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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dating a Writer aka Things You are Getting Yourself Into if You are Fool Enough to Date Me


If you are reading this, most likely, you are so into me (or maybe you just don’t know it yet!) You are attracted to me and that is perfectly fine because I don’t see any reason why not. Who can resist the charms and eloquent wordplay of a writer, right?

Look, the first thing you need to know, should you date a writer, is that we are full of sarcasms. On the first date, we will not be caught eating with our mouths closed and/or speaking politely. Instead, you will find us talking endlessly, and loudly! Every conversation will be filled with irony and wry humor. In between munching our freshly tossed salad, we will manage to retell as much anecdotes from our childhood in full details. Usually, we will start the story with “when I was seven” which is a clear indication that you should prepare yourself for a long talk.

We don’t know about you, but we certainly don’t want to be on a first date with awkward, piercing silence, and the sound of crickets in the background.

Should you want to ask us out on a second date, (we are slightly impressed you would even consider that) please know that the three-day rule does not apply to us. For goodness’ sake, be considerate enough to know we have deadlines. And if we are in the middle of finishing a 1,200-word article, sorry, Babe. We will have to say no even when we might really be dying a little bit inside to see you too. Dating a writer means you have to understand that we can disappear out of your radar for hours, or days, even weeks, not because we are not that into you. We are just very busy writing the next best-selling novel, no kidding!

If, after sometime of seeing each other, it turns out that you still like us (hallelujah! We are taking that as a miracle,) please, do not be a chicken, and just have the balls to tell us. We don’t want sissy characters in our love stories. Tell us how you really feel about us so that we can be inspired to finish four chapters that should have been on our editor’s desk two months ago. Motivate us. Give us that sense of euphoria that will release our minds out of that dreadful writers’ block syndrome.

You have to know that we are eccentric, which is a fancy word for crazy. You’ll have to have a vocabulary that will keep up with ours. We want someone we can communicate with–someone who can understand us and who we can understand. One of the good things about dating us is that you’ll find yourself learning how to express (just in case you are the typical macho who contains emotions in your private, dark, empty cave.) Maybe you are the kind of guy who always starts every sentence with “I think.” Well, if you are dating a writer, you might catch yourself starting to use “I feel.” We don’t blame you. Writers are highly emotional and intensely dramatic beings. That is just one side effect from spending time with us.

Remember that we have this unique ability to string words to perfection. Sometimes, you will hear us using the words chauvinistic and creme brulee in one sentence. When that happens, show your support with a quick smile and a nod telling us that you get it–that it makes clear sense.

If you happen to read our blogs or articles that got published in some magazine, and it is against your liking, call it anything but stupid. That will turn us off to a degree that we might consider the idea of strangling your neck with our bare hands. Worse, it will be a lucid demonstration of your poor taste in literature.

Because we know that you are reading our every single blog entry (although, most probably, this is just all in our heads–we have a highly creative imagination just for you to know) to find out how messed up we are, we will not disappoint! We will fill our blogs with a parade of seemingly screwed up and downright depressing stories just so we can live up to your expectations. These blog entries might not be real, they might just be overflowing with hyperboles and exaggeration, and we will leave it for you to decide. We are sneaky and considerate at the same time in that way.

When you date a writer, everything is covered in chocolate-melted metaphors. You will never hear us say “I’m hungry.” But know that when we say “I woke up with an empty appetite” we are definitely not talking about food.

Dating a writer means you are at risk to being the subject of our piece 80% of the time. Even when we are writing about politics, or the latest designer bag, or Buddhism, or how cute chihuahuas are, we have the tendency to turn any topic to a reflection of you. (What? We changed your name!) For all you know, we have already started your autobiography the moment you asked us out.

Don’t worry about us publishing negative stories about you when our little thing fades. Unless you are an asshole, then yes! You should worry, a lot! Because in that case, there will be no changing names, and your full name will be written in bold, bloody letters from start to finish. Do not take this as a threat, we just want you to become a better person. It is for your best interest, really!

When you are dating a writer, watch your every move. We notice things that are not visible to the naked eye, like how you always roll down the window of your car on that specific curve on that specific bridge every single time. Or how you like sushi and hate wasabi. Or how you are keeping a dead body in your trunk.

If you really want to date a writer, tell us that you hate Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Convince us that it makes little to no sense how a cheap portrayal of puppy love and adolescent suicidal tendencies clamored in old english ‘thou art’ can even be considered an epic love story and you will forever hold a place in our hearts.

When you date a writer, you will always feel beautiful when we look at you. Under our scrutinizing eyes, you are the cunning Mr. Darcy, and we would like to be the remarkable Ms. Bennet. Past loves may have said something about your eyes or your body, but a writer who likes you just the same will notice the smirk on your face when you’re upset. Or the change in your tone when you’re down. We will memorize every single line that forms around your lips when you smile, every single scar, the length of your nails, even the deep furrows in your brow when you don’t agree to an opinion. We are creepy and romantic like that.

You must remember that when we are not writing, we are reading, and boy do we read between the lines! Every smiley, every punctuation means something more to us. An error-free text message can go a long way. It translates to how much effort you put in making sure your SMS will not get butchered down to a T.

On a serious note though, if you are reading this because a writer is currently crushing on you and you are not interested, just tell us. The nice thing about us is that we can handle rejection. Rejection is our middle name and we take it lightly. How many publishing houses do you think have turned us down before we got our first writing assignment? We’re used to putting out so much effort without getting anything in return. Come on, most of us even write for free! So, if you don’t like us, we’ll get over it. But if you do, we’ll appreciate you even more, and chances are, you’ll be one of the greatest characters ever written in an epic love story.

Should you decide to stick with a writer, there will always be meaning to every second, a thought behind every gesture, and climax to every situation. Though you may not fully comprehend the effort we put in, we hope that somehow, it will make you feel special and liked in return.

Now, dating a writer can be all of these things, or none of these things, and that is the riddle you’ll have to figure out on your own. It’s like your personal Choose Your Own Adventure kind of thing. The rest of the story is now up to you. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Me Time


I can’t remember the last time I spent an entire day alone. It seems everyday after work, I have to make sure I go to a salsa party to be with my friends. If not, I’ll go see them for shisha or dinner for the same reason. I like the feeling of being part of a group or being in someone’s company.

As anyone who moves to another country knows, one of the immediate side effects, apart from the change in time zone, is that eagerness to belong–I try to fill in the gaps caused by forced separation from family and friends I left behind at home.

So, the natural reaction is to drive myself to the core just to have even a slice of that sense of belongingness.

I try to squeeze out time to meet new people, or to know the people I know much deeper.

I will drop out plans to go to the gym or write something, or have a well-earned sleep if a 10% chance to spend time with people I consider friends is knocking at my front door.

Who cares about sleeping? It’s just a fancy way to waste time. I have an eternity to sleep when I die. I’d rather smoke shisha at Hussein with my long-time friends until sunrise (which, by the way, I did last night) than spend a full eight hours dreaming.

I will drag my sore bottom out of bed at 7am if that’s the only time I could get to see friends I haven’t seen in months because of their insane work shift schedule (given that it’s my day off of work.)

I think my point is that I live on people’s company. Everyday, I hunger for social interaction. I thirst for those delicious 1000 megawatt laughters exchanged between sips of coffee and meaningful conversations. To me, this is the way to fill in the void.

But today is a day unlike everyday. I woke up, a little after two in the afternoon, with an empty stomach and a much emptier appetite for social action. There is no drive to ask friends out, no effort to see anyone, no energy to even answer the phone. No desire to belong.

I just wanted some quiet time–a time to catch up not with anyone but myself. I might have been too busy caring too much about everyone else’s lives and business that I forget to care about myself.

I wanted a day where I don’t have to go where my friends want to go. A day where I don’t need to wait around until they pick me up. A day where I don’t have to bend my schedule. A day where every music playing in the background is from my playlist and not anyone else’s.

I’m calling today as my official back-to-basic day–simple, quiet, solitary (which is ironic considering I am sitting in an American chain where all the tables are crowded with groups of friends and families who are all smiling, talking, and laughing in HD.)

And that is perfectly fine. As long as I have my coke float refill, the salad buffet, a pen and loose sheets of paper, I’ll be OK.

After all, I am already with the best company I can ever find.

Oh, the Games we Play


What’s up with games?

I think everyone will agree with me when I say that we all live in a playing field.

When we were little, there is nothing more valuable than the games we play–hide and seek, tag, you name it. We can’t wait for the bell to ring just so we can go out in the playground for a whole session of swings and slippery dips. Then, throughout puberty, we spend hours of time playing video games–Mario Brothers, Pacman, Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox, Wii. Every year, it seems there are always new games introduced that will never fail to hook us to addiction.

And it doesn’t end there. When we’ve had enough of these online games and whatnots, we turn on the TV waiting for the next season of Games of Thrones, if not, we go to the movies to watch the Hunger Games.

Everywhere we look, there is always something suggesting that we have to play the game.

Now, as you would have guessed, this is the part where I start talking about relationships and ranting about games adult people play.

A few nights ago, I was talking to a friend on the phone, and I was telling him how it seems so unfair that some people can demand so much out of someone and they can have it all. Meanwhile, here I am, just wanting the guy I like to like me back, without conditions, without demands, and I can’t have even a quarter of what I am asking for.

And this friend just started talking about how men are hunters and how they like a good challenge. He told me not to be an easy prey–to play the game, to play hard to get, to not initiate contact, to wait for the guy to ask me out.

He told me that when a guy likes you, he will take the step, he will act upon it.

Well, bullshit to that!

I think women who have the courage to tell the guy they like how they feel is everything but an easy prey. Why is the world so patriarchal that it denies women privileges that men so likely take for granted?

I find it unfair how they always say “when a guy likes you, he will take the step and he will act upon it.” Why can’t a girl take the step and act upon it when she likes someone?

Why do I have to play hard to get? Why can’t it be as simple as “you like me, and I like you, let’s stop pretending, spare me the drama, and get over it!”

The real tragedy lies when a woman is brave enough to actually tell the guy she likes about her feelings. The tragedy does not come with the rejection that is just waiting to happen. It comes from the reality that when a woman is actually man enough to grow some balls, she is seen as borderline desperate, rather crazy, straight easy, less desirable.

Please, cut us some slack! It is not desperation or insanity that drives us to refuse to play games. We’ve been playing games since childhood and we can only take as much.

Men are hunters, blah blah blah. Does it ever occur to you that women hunt too?

Five Revelations at 25


You are wearing Quarter Life Crisis on your sleeves

This is the part of being 25 you are so good at. Trying to make the puzzle pieces fit, trying to figure out what you want, trying to reach your goals, trying to change, trying to lay out a plan, trying to make a difference for the greater good (or, often than not, for your own good.) Everything is all about trying, isn’t it?

Everything at 25 seems like a mystery that it usually doesn’t make any sense. You sleep at night feeling so jumpy and happy, but you wake up the next day with an extremely troublesome feeling that springs from nowhere. Well, let me tell you where that sick-to-the-stomach feeling comes from. One word. Uncertainty. Because last night, you went to bed knowing that you have a plan, believing that your life is just where you want it to be, but today you wake up realizing that you have no idea where exactly you really want it to be. That’s what quarter-life crisis does, it hits you on the forehead with a big bang.

This is the year when you are bombarded with so many questions that you’ve lost all the energy to come up with even one answer. People asks you all the time: “when are you getting married?” and you just want to punch them in the face for asking the wrong question.

Your friends from a younger age group keep asking you for advice about life, career, and relationships. They ask you “how you do it” and you smile and give them encouraging words of wisdom, or more specifically, you tell them the most impressive answer you can come up with because that is what they expect from you. But hell, what they don’t know is that, at 25, you really have no idea if you’re doing things right.

The best advice I can tell you right now is not to worry too much about all these uncertainties. You screwed up? You’re not good enough? You failed? You got rejected? That’s alright! You’re 25!

You are definitely smarter, but certainly not wiser

Congratulations! This is the point in your life where you can show everyone that you have quick-witted intelligence. Finally, you have a career you can humble-brag about at social gatherings, you have control over your life, you have a steady income at your disposal, you are responsible for what you eat, and you can be so proud that you know how to take care of yourself, damn it!

However, this is still not the point where you have enough experience, knowledge, and good judgment. And I know this for the fact that you still go to the clubs, or the bars in the hopes of hooking up with someone. I told you, you still lack better judgment!

But hey, 25 is the year where there is no such thing as age-appropriate. It’s not like the movies where you can say it’s PG or R18. No, 25 is a much complex age than these ratings. It is the time when you are just always somewhere in between. You’re in the middle of too naive and too mature, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

25 is the year when you can make mistakes and be given a free jail-card pass. It is the year when you are still young enough to smoke hash while listening to Armin van Buuren on the background, but you are old enough to invest in something worthwhile, like planning a 4-day holiday, watching the news, reading a decent book (and by decent I don’t mean the Twilight saga!)

You are not invincible

But you can certainly try. You are the young, ambitious, adventurous beast that you imagine you are, until that Friday you decided to stay home than go on an all-night out with your friends. From a packet of Marlboro reds a day, you now cut down to ten sticks because of the heaviness you started feeling.

Do not mistake this as being boring, you are just realizing that you need an eight hour sleep and give your lungs a break to stay in good shape.

At 25, you want it all–a social life in hyper motion, a career that pays really well, a relationship minus the drama. You want to make the world a better place, you try to understand the complications of human relationships, you try to engage into political issues, you try to make sense out of nonsense, and you try to find beauty in ugly. You fear. You hope.

When you’re 25 everything about yourself is in your control. There are no more puppet strings pulling you left and right. You can decide for yourself. No one is going to tell you what to do, and even if you are told what to do, the decision is still yours to make. That’s the thing though, being in control means being responsible for everything that you do. You have to put an effort to look after yourself. Eat well, go to work on time, read, play video games, stop playing video games, attend your meetings, do not forget to take a shower. Where your life is heading at 25 is your choice because you are the driver, I can only hope that you will take the best possible route.

You are not on the same page as your friends

Let’s go back to the good, old university days. Remember those friends you spent an all-nighter with for that last final exam? Yeah. They’re also the same friends you had to drag home when they got too wasted to even remember who they are. Where are they now? Do you still talk to them? Or have you settled in just looking at their facebook updates without really saying hi?

At 25, you will start feeling as though you are not on the same wavelength as your old friends. It seems that maturity kicks in on different time zones. Some people grow up much faster than others, and it just so happens that you feel slightly older than some people you know. Or vice versa.

It’s like all of a sudden, you are not in sync with your friends anymore. Your priorities are different from theirs. Your lifestyle and theirs don’t match anymore. The gap between you and the people you used to spend so much time with is becoming palpable every hour.

You look at their Facebook pages and you wonder who this person is. I’m pretty sure they’re doing the same thing–lurking at your wall posts and almost failing to recognize who you are. Unlike before where you always use final exams or alcohol as an excuse to bond, you find no reason to talk to each other anymore.

Maybe they still prefer spending Saturday in a bad state of hungover and you don’t want that anymore. Or you prefer spending Saturday drunk and they don’t want that anymore.

You lose touch with your friends sometimes. It’s sad, but it happens. Maybe you’ll meet new friends who are on the same page as you, just keep hoping that the same thing will happen to your old friends too. But 25 is a really cheeky year, it’s an age of transformation and growing on so many different levels and at different timelines, so who knows? Maybe at one point, you and your old friends will be back on the same track again.

You are just getting started

Back when you were 20, everyone seems to ask you “where do you see yourself five years from now?” Remember how you used to look out in your future and see nothing but an empty space? Well, gone are those days of looking for an answer, because you have your answer, right here, right now. 25 is all about defining who you are. For the first time, you are aware of who you are–what you are capable of doing and not doing.

The things you are good at? You marvel in it. The things that you are not so good at? You make a way to be good at it. For once, you are not distracted with the petty dramas of everyday life. You are not the 19 year old kid who locks himself/herself in the room for being rejected. You know how to move on. You learned that there is more to life than torturing yourself for your shortcomings.

You are still far from where you want to be, but you take comfort in knowing that you are actually doing something to get there. Emphasis on ‘actually’. You are starting to understand that disappointments and failures are bound to happen, but that won’t let you down. If anything, it will keep you going because that’s what 25 year olds do–prove the world they’re wrong about you–that you are much better than the world assumes you to be.

If you’re 25 and your ideals and expectations seem to be going the wrong direction; if you feel like you have your life mapped out only to find yourself in a maze; if you can feel straight up happy and spiral down to sad in a span of 10 minutes, if you are confident, delusional, humble, arrogant, ideal, optimistic, pessimistic, confused, sleepy, lazy, giddy, carefree, silly, untroubled, troubled, high, drunk, overjoyed, content, discontent all in the same day, don’t fret. You’re doing 25 right!

So, if you’re 25, this is the time for you to make all your rules and break them. Go high, go low. Be sane, be insane, be a little bit of both, or somewhere in between.

And just in case you missed it when they made the big announcement on national TV, life starts at 25! So, celebrate, embrace it, live in that moment because you can. You’re only 25 once, might as well make it a hell of a good one!

The downs of being sick


I don’t know what else can be more depressing than being sick. There is definitely no ups to it. It is on days like these that I become a horrible, red-eyed, drooling troll version of myself.

All of a sudden, I can’t think of anything to like, or want, or love, but I can come up with an endless list of things to hate. Yes, hate. Strong word. I’m usually not one to use that word, but I will use being sick as an excuse to use hate overtly this time. (Don’t worry, it’s just a one-off kind of thing.)

I hate being sick. I despise it to the core that if flu is actually a concrete thing you can toss and burn in a rubbish bin, I would have done so, four days ago, with gasoline and matches in hand. It’s a major pet peeve. It paralyzes my social life in HD. It’s like all of a sudden, I’m stuck at home with my pity bags of tissue, and all I can muster to do is blow my nose and cough like a buffalo on repeat.

Catching a terrible cold that evolved into a terrible flu sucks. Mainly because it sucks the life out of me. I find myself sleeping at 8:30 in the evening (who does that?) when usually I would have just been starting to get ready to salsa!

What is worse than being sick is having to admit to myself that I am not infinite (that, in itself, is a mortal sin.) I am no iron lady (no matter how much I’d like to think that I am,) and neither am I a cat with nine lives. Today, my power is powdered to ashes and I can see the wind chasing it all away.

Since I have already committed the mortal sin of admitting I’m not infinite, I might as well say that it is on days like these that the independent me feel helpless and could only wish there is someone to look after me (not to worry though, I am not in a coma to go down the I-need-to-get-a-boyfriend road!)

I hate being sick because I get so lazy that all I will ever want is a magical genie or a leprechaun who will make fresh orange juice at a flick of a finger, or change the tv channel when the show gets too Jerseseylicious for my liking, and remind me that I have to take antibiotics on the dot, because admit it, when we’re sick, we just want someone or anyone to make things easier for us.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve gotten real sick, but when I think about it, I usually have my dad or my brother looking after me. They were there to check up on me and make hot noodle soup without me having to ask them. They just do it, out of love, of course! After all, they signed the paper to take care of me when my dad decided to have me as a daughter, and when my brother was left with no choice but have me as his bossy, big sister.

But living far away from home has torn that invisible contract my dad and brother had lovingly signed. It’s like all of a sudden, I have to look after myself, even when my nose is too stuffy to do so.

I hate being sick for the reason that I become too whingy and selfish. I just expect that people will understand–understand that I have all the valid reason to be irrational, and demanding, and moody, not because I am PMS-ing, but because I’m still sick (which is a hundred times worse than expecting a monthly period;) understand that I don’t have the energy to engage in long hour chats not because I don’t enjoy talking, but because I’m (wait for it) sick; understand that I don’t have the enthusiasm to respond to a question if it is not answerable by yes or no, for the same reason that, surprise, I’m still sick. So, please don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me.

I hate being sick because not one feel-good movie is feel good. I’ve had a marathon of The Vow, The Lucky One, and Dear John, and what did that do to me? Nope, it didn’t make the flu go away. If anything, it just made me realize I have a flat screen tv that works, and a couch that I never use based on the amount of dust it has collected.

And, finally, I hate being sick because I become a very vengeful person (which, trust me, is really out of my character. I’m really sweet as a pea, believe me.) Vengeful in the sense that when all of these coughing and spitting (yes, I know it’s gross!) is gone, I will avenge and make myself the best homemade food that I am capable of cooking, I’ll be the last one dancing at any salsa event, I’ll make myself fresh orange juice, even apple, or kiwi, or nectarine because I can, I will not waste time on bad tv, and I will engage in long hour conversations with friends until they get bored out of my wit.

Until then, I just have to remind myself that, yes, I maybe confined to the walls of my flat, but it won’t be for long. Now, can someone pass me a tissue roll, please?

In a relationship with… myself


To my closest friends who have become so worried about me being the only single girl in the group:

You guys are the best and you definitely know this. (I can’t remember how many times I have stressed this before!) I love you guys for always having my back and making sure that I am enjoying my time, and you know that I do! Which makes me wonder why, lately, it has been quite obvious that you’ve all started asking ‘what happened to me.’ As if I got an immune disease from a different universe.

Come on, it’s not like all of you guys are getting engaged or married, or was I sleeping when you announced the news? I’m pretty sure there were no wedding invitations in my mailbox the last time I checked. So, it’s not like I’m missing the boat or anything.

I know very well that you care for me just the way I care about you. You want me to be happy the way I always want you guys to be happy with your relationships. That’s what friendship is about, making sure that all of us are getting our ups when everything else is pulling us down. Believe me when I say that I get my daily dose of happy when I see your holiday pictures by the beach with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Even those cheesy banters you and your significant other exchanges on your Facebook walls seem cute to me when usually it would have made me irk.

I appreciate that you are observing and commenting about my love life (or the lack there of) as if I am a specimen under a microscope, but make no mistake–I am happy. Genuinely. And I mean every word.

On those Thursday nights that you are all bundled up in bed, cuddling with your babe/cupcake/honey/sweetheart/whatever-crazy-name-you-call-them while waiting for your pizza delivery, I’m not watching the worst ‘Lifetime’ movie, crying my eyeballs out, while I go hugging my cats. (You all know I’m not a cat person!)

On those nights, I’m out, smoking shisha, having a good amount of conversation with whoever you guys happen to be free, and if that’s no one, then I’m out, dancing the night away with my friends from salsa.

I know why I’m single. I know that there’s nothing “wrong” with me. (I’m perfect, the way you guys always remind me so.)

It’s just that the guys I happen to like are emotionally unavailable. And I wouldn’t just be with any guy who I am not attracted to and whose character does not appeal to me just because he is emotionally available (the bars are raised much higher now.) I am turning 26 this year, and here in Cairo, 88 percent of guys my age are already in relationships, getting engaged or are already engaged, getting married or are already married. The remaining 12 percent are guys who are most probably assholes, and if they are genuinely nice guys, I’m pretty sure we have different mindset and takes on life. Please don’t let me start talking about cultural differences, religious beliefs, political views and opposite mentalities. I have yet to meet a single guy my age living in Cairo whose definition of dating and/or relationship is equivalent to mine.

Being single at 26 isn’t something I should be worried about and neither should you. It doesn’t make me a lesser person. In fact, singledom is the major reason why my life feels so full at the moment. You guys of all people in the world would know how much of a workaholic and social butterfly I am. If I am in a relationship, do you think I’ll be able to travel when I want to? Go to the gym because I’m motivated to? Attend salsa parties because I love to? Write for three different magazines because I have the luxury of time to do so?

You can start worrying about me being single when I hit 35, (but you’ll probably be too busy worrying about your own family and kids then.) Until then, just chill and relax.

The bottom line is that I’m not actively looking for someone to share my Facebook relationship status with other than myself. (See how I have so much free time that I was actually able to create another Facebook profile because Facebook is too selfish to allow anyone to be in a relationship with themselves.) I am really enjoying my mid-20’s. I go to salsa parties every other night, I take myself out to expensive dinners because I deserve it. I have the time to read books and be inspired by the writers, to watch movies in an actual cinema, to spoil myself with presents and not feel guilty about it. I am taking this relationship hiatus as a beginning to a deeper relationship with myself. Everyday I am learning and discovering something new about myself. I challenge myself and feel proud when I live up to it.

Rest assured, when I meet someone who lives up to all my ideals and expectations, you’ll be the first to know. ‘Til then just be comfortable in the idea that I decided to give all the love I have to give to myself, and I don’t see any reason why not.

So, stop feeling sorry for me. There is no need to make it your personal goal to hook me up. No need to feel bad when you and your babe/cupcake/honey/sweetheart/whatever-crazy-name-you-call-them are out with me and I am not holding anyone’s hand, because I don’t need to be with someone just so I can hang out with you guys. No more double dates and enough of those blind dates. Instead, let’s plan our next group date, shall we?


Love sucks, for now


Seriously, I am this close to blaming this wicked month for playing April Fool’s on my friends’ hearts–and the month hasn’t even ended yet!

I don’t know why I always find myself caught in between. It affects me when I get the news that my friends’ long-term relationship came to a halting end just like that–for the reason that it didn’t work out. (They’ve been together for practically over a year, and it’s only now they realized it’s not going anywhere?) Or that one of my friends got himself turned down by a girl he genuinely cared about, or that another friend caught her supposedly ever-so-loving boyfriend sleeping–with someone else–on her bed! Her bed! Different people, different stories, yet it all boils down to the exact, same thing–a broken heart.

They’re all recent victims, and the culprit is this deadly, four-letter-word we call love.

Oh, love, what have you done this time? Aren’t you supposed to bring happiness and contentment and all these butterflies-in-the-stomach bullshit? You were meant to make everyone feel high. Everyone assumes that whenever you are around, there will be nothing but passion, and romance, and lots of sex too. Instead, you started stabbing my friends behind their backs, leaving them bleeding for dead.

I am 101 percent positive that they are thinking that this is the worst break up/rejection/cheating ever, that nothing is going to make things right, that things won’t go back to normal and they will just be stuck here, in this black, depressing hole–for life. They’re also probably thinking that I need to shut up now because I have no goddamn idea what I am talking about, and they are right, until they aren’t.

No matter how embarrassing it is for me to admit it, I think that if there is one person who would have memorized every single, excruciating second one has to go through in a break up, everyone’s fingers will be pointed at me. I used to be that person inside that empty box. I was the one wallowing in sorrow. I was the girl who turned blind to any reason. My judgment was impaired. I used to be the one drowning in my own pain and thinking this is the end of me.

At the moment, there is absolutely nothing I can say or do that will make my friends’ pain go away. I can tell them that he’s an asshole, or that she’s a bitch. I can tell them that it will get better, that eventually they will be able to move on, that sooner or later they will meet the right person who deserves them and who they deserve. I can tell them that they will be able to love again, but this is a fruitless task because at this very moment, it will just be me talking in mute. Right now, they’ve all gone deaf to anything that I might have to say because right now they’re in the dark. There is no vodka, or pep talk, or feel good movie that can take away the hurt. For now.

Because for now, they are thinking and feeling and seeing things in grey. They’re all imagining ‘whatifs’, and asking that horrible question ‘why.’ Right now, love has stomped their egos so hard that they have been reduced to someone who has lost the person who meant most to them. They are grieving, and that’s perfectly understandable, for now.

Being cheated on, being rejected, or broken up with, I’ve been through all those hells before and I’m so familiar at how much it sucks. I know how terrible and terrified they must be feeling right now, and I can only hope that soon, they will realize that good things actually come out from heartaches. Experience, for one. Later, they’ll be able to look back at their previous relationship and know what went wrong. They’ll start realizing that he or she wasn’t really that great (I wouldn’t be writing this right now if those people who meant the world to my friends were actually awesome.) Soon, they will realize that they have the power to actually get out of a bad, unhealthy relationship. They will realize there is no point in being with someone who takes them for granted, or that it is futile to be in a relationship clouded by lies and mistrust. I’m sure right now, they feel weak and vulnerable, but it only takes some time for strength to come out of them, because the best thing about heartache, is that once they get their sanity back, they have survived it!

We are all fighting the same fight and we will not be defeated (no matter how much they think their life is over at this very moment.)

I’m sure that eventually, my friends will be able to move on, just the way I did. No matter how cliche I may sound, I’m a living proof that life goes on, that we can recover no matter how deep we are into sinking. That we can be happy (if not happier) again. That no matter how disillusioned we were at love, at one point or another we will find the courage to love again, and this time it will be much better because of all the lessons and experience from our challenging past. Heartaches make us know better–what we really deserve, what we want out of a relationship, how we want it to start and grow. We know that next time, we won’t be with someone mediocre who will tell us that it’s just not working, or who will end up half-assing our self-worth, because now we know that the next time we’ll be in a relationship (whenever that may be,) it will be with someone worthwhile.

I have a crush? When did that happen? Part 3


This would have been part 6 if I wasn’t feeling so selfish.

I feel so oddly strange. I mean, whenever something good happens to me, I’m always the one to pool my friends together so I can tell them stories of what’s happening to me, what’s new (especially when it comes to my love department which, as of now, still amounts to zero.)

I like to think that better things (or rather a better bond or friendship) is happening between me and this guy I call my crush. But for some reason, I am not so keen into telling anyone (I can hear you yelling that I’m contradicting myself considering how I am writing this in a public domain.)

Maybe this is me being selfish in a way that I like to keep our friendship to myself. Or maybe this is me choosing to be on the safe side, not wanting my girlfriends to think or expect that it can potentially turn into something more when I am sure it is unlikely to get there, not even close. Maybe I am just thinking that should I tell any of my friends about this crush, the world will play another brutal joke and send all its hexes down my way to jinx my supposedly happy-ever-after. Or, maybe, I take pleasure in knowing that I have a secret that no one knows about.

I have a secret and it’s all mine! Boy, I love that feeling. For the first time, I have something (whatever it is, I’ll leave you to bits until you raise your white flag on this guessing game) that not even my dearest friends know of.

Do you know why Mona Lisa is such a phenomenon even though, realistically speaking, there are far more amazing women painted on a canvas? I think it’s because of her smile. She has that smile so coy that seems to trick everyone to thinking she knows something that we don’t.

Well, needless to say, I feel that I am having that Mona Lisa moment right now. I am smiling, and I will leave you to your imagination as to why.

Surprisingly, I still want to get to know him more, and deeper. It seems there is still so much to know about this guy, and so much to learn from him as well. Everyday, I feel that I am surrounded with people who are so consumed by themselves, but I get the feeling that he is different, he’s a breath of fresh air.

Often, I meet people who likes to please (or impress) me, who tells me things I like to hear, who agrees to everything that I say (not realizing that I am only testing where their judgments lie.) Or often, I meet people who are so stuck up, and full of themselves–who would enjoy a conversation only if it is about them and nothing else, but he is not like that.

He doesn’t tell me things I like to hear. He is outright honest. His opinions are his, not copied from or influenced by anyone. He tells me when I’m wrong, and he will blatantly say that I am being mean. That, in itself, keeps me grounded.

He is very realistic and detached, two qualities that are the total opposite of my idealistic and emotional take on life. I look at him and see this person who is not feigned, even slightly, by the littlest or biggest problems of life.

I am envious of his pragmatic sensibility. It is something that I have always successfully fail to master. Sometimes, I wish I could care less. And when I meet someone who makes me reevaluate my take on life, I know he is someone worth knowing.

As much as I’d like to make my crush sound like a battery-operated robot, I hate to break this into you, but he is everything but that. There are no on and off switch buttons. Sometimes I think he likes to think that he’s the most serious, non-expressive guy in the world, but he doesn’t realize he can be one of the funniest too. I don’t think I’ll be able to put up with someone who has a non-existent sense of humor.

Our inside jokes? How riveting! Our dialogues will fall on the lines of ‘Five-second Tom, you are tramposo, but good night and happy new year.’ I’m not sure what other people will make sense out of that, but it does make perfect sense to me. It’s something distinctly him and I. He gets me, and I get him.

He surprises me even when he doesn’t know it. When I am so certain that he is just a dull guy with a huge science background, he comes surprising me with his sharp wit and creative side. That’s what he does, he takes the right turn when I am so convinced he will take the left. He proves me right, he proves me wrong.

There are still a lot of things I want to know. I want to know what ticks him, what sends him off. I want to know things that is not common knowledge to everyone. I want to know how his week went, not because I am a crazy-creepy-stalker. It just gives me a sense of relief knowing that someone I care about is doing well. I want to know how he got that scar (oh, wait, I forgot I already know how!)

I want him to let me know him, but for this to work, he has to let me cut him open and trust that I will not accidentally hit a nerve. And I hope that he will, because when I look at him, I see someone who makes clear sense. I see a blip–someone who understands my jokes, who corrects me when I’m wrong, someone who makes me smile the way Mona Lisa does.

Don’t say goodbye, say hello


Sometimes, it makes me wonder why I meet certain people for only a very short period of time. It makes me question the purpose or the reason behind meeting that specific person or persons. Are they going to teach me a thing or two about life? Or are they just coming in passing to make me think about missed connections later in my life?

A few days ago, I met someone at the gym (sounds tacky, but trust me it’s not.) He asked me where I was from (which I guess is the easiest way to start a conversation with a stranger.) And that simple starter question led to another question that opened up a series of topics for a conversation so good that it didn’t matter even if it was happening between two strangers.

He told me he’s been living in Dubai for 17 years now, but he came back to Cairo for a short five days to be here for his dad who is having his bypass surgery the next day. Before he left the gym, I told him that I wish his dad well and that I hope he will be able to spend his last few days in Egypt with his family.

The next day, I got a message from him telling me that his dad didn’t make it.

This man is just a person I met randomly at a gym, yet I felt greatly affected. I don’t know him at all, but I found myself feeling sorry that his dad passed away.

I wanted to make him feel better, but I didn’t know what to say or what to do. He is going through something that I have never experienced before (and hopefully I won’t have to for decades and decades to come) which is why I find myself lost for words. I can imagine that nothing, not even a million sorry and condolences in the world, will be enough to make the pain of losing his dad go away.

Knowing what happened to this person made me reevaluate my relationship with my dad. It’s been a year and a half since I last saw my father. I used to be a daddy’s girl until whoknowswhathappened. I didn’t think that I was missing him until I met this person and heard what happened to his dad.

I am coming back home in September to see my dad. It will only be for three weeks, and I am sure it will not be enough to make up the year and a half that I didn’t see him. But I am hoping that this three weeks will be a good start to rekindle our father-daughter relationship that seemed to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.

Isn’t it interesting how we unnoticeably take for granted people and things, thinking that they will always be there, not realizing that one day, they will actually be gone? Maybe there is a part in our brains that does not want to recognize the fact that life ends.

How many times have we heard people say life goes on? Not one will have the courage to actually say that life ends. The truth can be ugly sometimes.

It’s sad when we exert an extra effort to make time worthwhile only after realizing that the days are numbered. Why do we have to wait until a deadline is set before we start realizing that this person is someone worth spending time with? Why do we take for granted the people or the things we have and then regret once it’s all gone?

I am still trying to find answers, and I hope that in finding the answers, there are no goodbyes but hellos.

The Accidental Mom



Back in my senior year in high school, it was quite a feat when a student drops out, or just disappears for a long period of time. Rumors started circulating around school that those girls (who miraculously managed to disappear out of thin air) got pregnant. Half of the time, it was really the case.

When I was in my senior year, the idea of becoming a mom is so strange that it gives me chills to the bones. I mean, seriously, how can a 17 year old girl take care of a baby when she is not even close to being a woman? At 17, I was just playing nintendo games if I wasn’t reading Harry Potter.

At 25, the idea of becoming a mom is just as strange as it was when I was in senior high. Most of my friends (the same age as I) are either getting married, or getting a baby. I see all their photos (on facebook, obviously) and it makes me wonder how they do it, or more exactly, it makes me question how the hell they decided to get married or get a baby. Either they have all gone crazy, or I have become a blip in social trend.

I’d like to think I’m the sensible one in this case.

Whenever I see photos of anyone I personally know with their husband or wife or their new-born baby and those tubby fingers and toes, it makes me feel bad. It makes me doubt my abilities. It makes me wonder why I am not in the same frame of mind as they are. Or am I just not wired to be a wife or mom material?

Then it starts hitting me. No matter how hard I try to deny it, at 25, I am still selfish and self-centered in a way that I would choose to venture and see the world than settle down, that I would rather dance salsa and go out on fun dates than get a boyfriend, that I’d choose to marvel in my career than think about starting a family, that I’d rather be the comfortable, free-spirited, single woman that I am than become a miserable or regretful wife.

I’d like to think that I just know better. I know that I’m not ready, I’m not responsible enough to be a mother, nor am I willing to let go of my free pass card just yet.

Today is a day unlike any other. I am at that point where I am finally putting all the puzzle pieces together, but as usual, life never fails to play pranks on me and decides to jumble my world 180 degrees around.

When I went to bed last night, I was pretty sure that it will be an ordinary day–which means I will wake up just like any other day, get dressed for work as usual, and open the showroom like I do everyday.

So, imagine waking up from an international call from Italy (at seven in the morning!) telling me the news that I have just been selected to become a mother for a day.

They have got to be kidding me, right? I would give anything to think that it was just a drunken call, but it wasn’t.

To avoid any confusion, allow me to explain the ‘situation’. When I moved to Cairo for my career, the company (a family-owned, furniture design business) that I am working with provided me with a flat which is literally one tumbling from the showroom where I work. My flat happened to be one of four flats in our 4-storey building where the CEOs of the company (who is my boss’ parents,) the trade consultant (my boss’ brother,) and the designer (my immediate boss,) and I all live together.

Just last week, my boss’ parents and his brother flew to China for a major furniture expo. Two days ago, my boss and his wife travelled to Italy to attend a tango festival. That leaves me the only adult (apart from the bawab, the household helps who come on a daily basis, and the nanny who comes to babysit my boss’ kids.)

So, imagine (and I’m already telling you that this requires a big, creative mind!) when I was told that my boss’ nanny just decided to quit her job, while the kids’ mom and dad, aunt and uncle, and grandparents are away!

I can’t even imagine how someone can do such a thing–abandon a 6 year old boy, and a 3 year old girl while everyone in their family are several thousand miles away.

I can hear very clearly the nervousness and tension in my boss’ voice as they told me what was happening. Thankfully, the kids’ grandparents and uncle and aunt are flying back to Cairo as I write this blog.

Nevertheless, BOOM! I have become the accidental mom just like that.

That was a lot to take, no one warned me I’ll be a mom even if it was meant to be just for a day. I wasn’t nervous being an accidental mom because I’ve known my boss’ kids for over a year now and they always come with us when we do company trips to Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh. I was more nervous for them being my accidental kids. I had no idea how to look after kids the way real moms do.

So, I rushed up to their flat after I hang up the phone. I was expecting to see two crying and screaming toddlers who probably have no idea that their nanny just fled away, instead, I found two little kids still asleep in bed.

There was a chart posted on the fridge door that says ‘March 31 kids pizza’.

How in the world do you make a kids pizza?

I stormed the fridge to look for anything that would make a healthy kid’s pizza. There were tuna, mushrooms, capers and bell peppers. Healthy.

The pizza was fresh out of the oven when Jem and Belle woke up, but guess what. They just totally ignored the ‘kids pizza’ I so laboriously prepared. Or heck, maybe they knew that that pizza wasn’t really as edible as I wanted it to be. I was starting to crack under pressure at this time. They have to eat something and it should be something that they would like. They told me what they wanted was pizza with only olives and cheddar cheese on it. Easy.

In fact, it was actually much easier since they helped me make the pizza the way they want it. We made a huge mess on the kitchen bench but it sure was a fun mess!

Luckily, my boss made things a lot easier for me, they sent me a detailed email about ideas of activities I can do with their kids.

  • Bake chocolate cake
  • Painting and coloring materials on the top shelf
  • Story reading
  • Play dough in the bottom left drawer in the play area
  • Play date with friends on Saturday, call 0122514xxxx so on and so forth.
  • Go watch a movie at City Stars
  • Take kids to Chili’s

Since the kitchen was already in a total mess, why not bake a cake? And so we did, they cracked the eggs, sift the flour, pour the milk, melted the butter, and whipped the batter. Needless to say, we all managed to cover ourselves with flour and egg whites! The chocolate cake turned out really well by the fact that I almost finished half of it!

Story reading was easy to do, thank heavens the books they have are not in Arabic! I immediately crossed out going to City Stars or Chili’s. I don’t think shopping centers are the best places for kids their age. And I know this by the fact that I get so annoyed whenever I see parents walking in a mall with their little mignons. Honestly, I think those parents can do much better parenting than taking their kids to a silly mall. Not to mention the least I would want is for one of the kids, if not both of them, to get lost or, worse, kidnapped. I thought their household help will already kill me for the messy kitchen and the stains in their clothes, so I had to cross out play dough and painting as well, not wanting for all the play dough or paint to leave permanent marks on the carpeted floor.

Since it was a Saturday, I decided to call the number they gave me and arrange a play date with the kids’ friends. I spent about an hour or so, telling the mom of their friends everything that just happened. It felt funny and weird at the same time, going to a stranger’s house for the first time. I guess it was even weirder for their friend’s mom (who I have never met before) to fathom the idea that someone can become an accidental one-day mom.

I thought these things only happen in movies!

I took ‘my’ accidental kids home at five this afternoon. I did a lot of bribery (not the qualities of a real mom.) If they want to watch one show of Scooby doo on tv, they have to finish their homework. They want to get a candy special? They have to have a bath and get dressed by themselves. They want to play hide and seek? They have to eat all their dinner up.

And whenever they do something really good that impresses me, like eating with their mouths on the bowl or not getting milk spilled on the floor, I give them two coins. By the way, I think at the age of three and six, they should be allowed to be chaotic and out of control. I must have been a monster mom in their eyes–a monster mom who lets them watch cartoons before bed, snack on junk food, and play tag.

Right now, it’s 8:39 and they are already fast asleep. Before I put them to bed, I read them two children stories and a bible story. We prayed after the story reading. I do not believe in religion but they told me that this is what their mom always does, and since I have already become their one day mom, I might as well play and act the part. So I tucked them into bed, and hugged them, and kissed them, and told them that I love them. I wished for them to have sweet dreams, and I couldn’t believe I was hearing myself telling them that the angels will be beside them tonight (it was just so not me.)

I guess I just did what I think real moms do, or at least I did my idea of what real moms do.

Like Cinderella (one of the bedtime stories I read them tonight) my accidental mom story will expire as soon as the clock strikes. Their grandparents will be here in a few hours and I will be back to being my old, boring, career-driven self. Tomorrow, I will wake up and know that it will just be an ordinary day. No pizza making, cake baking, or play dates, no bedtime stories to read. It also means no warm hugs and cute little fly kisses from two of probably the most adorable kids I’ve ever had the chance of being with.

What a learning experience. It sure made me realize that I suck at being a pretend mum, but hey, I was put on the spot and didn’t have nine months to prepare for it, let alone read books on successful parenting, or google how-to-be-an-awesome-mom! So, I guess I deserve a pat on the back after all!

And before I forget, I think skipping an 8-hour work shift to have a ball with the kids is not as bad as I thought.