April 10, 2005

Is this normal?

Should this bother me? I'm not used this, In the US, men usually don't go gaga over a cute baby or little girl. Here It's constant. Whenever men pass by Zayneb while she is waiting for the bus, or out anywhere, they have to say "Ezayak ya gameel" (How are you, beautiful) or something like that. Most even touch her face or hair. She is just a 5 year old, so it doesn't phase her, she likes the attention. Me, on the other hand, while watching her, waiting for the bus, I just fume! I want to yell "GET AWAY FROM MY LITTLE GIRL YOU CREEPY WEIRDO MAN!" But I don't.

Part of me says, that this is just normal here, but it still REALLY bothers me. What do you think?


  1. In Egypt, YES! It's freaky creepy but thats how it is in the middle east. No, personal space and touching when possible is the standard. Now we normaly precieve this as almost violating and unconforatble. But that's culture for you. If you try to tell others "you don;t like that" you will just look like a freaky snot nose bratt that doesn't know how to be friendly. They will just reply to you- It's "3aadee"
    Be patient and also be carefull.

  2. I was just thinking the same thing yesterday as I walked into a grocery store and a man felt the need to touch my daughters head. She is four and looked at him like he was nuts. At times it is nice, contrary to the US that is usually so stand offish with other peoples children. But there are those other times you want to say, ok back off man.

    In Malaysia on vacation there were Chinese women all over my daughter for her curly hair. They just kept touching her hair. I thought maybe its because their hair is so straight.. or maybe it was some good luck thing.

    But it seems to be a very normal thing to touch children within the M.E and even w/in Asia. And I believe its normal for the parent in us to be on the alert for a possibe pervert.

  3. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Dear Mona
    You should know by now,this normal but you must teach the children to resent it except from imediate family that you trust.

  4. Anonymous10:19 PM

    Mona, Your blog rocks!

    Yes I agree that this is very weird and annoying. It has happened to my kids too and it bugged me but didnt really know how to stop it since they were all "trying to be nice" but now I just try to change the subject or leave or keep busy. I guess its better than in other countries though,, no eating cockroaches involved in this culture onlly cow brains. LOL

  5. but have you noticed that arab babies are weird too? like they love everyone. my nephew is a little baby love machine, he goes around kissing everyone.

  6. Ugh, I know what you are talking about. The same thing happens to our DD, even here in the US. I was always thinking that it is fine, but somehow now she is five and I feel a little uneasy about it.

    Actually, when we were in Egypt everyone wanted to come up to the kids and touch them, pick them up and everything... And of course the chance encounters like the one you are talking about at did happen; I don't know how you would prevent that. But I think me being American, the kids not speaking Arabi or any combination of the above made them a little hesitant to really talk to them or anything (or maybe it was the looks I gave them when they did?LOL). When they were with my DH (who is Egyptian) people were a little more at ease.

    Funny how some kids just get people's attention! Personally, I am not really comfortable with the whole holding/touching my kids... But I don't think Egyptians mean any harm by it, they sincerely just want to say hi and give your sweet girl a smile. But it does prick up those mama bear instincts...


  7. salams sister! Yes, this seems to happen a lot in certain cultures,and seems to be normal for some.However, it is right of you to be cautious .My own daughter zainab gets uncomfortable with the attention her curly hair and big eyes attract here in hong kong.And I think I know where that's coming from...! However,it's worse on the mainland china where people are less sophisticated and stand offish than hong kong chinese,and more open to expressing their feelings verbally and physically.Ahem! But, well we grin and bear it for a little while and quickly slip off with a smile... the faster the better...yes, it makes mum's squirm

  8. Thanks everyone, for the feedback here. I'm glad to know it's not just my imagination.


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