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The Hard Life of a Ho-jabie

Mona Hashem dreamed of hitting the town as soon as she landed in Cairo and she did, only to be rejected at the door of one of the coolest restaurants in town. What's a ho-jabie to do for fun around here?

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Mona Hashem, and…wait for it…I’m a hijabie (insert gasp here). I know, I know, not what you were expecting, right? I’m not one of those burqa-wearing extremists, though. By the way, does anyone else think that they look like walking blobs? No, I’m the skinny jeans, waist-cinching tunic, cropped motorcycle jacket-wearing girl of the 21st century. Those blobs would probably call me a ho-jabie, and I’m ok with that.

Born and raised in the States, my favourite things to do are to watch great comedies with delicious pizza and a tall glass of Coke with lots of ice, drive super fast while chewing bubble gum obnoxiously and have the music blaring, sing at the top of my lungs (Mariah Carey ain’t got nothing on me, shoooot), and talk with my other Arab-American/European girl friends for hours and chatting as if we grew up in the ghetto (We actually grew up in rich, white America).

Coming to Egypt after marriage was such an adventure. I was so excited to get thrown into the scene. I was soon to be disappointed, though. I mean, what’s up with Cairo? Shortly after moving here, I got dolled up and dressed to the nines (Dior bag, check. Burberry scarf, check) and my husband and I drove to the First Mall only to get denied at the door to a highly recommended restaurant. Apparently, my scarf would take away from the fun of the other patrons of the restaurant. Who knew silk had so much power? Clearly the host did not know he was talking to. Me? Take away from fun? Wasn’t it just last week, while on vacation, that I ordered Nando’s under the name Darth and had my sister put on an abaya and a Darth Vader mask to go pick it up (true story, video footage soon to follow)? How was I, the self-proclaimed Queen of Fun, being denied? The guy at the door should have spit chewing tobacco at me and said, “We don’t like yo kind ‘round hurr, now get.”

I quickly learned that it is the law of the land to keep me out of the best hotspots. seven years later, I’ve come to terms with it. I just feel bad for all those Cairenes that are missing out on a good time with me. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a book or, in this case, a girl by its cover.