Is there anything more glamours then watching reality TV on your birthday?
OK. So, that was a dramatic start to this blog thing. I didn’t mean to be so tragic but you know… sometimes shit happens. I thought about deleting that blog entry after I posted it. I was still upset and I’m not sure if I feel any better after posting it or not. It’s been a few hours since I posted… yeah still feel like shit.
They say time heals all wounds . . . so does watching two episodes of Wendy Williams on YouTube as well as The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion. That did help a little.
Anyway, I decided to leave the blog post up because, I’m documenting a journey here. A journey of what? I don’t know. A journey to where? No clue.
All I know is that I had this idea of making a blog about baking the most perfect pistachio cake ever. I’ll explain why later. I also thought I’d add random stuff about my life as well. You got a big dose of that in my first blog post. Sigh…
When I got home a few hours ago after the arse cupcake disaster / finding out I was going to get fired soon, there were two bouquets of flowers waiting for me. They were from home and each one had a card
Happy Birthday Soso,
The rest of the family forgot it was your birthday. So obviously, I’m the only one who loves you.
Happy Birthday Soso!
We are very proud of you and love you very much and wish we were with you. Your stupid brother thinks we don’t know what he’s doing.
Inshallah you’ll be a bride this year (This is bibi, your mum is too scared to write this in a card but I’m not scared of you).
Love, Bibi, Babba, Mamma, Amal and Yousef
I laughed out loud when I read both of them. My family (who are all in London by the way) are really into cheesy, dad humor stuff. I even laughed at Bibi’s note though I’m sure she didn’t mean it as a joke. Not-at-all.
Ever since we were “blessed” (Bibi’s words not mine) with our periods, my grandmother has been trying to groom me and my sister Amal, for marriage. Don’t get any weird ideas. When I say groom I don’t mean she’s binding our feet with ribbons or doing weekly checks on our vaginas (OMG did you know that Microsoft Word doesn’t recognise the word vaginas?) to make sure our hymens are still intact – or that weird scene in Memoirs of Geisha when Mother basically feels up the hot Geisha Hatsumomo to find out if she hooked up with her boyfriend Koichi (played by Karl Yune who is super-hot by the way) and then slaps her and says, “A geisha is free to love? Never.” Super dramatic. Love it.
Anyway no, Bibi isn’t like that. By grooming I mean that Bibi just wants us to prescribe to the same BS most “well to do” Arab girls adhere to in order to get a good husband.
Well to do Arab Girls:
Be educated (not having a bachelor’s degree isn’t an option)
Be nice (even to people who you don’t like – you can be “bitchy nice”)
Be pretty (even if it means needing a bit of surgery)
Be on the straight and narrow (even if everyone around you is smoking and drinking you won’t . . . oops)
Be careful about your reputation (even if there are rumours swirling about you, pretend they don’t exist)
Be a good cook (either savoury or sweet – ideally both)
And most importantly – don’t be a hoe (also, oops . . . I’m not saying I’m a hoe, but come on, we all have hoe-ish ways, right?)
Yup, Bibi, God love her, has always been obsessed with making sure we get married. Unfortunately for her though, Bbased on the list above, I have turned out to be more problematic to mould than my elder sister, Amal. According to Bibi, if I don’t change my attitude I might never get married. Gasp.
Marriage. Spew. The last thing I want to think about today or ever is marriage. The whole idea is just disgusting to me, the concept incredibly bizarre. It’s hard not to think about marriage these days though. It seems like every other person I’ve ever met or shared oxygen with is getting engaged, married, having a baby or getting divorced and getting remarried.
What makes it worse is Amal is getting married this year. I’m bombarded with emails and WhatsApp messages almost every day to links about flowers, shoes, dresses, hairstyles and bridesmaid dresses.
‘Arabs don’t have bridesmaids!’
‘My Arab wedding will, so deal with it. Now which do you like better the lavender coloured ones or the champagne coloured one?’
Amal is my polar opposite. In every way possible. For most sisters that would be a deal breaker from birth but for us we couldn’t be closer if we tried. Cheesy I know. Fry up that haloumi cause it’s going to get even cheesier.
A little bit about Amal:
She’s tall and willowy (like a model)
She’s just become a paediatrician (she’s kind of an academic genius)
She’s always done what my parents asked (without resistance)
She doesn’t like to argue (she’s calm af)
She’s beautiful (without any extra work)
She’s a buffer and a diffuser (If it weren’t for her, I think Bibi and I would in a constant headlock)
She likes all the same shows I like (the reality shit and the rom coms)
She’s engaged to be married to a lovely guy called Sam (it’s so cute it’s disgusting)
She’s done volunteer work to help refugees in Greece (that’s where she and Sam met)
She never gets fat (despite my influence)
She doesn’t drink (despite my influence)
She doesn’t smoke (despite my influence)
She’s never done drugs (despite … OK story for another time)
She never gets PMS (Despite Youssef’s influence)
She’s cheesy AF and calls me her BFF (I miss her so much)
Amal is basically the perfect daughter, sister and friend. And I totally love her. We’ve always got along. That solely because Amal is Amal.
However, I will admit that Amal’s natural perfection has put a little bit of extra pressure on yours truly who (through no fault of my own) wasn’t born after 30 hours of painful labour, resulting in a forced C-section as well as turning my mother’s belly button from an innie to an outie. Apparently, according to Bibi it’s because I have a watermelon shaped head. Shrug.
Unlike Bibi, my mother never compared me and Amal which is why I think we’ve always been friends. Whether your Arab or not, I bet you’re thinking that my mum is your “typical” Arab mum. In some respects, she is, in other she isn’t at all.
A little bit about Mamma:
She’s tall and willowy (she and Amal are basically twins)
She’s a pharmacist and owns two pharmacies (plans to buy a third)
She’s always been a working mum (and always expected us to work)
She’s a total romantic (she’s madly in love with Babba which is cute and gross)
She’s a terrible cook (though she tried . . . unfortunately)
She loves Ronan Keating (we bought her tickets to his concert for her birthday and she actually cried)
She’s an over thinker (I get it from my Mamma)
She’s an over talker (I get it from my Mamma)
She’s a victim of foot in mouth syndrome (I get it from my Mamma)
She’s not pushy (I don’t get it from my Mamma)
She’s almost always right (I don’t get it from my Mamma)
She has a quiet and demure laugh (I don’t get it from my Mamma)
She really wants me to get married not because she thinks every girl should get married but because she’s knows I’m a big romantic just like her (nothing to add here cause it’s true)
Mamma called me later that night when I was making noodles and feeling sorry for myself. She could tell something was wrong but I didn’t want to tell her about the disaster(s) that happened at work.
‘Are you sure you’re OK? You know can fly home for the weekend to spend time with us. We are having a big lunch because your sister’s in laws are coming over.’
‘I’m fine Mamma, work has just been a bit stressful, that’s all.’
‘Ask her if she has a boyfriend yet!’ Bibi yelled in the background, ‘maybe they can have a double wedding her and Amal.’
‘Ignore your grandmother.’
We planned to skype on the weekend. When she asked me if I had plans for the night with my friends, I lied and said yes. My only plan was to curl up with Puck (my black cat) and watch celebrity Big Brother. Yes, it’s going to be a night full of trash TV distractions from the pity party that is my life.
I just realized that I haven’t really described much about myself. You’re probably curious. I would be. I would have already stalked all your social media by now and found out when and in what position you were conceived and what your parents had to eat right after.
A little but about me:
I’m short to average height (OK I’m 5’4)
I have black hair (tried to get an ombre once but it literally turned orange)
I have dark eyes (my first email was firstname.lastname@example.org – cringe!)
I have fair skin (that I have spent the better part of my life trying to tan despite Bibi and Mamma running after me and spraying me with sun screen)
I like my body. I do. (OK – I would prefer more toned arms and a nicer bum, but I’m not bothered – I’m happy with my breasts – they’re nice!)
I have a pretty face (not breathtakingly beautiful but pretty)
I like my eyebrows (Initially I had one eye brow that became two. The right one is higher than the left one which I think gives me a resting bitch face but maybe it’s more like I’m half confused?)
I got a nose job when I was twenty (paid for it myself thank you very much) and though it didn’t drastically change how I look, I definitely prefer my new nose than my old nose.
I’m an ambivert (it’s not a millennial thing but an actual thing, thing – Google it)
I’m a millennial (which I sometimes use as an excuse for why I’m lazy and demotivated at work)
I’m Arab (Iraq to be specific) but born and raised in L town
I smoke socially (I know, gross)
I have a dark sense of humour (also someone falling over and farting noises make me laugh)
I change my mind a lot and I can be indecisive (is that the same thing?)
I used to be a tom boy (then I became boy obsessed as a teenager and now I think Nuns are on to something)
I’m a good friend (in fact I’m the best friend you could hope for)
It’s true. For all my faults, I would say that my two best qualities are my insane amount of arguably, unwarranted confidence and my loyalty and dedication to being a good friend. Friends are the family you choose. It’s true. Which made this birthday a little bit tough for me…
My three closest friends Ahmed, Lara and Dana all tried to call me today to wish me happy birthday. Dana called like five times. But I didn’t pick up. I texted them and said I was too busy at work. Dana tried to convince me to go out for drinks, Rania said to take the day off and hit the beach, Ahmed said we should take a road trip. I said no to all of it, then made them promise not to organize a surprise for me. But do your best friends ever listen to you?
Just when I got cosy on the sofa and had my laptop connected to my TV, ready to watch Friends the doorbell rang. It was probably the laundry guy. But when I opened the door Ahmed, Rania and Dana were standing there, holding a massive cake (looked like a honey cake) with candles, singing me Happy Birthday in a super OTT FOB Arab accent. I started to laugh and then for the second time on my birthday I started to cried.