“In Egypt, there is no girls living alone; single girls alone, this — it is not allowed socially! It is unapproved in Egyptian society. Egyptian girls must always live with the family if they are not married. The married girls live with the husbands, yes, but the single girls always live with the families.”
The female Istanbulite’s eyebrows leaped up in anticipation of news of an incoming women’s rights violation. “Trigger warnings” weren’t a thing back then, so far as I can remember, but even if they were, this bombastic professor would not have come with one. Asks the Turkess: “Women can’t live alone? Why? What if they’re students?”
The professor continued gracefully with his energetic explanation: “Aha, yes, sometimes if the girls are students they live in the dormitory. But this is rare, very rare. Not common, I think. Girls who are studying at the university also live with the family mostly. In Egypt it is not acceptable in society for the girl to live alone. If girls will live alone in an apartment, this will be shocking, it will be disgraceful. Even sometimes the janitor in the building, or the electrician, or the neighbor, he will knock on the door or he will find the girl, and he will say ‘Hey, you! What are you doing? Where is your husband? Where is your father? Why are you living alone here? Are you having men come in your apartment? Do you meet men there? Do they pay you to come there? What are you doing there alone?'”
The Turkish girl’s eyebrows at this point were practically detached from her head, so wide were her eyes with shock: “That’s… that’s horrible! Women have a right to live by themselves if they want to! Women have a right…” More high-pitched, futile cosmopolitan protests followed, but the conversation had essentially ended there, with an unperturbed professor shrugging his shoulders and rushing off to a meeting (with a dramatized wave, a hint of a bow and a gracious “Ma’a As-Salaama!” [“Good-bye!” in Arabic] — as always) and an amused me, softly smiling outwardly, and inwardly chuckling the kind of mischievous chuckle one can only enjoy after witnessing a truly monumental yet unintentional trolling. The disquieted young lady turned to me slack-jawed for reassurances for her offended liberal sensibilities, but I too had places to be, and quickly emulated the professor’s neutral exit. “Well, I guess that’s just how it is over there! See ya later!”
The explanation ...
... in Egypt, a girl living alone is immediately and automatically assumed to be a prostitute. And, hilariously, by the standards of Islamic Egyptian society, single girls living alone in the West are invariably precisely that: whores. And, distressingly, single girls living alone in the West are invariably whores by the standards of the Western society of 1950, of 1850, of 1750, 1650…
Read much more HERE
Labels: Culture, Egypt, Islam, Prostitution