Are you married? When are you having a baby?
Egyptians are obsessed with the sacred union that binds a man and wife almost as if nothing else in the world but marriage is of importance. Growing up, my fellow Egyptian took it upon themselves to 'look after me'. They would tell me that I needed to be calm, I needed to be girly, and that I needed to wear dresses because I am a banoota 7elwa (a pretty girl). This was often justified by the fact that when I grow up I had to be appealing enough to get married, as if that was all I need to strive for in order to complete my life, because no man wants to marry a girl who is almost 'as manly as him'. They may as well have said that no man wants to marry a woman who knows who she is and what she wants in life! And so I grew up, and I got married to a man I loved. You'd think that was the end of this terrible 'advice'. But nope. Here are five frustrating things that I always hear as a newly married woman - they vary in terminology, but you get the gist.
You're not pregnant yet? Or come on bring us a child so we can slaughter a lamb for you!
Eda, enty lesa ma7beltesh? Or yalla, hatelna baby 3ashan nedba7lek kharof! Probably the most popular thing married women hear on the regular – especially newlyweds. Thank you for your concern about my fertility tante Madeha, but I did not get married just to make sure my baby-maker doesn’t get rusty, and I certainly will not pop out a child for some roasted lamb - although it’s tempting!
Why are you using birth control? Your finances will work themselves out once you get a baby!
Ento btsta3melo waseela? El baby byegy ma3 rez2o! Aca-scuse me? At the most basic level, are you telling me if I don’t own a home and if I don’t have enough income to support myself that pushing out a baby will solve all of my problems? Do you even logic?
Really, you don't cook for your husband?
Eda enty msh btetbokhy le gozek? This one is especially annoying and is always justified by the myth that a newly married man should always have a growing belly and that means he is happy because his wife is cooking him good food. Like, what? This ain’t no si sayed generation. No, I don’t cook for my husband; can the lad build me a damn house? No, he can’t, so why am I expected to cook for him? Also, my status as a wife should not be reduced to my ability to cook food - or make babies!
A newly married woman has to wear makeup all the time so she can be pretty for her husband!
El 3arosa lazem tb2a 7ata make up 3ala tool 3ashan tb2a 7elwa le gozha. I’ll pass, thanks. I would rather not clog my pores with makeup and oils and then have black heads and puss-filled zits infest my face – which is the opposite of pretty, by the way. But that’s what happens when you think it’s a good idea to wear makeup all the time ‘for your husband’. Also, I woke up like this.
Did you take your husband's permission? Or ask your husband first
Enty khadty ezen gozek el awel? Or es2aly gozek el awel. Last time I checked, I made the conscious decision to marry my husband. In fact, I make conscious decisions every day because I am my own individual. So when I agree to something, you best believe I don’t need my husband’s permission to validate it. Bye.