom would get so frustrated with me that she'd eventually just throw me out.

Luckily for her, though, she has four daughters: two are good cooks, one cooks, but her food is ... well, no comment, and then there's me. Miss Lean Cuisine/ Casper & Gamibini's take out/ spaghetti/ club sandwich (pretty much the extent of my 'cooking' ability). Okay, I'm not being entirely honest with you all. I actually have a specialty. Yes, you read right, a speciality. I - sometimes on special occasions - make my now famous chocolate pie. How did I become famous for anything to do with the kitchen, you may ask? By accident.

When I was in high school, one of the students brought in a chocolate cake that was so scrumptious, I asked for the recipe. Culinary genius that I am, I didn't write it down. When I got home, I told my mom about it and asked her to make it. Seeing a narrow window of opportunity, she said if I wanted to have that cake again, I would have to make it myself, and so desperate for that chocolate heaven, I agreed. But of course I completely forgot the ingredients and directions. My mom kept asking me if I was sure I knew what I was doing and not wanting to admit defeat, I assured her I did. Well, the final product was not the cake my schoolmate brought in, but it did end up being a delicious chocolate cake/pie concoction that I have become famous for.

Anyway, this year, you can just imagine mom's surprise when I told her that last night I made not one, but TWO chocolate pies for Thanksgiving today: one regular and the other chocolate mint. I still don't know what happened in that kitchen all those years ago that left me with at least one culinary legacy, but divine intervention is a strong possibility!


Monday, November 14, 2011

A Beautiful Mind

I know that I always have an excuse for a (VERY) late blog entry, but this time, a very dear and close friend was going through a hard time and I could not write for laughs knowing she was so sad.

Anyway, without further ado, let's get down to business ...

You'd think that my absence over the past few weeks would mean that I have even more material to write about. Well, yes, a lot did happen, but funnily enough, the thing that sticks out most in my mind is one very exciting, stimulating and mind blowing game of Trivial Pursuit. No, I am not the world's most boring person (even though I admit I've had my moments), but sometimes there is nothing more fun than a good old board game. So, after dinner and drinks in Hamra last week, I returned home with Mr. MUF and decided to play Trivial Pursuit along with Mr. US.

Now, let us backtrack a bit. I like to think of myself as a well-rounded person, with a little knowledge about a range of topics so I can participate in a variety of conversations. When hanging out with the guys especially, this is particularly cumbersome, because I have to read up on coma-inducing topics, like sports!

For example, last month was the rugby world cup and Mr. B was incredibly enthusiastic to watch the England games. He organized a couple of viewing parties at our favorite pub, and for some reason invited me, and for some reason, I went (that reason being the English breakfast on the menu). As long time readers of this blog know (hello, mom), I'm not exactly a fan of rugby. But nevertheless, before the morning match, I brushed up on some basics so I would fit in with the guys. As they were talking rugby, I put in my two (very vague) cents so I wouldn't appear totally out of place and they'd think that I knew what I was talking about. But between you and I, I was just there for the food!!!

Then there was the wine fest that took place in the downtown a few weeks ago. Not much of a drinker, or a wine enthusiast for that matter, I decided to go anyway. I went with Mr. B, Mr. US and another friend and we made the rounds of the different wine stands. The other three are totally into their wine. They like know stuff and understand what things like 'bouquet' mean. I think I did commit a serious faux pas though. This one wine rep from a very snooty vineyard said, "I am going to open a very special bottle for you. Here taste this from [I don't care year]." So I did. "Do you taste the [I don't care what type of wood and fruit]?" I replied, "Yes, sure," even though all I tasted was wine. "Isn't it marvelous?" he then asked. "Oh yes, marvelous," I replied as I dumped the rest of the glass in the dump bucket and escaped as fast as possible after glimpsing his horrified expression. He was positively aghast that I didn't want to finish it!

The rest of the evening, I just smiled and nodded and sipped the wine in between my teeth to make it look like I knew how to taste the wine properly, which I don't because my extent of wine knowledge comes from the movie Sideways, which I thought was totally crap by the way. I also twirled the wine in the cup to see how it coats the glass, because that also means something and made me feel very 'winey'. But the buck stopped there. When I ran out of things to say, I said that I was done drinking because I was the designated driver, which was true ... and also convenient.

Okay, so far, I've given you examples of how I barely got by with minimal information while doing stuff my guy friends like to do. Now let's get back to that Trivial Pursuit game, during which I didn't have to fudge my way through anything. I totally kicked butt because while Mr. MUF was awesome when it came to sports, and Mr. US was awesome when it came to history, because I read about EVERYTHING, I was totally awesome ... period!

I even knew who took some boxing championship away from Hector Mercedes (or some question about boxing). You stumped yet? Yeah, well it was Mike Tyson. Okay, so I only got it right because he happens to be the only name in boxing that I know (yes, him being in the Hangover movies has something to do with that). Anyway, although I was grabbing up wedges with lightning speed, knowing how guys hate to lose to girls no matter what the game, I gave sooooo many hints to help the others out. I even sang the jingle for the Hershey Bar after Mr. MUF said that the name of the American chocolate factory that broke ground in the US in 1903 was, and I quote, 'Tweex.' He still didn't get it right.

So while I may not know a great deal about sports, or wine (or a bunch of other things that I'm not going to reveal), I do know a little bit about a lot, which you know, kind of makes me a genius.

Hey!!! I said kind of

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The scene ... mass hysteria across the country. Panic, tears, outright devastation.
The date ... October 11, 2011, ongoing as of the publication of this blog entry.
The place ... Lebanon, oh and the entire Middle East, Africa and Europe.
The event ... GLOBAL ... BLACKBERRY ... WIPE OUT! Oh mah Gad.

So, yes, yesterday Research In Motion declared that there is widespread service disruption around the world because of a problem that they still haven't fixed. It's been 48 hours. I mean it's bad, people, really, really bad. And I'm not even that addicted to my BB, I mean, well, compared to other people that have serious withdrawal issues (*cough* Miss HotStuff *cough*). Okay, so maybe, maybe, I am just slightly attached to my phone. Maybe. Just a little. Here's how I've been coping so far.

Yesterday started out normal enough. I got up at *bleeeeep* o'clock, reached for my trusted companion, my BB, to check who loved me. NO ONE! How could this be? Not a single message, not a single email, not a single anything? What has the world come to? Feeling completely dejected, rejected and more than a little discombobulated, I decided I was tough enough to go about my day normally despite the fact that I was gettin' no BB love. I can do this, I can do this, I don't really need my BB. This will not really affect me. 

By lunchtime, I checked my BB for the umpteenth time to see if the problem had been resolved. I saw line after line of BBM message with a naked check mark on the side - no little 'D' or 'R' to indicate any of my messages had been delivered or were read. I tried calling the phone company for the third time only to get the automated operator saying all lines were busy and to try again later. I was so frustrated and angry I picked up my phone and threw it (like a girl). This is outrageous, I should send one of my notorious angry emails to RIM and give them a piece of my mind.

After a while, I calmed down a little bit and regretted throwing my phone. Unless, I thought, the drop triggered something that miraculously made it work again. Nope. Still not working. I delicately picked up my BB in the cupped palms of my hands and willed it to work ... with my mind. Nothing. Then I resorted to prayer. Oh, please tech gods of RIM, put your thinking caps on and FIX THE PROBLEM and I will never complain about your crappy service again! Zilch.

By late afternoon I was inconsolable and thinking the unthinkable: switching to an iPhone. It was like being stuck in an episode of Terra Nova - without BB, the earth was no great place to live. The only salvation for humanity has to be travelling 80 million years back in time. Oh wait, do they have cell phone service over there? And what about the man eating dinosaurs? Hmmmm, okay, so maybe that's not such a good idea. I was back to square one. Oh sigh, this is what heartbreak must feel like.

At nighttime, I had no choice but to accept the fact that I may be BBless for a while. I resigned myself to the reality of the situation and was determined, more than ever, to get through this rough patch like a champ. No BB outage will bring me down. I am stronger than that. I will prevail!! 

I ... oh wait ... is that a beep I hear? Could it be ... YESSSSSS, a BBM! Oh my god, this is great. This is wonderful. This is the best day everrrr! There is a god! Crisis averted. All's well with ... oh crap. What the he...?? Just an SMS? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

From Sushi to Wonder Woman

On Sunday night, I found myself sitting with MadGlam, my partner in crime, at a bar thinking of  - wait for it - Wonder Woman. I know, I know, tres bizarre. You're probably wondering what strange series of events led me to such a random thought. Well, it all started like this ...

Sunday morning I got up to get ready for a family lunch in the mountains. (FYI: Warm and sunny in Beirut naturally means cold and rainy in the mountains!) When we got there, we saw that the lunch was outdoors ... in the rain, which was pounding the flimsy canvas serving as a shelter, dripping through slits that horrifyingly crept closer and closer to my handbag, which was good in a way only because it distracted me from the horror that was becoming my hair. Then I looked across the garden and saw that there was nothing covering the food. Hmmm, this will be interesting, I thought. It wasn't. It was wet. Very, very wet. So, of course, I was not enticed to eat the soggy food, which of course resulted in me starving to death by the time I got back down to Beirut, which led me to pick up the phone and dial ...

... McDonald's delivery (yes, McDonald's delivers here, God bless Lebanon!). But before I could put in the four digit number, I received a perfectly timed intervention from MadGlam, who suggested we go out for sushi, a much healthier dining option, to be sure. At dinner, we decided to go out for a drink when we were done eating, which is why an hour later we found ourselves sitting at a new bar that opened downtown, when suddenly ...

... our intense discussion on text messaging was interrupted because she saw some guy she knew, to whom she introduced me and then asked, "Do you think he's attractive?" One look at the blazer/ t-shirt combo, slicked back oily hair (I didn't look at his shoes, but I have a strong suspicion he wasn't wearing socks - so gross) and I thought he must be caught in some time/space wormhole thingymebob that left him stuck in the 1980s, back when the Miami Vice look was still cool, which, of course, reminded me of ...

... the totally awesome Hot Tub Time Machine, which was on cable the other night and is completely underrated, by the way. Great film. Okay, maybe not 'great' per se, but definitely at least 'good'. I just love John Cusack. I think he's still single. I wonder if he likes brunettes?? Oh, sorry, I almost forgot about you guys. Okay, where was I? Oh yes, Hot Tub Time Machine. So, the movie made me think of the scene when they were first transported back to the 80s and they were skiing and everyone was carrying a ...

... walkman, which I got as a present from my parents on my 10th birthday. It was white, as big as my head and the earphones were the size of a football helmet but with foam. And I thought I was totally cool, because I had a walkman! The first cassette tape I ever bought? Def Leppard! (If MadGlam is reading this, she's probably thinking, 'Def Leppard? Isn't that the latest handbag from Gucci?') Anyway, I digress yet again. That happened in 1984, the year that my school in Dubai held ...

... the greatest Halloween fair ever, to which I went dressed up as none other than ...

... dah dah dahhhhh ...

... Wonder Woman!

And no, I do not have ADD ... surprisingly!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blabbing with the Bassara

So, yesterday after a weekend of beer, baked  beans and rugby (yes, it still looks like gay porn to me), MadGlam and I decided to go see a bassara, also known as a fortune teller. Now, I should say that I have not frequented a bassara's lair since the good ol' days with FFF way back when. But so extraordinary were these supposed talents of yesterday's soothsayer that I allowed curiosity to get the better of me and tagged along.

Off the bat, Fortune Teller Extraordinaire NOT (FTEN) was totally off on my 'aura' or emotions, or whatever. Before looking at my coffee cup, she said my 'energy' was showing her that I was an extrovert [WRONG] who loves to go out all the time [WRONG] and everyone loves me [so true, of course, and I mean, like EVERYONE.]

Right, great start, I thought to myself. Then she says: "Now I want to move on to your emotions, and by that I mean your love life, and by that I mean you don't have one." [Uhm, okay, that sounds hopeful.] "I see in front of you a white wall." [How droll, at least couldn't my boyfriend, i.e. the wall, be a more exciting color? Maybe something psychedelic or at least slightly funky?] "But don't worry, I see past this wall." [Phew, thank God. I was really starting to think I was going to exchange vows with dull concrete.] "Yes, yes, past this wall, there is a man [specific]. You will meet him in May or maybe some other month or maybe you met him already ... [looks at my raised eyebrows] but no you have not met him [looks at me again] but yes maybe you have [looks again] but no, no you haven't." Whatevs!

Yes, FTEN was that good. Apparently Future Husband, who thankfully is not a wall, works in advertising, or marketing, or something in the arts or is just employed. At first he was NINE years older than me. When I expressed my disappointment at this big age difference, the conversation went something like this:

FTEN: "Why are you upset - nine years is not so much an age difference."
[Please bear in mind that at this point I had already given her my birth date and year.]
ME: "Uhm yes it is."
FTEN: "Oh, oh, I made a mistake. Do you feel better now?"
Me: "Oh yes, soooooo much better. And I'm so glad that I'm getting this totally accurate and not at all BS reading from you based on my facial expressions and body language."

Okay, then she starts spewing out letters. 'R', 'M', 'E'. "Do you know anyone with those letters in your family?" Actually, no, but my brother's middle name is Ramzi, which technically could be spelled Ramzey, which would fit, so I threw her a bone and said, yes, my brother. "You work together in a family business." [WRONG] "You work in similar fields." [WRONG] I was so annoyed at this point, I just started to give her information and told her we share an office space. "Yes, yes, that is the connection I see." Eye roll.

When I BBMed my brother and gave him this super exciting news, he said that FTEN is just as accurate as Wheel of Fortune. They give those letters for free in the final round because they are some of the most popular letters in the alphabet and chances are, she's gonna get at least one right. Which is probably why she told me future husband has an 'S' in his name and MadGlam's has a 'T'. When FTEN revealed this tidbit to me, I was like noooooo wayyyyyy, thanks for narrowing things down. I mean, just about everyone I know has an 'S' somewhere in their name. Hello needle, have you met haystack?

After about an hour with FTEN, I was really ready to stop my fortune telling adventures foreverrrrr. Seriously, even rugby makes more sense to me than her so-called predictions!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bride Wars!

So, it's been a loooooonnnnnngggggg break from my blog I know, but dear readers, I needed it. There was A LOT going on this spring/summer and unfortunately, that meant no time for my blog. And let's be honest here, it's not like I was ever really that ... uhm let's say punctual ... about updating my entries!

Anyhoo, the reason for all the chaos?? Another one of my sisters got hitched - wohooo! And then another got engaged - double wohooo! And yet another came along just for the ride with two kids, a husband and a kidney stone (his, not hers) in tow - a reserved wohooo, but only because of the kidney stone. Yes, it's been a hectic few months. Thankfully, all went well (or hamdillah, as we say in this neck of the woods). As you can see from the pic above, the bride was absolutely stunning, the engaged sister (right) was as equally as radiant and 'married with children' (left) has never looked less than beautiful a day in her life. That's me in the middle. (And no, we bridesmaids were not pointing our bouquets at our sister's head because she made us wear bridesmaids dresses.)

During the whole summer, I have to relate to you the huge contradiction going on in my head as both my younger sisters prepared for their nuptials and engagement party. Some of you may recall my less than enthusiastic feeling towards such celebrations because of the onslaught of akbalik (hope you get married next) comments that I get. I thought that was bad ... until they stopped! Let me explain ...

You know, it's true what they say, you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone. Funnily, weirdly and incredibly bizarrely enough, that's how I felt about the whole akbalik thing. I despised it because I was like, 'Hello, there is more that I want to do in my life than get married, it is not one of my major goals - I want to accomplish things greater than nabbing a husband!'

Fast forward to this summer. A bunch of people were over to congratulate us all on my sister's engagement. My sisters were all there and I'm the only single one left. I was sitting next to my also single brother and then when everyone got up to leave, they all completely ignored me and started telling him akbalak. Did I mention I was standing right next to him?? Suddenly, being at the receiving end of an abalik comment wasn't so bad. I seriously felt like an expired carton of milk. I thought maybe I should get a new tattoo on my forehead, this one saying, 'Yo, still viable.'

My sister noticed this outrageous injustice of akbalik bestowment, and said politely, 'Anissa first.' Then the barrage of akbaliks began to spring forth and - again - funnily, weirdly and incredibly bizarrely enough, I was actually pleased. My brother on the other hand was where I was just a few short months ago and sick of hearing it. He joked that he was going to change his name to Akbalak.

But you won't hear any complaints from me anymore, no siree, Bob! I ain't no moldy piece of bread just yet, so feel free to call me Anissa Akbalik any old (no pun intended) time!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sealing the Deal Part II

After much ado ... the second part of the 'Seal the Deal' series has finally arrived. Why the delay, you may be asking (if you weren't asking, then skip ahead to the next paragraph)? Well, I was on a self-imposed writer's strike. I was holding out until my demands (to myself) were met. Negotiations (with myself) were tough and extremely stressful. Finally we (me, myself and I) reached a compromise and now I'm back to work.

Now, back to the blog subject at hand. As promised, I spoke to Typical Single Lebanese Guy and he gave me the scoop on how picking up chicks is done a la Libanaise. First, let me describe TSLG. He is successful, above 35, with his own love pad and in general a nice guy. I'm not a shrink, but he does not strike me as someone who is particularly egotistical or full of himself, and does not try to over-compensate any insecurities by talking about how much money he has or the people he knows. (Hmmm, on second thought, maybe he's not a typical Lebanese guy ... anyway, I digress.)

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This is not some parody on Lebanese men, or a slam in any way. TSLG exists and he is a friend of mine, who has given me permission to write this up. Also, the description of the ladies below are according to TSLG's view point and are not my opinion necessarily. And just to reiterate that this is not a diss, let the record show that I love Lebanese men!

Okay, now when TSLG is out on the prowl, no fins come out - he is way more chill about getting his prey. He is a predator that operates under the radar - very effective indeed. His weapon of choice? Ignoring. Apparently, this little trick really works, as girls (or the ones swimming in TSLG's pool) are only too eager to please when they think that an unattached dude is not paying them enough attention.

In fact, so effective are TSLG's tools of seduction that he has generously agreed to share with you all his 8 Simple Rules to Sealing the Deal. This is obviously beneficial to a) guys who are new to Lebanon and are clueless as to how to land a Beiruti babe, or even guys who are just plain clueless and b) Lebanese women who want to know why the guy at the bar, who seemed so into you, never asked for your number!

So here is a page right out of TSLG's playbook:
Step 1: Go in bar and mark the hot girls. Make sure you sit within talking distance, preferably at the bar.
2: Ignore the girl - i.e. don't look at her or make any eye contact - for at least half an hour to 45 mins. Apparently, chicks are less discriminate when it comes to looks and are more interested in a guy's approach than his physical similarity to Robert Pattinson.
3: After ignoring period, casually strike up a conversation. Do not answer any questions about your job because girls are always looking for a reason to discredit you, so don't give them the opportunity.
4:  When you or she is about to leave, just say it was nice meeting you and don't ask for her number.
5: After a few days, look her up on Facebook and send her a message saying it was nice meeting her the other night. Say something funny, like 'don't worry, I'm not going to stalk you or add you as a friend.' The girl usually responds and adds you as a friend first.
6. After sending a few messages back and forth, casually mention that you should meet up for drinks. If she agrees, she will send you her number.
7: While out with her, always pick up the tab and never make the moves on her. A typical Lebanese chick wants to prove that she's a good girl and making the moves will give her the opportunity to reject you. You should avoid rejection at all costs.
8: After a few 'platonic' dates, ask some friends to meet you and introduce the chick as a friend who is like your 'little sister'. This will infuriate her. She will try to prove that you are attracted to her and the next time you're alone - boom! - she will be all over you.

And that, my friends, is how it's done!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sealing the Deal

I recently met up with my pal, Priscilla Priss, and she couldn't stop talking about Slow Jim Blah, who she said she knew was into her but hadn't made the moves yet for reasons she could not fathom. She asked me for my opinion, but I had no clue as to what Slow Jim's problem was, if he was indeed as into her as PP claimed. My philosophy is that over analyzing is always a very bad idea, and so if a guy is acting like he's just not that into you, then that's just what it is. I tried to break this gently to PP, but she is convinced that that is not the case.

So, wanting to help out my friend, because I am just so generous and giving that way, I dialed up my go-to guy for all things guy related to get the male perspective. I'm talking, of course, about none other than the one and only Mr. B (back by popular demand). After I explained PP's predicament, the conversation went a little something like this:
Mr. B: Is Slow Jim a TLG?
Me: Huh?
Mr. B: A typical Lebanese guy?
Me: Uhm, yeah, I guess.
Mr. B: Well, that's the problem right there. TLG will not make the moves on a chick the way, let's say, a European or American dude would. (NB: In reality, Mr. B would be mortified at the use of the words chick and dude.)
Me: Whatever do you mean?

Mr. B then went on to describe the 'typical' pick up scene, apparently common in just about every town but Beirut. Allow me to paraphrase: Imagine the opening sequence of Jaws (the first one, not the crap sequels). The hot bikini clad babe swims in the seemingly calm waters, wading peacefully, oblivious to the danger lurking beneath. Then ... cue music as the fins appear ... dah duh, dah duh, dah duhhhh. Action!

So, if you keep the babe and just substitute the sea for a pub and the shark for out and about dudes, you'll have the essential ingredients for 'sealing the deal.' If, for some reason, two of the guys in the same group are after the same girl, it's all out war, though. According to our expert, Mr. B, in such instances, the conversation will go a little something like this.
Guy 1: Shoo, what do you think of her?
Guy 2: Yeah, she's cute.
Guy 1: Is this war?
Guy 2: I think so, mate.

I always thought that guys operated on the unshakable 'bros before hoes' code, but apparently when alcohol is involved, the only rule is that there are no rules. Now, I know what you're all dying to know: how is the fight settled? The answer will shock and amaze you!! Such a profound revelation will surely bring you to your knees. So ... hold on to your seats ... be prepared ... catch your breath ... sit tight ...stay calm ...

"Whoever hails the first cab," Mr. B replied.

I know. Deep stuff.

But if that's how a non-TLG operates, then what about a genuine, bon a fide, living and breathing TLG? Well, for that story, dear readers, stay tuned for the startling revelations straight from the horse's mouth: Mr. TLG spills all in my next blog entry! Until then, happy ... sealing?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Like You, You Like Me!

The other morning, I came across an article from called '10 Ways to Make People Like You.' Of course, being as popular and universally loved as I am, I had no reason to read such a piece, but I thought in light of what's going on around us in the Middle East these days, a couple of politicians out there (or even Charlie Sheen) could use the advice! So here is my take on the tips and hints:

1. Smile a lot
So obvious, I know. Yes, a cheerful showing of your pearly whites makes you more attractive to people and they will be encouraged to like you more. Hmmm, well I guess there should be an addendum to that, like if your smile is accompanied by statements like, 'There will be blood,' your 'friendliness' is probably not gonna be taken that seriously.

2. Be a good listener
This may also seem like a no brainer, but you'd be surprised how some folks will interpret thousands of people carrying signs that say, 'We hate you. Leave now,' to mean, 'We worship the ground you walk on.' See, a good listener, you know, actually listens.

3. Share something about yourself
Do not get carried away with this one. The key word here is 'something' as in one thing. For example, scratch the two hour, incoherent rambling of how great and perfect and wonderful you are, and maybe say something like, 'Dude, sorry to hear that you lost your job, I've never had a real one myself, but yo, did I tell you that Beyonce, Jay Z, Usher and Nelly Furtado came to this kick ass party I threw on my boat?' See, in one sentence you managed to share that you are empathetic and cool. Two birds, one stone.

4. Strike the right pose
It's all about body language: crossing your arms and legs away from people closes you off from them and they are less likely to approach you or continue talking to you. This makes you less likable. I'd like to add that waving guns in the air and shooting doesn't help either.

5. Don't talk trash
Right, here it goes. To get people to like you, it's probably not a good idea to refer to them as 'cockroaches' or 'rats.' Just a suggestion.

6. Lighten up
It's always a good idea not to take yourself too seriously and show that you can laugh at yourself. This will make the person you're talking to more comfortable and relaxed, and they just may start thinking that you're a pleasure to be around. You could share an anecdote about yourself, like the time you got high off your coffee and milk. Ha ha ha! Really. Totally hilarious.

7. Ask for a favor
This point needs to be clarified. For example, it's okay to ask someone to watch your phone while you use the bathroom because it establishes trust. It's not okay, however, to ask people to ... I dunno ... suffer for a loaf of bread while you bask in luxury off their labor. Maybe?

8. Do something nice
Okay, big hint here: bombs and bullets don't count.

9. Use their name when speaking to them
See number 5. Names proper are probably best.

10. Be sensitive
Uhm ... let's see ... if you follow points 1 through 9, I'd say you're all set in the sensitivity department. 

And now, after completing this 10-step program, everyone should totally love you. You're welcome!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hearts and Red Teddy Bears

The other day I was talking to Miss Bitches-A-Lot (yes, we still speak from time to time; no, I don't know why; and no she doesn't read this blog so yes, I can talk about her) and she was asking, like Bonnie Tyler, 'where have all the good men gone?' A very good question indeed, although in her case, it's probably that they just don't like her. Anyway, that conversation got me thinking about Valentine's Day, which is just around the corner.

Actually, even without talking to the most irritating person this side of the Mediterranean, it would be nearly impossible not to think about February 14, since practically every shop window in Beirut looks like a giant blood clot! Now, don't get me wrong, I am not anti-Valentine's Day, nor am I one of those people who thinks that it's just capitalist crap invented by evil retailers who manage to dupe nutty romantics into paying $80,000 for a single rose when on any other day it would cost less than $1. No, I actually like the fact that there's a romance day, even though Miss HotStuff scoffs at this and says, 'Every day should be Valentine's Day.' Whatever! Who the heck has the energy to be romantic every single day! I mean, how many red Teddy Bears can one possibly own?

I then started to think back to some of the most embarrassing Valentine's Days I've had. First, there was the time when a single female friend and I decided to go see a movie and we totally forgot that it was February 14. After we bought our tickets, we were so embarrassed when at the door of the theater we saw there was a special Valentine’s Day promotion going on and they were giving away roses to all the girls and some sort of sample cologne to the men. Obviously, we had no idea this movie was like an event or something, and because we weren’t with any guys, we got the roses and the cologne. So there we were … two girls … at a romantic movie … surrounded by couples … carrying cologne and roses. Needless to say, we were so embarrassed we couldn’t throw the gifts away fast enough because a) we didn't want to make it even more obvious that we were dateless and b) we didn't want to completely kill our chances of ever getting dates again by looking like we were gay.

A few years after that, I got a call at my desk from the receptionist where I worked at the time telling me that I had just received a bouquet of flowers. Since I wasn’t seeing anyone at the time, I was pleasantly surprised, so I leapt out of my chair and hurried to collect my Valentine surprise. At the receptionist’s desk, there were a dozen beautiful red tulips and my mind began racing with names of men who could’ve possibly sent them.

“Who are they from?” asked the bitchy, nosy receptionist. Ah, the suspense as I read the words, ‘From a secret admirer,’ the excitement, the thrill … the utter disappointment as I recognized the handwriting. This couldn’t be, I told myself, the flowers are from … my mother?? After regaining my calm, I replied with a smile, “They’re from a secret admirer.” Okay, so I lied - I rationlized that it was better to appear mysterious than loserish.

There was also that Valentine’s Day when I actually did receive a gift from a bona fide ‘secret admirer,’ only to discover it was that creepy, stalker guy, who was as old as my grandfather, about as attractive as road kill, and somehow interpreted a polite, ‘hello’ to mean, ‘I love you, please send me a creepy present.’

As for this year, who knows? Maybe I will get a giant heart stuffed with chocolates and a big ass red Teddy Bear. But let's just hope it's not from a geriatric weirdo … or a relative (no offense, mom!).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We Doth Protest Too Much?

So, everybody knows that the past two weeks or so have not been the best in our beloved country, but this is not a political blog, and I will not be going there. Suffice it to say that because of the situation, I have not been going out and so, Mr HJNTIY, if you're reading this, you better stop now, because this entry is not going to have anything scandalous in it.

Now, because I have not been in the mood to go out, I have been watching a lot of movies the past 10 days. One such film was a supposed real story about alien abductions that I have refused to see for months, even though my brother has been eager to watch it since its release. I get laughed at a lot, but aliens scare the crap out of me. Hello, did you not see Independence Day? And even genius extraordinaire Stephen Hawking said that if aliens ever came to earth, they would not be the friendly ET type (yes, even he [it?] freaks me out). Also, how is it that all the alleged abductees have the exact same story? Even their descriptions of the aliens are the same. Coincidence? I think not.

My family still makes fun of the one summer years ago when were vacationing in our old family home in the mountains and I didn't sleep the whole time there because I was terrified that a UFO would land nearby. There was a huge empty lot right next to my bedroom window and it was the perfect spot to land their spaceship, I reasoned oh so rationally. There was also an army checkpoint in the street in front of the house, and when there were soldiers on night duty, I could sleep, because - I reasoned oh so rationally - if a UFO came by, their screams would alert me to their ominous arrival. If, however, they were not on duty, I would wait until daybreak before getting some shut eye.

I think it was my mother who asked me if I had the same fear in Beirut. 'No, of course not,' I said. 'In Beirut, there are too many buildings around so they can't land their ships,' I added, as if this should be totally obvious and logical. 'Oh riiiiiggghhhhttttt,' my mother replied in the tone shrinks use when they talk to people in the psycho ward.

So, anyway, when my brother wanted to watch this alien abduction movie, he tried to convince me - using physics - that it was impossible for aliens to come to earth. Something about needing to create a black hole, or wormhole, or whatever in order to travel fast enough to reach our planet. What the hell does he know? Like he understands alien technology??!!? I am completely unconvinced. I mean, they could have already invented that ability on the planet where all the Scientologists came from!

But, apparently, the laws of physics are the same across the universe, even in alien land. Whatever! Okay, it's not like I've seen one or anything - or have I? - but it's like the case of ghosts. Maybe you don't entirely, 100% believe in their existence, but you don't want to say it out loud just in case they do exist and then they show themselves to you to prove it. Well, I'm not going to take that risk, thank you very much. So, if you're out there aliens (and ghosts, while we're at it), I believe! I believe!

As for my sleepless nights, my fear was abating some thanks to my logic about UFOs needing space to land. That is until my brother pointed out that they can just hover above a buildling, they really don't need to bring the ship down. Yeah, thanks, bro!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Love, Actually

Happy New Year, everyone! I've been on holiday for the past three weeks, so that explains the long break in blog entries, but now I'm back - better than ever (not). And as another year has passed by, I thought I'd give a brief rundown of this blog's most popular co-stars to date.

Pixie Minxie
The last time we caught up with this golden mane babe, she was fresh off one of the worst blind dates in blind date history. Well, you'll all be happy to know that one of those blind dates actually paid off - believe it or not! - and Pixie Minxie is now engaged to none other than Blizzard Jogger, a newly inducted addition to this blog! Yes, it was a match made in blind date heaven - as I've said before, stranger things have happened. I'd like to say akbal me having the same happy fate, but we all know my luck with blind dates, so that ain't ever gonna happen! Congrats Pixie and BJog!

Miss HotStuff
So hot that most men do her bidding with the single bat of one eye, Miss HotStuff  had a love affair so intense this past holiday season, we all thought her heart would break when the love of her life suddenly walked out on her. Significant others can be so brutish that way! It all started one cold winter's day, when traveling abroad she noticed that her - gulp - BlackBerry was not working and she could not - gulp, gulp - BBM her friends back home. Heartbroken is actually not the word. Devastated, inconsolable, distraught ... perhaps are more accurate descriptions of her state of mind. But don't fret, dear readers, you'll be relieved to know that after hours and hours of calls to the phone company, her disastrous state of affairs was finally repaired. Her dear love was back in her eagerly awaiting arms and all was right with the world once again.

Who knows whether or not this dude is still obsessing over barely legal debutants who he'd rather describe as 'sisters' rather than love interests. At a recent outing, he emphatically stressed that he was a changed man - perhaps transformed through a New Year's resolution? Yes, he no longer sets an age limit of 25 or less for the women he dates. Now hold on ladies, those of you waiting with bated breath should also hear the clause to this so-called change of heart in his lifestyle. He's okay with women who are older than 25 as long as they look 25. Such revelations give me so much faith in the core values of the opposite sex!

Oh, the lifestyles of the madly glamorous were equally void of passionate romance this past holiday, but that didn't stop our heroine MadGlam from capturing the hearts of her many admirers. Unfortunately, she did not find her one true love in her stocking come Christmas Day. Hmmm, could it be that Santa caught glimpse of a naughty side none of us knew about? Perhaps old St. Nick thought her shopping spree with suitcases a bit much? Or perhaps he was offended when 'Sweet Emotion' came on the radio and she said, 'Oh, I know who sings this song ... uhm, Bono.' You mean U2, thought Santa, listening in all the way from the North Pole. 'No, no, it's the that group, I don't know their name, with Mick Jagger,' she said, thinking she was correcting herself. No, it's not the Rolling Stones either, mused Santa from atop his sled. 'Now I've got it, it's Guns N' Roses!' she said all excitedly. IT'S AEROSMITH, AEROSMITH, Rudolph screamed after he just couldn't take it anymore, nose flaring even more red than usual in frustration.

Now here's some tantalizing tale from the dark side! Mr US recently met SHB, an acronym I shall not spell out for you, but let's just say the chick deserves the name COMPLETELY. Imagine, she thought she could play two men - friends at that - at the same time without the brain power to think that maybe, just maybe in a town as small as Beirut one of the dudes might catch wind of it. After going all Fatal Attraction on Mr US - yes, she even admitted to going to his home while he wasn't there and peeking in the windows... so CREEPY - he gave her the benefit of the doubt despite my warnings that he was going to soon find bunny rabbits boiling in a pot in his kitchen. After a while, he realized that SHB was playing the same game with his friend, and even after she found out that Mr US learned of her shenanigans, she still had the gall to contact him again! Move over Glenn Close, you've got competition, and boy is she nasty!