Last week on Friday, the Feminist Collective had gathered to discuss the issue of rape and sexual harassment. There is a lot to say about this subject, a lot of stories to tell, a lot of incidents to talk about. What was ironic is that less than 12 hours later I would face a form of harassment that I have never been in contact with before. Listen to my story.
It is Saturday morning, and I am having a bad morning, no a seriously bad morning! But my attitude in these situations is to take the bad bi sadrin ra7eb :), there is a quota of good luck and bad luck if you have all the bad luck at a certain point you will have an equally good luck later. Plus the negative attitude will only add to your bad luck a bad mood. So I get over myself, my broken shoe, my aching feet and my lack of sleep and get to a peaceful point, I am sitting at Columbiano Cafe Achrafieh, Beirut. Minding my own business and drinking my coffee and my water, recharging my phone... And then I see an old man coming into the coffee shop. He's one of those cute old men that you would see in this area, the kind that is above sixty but that still insists to wear his jacket and his suit and his shiny shoes and his cute old fashion hat. I watch him as he painfully climbs up the stairs of the coffee shop. I like these old men that are still living life as if they were in the 60s.
Then the old man comes down and looks at me. The first thing that crosses my mind is that I am sitting in his favorite spot, so I ask him: "Am I sitting in your place?"
The old man apparently has hearing problems and he comes closer to me to hear what I was saying. When I repeated what I siad, he answered with the sweetest voice ever: "Non, non, tu es gentil assieds toi, ana bi23od hon"
And hon in his dictionnary meant on the seat in front of me. Then he starts talking to me, asking me about my name, my last name, what I do in life etc. And I was not bothered by his behaviour at all, I was starting to get impatient but I figured maybe he was bored and wanted someone to talk to.
Then rapidly I was harshly informed of his intentions... Because out of no where he asks me about my mobile number, so I give him a wrong number and I start to panick. And the old man did nothing to make me feel any better. He asks me if I am single. When I answered that I am engaged he was clearly dispointed (he didn't care to hide it) but he went on to ask me what does my boyfriend work in... at that point khalas ana sakkar rase w I gave the first answer that came into my mind: "byishtighil bi qatar". Don't ask me why! And all of a sudden he actually felt happy and he offered to be my fiance for the time being in Lebanon.
And to add to my misery he insisted on taking my hand, when I gave up and gave him my hand he rubbed it on his cheek. By this time I had realized that this person is not balanced so he won't get my hints when I put him to his limits. So I drink my coffee as fast as possible and then excused myself to leave. Before I even stand up, I was getting all my stuff, the guy wants to catch up and win my affection, what does he do? He takes out a small kitkat (regular length but with only two fingers not four) and he throws it on the table, I still remember what it looked like, and it even had the price tag still on it: 495LL.
I just smile and stand up. So the guy just blocks my way and starts begging me to stay:
"s'il te plait, reste un peu, khallike b2i2teyn bas, lesh bta3mle fiyye heyk? lesh bit7ibbe t3azbine? Tu es gentil!"
I excuse myself again and walk away, the rest isn't that important, the point is that I pay for my coffee and get the fuck out of Columbiano.