Thursday, May 9, 2013


The first time I came to Jordan I was twelve and wearing my brother's old wide leg jeans and long sleeved Nirvana t-shirts- of my own volition.
We kept coming back through here by bus so as to get to the other surrounding countries one by one, and each time we passed back through we would stop at "Mat3am Alia" for dinner. I couldn't believe that there was a restaurant named after my sister, just like I couldn't believe they were charging us for water.

The waiter for our table had a crush on my sister and kept us entertained with his advances throughout dinner. I wondered why this random waiter was so obsessed with her and decided it must have been because he thought his workplace was named after her. He brought her extra helpings of colorful, glistening vegetables and eyed her from the corner where he was huddled with the other waiters.
As we were leaving to board the bus he casually whispered, "I love you."  My mother laughed but I was completely traumatized. 

After a couple of healthy years of living in the Middle East and being proposed to in-passing by a few cafe waiters myself, I think I get it now. It's all part of the social contract. Nothing comes without a price. Travel to a faraway land, eat the shiny food- get propositioned by the cafe waiters. It's the social order.

And always a potential last resort to keep in your back pocket in case it becomes increasingly clear that you will have to marry a man whose first language is not English so you don't have to feel bad when he doesn't laugh at your jokes.

Another reason to make sure your abaya has pockets- along with concealing masbahas, pretzels, and other general types of smuggling.