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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Friday, July 18, 2008  
    - relationship advice from a thirty-seven year old single man
    I am not a fan of platonic relationships between men and women.
    Gentlemen should associate with gentlemen and womenfolk should associate with womenfolk unless related, courting or a couple.
    My opinion is not due to conservativeness (which would probably be the most obvious reason for such an opinion) but pure old-fashioned chauvinism and practicality (I’m glad I clarified that – that makes it sound so much better doesn’t it?).
    Quite simply, menfolk are menfolk and womenfolk are womenfolk.
    Or to put in the modern parlance, men are from Mars and women are from Venus.
    Also, men who associate with women risk becoming feminized and women who associate with men risk becoming masculinised.
    This modern phenomenon of cross-gender friendships has gotten us to the stage where men have become women and women have become men.
    A visitor from the Victorian era (you work out the physics) would think that most modern Western women were prostitutes not because of any sexual behaviour but because of their aggression, coarseness, vulgarity and masculinity (characteristics mainly of prostitutes in the Victorian-era).
    Also, on a purely practical note, the Man Who Listens to Women (a very rare bird indeed but not as rare as the Man Who Talks to Women because there’s no such thing as talking to a woman, you can’t get a word in edgewise) risks becoming a kind of emotional eunuch for woman.
    To put it quite simply and bluntly, you don’t want to be the Man Who Listens to Women because she’ll end up talking to you and f***ing somebody else.
    A kind of “job-sharing’’ practice that a lot of modern women employ, one man to take care of their emotional needs and another man to take care of their physical needs because they often can’t get their emotional needs fulfilled by the man they’re sleeping with because, quite simply, he’s sleeping with them and so he doesn’t have to listen to them anymore (he’s past the initial phase where you pretend to care about a woman , listen to her etc just so you can get her into bed).
    Often the Man Who Listens to Women may have started off as that man trying to bed her by listening to her but took too long about it and ended up stagnating there and becoming indispensable for that very reason – she decided to keep him as the Man Who Listens to Women because the man who listens to her is rarer and more important to her than the man who f*** s her.
    She can find a man to f*** her any day but she can’t find a man to listen to her so easily.
    That’s why so many modern women like that company of gay men.
    It’s a moot point because if you’re the Man Who Listens to Women, you might as well be gay because you certainly ain’t gunna get any.
    The Man Who Listens to Women is often a man who mismanaged the initial precoital listening or took too long about it and simply got stuck there.
    “Booby’’ trapped into a fruitless frustrating relationship as a non-sexual consort by the very boobies he was trying to snare.
    A ‘’booby trap’’ without the boobies!
    That type of woman will throw you the occasional bone – flirt with/tease you so you don’t lose all hope and leave her.
    Just enough to keep you in her thrall and to make you think that there’s still some possibly of something else.
    But the flirting/teasing is only peripheral for this kind of woman, a means to an end and not and end in itself unlike the fulltime flirt/ tease whose primary goal is to flirt with/tease men for mean low perverse fun and fulfilment and/or because they like the attention of men and like to keep a retinue of men hanging of them and for God knows what other reasons (histrionic personality disorder comes to mind).

    8:30 pm

    Thursday, July 17, 2008  
    In late 2002 in a doctor’s waiting room in Melbourne I overheard the (Jewish) good doctor telling a (presumably Jewish) thirty-something yuppie couple he was seeing out that their son was undersized ‘’because of the holocaust’’.
    He went on to say ‘’they’re only discovering that now’’.
    I’m assuming that the kid in question was the grandson of ‘’holocaust’’ survivors.
    Personally, I want a second opinion… from Doctor Haniyeh (the Hamas leader).

    9:00 pm

    Monday, July 07, 2008  
    Earlier on this evening we had some visitors over.
    We were sitting out on the balcony when a kid (all of one year and three months old) climbed onto one of the plastic outdoor chairs and sat down.
    His mother “predicted’’ that he was going to fall off (“you’re going to fall off’’, a regular Nostradamus - nobody saw that coming) but didn’t stop him or take him off the chair.
    Lo and behold, not long afterwards he fell off the chair and hit his head on the floor.
    Surprise, surprise.
    The poor kid was crying for a few minutes (understandably) so I deployed the secret weapon that Lebanese use to appease kids who’ve had a fall.
    Namely “punishing’’ the ground by hitting it (or stomping on it in this case) to distract the child.
    It worked – he stopped crying and looked on but would resume crying when I stopped so I did a lot of stomping (“naughty ground, bad ground, don’t do it again, take that’’ etc).
    I’ve used it before to similar effect and I’m surprised that parents don’t seem to use it much these days.
    I really would recommend it.
    I’m curious to know whether it would work for other kids too or if it’s only Arab kids who have such a desire for vengeance.

    His sister had a better time.
    She insisted on sweeping the floor over and over again with a sweeper.
    I suggested to her parents that she use the vacuum cleaner instead (more efficient) and told them that I hoped that she maintained such habits when she got older.

    At least these kids didn’t reach my office unlike a serious security breach that occurred the last time we had children over, about two weeks ago, when two kids, visiting with their mother and aunties, got into my office and held me ‘’hostage’’ for over half an hour making me show them pictures and videos of dinosaurs online*.
    But they were cute kids and I miss them.
    Are there really dinosaurs in Canada?
    The boy hostage-taker said that there were dinosaurs in Canada after I told him that they were extinct.
    Which got me worried – I thought that he was going to up the stakes and demand a dinosaur shipped in from Canada.
    I suspect that this kid is a bit naïve and gullible.
    Apart from the dinosaurs in Canada, he fell for the oldest trick in the book.
    When Lebanese adults are trying to get a kid to eat, drink or do anything else they don’t want to do they use a form of reverse psychology: “he/she doesn’t know how to eat/drink/ talk/whatever’’ and the kid is supposed to fall for this and say “yes I do’’ and proceed to do it.
    But to my knowledge, it’s never actually worked – I’ve been trying it for years on kids and jokingly on adults but its never actually worked.
    This boy’s sister was thirsty so I got her a drink and I got him a drink too, he said that he didn’t want a drink, I said “you don’t know how to drink’’, he said “yes I do’’ and drank it.

    *I can just imagine some terrorist who’s hijacked a plane screaming “we demand dinosaurs or we will start killing the passengers’’ to the control tower in the quaint old days when terrorists actually had demands.

    I’m considering setting up an office-in-exile for when I’m trying to avoid visitors (maybe in my bedroom).
    I like my office but it’s in a very vulnerable location – it’s in the (unused for that purpose) entrée of my apartment and is thus landlocked.
    I can escape into the ‘’hinterland’’ to my bedroom (on the mountain side) but am exposed to an attack from the ‘’heartland’’, the contiguous salons (on the coast side) or, at the very least, a "naval blockade'' (when there are visitors over and I want to remain incommunicado I’m sometimes cooped up in here for hours).
    There’s a kitchen on this side but it’s used as a laundry and a pantry.
    I can access the other kitchen by going through the front door of this apartment and opening the front door of the other apartment but that’s still pretty precarious.
    I can also escape using that door.

    And even when I’m not in my office, I still consider it a security zone, a DMZ, a no man’s land between the salons and my bedroom.
    My Pillars of Hercules.
    Ne pas ultra!
    Quite necessary when you consider that I’ve even had security breaches as far away as my bedroom.
    Sometimes kids will try and follow me into the section where the bedrooms are and I’ve had to lock the door that leads to the bedrooms.
    But more effective than a lock and key was when a mother once told her little daughter not to follow me into there because I was being sent into the ‘’mice room’’ as a punishment.
    Apparently kids here are told that if they misbehave they will be put into a room full of mice.
    It sounds cruel but it certainly works for me – she didn’t go anywhere near this side and, as she was leaving later on, she pleaded with my mother that I be released from captivity in the mice room.

    1:00 am

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