Adonis Diaries

“A life of a Pintade (guinea fowl) in Beirut” by Muriel Rozelio. Part 1

Posted on: June 2, 2011

A life of a Pintade (guinea fowl) in Beirut” by Muriel Rozelio

“Une vie de Pintade a Beyrouth”

In Beirut, the girls and women have winds in their sails; they wear skyscraper high-heel shoes, their “claws” are manicured in all seasons… To be beautiful is a duty of the highest priority.

The pintades or guinea fowl (a bird in the category of Turkeys but more slim and prettier, called Pharaoh in Egypt), in all Lebanese confessional sects converge to the “Corniche” on the seashore of Ras Beirut to be seen, to see, and compare.

Seemingly emancipated, though plagued with all sorts of taboos, feminists or militants, superficial or courageous, the inhabitants of Beirut are kneaded in contradictions.

Submitted women?  Maybe in a few remote villages, but generally managing the family with an iron grip.

(In a tiny country, in a de-facto pseudo-State political structure, barely standing in a precarious political equilibrium, the behavior of the pintades can be considered a declaration of war against simmering wars).

This 400-page book, a study of the customs of urban women and girls, is divided into 9 chapters; among them:

1. Beautiful by day as at night;

2. Adult, but not entirely vaccinated;

3. Preserved enclosure;

4. Wedding in the soul;

5. Domestic divas;

6. Disoriented youth;

7. To come out is to exist;

8. Butterflies; and

9. Eternal youth.

You find addresses of sport clubs, spas, private expensive swimming beaches, restaurants, beauty shops, aesthetic surgery clinics…

There are many versions of pintades living in Tehran, Paris, and many other Capitals. It is in Beirut that 50 year-old women dance on tables at 5 am. The Lebanese women have a passion for Lebanon and they keep this non-State hanging on, refusing to vanish.

The pintades in Beirut are as pudic as much as proud. To be a pintade is to be a modern women, who constantly is on the look-out of the latest trends, who can reconcile the triumvirate: Family life, professional life, and personal equilibrium.  They exist only to have eyes riveted on them.

In the “Prophet”, Khalil Gibran wrote: “Handicapped, cows, old snakes…see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.  The sun for them is but a generator of shadows.  Who can prohibit a sparrow to sing?” (To be continued)

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adonis49

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June 2011
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