Archive | December, 2010

13 Types of Lebanese Facebook Profile Pictures

The Three Quarter Turn
This is the standard pose of the Lebanese fashionista. She has spent hours fine-tuning the exact angle that puts forward her every flattering feature. She puts up one of these pictures on a weekly basis, bringing her total tally of profile pictures to at least 137. There is an increase of activity during the summer months, when her tan means that less Photoshop expertise is required.

The Photoshopper
This type of person is a close relative of the TQTer. Saturation levels, contrast and brightness are all essential elements in getting the skin tone right. The person is most probably not a graphic designer (as they fall into one of the categories below) but has enlisted the help of a cousin who works at a web design agency to crop any undesirables out of the image and scratch away that pesky pimple on her right cheek.

The Bride/The Groom
We all know how everyone in Lebanon is obsessed with marriage. Obsessed with getting married, going to weddings or hating your best friend who got married before you. So wedding-related profile pictures deserve a whole field of academic study. They come in an array of variations. There’s the photo of the groomless bride, engulfed by half the annual production of flowers from Holland in her parents living room. There’s the solitary groom, who’s motivations for using a picture of himself without his bride, and looking quite dashing, can seem disquieting. There’s the picture of the happy couple. If they’re facing the camera and set against the backdrop of exploding fireworks, not so romantic. If they’re locked in an intense gaze into each others eyes, happy future ahead.

The Baby
In a concerted effort to show you that they’ve grown up faster than you, your friends from the Bride/Groom category, will move on to the Baby category within a year. They will post a picture of their little cherub, which will make you momentarily wonder if they have gone Benjamin Button on you. Some babies are as cute as teddy bears sliding down a rainbow, and some look like the love-child of Wayne Rooney and the Cookie Monster, but you’ll invariably comment: awww. Hayete. So cute.

The Childhood Photo…

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Buns of Meal: A Brief History of the Hamburger in Lebanon.

I’m not normally one for scathing restaurant reviews. Come to think of it, I’m not one for restaurant reviews of any kind. The truth is, contrarily to my approach to most things in life, I’m resolutely unadventurous when it comes to food. I stick to a few choice staples, I usually know what I like on a menu and I rarely stray for my exceedingly boring culinary path. It may come as a surprise to those who’ve seen me lumber around with my 110 kilos, but I’m just not that into food.

One thing I do enjoy, however, is a good hamburger. It’s a food item that is guaranteed to raise your floundering spirits. Such a simple construct yet so deeply satisfying. But I’m afraid my faith in the state of the Hamburger took a beating last week. Before I tell you why, let’s take a walk down memory lane and explore the history of the humble hamburger in Lebanon.

I remember when I first ventured over in the mid 90s as a Harry Potter spectacle-wearing buck-toothed teen, being enamoured by what seemed to me to be, two exotic places: Winners and Juicy Burger. Having come over from London, where I used to spend my pocket money on the soggy and questionable fare offered up by the twin bastions of the evil West, McDonald’s and Burger King, I was in awe of these burgers. They seemed to offer up an authenticity lacking in my post-cinema Big Mac at Whitley’s on Queensway. Their décor was kitsch, but the burgers were made with pride. I only enjoyed them a couple of times though, before these places saw their untimely end. But my friends who grew up in Lebanon think back to their Winners days with swelling hearts, and I’ve appropriated a smidgen of their nostalgia.

Then, one fateful day in 1998, Lebanon changed. Something irreversible happened. McDonald’s came to town. My classmates at the Lycce and I headed to Dora in a convoy of serveeces, with our minds racing through fantasies of Filet-O-Fish and Chicken Nugget 9-packs. We queued for hours, like Muscovites had after the fall of communism outside their first McDonalds, for a taste of the junk food we used to love back in Europe. All thoughts of mloukhie and shish barak were exorcised in the months that followed, as Friday afternoons became the sacred time where we drowned our week’s sorrows in a draft Coca-Cola, under the benevolent eye of a redheaded clown.

But soon McDonalds and Burger King stopped satisfying us…

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