Is Egypt Anti-Value and happiness? I think so. Egypt I’d say is the most destructive and out-dated culturally place to start your life. There are many tiny things in Egyptian Culture that if you really think about are just wrong completely. Customs and traditions that are just meaningless and costly. The following blog is true for upper middle class and high class Egyptians whom aren’t the majority of Egyptians but everything they do truly affects Egypt as a whole.
Here is a new word that should be added to some dictionary: Egyptian Prestige. It is the self destructive act of not valuing yourself and ultimately prioritizing your prestige weather it is true or fake above all else.
Marriage in Egypt, well lets just say it’s a prestige contest where both families need to showoff their financial capabilities. If you think about it it is basically a big show. It should be a special time for whose getting married, but if you’ve witnessed Egyptian weddings you’ll see that most brides and grooms are the most miserable at their own wedding. It’s like there is a script for them to sit down 60% of the wedding (As if they are literally in a picture frame for everyone to watch) and their only movements are completely controlled to create a theater of prestige. Egyptian weddings are very unnecessarily expensive. Here’s a fun fact about Egyptian marriages: the groom has to buy a jewelry item that shows his bride how much he loves her. Really. Really. So this materialistic item will prove my love, but my life long dedication, my actual love to you, my actions and decisions, and my hard work for a better more happy life for the both of us doesn’t prove that? You have to get an insanely expensive car, usually a limousine or even a boat to bring the bride and groom in a spectacular entrance. The bride has to wear an insanely expensive wedding dress which she will only wear once in her life. Egyptian weddings should and usually are hosted in super expensive villas or hotels. The food, well lets just say Egyptians don’t joke around with their food on a normal basis, hence weddings are abnormal in the amount of food presented. Ah…the wedding ring, most families wont accept the groom unless they can afford a certain piece of jewelry and sometimes they are even specific like “Not less than a 7 carat diamond ring”. Pretty sad right. If you gather all these facts together you’ll see that every family isn’t really giving value to the groom and their one issue is making sure that that groom can give their daughter the best possible living standards financially. They don’t notice that the best living standards their daughter can have is not through finance, but through an honest and humble groom. There is no need to split the groom in half financially. There is no need to have all these expenses for one night. I know this is a special night to remember, but what would you rather have: That one special night to remember that puts you all on that path of self destruction and pampering? or a humble and truly happy wedding night which sets you on the right path to mediocre life where everything is balanced and valued?
Egyptian living space, lets just say that also a factor for Egyptian prestige. Egyptian economy is a very unpredictable phenomenon and in any day everything can fall apart nation-wide, except real estate. Everyday real estate gains incredible value. Egyptians don’t like to live in small tiny 90 meter apartments. I can understand that if they are planning for their future such as having enough space for children or for huge family dinners since family is very important for Egyptians. But is this mentality healthy? Do you really need that extra 100 meters for your children to have a healthy childhood indoors? Do you need that extra 100 meters to physically be capable of inviting more family members to your family dinners? Why do you need to prove yourself to others this much? The saddest part is that those “Others” you need to prove yourself to are the only people you shouldn’t ever need to prove yourself to, your family.
Cars…Egyptians of upper middle and high class like their cars especially German cars. Do you really need that car? For many people their car is their baby and it actually gives them happiness of some sort. My father’s car is a pretty old Mercedes which he needs to update to a modern car, but not necessarily for another Merc. “Once you’ve driven a Merc, you can’t drive anything else” those were his exact words when I was trying to convince him to buy a normal high quality car. Maybe it’s the prestige, maybe it’s appreciation for superior German engineering, maybe many things but one thing for sure it’s a luxury that isn’t necessary.
There are certain areas in Cairo where it isn’t good for your prestige to be at. For example as a guy my family always told me not to go to Egyptian “Ahwas” which are basically cafes for the poor. My family tells me that’s where teenagers who are failures go and you are not one of them. Your prestige won’t allow it. So I decided to go to one of the poorest areas in Cairo and have a hookah in one of those cafes. I met a fair amount of teenagers to be frank. On a weekly basis I found myself going there automatically because of one thing I discovered. The group I am part of and still am till today has a lot of good people. My best friend from there has his own real estate office now, there is a male opera singer who is part of the group, there is also an engineer who works in Mercedes Benz, there is one guy who works for the biggest banker in Egypt, one guy just got engaged last week, another guy works and runs his own library. This is how much our prestige separates us and creates a supposedly protective bubble for us, which it doesn’t. If I’m ever in trouble, I wouldn’t trust any help from someone equivalent to my “prestige”. I would trust anyone from that “Ahwa” which I came to know each very well. (Forgot to mention that “Ahwas” are exclusively for guys not girls) Some family members told me that these “Ahwas” are the usual locations where the police can randomly arrest you for no reason at all. Your future will be ruined. Drama right? I think this is the product of over excessive prestige.
Dinners in Egypt….woah 😀 other than the food is AMAZING, prestige takes its toll there too. The expensive dinnerware and crystal cups come out. Kilos upon kilos of meats are cooked. The most expensive seafood has to be incorporated in each dinner, why? because it’s known that only high prestige families can afford seafood. If you notice in every dinner and even in weddings, the food is more western styled than cultural because that’s more prestigious. Yes there are Egyptian cultural food, but the majority of food you’ll find roast beef, turkey and gravy, etc… So even food is affected by prestige.
Here is my plan for myself: I will not let prestige over value my happiness with my future partner. Money, food, living space, transportation and a lot more aren’t my priority to overdo. My only priority to overdo is my happiness with my partner. Many people strive for better living conditions externally, well I strive for better inner acceptance, peace, and happiness before anything else.
(The photo below is a typical example of a small family dinner for an upper middle class family, sorry Sarah :D)