Monthly Archives: January 2013

So We Had A Religious Marriage

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Yes. We had a religious marriage. A civil marriage, the option we really wanted,  would have cost us 4000$ which we couldn’t afford at the time (5 years ago). Long story short, we went for the local, and cheap,  religious option. That day, my then-fiance and I went to the confessional court that vets the affairs of the sect we were born into. We stood at the court’s door with so much dread and disdain in both of our hearts: we had taken a vow that we were not going to allow an employee in a religious costume to pretend to “bless” our marriage. But these were our circumstances and we had to compromise.

We stepped inside, curious to explore what we imagined to be a world of sanctity and piety – of hushed voices and mystic rose petals. Well, not to burst any bubbles, it was a very bureaucratic-looking room, bare but for the basic needs of chairs and tables and some shady carpets.  We were given forms to fill out with our information, and unlike what I’d imagined, the paper work contained absolutely no reference to religion. They were just regular surveys of names and birth-dates and  blood types. Where’s the mysticism and piety in that? Well, no where we looked.

The sheikh who filled up the forms was aloof and very business-like, which didn’t at all match the mood of the happy occasion he was presiding over; he made sure that all the “females” in the room had their heads covered in his holy presence. My husband was grateful he didn’t have to wear the head cover “2allouseh” because I would have dashed. Once the paper work was done, the sheikh hurriedly chanted a religious verse and dashed. Bam! That was it. Husband and I stared at each other skeptically: had we just had a “religious” marriage? We honestly couldn’t even tell.

Bottom line: there is nothing religious about religious marriages, just like there is nothing non-religious about civil marriages. They are both contracts that are filled up by the concerned parties and presided over by a uniformed employee.

Oh but wait, there is a single difference between a religious and a civil marriage and it is indeed profound: the fee for the procedure after all goes to the pockets of the confessional institutions that hold our reins. Oh, and you get a free performance thrown in at the end.

Sales Season in Lebanon: Do We Look Like Idiots?

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mobilitop

Exactly what do the folks over at Mobilitop think is delightful about their fraudulent “50% sale”?

My husband and I checked a kids’ bedroom at their showroom in Zalka last month, and since we were in a hurry and not really shopping for a bedroom at the time, we just browsed the displayed items and their prices and then left. However, when I received this promotional sms last week announcing “a delightful 50% sale” at Mobilitop, well, we thought we should grab the priceless opportunity (pun intended) presenting itself to us. The room we had kind of liked was at 2400$ VAT included, so naturally, we went to Mobilitop this Sunday expecting it to be at 1200$. But how gullible we were. They had placed a new price tag on the bedroom with an inflated price of 3400$, and discounted the price down to 2400!

I realize that this practice of faux-sale is common in Lebanon, but I used to think that only small shoe-shops and the likes do it; I wasn’t aware that even a big enterprise like this one which advertises its sale season on its website and Facebook page would engage in such a fraudulent campaign that aims to so bluntly deceive customers.

This, ironically, comes in the wake of minister Fadi Abboud’s announcement of  the “50% for 50 days”  shopping festival in an attempt to revive the martyred tourism sector. But the typical Lebanese can’t help but play the 7arbou2 part, digging his own grave in the process. People travel from all over the world to the States, France, and Dubai and queue for hours in front of their favorite stores during the sales season because these discounts are real. Genuine. That’s a word which the Lebanese psyche has yet to learn.