The Thing About Iraqi Women: Part II
by, 03-16-2012 at 06:32 AM (324 Views)
A while ago my friend and I went to a religious celebration at the local community center we like to call the "mosque." It was a Friday night and I had nothing to do, and they served free cake, so I went. But if there's one thing I'm always apprehensive about when I go to these gatherings, it's something my friend and I refer to as the "Iraqi stare". It happens as soon as you walk into a room filled with first generation Iraqi women (otherwise known as "vultures"). All eyes immediately turn to look at you in that speculative, and sometimes judgy way that makes you want to throw on a burka just so they'll have nothing to look at or consider arranging with their sons. Now trust me, no one can pull off this stare better than Iraqi women, that's why it's got such a special name. And you know what's freaky? Sometimes I catch Iraqi babies looking at me the same way. Maybe it's just in our genes.
My friend and I are used to the stare, Frankly, we've got nothing to hide, but it's still kinda creepy. It's like you have to present yourself a certain way or something. When we arrived at the community center/mosque, I did the same thing I always did - said salaam alaikum, gave 'em all a kiss on the cheek, then sat down and waited for the food to be served.
What takes place during these celebrations is kinda weird - first there's a religious lecture, after that there's a bunch of clapping and jumping around in a circle, then people come in and start throwing candy at everyone, and the kids dive onto the floor to get it like they've never seen a Snickers in their life (IMO, it would be a lot easier to just get a piņata), and then they pass out the food.
My friend's mom was giving the lecture. The subject of the lecture was about gossip and how it's bad. And if you know anything about most Iraqi women, it's that they spend more than half their lives gossiping. And you could tell by the looks on some women's faces that they were really offended - which, okay, I'll admit, is understandable because not ALL Iraqi women gossip, but it's not like the lecture was accusing anyone. Nonetheless, the Iraqi stares were all glaring at my friend's mom that night. After my friend's mom was done with her speech, one woman called her out saying that none of them gossiped and that her lecture was accusatory (it wasn't, but these women just take everything personally).
Afterwards this whole argument ensued because everyone thought that my friend's mom was talking about someone specific, especially when she mentioned that some women like to go blabbing about other women to their husbands. They got all fired up about that and demanded to know who she was talking about so they could confront her then and there. My friend's mom insisted that she wasn't talking about anyone and that the lecture should be taken with objectivity - but I think now you know that it's hard for most of these women to not make everything about themselves.
Anyways, my friend and I sat there laughing the whole time, thinking that these situations make for excellent writing material. I can't help but wonder what these women would do if they knew I was writing in a public blog about them. Mwah. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha...