Friday, February 4, 2011

The Boys have become Men!

The moment I got into college, I’ve learned that the types of people are not the ones I had always dealt with everyday. There were so many social classes and so many different ideologies about who is what. I spent the first couple of years being very picky about who I talk to and how I deal with people unfoundedly, which was of course a major mistake since everyone hated me and stereotyped me as a snob. That was probably true I guess. I spent the years that followed living life normally; no more snobs, and figured out how wrong I was about almost everyone I knew. But this is not what I am writing about, I think we’ve all gone through this (culture?) shock, and if you, dear reader, have not been to college and seen that yet, then trust me, someday you will!

What I want to talk about is the idea of “men” that the different people believed in. No, I do not mean the different people, I mean the different “guys”. What is a man anyway? A man is someone who is reliable, strong, understanding, mature, and responsible. Everyone agrees with that. But every guy had an idea about what made a man. I have to admit, some were very silly, and some made sense. I live in Maadi, so I always got the comments that Maadi boys are not man enough (sorry guys, I’ve heard this more times that you can imagine!), I’ve actually heard this within Maadi; guys from school X thought that guys from school Y are not man enough. Guys that live in Haram believe that guys that live in Maadi are not man enough, and so on and so forth.

Some of the funnier comments are that real men smoked, sat on oriental coffee shops (ahwas), and swore a lot. They also entailed eating filthy food, having poor hygiene, and not caring about the way they looked. The concepts of getting emotional and crying of course also fell under “non-manly” by all classes of guys, in addition to not having a blunt weapon in the car, and getting into fights even if they are for petty reasons. I will admit that I agreed with some of these concepts sometimes, falling under the false impression of the more rugged looking guys I’ve dealt with. Later, I discovered how completely silly, absurd and childish these ideas really are. I guess I was doing it again; stereotyping people based on shallow ideas. God forbid I fall to that again!

As I write this today, on the 31st of January, 2011, during the darkest times (or maybe the best of times, we’ll wait and see), I have realized that the idea of boys and men has disappeared. No one can say that Maadi doesn’t have men anymore, or Heliopolis or Zamalek or anywhere else. We have all seen all the boys in highschool, the college kids, the young adults and the older adults going to arms and protecting their homes and their families. They are standing in the streets all night long holding pipes and sticks and knives, waiting for a trespasser to fend off, or a burglar to scare away, tackle, or arrest. Those “men”, our men, are out there against people who possibly have guns that are out to hurt them and us. Those are the real warriors against terror. And all I can say is God protect them because they protect us. So for all you other guys that think someone is soft because he does not share your swearing on an ahwa, please understand that your concept of a soft guy has faded into nothingness, because men exist in the hour of need, and these are the men we are proud of. To all you Maadi men, thank you for making me and everyone else I know that lives here feel safe. I know I can truly sleep without any fear because of you, I actually feel safer knowing that you guys are out there instead of the police. And to all you other men everywhere else, God protect you, may you always stand for us to keep us safe.


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