Virginity is a sacred aspect when it comes to marriage in Egypt - or is it? Mariam Raymone interviews men with different backgrounds to understand what they think of women who lose their virginity before marriage. Of the unfortunate undeniable truths of Egyptian society and our general commonwealth is gender inequality. It is one of the simple infallibilities of our Egyptian existence. The Woman is second to the Man.
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3. There are lots of terms of endearment (pet names) in Egyptian Arabic
At first there was nothing forbidden about it at all — we met, we did the right thing and approached her father for permission, he gave us the green light, preparations for the engagement ceremony were made — everything was perfect. Learning Arabic? Take a look at my other site: TalkInArabic. I take my hat off to you blokes for doing that. It was either this or we stop seeing each other altogether. I had to make a serious choice then and there, without even knowing this girl properly, about whether or not I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I was fortunate that I had these people to back me up. Even then he was hesitant and had to phone an Egyptian friend of mine in Australia the woman who taught me Arabic who I also call my second mother to verify that I was telling the truth. I have Egyptian male friends whose fathers actually saved up for years to buy their sons an apartment usually in the same building as their parents to make it easier for them when they wanted to marry.
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1. Shortly after you fall in love, the father’s permission to date his daughter must be sought
Teenage girls in low-income areas of Egypt are vulnerable to trafficking. Many come with their families and housekeeping staff, spending their days by the pool, shopping, and frequenting cafes and nightclubs. Others come for a more sinister purpose. In El Hawamdia, a poor agricultural town 20 kilometres south of Cairo, they are easy to spot. Each year, in El Hawamdia and other impoverished rural communities across Egypt, thousands of girls between the ages of 11 and 18 are sold by their parents to wealthy, much older Gulf Arab men under the pretext of marriage. The sham nuptials may last from a couple of hours to years, depending on the negotiated arrangement. The brokers, usually second-rate lawyers, also offer a delivery service. Arab men travelling with their wives and children often arrange a separate flat for such purposes.
Later, adult movies explained everything even more thoroughly. The internet is our only teacher. I was introduced to the reproductive system and learnt about sex. He met with us later on and told us about it. We kept asking him questions about everything; what happened, what did you do, how did you feel…etc. We were only 13 at the time.