Monday, 7 February 2011

The Irrelevant

I didn’t expect there to be so much Iraqis here.

Where do I begin? I remember going to an Iraqi university and making fun of the stereotypes the situation calls for a similar approach.

1. The Religious one- Ahulbayt Version 1.02 – will spend many hours ‘debating’ with the Saudi Sunni, then they’ll forget all differences and spend many more hours fighting each other through Call of Duty. Rejoices when they find out you are Shia, but will spend a few days sulking when they find out you follow Sistani. Like wearing dark clothes and pretending they are contemplating life (really they are trying to remember the coolest cheat for FIFA).

2. The Religious one- Saudi Sunni version 2 – look for a beard, or particularly long stubble. Avert their gaze from the exposed flesh of women, but have no problem casting flirty glances with ‘hijabis’. If female, look out for colourful abayas, and a predisposition to talking a lot. Try to ask you delicately if you are Sunni, and invite you to all their food parties when they find out you’re not shia. Look for a Palestinian scarf, as opposed to a green/black one on the AhulBayt assembly.

3. The Party animal – seem to be permanently arguing with their family. Very incorporated into western culture. Know their music, and a ‘London’ accent is often heard. At the same time, they have an almost shy interest in learning more about Iraq and their (lost) traditions. Vows to never end up marrying the ‘fresh’ Iraqi, and daydream of finding their open minded equivalent. Little do they know, their parents have already lined up their candidates.

4. The Gangster – Look for a chain around the neck, sportswear, and a haircut that somehow incorporates zigzags. Will undergo various phases of hanging out with their religious group (number 1 or 2), then will enjoy themselves a while with the party animals/party Asians. Seem to generally hop around, not quite belonging, but not being outcasts either. They look cool. But kind of geeky too- their darting eyes giving the impression of being unsure of themselves. Surprisingly (to me) very family orientated, and seem to always mention wife/husband and kids.

5. The Doctor – You will find yourself often looking at their neck and wondering how such a small neck can carry such a large head. The female version is always better than the male version. Will always end up with a one sided conversation where you slowly nod while thinking of something completely different. Always oppose your opinion- even if you agree with them. The end of your conversation is always with them stating ‘I understand where you are coming from though...’ and trailing off as they take note of your unfocused eyes.

6. The as normal as it gets one – a proverbial emulsion of east and west. A sweet pick and mix of Iraqi tradition and London life. In males look for smart clothes, and a voice that can always be heard, talking about the most recent social event/party. In females- don’t look; you can smell them a mile away. On close inspection you will realise they alone are the cause for Maybelline’s success.

7. The Touta – The one sitting here typing this post for some unknown reason. I think she’s bored. Uh oh, she’s also in trouble as its 4am, and the Touta is still awake. This type always wonders around in a dazed dream, partly because that is her nature, and partly because she ends up sleeping at 4am and waking an agonising 4 hours later.

I tried and hoped (rather in vain) that every time Iraqis gather, it would not yield the same result. Unfortunately, it always does.

Although it’s nice to be comforted that no matter whatever changes around you, you can always depend on Iraqis to bring the Baklawa.