Saturday, March 11, 2006

The problem with Syrian men…

This is a rant. Beware, this is a rant! If somewhat tempered…

Ok, so I’ve warned you. But in reality I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time now, pretty much since Sept last year. Please note though that I’m only really talking about the capital Damascus. I suspect, although don’t know, it’s worse in certain areas of Syria. That was certainly the case in Aleppo anyway, where, surprisingly, men are even more desperate there.

So what’s my problem this time? You’re asking. Well it is to do with the public behaviour and attitude of a lot of Syrian men towards foreign women, liberally dressed Syrians (meaning no hijab) and over-liberally dressed Syrian women (of which there are very few and can only be found in the Christian quarter of Damascus.) – And all others within that specified range.

Having witnessed their attitude to the above mentioned ladies on a continuing basis, I’m very disenchanted, yet simultaneously sympathetic towards the victims. The behaviour ranges from (in order of frequency, firstly the most frequent) horrible perving stares, poorly executed sexual noises (these can be quite funny at times), sex related comments, purposely bumping into, coming close to and finally groping women. Thankfully the last on that list is the least frequent.

In a supposedly ‘religious’ country, where Islam is mentioned more often than not, this is completely hypocritical behaviour.

The degree to which a woman has to plan here public behaviour is a sad reflection of the extent of the problem. Keep your head down. Don’t make eye contact with Syrian men (unless you want to immediately jump in bed with them, which is what they’ll think) and don’t respond to the aforementioned behaviour; because it only results in ridicule.

Even my own attempts to aggressively (not violently, I’m not goin to a Syrian jail for nuthin’, no siree!) deal with such culprits is pointless; likewise you face only ridicule or incredulity from the person in question.

But for the sake of the many deserved good Syrian men, I’m going to try and put this in a little bit of context. Firstly, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many outstanding guys here, which would never do the above. Unfortunately for a foreign woman here it is very difficult to make friendships with Syrian guys, so the frequent and resounding experience of most foreign women tends to be rather depressing. Furthermore, the treatment of women in countries such as Egypt and Kuwait is reportedly worse and in some cases, like the latter, far worse. So it seems to me that the more conservative the society, the worse she gets treated on the street.

Interesting contradiction eh?


Anonymous strontium90 said...

"Contradictons" like these can be found on all grounds of contemporary Syrian life in big cities so they are no longer controversial.. that limb doesn't feel pain anymore.
I don't think that only foreign women or Christian Syrian women are subject to this treatment, many Muslim women who do not wear hijab suffer similar confrontation, and mind you, it is not women only, I happen to have long hair and often hear distasteful comments in the street.
I'm ashamed to say that I've seen two occurrences so far here in Aleppo of morons masturbating in the street looking to very normally dressed women..

12:19 pm  
Blogger Omar said...

I couldn't agree more. My sister complained to me last time she was there, and I have witnessed it myself. Concerning the contradiction that you see, it's more of the human instinct overcoming rules set by culture and religion.

If society would open up more towards contact between guys and girls, this sort of behaviour would disappear.

11:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I think the problem is with all conservative societies. It's called sexual frustration. I mean if ur taught to believe if a girl doesn't cover up then she is enticing you, an ankle will excite you. Let's face it in India or Pakistan they will give a girl an incredibly slimey look as well.
I think it's all about controlling yourself. I mean seriously can't you control yourself if you see an attractive girl? Can't you admire without making her feel uncomfortable? This is in reference to all men, Arab, Asian, Black or White.
In reference to conservative societies, I have been to Kuwait and Dubai, and let me tell you the men there are gross. It's like they have never seen a female creature b4. They have staring problems. And the pick up lines are ridiculous! I once went to a shopping mall in Kuwait at 9pm and left half and hour later due to the stares that made me and my friends feel extremely uncomfortable. For god's sake control yourselves you horny men!
And I agree with Omar, if society would be more accepting of contact between the sexes some of this behaviour would disappear. But let's face it when a society is too open like here in Britain, things can be taken way too far. If i see one more couple making out in public I may puke!

And to end this rant

Men...admire yet dont make us feel uncomfortable. Do not copp a feel! And do not relieve yourself while staring at a girl. That's just inappropriate and nasty!!! You'll be way more successful with a girl if you treat her like a human, rather than an object of your carnal desires.

I must admit I have lost much faith in men due to such behaviour! Please bring hope to this world.

Farah, Namir's cousin

10:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yakhi its horny guys. Normal behavior which occurs everywhere in the world. Lack of education, morals and just plain human instinct.

8:27 am  
Blogger whoami123 said...


5:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim that doesn't sound like syria,more like a normal night in most london clubs :P

5:50 pm  
Blogger Catherine said...

A bit confused sound like a foreginer describing syrian man? or are you one of them ( syrian men) ?
I totally agree..Nice to hear some one say what has bothered you for so long!!

6:21 pm  
Blogger Randall said...

Interesting post.
Nice blog..;)

2:46 pm  
Blogger Fares said...

Syrian Canaries

2:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to respect each country for its own customs etc. If every country was the same, why would we even consider travelling? I certainly do not want to go visit a country that is the same as my own. The old adage is, "when in Rome, do as as the Romans do." So when in Syria, do as the Syrians do. You will be treated with respect.

3:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of those women who are ridiculed and misunderstood. I am not surprised with the reactions;nonetheless, I am appalled. Women are respectable members of a community. We are the key to expanding civilazations. Modern times call for a higher level of tolerance. So, if a woman doesn't follow the "traditional" custom, she should not be ridiculed. Instead, she should be educated in the ways of the people and given a chance to assimilate. As the phrase goes "When in Rome do as the Romans do", we as woman living in a different cultural enviroment should respect and carry on the traditions. There will be times when self expression is praised, but in the mean time becoming part of the melting pot will not burn. Once men acknowledge their segragating treatment, then we as individuals (women) can be see as more than a piece of ass!

1:14 am  
Anonymous naaadddiinneee said...

so true! You sometimes even get woman staring at you.

This one time these two girls were staring at me and my sister and said "look at them two" ..
me and my sister aren't the type of girls who just let things pass, so my sister shouted "LOOK AT THEM!" and looked at them and they ran off..
as for the men staring at you.. UGH! they could at least get sunglasses and be more hidden about it!

5:45 pm  
Blogger cindy said...

I live in USA and i HAVE A SYRIAN BOYFRIEND.... Now first of all, he is absolutely the most loving romantic man I have ever met and I could never imagine not looking into his beautiful Syrian eyes that as a matter of fact, can control me completely...I know that pretty much they are woman crazy... but I have seen Men in USA that are even worse.... I am blessed to have such a love in my life even if he is jerk,
let me say this,...having a SYRIAN boyfriend even for a little while since life is so short...and there is so much sadness in the world it is a blessing. I wouldn't trade it for anything!!!!
TRY IT LADIES!! by the way the nicer you are to them the meaner they don't show much love, and be mean as you can even as hard as it is to be to such a man that pours such sexuality and lures you like the devil in deep!!!!

5:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to talk to Cindy. What she wrote really got my attention. I'm from the USA also.

3:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been dating a Syrian guy who made all the running with me despite him being a whole lot younger. I was shocked though when he looked through some of my clothes last week and said ' This is why I could never be your boyfriend' I couldnt be with a woman who has worn such clothes'. I found it incredibly hurtful and rude especially since we are in the UK and short or revealing dresses are normal for Summer or clubbing. I really told him off and made him rethink his whole attitude to living in this country - which he should accept as part and parcel of western life. Double standards prevail unfortunately and jealousy seems to be a massive problem with these nationalities.

2:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have been living and working in the east for 2 years,working in jordan and weekends in damascus, the men in jordon are gross, you have to keep your head down all the time and wear massive sunnies , they assume you are a prostitute and taxi drivers are the worst,i have been in a relationship with a syrian man he is adorable but i cant trust him , he is a perve and secretive. however in saying that i adore him and was at one stage conciderng marriage then i slapped myself amd woke up....the culture perpetuates lies and deciet is hypocrasy at its best ..have to learn how to handle it ...i will always love damascus ....fab place just be aware many men want to escape to the west and will play you to get their needs met .....have fun and where sunnies

5:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure all the young men are innocent I have 3 frnds or so and they are so sweet and they are from aleppo...I've been to jordan and everywhere I turned, eye contact, I'm sure in all capitals, anything will happen

6:15 am  
Anonymous nour said...

you are generalizing and exaggerating my friend ,Iam from Latakia but ive been to Damascus and Aleppo ,some ppl are really fanatic but for the most part especially the young generation ,it is nothing like what u are saying and being modern or civilized is not a"christian " thing ..iam muslim and im soo liberated and openminded and so are all people i know and see i hope you thought more about it..

6:28 pm  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I work w/ a Syrian man who speaks very little English. He has been in US 6 months. There's a definite attraction as we smile at each other all the time. We finally spoke using iPhone translator. Due to language barriers I'm not sure if he's interested in taking the time to know me or is just wanting sex. In very few words & while holding my hand he asked if we could meet outside of work, who lived w/ me & wanted me to be his girlfriend. I let him know that I was also attracted to him & would like to see him on Saturday but when he asked if I would be his girlfriend I said no as I would never commit to a guy that I hardly know. When I said "no girlfriend" he had a very confused look on his face. I'm very attracted to him & not sure if I am giving him the wrong message. Any advice on how to communicate that I want to date him & take things (commitment/sex) slow?

12:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meet this new guy he's on security department,and from Syria and time I meet him I said he's so cute and I like he's eyes,even I dont look at him much because,every time we look it's other I'm kind of he likes me,we flirt each other,but I'm pilipina I'm kind of more shy..then,when I'm so sweet with him he s so sweet to me..then,he knows I'm not on the mood he never visit me in ,y jobs site..then,I'm looking for him..I just scared that I'm going fulling in love to him,coz he's married..but,he's so sweet..sometimes I just said hope we can date one

5:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a syrian boyfriend, i'm not allowed to wear sexy clothes.syrian is a jealous type.

6:04 am  
Anonymous tottebag said...

Yeah, my boyfriend's eyes are temptating as well. This guy is the outstanding one, introvert yet warm, family-loving, he treated me like one of his family. He likes to discuss what we like and dislike. He'd never been so selfish. And he would appreciate whatever decision I made, including about sex. So I can say I feel safe with him.
He always said Syria is beautiful. And he want to come back in the future to fixed everything that'd been broken there. He cured my insecurities thought about men. Firstly I see a guy in my life this personally as a man without complaining about where he comes from and what he belongs.
He has a dream that makes me feel optimistic. He see me as a woman, even I was so crybaby and childish, he knows how to control my emotion. Even our relationship has to end (because the cruel faith, society and culture), I could say that I had unconditional love with him. Even the relationship seems to be impossible, he'd never gone and still stay there for me. He taught me how to respect and enjoy my own life, freely and independently.

9:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a syrian boyfriend and he is one of the most adorable guy on earth. All i want is to marry him sooner.

7:47 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im having a problem now with my serian bf..we know that serian guy are jelous a pilipina and its really amazing coz we only meet in chat for almost a year..and now im here in dubai we finally meet each other.. But my family and frends are so disappointed coz theyre telling me syrian guy are high tempered and at the same time jelous type and they
Said he will just only hurt me..but inspite of everhything i still love him..wat will i do?

4:12 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well , it's not common only in Syria but in different countries too , I know it's annoying and uncomfortable (I have gone through it before) but not only Christian women's problem, a lot of Muslim women are confronting this too and BTW a majority of syrian girls don't wear alhijab it's only common in certain areas in Syria we -syrians - consider it as a personal choice I don't wear it nor my friends and family it's okay Syria and Lebanon are one of the most open minded Arab countries when it comes to Al hijab and related religious things , well yes there's a lot of somewhat perverted men but there is also very pure and good men just like in any other place in the world it's not a stereo type in Syria PLEASE don't think so my people are quite the nice ones but of course there are bad people too it's normal....

6:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been with my "habibi" ( my beloved in arabic) for 10 years now who was born and raised in SYRIA. He is a christian (catholic). Let me tell you, I love this man too much!! I am an American filipina born in Ca.I met him in December 2004 thru a friend and we have been together ever since. We have our differences and disagreements with each other but we do work it out. A BIG thing with their culture is FAMILY, they take care of each other and also, mother comes first ( which i learned the hard way ).Both our ethnic background are about the same ( filipinos and their families are very close as well). I went thru the same thing with my family when i told them I want to marry him and they rejected the marriage, however, after days, they gave blessing. I would marry him all over again and again!! My man is not high tempered, in fact, I am the one with the temper and he is quiet but not shy.

6:07 am  

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