Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘“Zawarib Beirut”

Part 2. A life of a Pintade (guinea fowl) in Beirut” by Muriel Rozelio

“Une vie de Pintade a Beyrouth”

The 400-page book studies the customs of urban women and girls in Lebanon. You find addresses of sport clubs, spas, private expensive swimming beaches, restaurants, beauty shops, esthetic surgery clinics…

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 (of all confessional sects) converge to the Cornice on the seashore of Ras Beirut or the ABC shopping center in Achrafieh to be seen, to see, and compare.

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.

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 Non-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).

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

Muriel Rozelio is undaunted and wants to experience practices that the pintades have given up usage long time ago.  For example Muriel wants to epilate using caramel (boiled sugar).

The pintades tell Muriel “Do you want to revert to the stone age? Wax (la cire) is far more hygienic and practical. First, caramel burns your fingers, and second even three showers will not remove the stickiness…”

Muriel receives an anonymous phone calls: “If you insist on caramel note down this address”.  Murial used the map “Zawarib Beirut” of  Ashrafieh to locate the place.  The fat 50 year-old matrone said: “The advantage of caramel is that it pulls the hair deeper”.  That was correct, but Muriel felt she sacrificed portions of her skin.

Another example. Muriel wants to experience Turkish baths in Beirut.  The pintades told Muriel that there are none in Beirut; she should drive to Saida or Tripoli for these unsanitary and microbe-plagues places.  Why not use the Jacuzzi and sauna in our health clubs?

Undaunted, Muriel head to Haret Hreik, headquarter of Hezbollah, 3 kilometers away from Beirut center, but culturally a light year away of the pintades.

The veiled woman attendent in the bath of Haret Hreik make them purchase shorts: It is not acceptable to get nude, even among women.

The Lebanese pintade would never leave her house and cross the street to purchase anything in “as is” condition:  She has to first to be ready to appear in public as if heading to a gala party.

The young girl learn how to do their own “brushing” of their long hair.  A caption says: “Israeli bombs, Syrian bombs… As long as you know how to do the “brushing” and brush your hair before going out, you ‘ll well manage your life fine, habibaty (my little love)”

This is a very funny book. You have got the gist of it.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2020
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