This post was first published on May 12th 2006 on my personal blog. It has since been re-posted on other blogs, forwarded as an email and plagiarized by the unimaginative.
Ladies and gentlemen, following this exclusive online guide is a sure-fire way to be mistaken for a Leb.
The driver’s seat must be in an uncomfortable and impractical reclined position at all times. No more than one hand shall be on the wheel at any time. The other hand should be on the window frame. Alternatively it may be located on the gear-shift or your girlfriend’s leg. Profuse use of horn is encouraged. Religious symbols are to be attached to dashboard at will. Shiny rims and tinted windows, accompanied by thinly veiled threats to fellow motorists on your back window are commonplace.
Shirts are never to be tucked in. A minimum of three buttons must be undone to reveal chest hair and optional gold medallion. Brand names, preferably fake, are to be exposed on every visible area of clothing. Jeans and shiny loafers are required to complete the look, along with a generous helping of Brylcreem.
Ownership of mobile phones released more than two months ago are a big no-no. Be sure to keep your phone visible at all times. Keep it in your hand and place it on the table during diner or coffee. Fiddle around with the menu at all times, to seem like you are always being pursued by serial text-messagers.
The point of dining is not to eat. It is to see and be seen. Make no mistake. Talk loudly, be rude to staff. Never, ever, under any circumstances, thank your waiter. Throw evil looks at neighbouring tables, whether you know them or not. Laugh audibly, just so everyone knows you’re having more fun than them. Crack out a cheap cigar, even if you’re 18, to project a clichéd 80s image of wealth.
You must pull up at the door in a shiny new car. Whether it’s yours is inconsequential. Call bouncer ‘habibe’ a couple of times, and crack lame joke whilst tapping him on shoulder. Demonstrate rudeness to staff (see Dining). Act like you own the place. Order recklessly, and cry later. Throw evil looks at neighbouring tables (see Dining again). Shake fist in the air as substitute for actual dancing. Push that guy who dared look at your girlfriend. Drunk drive to the nearest Zaatar w Zeit, get in a fight with someone over a parking space. Order food.
Again, the purpose of the cinema is not a love of film. It is to waste two hours of time, and annoy a great deal of people simultaneously. Have loudly whispered conversations on your phone during parts of the film integral to the plot. Throw popcorn at neighbouring seats. Laugh in all the wrong places. Make inappropriate comments during tense scenes. Applaud good guys who punch a baddie.
Arabic is not the official language of Lebanon, forget what you’ve been told. You will need to master the bastard language that is frenglishabic. Use at least three languages in every conversation, introducing the ones you master the least only for greetings and partings (hola, ciao, …)
Chose one of a plethora of local, petty leaders. Adore them. Place their pictures on your car, balcony and other visible areas that may come under your ownership. Follow them blindly, regardless of how racist, irrational and frightening they are.
University is not a place to learn. It is a vast social club, where one must adorn one’s entire wardrobe on a daily basis to attract potential mates. Class attendance is inversely proportional to the amount of sunshine on any particular day. Be just as flashy on campus as you would be in a club. Try to get your degree before failing every course four times.
Spend money you don’t have, to buy things you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like.
Ahla, bienvenue to our world habibe/habibte.