15 Very Arab Problems: Sweating the stuff that gets hot-blooded Arab veils in a twist

Published February 20th, 2014 - 18:11 GMT

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There's a fever hitting the region and this time it's not the Arab Spring... If you've experienced any of the following ailments, you may be suffering the distinctly Arab condition (also contagious and untreatable) that's been medically billed 'Very Arab Problems'. Continue reading below »

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Not knowing the amount of kisses to bestow on family members: it’s a smooching struggle. Kissers can be thrown off by the uncertainty of whether they’re diving in for the double cheek, Lebanon's French-style 1,2,3 or the Gulfi nose clinch. It's a minefield across the MENA!
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Image 1 of 16:  1 / 16Not knowing the amount of kisses to bestow on family members: it’s a smooching struggle. Kissers can be thrown off by the uncertainty of whether they’re diving in for the double cheek, Lebanon's French-style 1,2,3 or the Gulfi nose clinch. It's a minefield across the MENA!

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Unconsciously inserting the words “ya3ni” “wallah”, and “yalla” when speaking in a foreign language.
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Image 2 of 16:  2 / 16Unconsciously inserting the words “ya3ni” “wallah”, and “yalla” when speaking in a foreign language.

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Not being sure whether it’s a serious “inshallah” or an Arabic synonym for “no” (or yeah right!, and pigs, or halal alternative, can fly!)
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Image 3 of 16:  3 / 16Not being sure whether it’s a serious “inshallah” or an Arabic synonym for “no” (or yeah right!, and pigs, or halal alternative, can fly!)

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When relatives or family friends are visiting… are they gone yet so I can come out of my bedroom?
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Image 4 of 16:  4 / 16When relatives or family friends are visiting… are they gone yet so I can come out of my bedroom?

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Trying to convince the landlord that just because you’re a girl renting a furnished apartment, doesn't mean you're a prostitute.
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Image 5 of 16:  5 / 16Trying to convince the landlord that just because you’re a girl renting a furnished apartment, doesn't mean you're a prostitute.

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“Torture? Rape?! A3othobillah!! I was only on the phone with my neighbours in Lebanon, officer.”
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Image 6 of 16:  6 / 16“Torture? Rape?! A3othobillah!! I was only on the phone with my neighbours in Lebanon, officer.”

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“Nike Arabia: JUST DO IT TOMORROW, INSHALLAH”
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Image 7 of 16:  7 / 16“Nike Arabia: JUST DO IT TOMORROW, INSHALLAH”

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“What do you call an Arab on an airplane? - A passenger, you racist.”
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Image 8 of 16:  8 / 16“What do you call an Arab on an airplane? - A passenger, you racist.”

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When you go home for a vacation and come back married.
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Image 9 of 16:  9 / 16When you go home for a vacation and come back married.

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Arabs' most feared ‘accident’: revealing the sole of your shoe.
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Image 10 of 16:  10 / 16Arabs' most feared ‘accident’: revealing the sole of your shoe.

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“Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but can I have your dad’s phone number?”
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Image 11 of 16:  11 / 16“Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but can I have your dad’s phone number?”

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Fighting over who’s going to pay after complaining for a whole hour about being broke.
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Image 12 of 16:  12 / 16Fighting over who’s going to pay after complaining for a whole hour about being broke.

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“Man, you won’t believe what happened last night, I tell you things are getting prrrretty serious. We held hands during the Dabke!” (popular folk dance).
- “Alf mabrook habibii” (Congrats)
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Image 13 of 16:  13 / 16“Man, you won’t believe what happened last night, I tell you things are getting prrrretty serious. We held hands during the Dabke!” (popular folk dance). - “Alf mabrook habibii” (Congrats)

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When you tell someone you’re from the UK/ US and they say oh you must know John from London/ DC..
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Image 14 of 16:  14 / 16When you tell someone you’re from the UK/ US and they say oh you must know John from London/ DC..

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Slept with 30 women. Insists his wife be a virgin.
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Image 15 of 16:  15 / 16Slept with 30 women. Insists his wife be a virgin.

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When you've got your salon waxing lady on 'most frequently called' and you've dropped your therapist altogether cause when it comes to your upper-lip, ladies, hair-free is care-free!
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Image 16 of 16:  16 / 16When you've got your salon waxing lady on 'most frequently called' and you've dropped your therapist altogether cause when it comes to your upper-lip, ladies, hair-free is care-free!

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1

Not knowing the amount of kisses to bestow on family members: it’s a smooching struggle. Kissers can be thrown off by the uncertainty of whether they’re diving in for the double cheek, Lebanon's French-style 1,2,3 or the Gulfi nose clinch. It's a minefield across the MENA!

Image 1 of 16Not knowing the amount of kisses to bestow on family members: it’s a smooching struggle. Kissers can be thrown off by the uncertainty of whether they’re diving in for the double cheek, Lebanon's French-style 1,2,3 or the Gulfi nose clinch. It's a minefield across the MENA!

2

Unconsciously inserting the words “ya3ni” “wallah”, and “yalla” when speaking in a foreign language.

Image 2 of 16Unconsciously inserting the words “ya3ni” “wallah”, and “yalla” when speaking in a foreign language.

3

Not being sure whether it’s a serious “inshallah” or an Arabic synonym for “no” (or yeah right!, and pigs, or halal alternative, can fly!)

Image 3 of 16Not being sure whether it’s a serious “inshallah” or an Arabic synonym for “no” (or yeah right!, and pigs, or halal alternative, can fly!)

4

When relatives or family friends are visiting… are they gone yet so I can come out of my bedroom?

Image 4 of 16When relatives or family friends are visiting… are they gone yet so I can come out of my bedroom?

5

Trying to convince the landlord that just because you’re a girl renting a furnished apartment, doesn't mean you're a prostitute.

Image 5 of 16Trying to convince the landlord that just because you’re a girl renting a furnished apartment, doesn't mean you're a prostitute.

6

“Torture? Rape?! A3othobillah!! I was only on the phone with my neighbours in Lebanon, officer.”

Image 6 of 16“Torture? Rape?! A3othobillah!! I was only on the phone with my neighbours in Lebanon, officer.”

7

“Nike Arabia: JUST DO IT TOMORROW, INSHALLAH”

Image 7 of 16“Nike Arabia: JUST DO IT TOMORROW, INSHALLAH”

8

“What do you call an Arab on an airplane? - A passenger, you racist.”

Image 8 of 16“What do you call an Arab on an airplane? - A passenger, you racist.”

9

When you go home for a vacation and come back married.

Image 9 of 16When you go home for a vacation and come back married.

10

Arabs' most feared ‘accident’: revealing the sole of your shoe.

Image 10 of 16Arabs' most feared ‘accident’: revealing the sole of your shoe.

11

“Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but can I have your dad’s phone number?”

Image 11 of 16“Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but can I have your dad’s phone number?”

12

Fighting over who’s going to pay after complaining for a whole hour about being broke.

Image 12 of 16Fighting over who’s going to pay after complaining for a whole hour about being broke.

13

“Man, you won’t believe what happened last night, I tell you things are getting prrrretty serious. We held hands during the Dabke!” (popular folk dance).
- “Alf mabrook habibii” (Congrats)

Image 13 of 16“Man, you won’t believe what happened last night, I tell you things are getting prrrretty serious. We held hands during the Dabke!” (popular folk dance). - “Alf mabrook habibii” (Congrats)

14

When you tell someone you’re from the UK/ US and they say oh you must know John from London/ DC..

Image 14 of 16When you tell someone you’re from the UK/ US and they say oh you must know John from London/ DC..

15

Slept with 30 women. Insists his wife be a virgin.

Image 15 of 16Slept with 30 women. Insists his wife be a virgin.

16

When you've got your salon waxing lady on 'most frequently called' and you've dropped your therapist altogether cause when it comes to your upper-lip, ladies, hair-free is care-free!

Image 16 of 16When you've got your salon waxing lady on 'most frequently called' and you've dropped your therapist altogether cause when it comes to your upper-lip, ladies, hair-free is care-free!

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It's not even lunchtime and you've probably already felt the urge to shave or pluck away at your fuzzy skin cause a stray upper-lip hair is the last thing you ladies want exposed by the sunny light of day! Or, you've fobbed off five prospective social calendar dates with inshallah, or you've insulted a colleague by not greeting him with enough vim and vigor (or profuse kissing). Well, don't panic, you're not alone in the jumpy Middle East and beyond; over 450 million Arabs around the world go through these scenarios that are uniquely Arab - matters that a non Arab person would not have the foggiest idea about, let alone break out into a sweat over.

Arabs can be collectively identified as a rabble of proud, preaching and highly inflammable but generous-hearted loose canons, struggling to make it through the day without taking offense or insulting each others' families.  And medics report the bankrupt-inducing tendency to pick up the tab when dining out.

Allow us to take you on a quick trip through our laboratory of symptoms that get you a diagnosis; have a peek inside the sensitive, paranoid, clingy world of the Arab psyche, through highlights  all the way from repetitive greeting/ parting loops to loud lively conversations that suggest someone's died. But hark, there is reason to their madness -- and at least they're happy to inflict their condition on non-stricken 'outsiders' who may begin to suffer symptoms after time spent in their midst. 

So join us in this arcade of Arab anxieties as we take you through some of the woes that are uniquely Arab. And we're not just talking about camels and falafels. We're talking about the idiosynchracies of the very Arabic complex and mentality. These issues or dilemmas would not be experienced by non-Arabs who have a different kettle of life-concerns. So yalla, fasten your seat belts - (though none of them do!) -  here we go!
 

 

 
 
 
 

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