Parents have a nasty habit of lying to their children – it happens all around the world; Santa Claus is real, your pet now lives on a farm and, our personal favourite, I just want you to be happy. Nobody has mastered the art of deceit quite like Egyptian parents though and it seems like there’s a lie for every occasion…
“When I was your age, I never would have…”
You can finish that sentence however you want – it’s a classic shaming tactic. Ask your grandparents – it’s all nonsense.
“Kissing gets you pregnant”
Granted, the birds and the bees talk isn’t easy, but other gems include “Babies come from birds in the sky” or “If you pray, God will give you a baby”. What is it about the words penis and vagina that make us so uncomfortable? You know what body parts should make you uncomfortable? Toes, eyeballs, and that weird dangling thing at the back of your throat.
“If you play with fire, you’ll wet your bed at night.”
Taken out of the same Health and Safety manual that gave us such warnings as “If you swallow chewing gum, it’ll stay in your stomach for ten years.” The fear was so real and so unnecessary, I wet my bed anyway.
“Masr Om El Donya”
An attempt to quell your endless requests to flee the country, and often accompanied by equally patriotic statements like, “The Egyptian child is the most intelligent in the world.” Have you been outside recently? Have you ever met an Egyptian child? Kidding, Egyptian children are prodigies and thanks to Om El Donya I now have a heightened immune system and a strong feeling that I could survive in the wild.
“The birds outside tell me everything you do.”
There are many variations on this particular theme, “Mothers have a sixth sense”, ”I have spies everywhere”, all of which are intended to convey that mama/baba are totally omniscient and you can get away with nothing. If this were true, there would be no such thing as underage drinking.
“If you leave your shib-shib turned over, you’re going to hell.”
If there is a giant man in the sky, it is my gut instinct that he has bigger concerns – genocide, war, kidnapping, and Tawfik Okasha, just to name a few. ALSO, it is highly debatable whether singing in the bathroom will bring the devil himself out of your toilet.
“If you lose a tooth, you should fling it into the sunset.”
Ya shams ya shamoosa… Khody senet el gamoosa w haty senet el 3aroosa. This particular falsehood involves, for some reason, flinging your disgusting milk-teeth at unsuspecting passers-by outside. Please don’t do this, you do not want to be the poor sod finding children’s teeth in their hair.
“If you eat its seeds, watermelons will grow in your stomach.”
Watermelons will grow if you eat the seeds, fish will swim around if you don’t chew them properly, if you eat lib, worms will grow in your stomach – the list is practically endless. Other nuggets of wisdom include that termes is yellow because the vendor pees on it…
Used when they they wanted you to go away and had no plans of giving you whatever you were asking for. “Can I spend the night at a friend’s house? “Inshallah.” (read: not a chance in hell)
“Sitting at the computer for too long will make you stupid.”
WHAT A GIANT LIE. Oh, wait…
By Noor Salama