As Arabs, we have our own unique ways of doing things, and love is no exception. From the ways we meet potential partners, to the different developmental stages of our relationships, all the way to our weddings and marriages, there's always a special Arab twist spicing up our love lives.
Valentine's Day is upon us, so we will take a break from being bitter and anti-men and will instead highlight the ways Arabs express love. Apologies to all the hopeless singles out there; we already have you covered, but feel free to cringe and roll your eyes while reading this.
Here are 9 unconventional ways Arabs express affection:
1. Arab flirtation is the stuff of horror films, but it works
Being the quirky and over-the-top humans that we are, we have found various ways to make death, coffins, and graves sound romantic. I mean, do to2borni (May you bury me) and bmoot fik (I die in you) ring a bell?
Our flirtation methods may sound ghastly, but somehow, they seem to do the job just fine.
2. Nothing screams romance like offering Arab delicacies
How do you know an Arab is really falling for you? They will surprise you with your favorite home-cooked meal, usually courtesy of their mama. If you're lucky enough, you might even get a taste of their own culinary work.
Another tasty way an Arab would express affection is by dropping off shawarma or falafel wraps when you mention you're hungry.
Now, how do you know you have definitely won them over? They will get you some mouneh (preserved food) products like pickles, olives, and thyme from their village.
3. Which is why our romantic memes are overwhelmingly food-related
When we're not flirting via morbid metaphors, we resort to food-related expressions of affection ... because why not?
4. We blur the lines between flirting, teasing, and insulting (Exhibit A)
If you thought cuss words can't be used in romantic contexts, Arabs beg to differ.
5. Exhibit B
6. Exhibit C
7. Another way to an Arab's heart is through their family
Arabs are all about maintaining family ties, which is we make an effort to play nice with our partners' family members and we constantly try to win them over - well, that is, if the relationship is family-approved, with all the complexities that approval entails.
To that end, you will see an Arab boyfriend/fiance/husband bonding with their partner's father over card games or business-related discussions, for instance.
8. Making the relationship public beats third base
Some people might make timelines of their relationships based on stages of physical intimacy, Arabs - rather arguably - do it based on how public their respective relationships are.
You know Arab duos have made major strides in their relationships when they remove privacy controls on their social media posts, and share photos for all the big-mouthed cousins and nosy aunties to see. Then come the initials of one's partner in the former's Instagram bio. There's no turning back now.
9. Borderline unhealthy habits sometimes make an appearance
Okay, we really tried not to be bitter and petty ... but this point just had to make it to the list.
Whether or not we like to admit it, Arabs sometimes have unhealthy methods of displaying their love. This comes in the form of boyfriends acting obsessively overprotective and controlling, couples distancing themselves from their friends and families to exclusively spend time with each other... the list goes on. Yes, such habits usually stem from deep affection, but psychologists would probably have plenty to say about the dangerous repercussions in the long run.