I love Lebanon; always have, always will. As much as we complain about the silly behavior, lifestyles, and traditions of many Lebanese people, nothing will probably ever change. So, deep down I’m glad that we’re all so crazy and thankful that I have something different to laugh about every day. To those of you who don’t understand the concept of “sarcasm”, please stop reading here and spare yourselves from feeling offended over nothing.
How to be “CLASSE” a la Libanaise
Always remember, everything in Lebanon is about being classy or “CLASSE”. You should eat at classy restaurants, wear classy shoes, and even buy your mobile phone from Class and get ripped off or else it wouldn’t be the real deal.
You should always look angry while driving or walking (all three expression lines on your forehead must be visible). God forbid people see you with a smile on your face – they’d think you’re a peasant and “mish CLASSE”.
If you’re a woman, you must walk around like you’re smelling sh** and make it clear to everyone around you that they are lucky to bask in your “CLASSE” existence.
If you’re married, spend your afternoons at the ABC mall as you enjoy limping walking around with high heels on your feet and a stick up your a**. Your Filipino slave maid must be racing after you, carrying all the bags while she watches over your two little monsters who do not have one polite bone in their body because their “CLASSE” mama forgot to do one little thing: be a good mama.
If you’re single, spend your afternoons searching for a “CLASSE” boyfriend according to his daddy’s dollars (doesn’t matter if it’s dirty money . . . money = “CLASSE”). Once you meet this “CLASSE” boyfriend, tell him that you are a virgin (even if you’re not) because only virgins are “CLASSE”. Your nails must always be manicured and your eyebrows always tweezed or the “CLASSE” boyfriend will leave you (yes those are very important criteria for being “CLASSE”).
If you’re a man, you should always have a nonchalant attitude and an expression on your face that says “I am a billionaire that rules the world. Come, worship me,” even if you’re the biggest loser/poser/fake, people will be impressed by your “CLASSE-ness”. If anyone defies you, you must shout “Bta3rif ana min bkoun?!” (ah yes, you’re that piece of bird crap that’s been stuck on my windshield for two days).
You must have a table at a trendy “CLASSE” club every Saturday night and invite only “CLASSE” people to be seen with you. No table? No way! The manager is your friend and he’ll crap a table out for your royal highness.
A cigar might help you look good too – don’t worry about your breath smelling like dirty socks or about the fact that you’re sucking on something shaped like a penis cylinder. . . just sayin’.
Explain to your girlfriend that she must act “CLASSE” when she’s with you in public; she must laugh in a very low voice, talk to only “CLASSE” people, and not say “Hi” to anyone unless they say “Hi” first.
In brief, all behavior must be planned, constipated, and rehearsed in front of your mirror at least 5 times before you kiss your bovine divine reflection and leave your house.
How to be Rude Enthusiastic a la Libanaise
Remember now, a trip to the cinema is not just for the sake of watching a movie; it’s an opportunity to return to 1.5 million BC and be a caveman for 2 hours! Before you are seated, you must create the loudest ruckus so that all the civilized people around you know that Elvis has entered the building. Once you are seated, spread your legs across the seats in front of yours (if those seats are empty). If those seats are occupied, express your anger by kicking and complaining all through the movie (your legs are more entitled to that seat than the person who actually paid for it). Instead of turning off your mobile phone, make sure to keep the ringer on the highest volume so that you can take that 20 minute call that is sure to ruin the movie experience for everyone present. Never go to the cinema alone; make sure you take your posse of cavemen with you so that you talk and laugh loudly throughout the entire movie, saying things like “shu ya eww” and waz-waz remarks whenever you see the actress’s left breast (because you’ve obviously never seen one before). Once the movie ends, you must initiate a unanimous ovation by clapping with your caveman friends for a good two minutes (remember, you’re at the LA premiere, not at the Cinema City in Dora).
A trip abroad is also a good reason to be enthusiastic. Once you’re on the plane, wait for the seat belt sign to go off and form an airplane gang with whom you shall talk and growl laugh loudly for the next four hours while everyone else is trying to sleep. No matter what your Lebanese accent sounds like at sea level, it is guaranteed to sound so much worse at 35,000 feet (especially when you’re talking about which politician you worship while others are praying that you suddenly stop breathing). As soon as the plane lands, make sure to clap for a good few minutes (not sure why people do this) until the pilot himself wishes that he had crashed the plane instead. Once you arrive back to the Rafic Hariri International Airport, the first thing you should do is light a cigarette and feel proud that your country probably has the only airport in the world that still permits indoor smoking. Even if you were only abroad for a week, you must now complain about the roads, people, and living condition in Lebanon; for you are now an enlightened one!
Wait for anything (anything at all) to happen in the country so that you may start arguing with your friends, neighbors, family, janitor, mechanic, florist, and butcher about who is right and who is wrong. It could be about politics, religion, football, basketball, cheese balls, or Blackberry versus iPhone – no matter what it is about, bring out that caveman in you and shout, fight, and punch the wall with all your might so that you prove you are right (yes, I rhymed).
Note: The louder and ruder you sound, the more right you are. Even if there’s nothing interesting happening in the country, create something to fight about – God forbid you remain civilized for 24 hours.
I am just thankful for my few great friends who still have a solid head on their shoulders and a complete brain in their head. I pray for Lebanon every day; I pray that it has a youth with enough substance to allow our country to continue flourishing into a cultured civilization while maintaining a core. If the contrary happens, I blame the parents not their kids.
To all parents and future parents out there: stop teaching your kids how to hate each other based on religious or political differences, stop teaching your kids that money is the defining factor in judging a person, and please stop teaching them how to be more like you – your generation has done enough, thank you very much.
“Your faults as a son is my failure as a father.” Marcus Aurelius [The Gladiator]