Wednesday 21 December 2011

Algerian vs. Algerian

A few Algerian congregations I partook in recently led me to notice a pattern I felt compelled to explore and write about, I even received a few requests to write on the subject but I fear I cannot pretend to offer any solutions only the findings of my very modest research and personal opinion …Here goes!

The Algerian men who have lived abroad for long periods of time exceeding seven years, and particularly those who immigrated early on, in their late teens or early twenties, it seems find it hard to look at Algerian girls any other way than their sisters…

Samir says: “I don’t know, I guess I just seem them all as my sisters”, whilst Rayan declares “I would feel guilty if I was to go out with an Algerian girl and then it didn’t work out, or if there was anything physical than I feel I used her
When questioned, if they’d felt guilt or this feeling of fraternity towards females of other nationalities i.e. English or Moroccan, answers were as predicted;
They seem to regard European girls as more able to accept that a relationship may or may not work, it is part of the culture and way of life, being and Arab or a Muslim however does not always affect the decision, “a girl is a girl” one of them said, "but the fact that she is Algerian changes things, it brings it close to home, I think of my sister and if someone would do anything to her".
Another one said “I would feel bad if I had to leave an Algerian girl after dating her, because if she’s heart broken and alone abroad, I am not supposed to be the one to break her heart….”, Kamel who is 40 says “I would consider an Algerian girl but only for marriage or a serious relationship not for a casual thing”, Ali says “If we don’t marry our own girls, who’s going to marry them”.

To cite only a few, and so far; a mixed set of opinions here, leading me to believe that these men grow to love and respect their female counterpart and revere them like sisters and mothers, they haven’t been able to make the jump over to the more romantic or sexual side of their feelings for these women who are somewhat baffled...see next

When Algerian girls living abroad (mostly in London) were questioned on the topic, reactions were divided between “I would rather be with an Algerian guy, only he would understand me”, ”I wouldn’t mind being with an Algerian, but other nationalities are also considered, namely from the Middle East and Europe” another one was indignant as to what these Algerian men are doing dating and marrying non-Algerians, when there is a huge number of single Algerian girls available and looking.
Another NON-Algerian girl said the following: “I haven’t met any Algerian guys or girls who are not single, you guys are all single” quite the statement coming from an objective outsider.

My research on the subject is not extensive and mainly targeted Algerian professionals between the ages of 28 - 40 who are living in London over the last few years since London has been identified as the common denominator for the imposed singeldom Londoners have been suffering.

Arguably, Algerian men who grew up in Algeria up to a certain age, that is to say over 22, have had some kind of dating experience with Algerian girls (back in Algeria) and have managed to cross the line from fraternal love and respect to opposite sex attraction and romantic feelings; the former seem to be able to look at fellow Algerian girls as suitable life, sexual or dating partners and girlfriends, whereas the consensus dictates that the Algerian young men who left Algeria very early on, having encountered only their mothers, sisters and cousins in their lives post-Algeria, tend to view all Algerian ladies as such (family) and thus are not naturally attracted to Algerian women and will not look to them for romantic relationships, however, some would consider forming serious relationships akin or leading to marriage with them as they (Algerian men) would see their mothers or sisters who represent the prime example of a life partner, in these candidates.

Algerian women living abroad, on the other hand, regardless of their living situation or length of life abroad, would seemingly consider Algerian men as suitable candidates for a serious and non- serious relationship.
One of the people questioned on the topic suggested an answer for this “these women look for their fathers in other Algerian men and prefer them to be authoritarian, old fashioned perhaps, even jealous”, but one cannot slap ones research candidates so I lets move on, the same slapable individual mentioned the following “these girls date European boys for ages, snob us for years, then upon reaching their 30s they want a nice Algerian man to marry”.

Perhaps the case is that Algerian girls who moved away from home at an early age, found a very small Algerian community (in the UK), had to date and marry men form other nationalities, the ones who remain single now look to Algerian men but are met with “ah now you want an Algerian man”, the judgmental stance some of these men have towards the Algerian girls is to respond to their own feelings of rejection by these very same girls.

Certainly what springs into mind is that Algerians grew apart here in London and the UK, with advancing careers, financial stability, has their mind set shifted so much that they can no longer recognise each other as potential life partners? 
And with advancing in life, do they feel their choice needs to advance accordingly?  Implying that opting for an Algerian partner will set them back a step? 

Perhaps it's worth mentioning that none of the people who participated in this modest "research" have any issues with Algerians of both gender dating or marrying other nationalities, they're merely wondering what the non-taken ones are thinking!

One more thought, when these men meet Algerian girls out there, before realising they're Algerian, they could easily be attracted to them, would they change their minds when they realise they're Algerian and feel guilty of being attracted to their so called "sisters"? 

This is certainly a new dilemma of mine and of every single and sometimes married Algerian out there, and as you have guessed, I offer no solutions, only more questions…jolly good!

Dz-chick….enough said this time around!

Names have been changed for anonymity reasons.
A similar post albeit from a different angle here  - from Dz-Chick

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Caravan to…..London!

“If you haven’t seen the Sahara, you haven’t lived” if I count how many times I heard this, I would be sipping Kahwa(1) with Bill Gates, God rest his soul…oh sorry that was Steve Jobs!

Everybody’s panicking about New Years Eve plans, because we all know, if you don’t have cool plans that involve Taghit, Tamnraset (aka Tam – shoot me now), then you’re going to be crossed off the TchiTchi (2) list which the TchiTchi committee keeps updating but rumours are they are overwhelmed, the list is rumoured to be ever growing and the standards ever dropping…

There are reports of panic amongst Algerians, Tunisia is out of the parté plan, unless for a Mas’haf (3) convention, the French consulate has taken its leave and Libya is just not as fun as it used to be…La TchiTchi committee had to convene an urgent meeting to discuss - Le Reveillon 2011– Taghit is deemed mainstream now as more TchiTchi imposters have embarked the caravan to Taghit and everyone listens to Gnawi music now… Convention deemed it “like so last year and like totally unsuitable”, Tam is still vogue though, it’s extortionate, exotic and superior, but a new destination has to be found, the vodka is not going to drink itself, the gendarmerie would be bored, think of the police! Traditions must be upheld.
Caravan diverted to ….London baby!

Meanwhile, in London, Algerian Londoners are hating the cold December and the shopping frenzy, they shop online and all are partied out, they want to go home to Algeria and stay indoors with the family and the dog, eat couscous and sleep before midnight
So not TchiTchi….

Dz-chick….excommunicated TchiTchi

(1) Coffee
(2) La TchiTchni = posh Algerian posse
(3) Holly Qu'ran

Thursday 15 December 2011

I just called to say....NO!

Ahhh friends, friends, plenty of friends…

Good friends, shit friends, needy friends, childhood friends, coffee friends, cinema friends, travel friends, work friends, sex friends, drinking friends and finally forced friends.
One day you wake up, after having spent a whole evening with a friend, a substantial amount of money matching what the "friend" wanted to do, you sit there; laugh and talk, all the while feeling a twitch at the back of your mind, but you discount it and continue having a "nice" time.

You continue with this, laughing at unfunny jokes, swallowing and nodding the condescending comments, humouring the know-it-all attitude, the emotional blackmail, the neediness, the blatant use of your time and kindness, but do you say anything? nope....

You continue being a good friend, by good friend I mean a push over, until one day you feel angry and resentful as to why you have to spend a minute more with this so called friend.

How many of you out there, find yourselves badgered into friendships with people who target you because you represent something they aspire to be, or you have something they need, like attention, help, time, love or simply financial gain and popularity.
You know how the saying goes; you can’t choose your family,
Well then I am well bloody going to choose my friends, and since I am not 15, friendships don’t tend to form overnight and despite you having my phone number or address, knowing my birthday or my favourite meal doesn’t make you my friend unless I allow access…FROM NOW ON I mean.

I now know, all it takes is to say NO.

Yallah – al abarani barra as my dad says

Dz-Chick ….in a cleaning mood!
Yallah = come on
Al barani barra = The outsiders, out

Wednesday 14 December 2011

If I could turn back time…

If I could turn back time, what would I do differently?
I often declare proudly NOTHING, NAFINK I TELL YOU
But gloomy hormonal days like these make me rethink the answer and ….seriously, how many days a month do you suffer from hormonal imbalances? Because with me, it seems to be 25 out of 30. Hormones will be the death of me.
If I could turn back time, I would do just that;
If I could turn back time; I would wind back the clock to when I was 12 and developed a sweet tooth, I would have taken more pictures since my parents seem to have been busy making more children, I would have learnt to say NO, I would have prayed to be like Peter Pan and remain forever young and forever happy.
I would have known better and bought yahoo shares, I would have created facebook myself, I would have told Boudiaf he was about to be assassinated, I would have cheated on many a one exam, I would have told my dad I hated physics, let me play my damn Guitar, I would never have taken the first razor to my legs and made a mess of myself, I would have opened my eyes and avoided colliding with the lamppost that marked me for the rest of my life (mentally apparently – I’d gone a bit mad since), I probably would not have moved to London or have moved back after my studies had ended…so many regrets and so many things to do….but hey so much time still, I am only 34 right? Gold help us next year.
Unsurprisingly I never regretted starting this blog, this post I might reconsider however, when the cloud of hormones has dissipated and I’ve gone back to my “normal” self.
Dz-chick…in a probing mood

Wednesday 7 December 2011

The Algerian dream - Altered

Dreams like plans are often altered; yesterday I dreamt I was swimming in a beautiful calm blue sea, when a singing dwarf appeared and started howling the national anthem, I told him to shut up so he transformed into a shark and chased me then I woke up….

My Algerian dream was of moving back to Algeria, farm broccoli and Brussels’ sprouts and import Salmon which lets face it, sounds like hard work and I am Algerian, I like to know where my next income is coming from, I am not the one to take risks, I like to get paid at the end of each month whether I showed up or not, and I stash my money in the mattress bank.

Nowadays I dream of working in Algeria, get a job in Algiers at one of those big Banks in Hydra or some major Oil company that pays double my fucking London salary…seriously! I work my butt off; I pay exorbitant rent to live a poxy flat that I have to share with someone and their needy cat.

I am not done – I have to pay bills on top of that, water, electivity, gas and then come a series of taxes; Council tax, Road Tax, VAT on nearly EVERYTHING, TV Licence because you own a TV then you have to pay Virgin or Sky to rip you off with lousy Internet connection and a bunch of encoded channels that scramble on a windy day!

My little cousin, who has the IQ of a garden pest and who is about 10 years younger than me, has a job that pays almost the same as me after tax!! And I know this because in Algeria everybody discusses salaries in cafés, restaurants, buses, doctor’s waiting rooms, everybody knows everybody’s salary, your mum will boast about it when her friends come around, your brother will inform his friends as a reference and your friend will tell her other friend your salary not to sell you short. Good catch!

My little cousin who’s name is Celia - since when do we have names like Celia? -  I make a point of calling her Sellia to bring out the Arabic in her,

She lives with her parents – rent free - no bills, utilities or taxes are imposed on her, her boyfriend pays for her phone bill (flexi) because she’s only supposed to be calling him! - Chuckles - she drives a brand new Seat Leon and doesn’t have to pay for petrol because the company gives her coupons to pay for her “commuting” – honey, 15 minutes drive to work isn’t commuting!

Sellia is getting married this winter to the young man by the name of Massinissa who sends flexis to her phone, he drives a black Audi Q7, lives in a Villa in Hydra (with a pool), his mother is a gynaecologist and his father is a high ranking government official, naturally, Massi has a great job, his job title is “Superintendant des operations internes et chargé de synthese techniques” (What??) and he makes around £7000 a month. Good catch!

Sellia tells me I ought to move back to Algeria, she’d introduce me to some “interesting” guys (by interesting she means rich and speak good French) and have me married by next year, all I have to do is bring my booty, my charisma, IQ, fun and my fur coat she wants, another inflicted tax…roouuuh

I tell her I am angry, cynical, mostly moody, and lunatic
I don’t even own my own flat and I am 34 going on 35. The jig is up! NOT a Good catch

Dz-Chick…Chief Operating of interactions and data Guerilla!

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Go back to Nicaragua!

What can only be described as a fantastical moment took place last week on a Tram in Croydon, South east London.

A woman by the name of Emma West, was sitting on the tram with a child on her knee, hurled racial abuse at a whole carriage of passengers who sat in awe of her, the video which was secretly filmed by a passenger, was later leaked to Youtube and has had over 5.9 million hits on youtube alone.

The tirade was relatively poor in my view; at some point during her expletive-filled rant, she inched very close to using the word nigger but in a fast and rare moment of lucidity, she  managed to change it to Nicargua “go back to niggg…caragua” she said. 
A young black man was about to retaliate but was quickly calmed down by another passenger and was consoled as he was seemingly upset by the abuse the women in question was hurling with fascinating conviction.

The transcript of the rant goes something like this:
“What has this country come to … with loads of black people and a load of f—— Polish,”, “sort out your own countries, don’t come and do mine, Britain is nothing now, Britain is f— all, my Britain is f— all now.”, “You ain’t English… You ain’t English either.”; “you ain’t English either…you’re black”, “go back to fucking niger…argua” …

I was laughing throughout the whole video, I found it utterly shocking and quite ridiculous, I thought about how I would’ve reacted if I were on the same carriage and I came to the conclusion that I would have had to ignore her and not dignify her accusations with an answer, but I also believe that if it wasn’t for the child she used as human shield, she would have been sorted – Kung Fu style, having said that I am glad nobody attacked her and made her the victim. 

Emma West, 34 (West seems to be a popular name for weirdoes – apologies to the normal and respectable Wests) from Addington in Croydon, was arrested on Monday 28th Nov by the British Police on suspicion of aggravated public order offence.
 I think she was arrested for her own protection as she is rumoured to having received several death threats, turning her into the victim in need of protection. Bravo!

Now my 2 cents:

I have lived in Britain now for a long amount of time, and have never felt an outsider, I never considered myself to be different from any English, French, Black, white or Chinese counterpart, I am an individual, my abilities and attributes are measured by my principles, morals, integrity and intelligence, not by my skin colour, size or nationality. 

Now, being Algerian is a bit of a problematic given in our integration in any society, if we speak specifically about the UK or another predominately white society, we’re always confused by the fact that geographically we’re Africans; politically we’re in categorised as Middle-East, and culturally we’re North African with a strong French influence, sub Saharan Africans recoil at our North-African stance, 
You’re not Africans, you’re Arabs, Arabs say you’re not Arabs you’re Berber, and the Berber say no you’re Arabs not Berber.  We don’t belong to any certain culture, we have our own, we have to embrace our origins, be it African, Mediterranean, French, Arabic or Berber and that’s what makes us Algerian.

So we agree we’re Algerian (I know, a little over simplistic – but you should know I am highly intelligent and came up with solutions to life long anthropological questions).

As an Algerian, you move abroad, and you stand in front of an immigration information sheet 

please tick your ethnic background;

Black: I could be and my best friend is black, honest, I am not racist…
Chinese: NO (but the new & upcoming Algero-Chinese race might need a mention)
Asian NOPE
British white: NOPE
Irish white: NOPE
Other white: YES
Arab: YES
Other (please specify): specify what? that I am an alien?

I personally stand in front of this confused, as an Algerian I could be black and I could be Arab, but I am blond, so I am other white no? No you’re Arab African and a Muslim. 

Jesus was Middle Eastern; don’t believe the movies that give him blue eyes. And a ginger beard, for all you know he could uh uh uh god forbid Brown!

Colour is not a religion or a culture; it’s just skin pigmentation that is biologically attributed to evolution and adaptation of the human being to his environment. Racial classification according to skin colour is the result of racial classification by anthropologists and scientists in what was called scientific racism which was denounced after the end of the Second World War and the Holocaust. 

We are all human beings, we all eat, sleep, pee, have sex (not me – I am a virgin), love and hate

Actually reading back, all of this seems so ridiculous to me, aren’t there more important things to worry ourselves with than skin colour?

Mark Twain (his 176th B’day today) said: 
Such is the human race; often it seems a pity that Noah... didn't miss the boat.

Watch the horror here 

Dz-Chick…simply Algerian.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

The Bag Issue!

To overcome all urges of suicide by paper-cut, or the existential crisis I seem to be suffering, I thought a girly (annoying) post to raise the moral (mine).

Gentlemen I suggest you look away now….

I am going to discuss handbags, yes, you read correctly, Handbags, I want to talk about my damn handbag because I am…..well…it’s worth it! (damn you L’Oréal)

They say once you go designer, you can never go back, and it’s absolutely true, so the ladies out there who are still happy with their H&Ms and Zaras, I advice you never go down the designer path, because you will be experiencing substance abuse issues and within 3 years, you will be staring at your house deposit, sitting in your wardrobe stacked in cotton pouches like some treasure saved for the cold days, as it were!  And one day you will have no job and no money and you can’t sell your bags because you love them so much so you keep them with you and carry them around and that’s how you become the ‘Bag Lady’.

Lousy attempt at raising the moral above, I admit, so I am going to try again…

The content of a lady’s bag says a lot about her personality they say!
Today, my bag is Red, designer naturally (show off, yes but name dropper, NO), has 4 pockets, all full of treasures, content is as follows (gentlemen I told you to stay away):

Perfume, 2 phones (I am well dodgy), makiyage (that’s makeup for you), umbrella, Book, elastic bands, pair of spare (clean) knickers, tangled headphones, lip balm, hand cream, cleanex, purse (also red but not on purpose), 2 sets of keys (I am the janitor), oyster card, work security pass, gloves, ballet pumps (that’s flat shoes for you), a bottle of mineral water and a box of paracetamol (you never know when I'll need to fake a headache), and finally a pen which I stole from work.

So there, what my bag says about me is that I am a girl! Nothing more, nothing less.  Don’t attempt to analyse me through my bag’s contents because it’s not relevant, I am crazy and my bag doesn’t reflect that, I am a control freak and a little OCD, the bag still doesn’t reflect that and neither does this blog, so …I told you so stay away!

So why women carry handbags, across the chests, on their shoulders or their arms, in blue, red or black is not relevant here, of course we know the colour, shape and design say a lot about our personalities, but the real reason for the bag is that it represents our safety net, we carry a little piece of our lives and our homes with us, we feel naked without it and that’s how the bag lady came to exist, she lost everything but could never part from her beloved bag(s).

Dz-Chick….if she were a bag, she’d be a Mulberry Picadilly!

Friday 18 November 2011

Hormones and demons!

How your day goes, is governed by how you see yourself first in the morning.

If this statement is true, then my days should always be brilliantly productive, fun and easy (because you know I am… well, FIT), but they’re not.

This morning I scared myself, my reflection was something out of “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest”, had bags under my eyes, hair that would put Ozzy Osbourne to shame and generally looked dishevelled like I spent the night in a tumble dryer, so undoubtedly my day was going to be diabolical…it wasn’t.

So I had to rethink the opening statement, it had to do with something more powerful than ones attitude to his reflection in the mirror and everybody knows mirrors lie, so I had to admit to myself that it was none other than the ghastly hormones.
I am feeling increasingly resentful of these hormones that seem to have taken over OUR senses, this substance that determines our moods and urges, our pilosity and the blemishes that seem to sprout so timely before a date or an interview!

I find myself waking up everyday, wondering what my mood is going to be like, in fear, almost worried of the unknown, I have no control over it, lately I had to confess to being a lunatic and that sometimes (a lot) I talk to myself and I sometimes even think I am bordering on weird, I know I am talking for all women out there when I say this, how did we get here?

I remember simpler times when I woke up worrying more about what to wear (still do that) than about my mood, which was consistently chirpy, the times when I was a vivacious girl who was always always smiling, laughing or doing something fun, now I still hold the face with a lot of smiling and laughing but I fear that is just skin deep and that my happy self has been tainted with cynicism, disappointments and fears, so much so that my thoughts have turned morbidly dark.

You exercise, eat chocolate, meditate, detox, play music, think happy thoughts but the endorphin pumped through our system does not seem to be enough to overpower the negativity, only an intravenous of this so called “happy hormone” could work, unless the happy hormone got dumped, turned bitter and is on a vengeful quest! Then we have no hope in hell!

Hormones dictate our lives, attitudes and moods, throughout teenage years, adulthood and then through menopausal years! Where is the upside? You don’t get offered a seat on the train, you can compete in who can grow the best moustache (not me) and you don’t even get to be someone’s girlfriend, wife or mother!

I came to the conclusion that Hormones are in fact demons that inhabit our veins and whisper despicable things into our souls, they are evil but no exorcist can rid your of them and we all saw what became of Emily Rose!

Dz-Chick…morbidly; lovingly; bitterly; chirpily yours!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Movember Mo!

The conspiracy of the year! All these once good looking men walking around London (and other reported cities where the phenomenon has been sighed) sporting moustaches, horrible, Hitler-like, very brave and ugly upper lip hair growth that is not pleasing on the eye or on the girls lips (apparently – I wouldn’t know).

No one is forthcoming with any information as to what the purpose of the sprout is, the perpetrators don’t seem to be phased by it or by the attention (mostly laughter or puzzlement) they’re getting as a result of their facial disfigurement, very confused looks exchanged between the girls around the office but yet no answer as to what happened to the beautiful man who walks by our bank of desks everyday at 10am for his morning coffee, who ill-advised him to personify C. Chaplin! I feel like am walking through an FLN (1) bureau back in Algeria and want to shout! Where are your pot bellies!!
This reminds me of the time when all the girls on facebook wanted to confuse the boys and secretly agreed to announce on their status where they like to put their handbag when they get home, all the girls proceeded to posting the following status which baffled and excited men, who we all know have the maturity of 15 year olds (wink to a certain someone here);
“I like it on the bed” (really?), I like it on the chair” (my favourite), I like it on the radiator” (who does that?), I like it on the floor” (standard)! Yes we’re still talking about the handbag!
Or when we (the Ladiz) all agreed to announce a colour again as our facebook status, just a colour, pink, red, blue etc…men got further confused but it was none other than their bra colour in support for breast cancer research. I am just glad no one asked us to grow a monobrow for a good cause!
Well as it turns out, Movember moustache is an effort to promote men’s health and raise funds for prostate and testicular cancer, men sport the taches and women support their men by donating generously. So I stopped pointing and laughing at my colleagues and offered to sponsor their cause.

Dz-Chick….likes her man (which man?) non-moustachioed!

Movember official website - here

(1) Front de Liberation National

Saturday 12 November 2011

Dz-chick....four years on!

On the 12th November 2007, I started writing “Dilemmas of a single Algerian girl in London” and four years later I find myself still writing it, same title, same place, same dilemmas, getting actually tired of it and I am sure a few people out there too, thought unlike me, you are not obligated to visit my page, may I suggest – it doesn’t exists? Sure it does, it brings you straight back to!

Seriously! 4 years! What gives!!! And 3 exclamation points! Wow
I guess a holiday is in order, immediately if not sooner, but you know how it is, coming up to the end of year 2011, so many hard questions

What have I achieved this year?

Did I manage my anger, stress?

Did I do enough to be happy to turn 35? This one is out of line, nobody should be happy to turn 35 and to those who claim they are I say: MYTHO

Did I loose enough weight to fit into that dress I couldn’t afford? the one hanging in the “one day” side of the wardrobe?

Did I come close to meeting someone special? Answer is nope, unless you mean special as in crazy!

Will I make a “new year resolutions” list for 2012? NEVER

Will I look 35? Ask my surgeon in Harley street!

Will I ever meet someone lovely and kind and not totally crazy? I have more chances to meet Budha!

The point is, four years of writing has brought me so much criticism, many fans, many compliments, so many insults and a few admirers, some jealousy with a pinch of nastiness, the marks of a healthy blog I guess. I don’t know how long I am going to continue writing this blog, but if I do branch out, I will make sure to keep you updated.

Happy Birthday “Dilemmas of a single Algerian girl in London”, four already but you don’t look a day over 2.

Dz-Chick ….just like her blog, doesn’t look a day over 25!

Ps: haters: I know it’s hard but please try to contain yourselves! It’s a four year olds' birthday for Gods sake!

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Philosophical week!

After an angry, busy, hated, dreaded and awaited end-of Monday, comes Tuesday, if Tuesday was a person, he would be a hypocritical character who has no purpose, a bit like a train station where nobody gets on or off at but your train still stops there, Tuesday doesn't belong to the beginning or to the end of the week, I know you're thinking that sounds like Wednesday, but Wednesday is more of a neutral character, sits in the middle of the week, pacifies between Monday and Thursday, you can't really get angry at Wednesday, he comes across as a nice placid dude, I imagine him holding out his hands, palms facing up and shoulders hunched in a friendly stance that disarms you and you find yourself saying (or maybe it's just me) 'ehhhh Wednesday, you're alllllllriiiighhtt'

Thursday is like a cool chick, everybody loves a Thursday, she wears a skirt above the knee and has a lot of charisma, is playful and inviting, she tells you to “come out to play” and you would often oblige, she is relentless and leaves nothing for poor Friday who thinks he’s everybody’s best friend but in actual fact, he’s the dregs of the week, Thursday has sucked out the energy out of everybody and with “I can’t wait for Friday to be over” spends his day reminding people how cool he is because he’s bringing the weekend, but nobody cares, they’re all hangover and waiting for him to go away, besides Saturday has already stolen his thunder.
Saturday being the star of the show is like an angel, a dark angel. Who knows where he’ll take you or how much money will he suck out of you!
We all love Saturday with his many faces, relaxing, inviting, smiling then teasing and pleasurable…best friend for ever! Until you end up in a cell or in a dark alley with a stranger wondering how you got there or with a £300 bar bill.
Saturday is toxic but he is so superior, we’re star struck and feel obliged to please him and do as he says, he puts pressure on you but nobody ever resents him for it, you're devoted to him, so much so that you eat into Sunday and pretend it’s still Saturday…
Poor old Sunday, Sunday is the old fart, not in the least as fun; reminds people of their obligations and of Monday and Tuesday, like a parent, nurtures your wounds and hangovers, irons your shirts and makes you roast, he glances at the clock a lot, dreading the end, he doesn’t want to go and after a while you don’t want him to go either, you want him to stay until you're fully recovered and the Roast is eaten and digested.
It’s midnight, Sunday is on his way, he warns you of Angry, demanding Monday and says take care see you in seven days, so you curse Sunday because he brings back Monday. the mood for cool Thursday!

Monday 31 October 2011

Monday Blues and Friday Jazz…

On the lift up to the office on a moody Monday morning, when all you want to do apart from satisfy the urge to kill is to stand quietly in your spot until that grating voice announces ‘2nd floor, lift going up’, get to your desk unflustered by hellos and questions like “how was your weekend?” give me a minute for fuck sakes

In an ideal world (mine) people would be satisfied with a nod, a glance or a smile and wait until preferably after lunch to address me, never call my extension, only contact me by email, do not pretend to give me pressure with such things as ASAP and at your earliest convenience because to me that means:  after I come back from the gym ON Tuesday , also refrain from asking for a read-receipt because you know I will never give you that satisfaction of knowing, when talking in the office, speak at a low volume that is acceptable at the cinema or the  library, being on a trading floor is no excuse and when I am having my lunch at my desk and say sorry I am at lunch, I am usually not joking.

When later on you meet me at the water fountain, if I stand behind you queuing up it is not your queue to ask me about my weekend or give me the weather report because I really don’t care, I always carry an umbrella and spare pair of knickers

If you catch me on a good day, I promise to tell you how my weekend went as quickly and unenthusiastically as possible so that you can start telling me about yours, because we all know that’s really the goal, I promise to listen, nod and say wow cool if you make it quick so I can go back to my desk and mong

Fellow considerate, polite and interested parties; I ask you; should I consider it a rhetorical question from now on or bore you with my weekend details until you never ask me again? Or just suck it up and be nice! This is definitely a rhetorical question, I already know which way am going…

Sarah: how was your weekend?
Me: I don’t really want to talk about it; it gets a bit repetitive after the 2nd time
Sarah: well who did you tell; I’ll go and ask them
We both laugh because it’s ridiculous

By Thursday, comes the next question “any plans for the weekend?”
Are you just being polite or do you really care about my weekend? and if my plans are awesome, are you going to invite yourself along? Are you going to be jealous and start making up some story about “ice-skating in Somerset house with Will and Kate?” or my favourite “I was in Paris for the weekend” is that right? Did you get the Eurostar from Victoria then?  Did you see the Coliseum?

By Friday, it’s a freaking circus of happy people and I am the clown, I am happy but only smile on the inside, I NEVER ask anyone if they have plans for the weekend because I don’t particularly care but I will happily chat to people as long as I get to talk about myself avoiding small talk because small talk is a waste of time and is only cool when I do it like: soooo you’RE tall!

This Mondays favourite water fountain subject: Clocks changing followed by Halloween talk– oh dear lord!

Dz-chick....strong coffee please!!!

Friday 28 October 2011

If the shoe was on the other foot!

A homeless man sits on the stairs of my station exit, he sits in a far corner away from the stampede of the commuters but he remains an inconvenience for us despite our best effort to remain humane and generous, we cannot help but feel he’s in the way not because he physically obstructs our way but because we feel guilty we did not acknowledge his pleas for spare change.

He sits there with two Café Nero cups, one jingles with coins and one I hope has coffee in it but never got close enough to find out, I often make a point of stopping and offering a chocolate bar or a banana or some change with a “promise you won’t spend it on booze?”, but over the years any naïve effort to donate gets eroded by cynicism and distrust and you wound up saying muttering a wimpy cowardly sorry

How many of us walk by a homeless person every day and how many of us give generously or give at all? And moreover do you even notice them or have they become part of the background for you like the red telephone box or the Big Issue guy.

I often think, if I lost my job and had no money to pay rent and no where to go, would I not become homeless? How many out there are one pay-check away from being homeless?
Nobody is safe from homelessness; we might be lucky we have friends to count on and still have parents we can run back to, but a lot of people are not be so lucky and empathy is not everybody’s cup of tea…

What have you done to help a homeless lately? Do you feel it’s your duty to help? Most people believe the people on the street are homeless by choice or as a result of their substance abuse and addictions or for being ostracised by their friends and families, we are too busy judging instead of helping them.

Though we judge them and ignore them sometimes, we do have a kind of relationship with them, there is always a local homeless everybody gets to know, squatting by the cash point near Tesco or by the Tube station, cuddling up to his dog, the dog has a dummy or a cuddly toy and they sit there with their sad faces, making us (maybe it’s just me) melt at this sight and dig a little deeper into our pockets or lunch boxes. When you think you’ve given enough for the day or not in a charitable mood, you say sorry and it always amazes me how they remain polite (in London anyway) and smile and say thanks, God bless. Thank you for acknowledging them.

You know what I think, I think the homeless community in London specifically hold secret policies about how to be a London homeless, they seem to all be in agreement about how to treat us “punters”, they know being rude or ungrateful wouldn’t work, so their “elders” must have sat down and decided on what’s the best way to do it, after all a homeless person can only be saved by person who isn’t.

You might have had a different experience walking down Edgware road or some other street where a number of beggars (they are not actually homeless) who work the streets cradling babies and begging for cash to supposedly buy nappies and milk or get a train home or save enough for a night in the shelter etc… when you say sorry they either follow you until you cave in or they slur profanities or even spit at you (that’s assault you know), these organised gangs of professional beggars I do not empathise with or even acknowledge, because there have been reports (according to Westminster Council) of growing numbers of professional beggars who earn up to £300 in tax free cash a night to supplement their day jobs or re-do their kitchens (daily mail – I don’t read it I promise).  Thus ruining it for the genuine homeless and needy people who actually in the streets freezing to death, but if you are a well-meaning giver you have to learn to make the difference and make sure your hard earned money is being put to good use.

Dz-Chick …. cursed with empathy


Wednesday 19 October 2011

Philanthropy for single women

A blank page presented itself to me as I flicked between my screens, and I felt I had to fill it with my thoughts, after all, it’s been a while and I need to let them out or I shall go mad…fasten your seatbelts folks!

Latest life changing decision, purchase a flat in this impossible market turmoil, rent it, pack up and leave, move back to Algeria…as I fantasise about this with a friend from work over a cup of coffee in the kitchen, she confesses that all her friends are doing the same especially in view of the recent termination of their employment and their barren love life, they unanimously decided London was the issue. “we just can’t meet anyone”, “there are no men available”, “men are not interested in relationships anymore” despair… as I stood there looking at her, my mind wondered back to my fantasy apartment, “yeah stone grey walls would be so cool” I start thinking about the walk-in wardrobe when she yanks me back to the topic at hand, annoyed I inform her of the veteran status I acquired on the subject. I am the original single girl.

I have been raising the issue since Eisenhower… or since 2007, but have yet to come to any kind of solution as to this predicament, but surely when you live with something for so long it becomes like second nature, l fear single women will mutate and grow male genitals to compensate for the lack of men in their lives/systems like that kind of amphibians (frogs to be precise) that jump gender if in a predominately female population as a life saving or procreative instinct, with all the chemicals we consume and all the hormones pumped into our system through everything we consume, it could happen, it’s all part of evolution*

To conclude, if you are single and don’t seem to see an end to your dilemma (if you consider it a dilemma), don’t come complaining to me, do something about it, go back home and marry your cousin, change sexual allegiance or move to Utah and jump on the polygamist wagon or give priesthood/nunhood a go but don’t come to me for advice. I am the case study.

Dz- Chick …..let the soul of my relationship-dream RIP

Monday 3 October 2011

I think, therefore I am single!

Couple on park bench by Heidi Mallot

Upon a beautiful Indian summer day in London;
The wind in their hair, the sunshine on their skin, their eyes locked in a loving gaze, their fingers tangled and bodies in a tender embrace;
Me; sleeping on the warm and moist grass at a stalking distance, lips pursed tight on a flat line, my gaze burning into their backs through my sunglasses, I feel my toes digging into the ground, my toes hurt. Is it a pang of jealousy I feel, I wonder, or perhaps just irritation at the display of affection, I ask myself what is so annoying about public displays of affections, I wonder, if it wasn’t that it reminded me of what I don’t have. They’re a couple, I am not….Ok I am bit jealous.

I too want to embrace someone so lovingly, I want to have someone to love, to call when I am upset and vulnerable and ask for a hug or have something funny to say like the day my friend got utterly indignant because the shoes in the Vintage store were all used, or the day my boss asked me why I was talking to him in Arabic when I said “ca marche”

Then, it annoys me to hear couples use the “we”, “we can’t come”, “we don’t like Thai”, “we liked the movie”, “we’d love to see you”, since when being in a relationship has made people joint at the hip and their brains mashed together, what is wrong with being two individuals but with shared lives, beds, holidays, house, accounts etcetera.... Is it a misconception that men long for that separate togetherness and find needy women as attractive as cholera or is that an urban myth I clang to, that that has led me down this doomed path to perpetual singledom.

I want to be the girl who never says things like “we’ll try to make it” and who has her own car, apartment and keeps her maiden name, and I long to be with someone, who shares her Indian summer days in the park, her life, her plate, her thoughts, her everything. perhaps the answer really does lie in the question.

Dz-chick....wants her cake and eat it too

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Will you be my third wife?

The word itself sounds like a game to me, like Monopoly or Scrabble, a mouthful of a word for a lot of women, Polygamy. 
You might think where does she get this stuff from, but not to sound overdramatic, recently, another misguided attempt at match-making by another so called “friend”(1), who insisted on setting me up with a friend of his who was an interesting party and had all the qualities I was looking for apparently, however he omitted to mention the fact that this Gentleman was actually MARRIED.

A happily married man at that, who also has a girlfriend whom he loves dearly according to him and three children in school, this PERFECT gentleman proposed marriage to me. Initial reaction would have been to stomp my feet and scream in indignation but instead I just lost speech hence no posts for over a fortnight.
After getting over the shock and my nerves reassembled themselves, I sat thinking about Polygamy…

I thought, or perhaps hoped it had disappeared like the plague or became as rare as dying from syphilis and consumption, but it seems as present as HIV and as funny as Cancer, a real dilemma for certain women, a daily living situation for some and a constant battle for others. Where would I even start?

Why would anyone want more than one partner? And how is this still allowed?
Polygamy is still widely practiced amongst Mormons and Muslims, albeit to different degrees, in Islam a man is allowed up to four wives, Mormons a lot more although the justifications are somewhat different.
In Islam Polygamy was allowed centuries ago at the time of the crusades and wars, when men died in battlefields leaving behind their young brides and children with no one to fend for them, multiple marriages were allowed for social reasons and to give these wives and children protection, food and shelter. There is a great emphasis on polygamy being allowed but not encouraged, and subjected to conditions, and if the man lacks those material and moral conditions, or he is not competent enough to satisfy all of them, then he should not be legible to have more than one wife, such conditions as the absolute equality between the wives and children, being able to provide for them and above all the agreement of the wife for the next marriage although the latter is often disputed and not always recognised.

Polygamy is still practiced in some regions of the Middle East and some rural areas of North Africa; though I never thought it would come so close to home for me.
In the rest of the world, Polygamy is regarded as a crime punishable by law, the Christian secular church prohibits it, even though the Old Testament allows it, it was only later on made illegal in most secular churches.
The Mormon Church also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on the other hand, allows and encourages polygamy; it is a way of life for the Utah based church, although prohibited in the rest of the American states.
This practice that was created and allowed in times where the need for multiple marriages was honourable or helpful, no longer exists, why are men still allowed in this day and age to take on multiple wives and start multiple families?
Arguably, it is the word of God in the Quran and the old testaments, but if polygamy is allowed based on its origin, then should be the case for other practices that have no place in the modern day judicial system that claims is based on religious values and Islamic teachings. Why don’t they treat the sex traders with the treatment devised to them according to the Books?

From a diffrent angle, Polygamy has been viewed as a solution to low births and low marriage rates, as was the case in Russia when Ultra-Nationalist politician Vladimir Jirinoski suggested legalising polygamy as a solution to nationality problems in Russia "if we helped just five per cent (of these couples) we would have around 200,000 extra births per year", he said.

Others like some Muslims in the UK use polygamy as a mean to collect benefit from the government by having multiple wives and marrying them through the spiritual ceremony "nikah", whereupon these wives are considered single mothers and are therefore entitled to a full range of "lone parent benefits".  Although the government is aware of the issue, as concerns have been voiced from the predominantly Asian communities where these practices are taking place, cultural sensitivies stop politicians from addressing the problem.
Other polygamists or bigamysts (two wives) find themselves in this situation due to their illegal alien status in the host country, the plygamist would marry a women who would grant him the right to remain, and as soon as allowed to return home for a holiday, would then take up another wife, with very high chances of abandoning the first wife or keeping both unbeknown to either parties.
God may have allowed Polygamy and I am no one to argue, but it is being used for means that are outside of its rightful time and mean. Women are treated with very little respect, exchangeable and divorceable and used as statistical tools, to produce babies to boost numbers,  to reap benefits from the welfare system and for men's pleasure and divertissement.
Being a Woman, a Muslim, Algerian and a UK foreign National, I find myself insulted by the very concept of polygamy and I would lobby against it in Algeria and here in England and so help me God if anybody else "proposes" again this year!

Dz-Chick…does not like to share!
(1) no longer the case

Saturday 10 September 2011

Trilingual Illiterates: Algeria's Language Crisis

How many of you (Algerians) get interrupted by eavedroppers questioning what language you're speaking or how many languages are you using at the same time? and how many of you get embarassed by this? or perhaps you feel proud?

You want to learn Algerian? hmmmm
This is not an impossible task but it sure is not an easy one.

First you need to learn Arabic then learn French then have some knoweldge of Berber, then you need to forget all that you've learnt about grammar and syntax and start conversing in all three languages at once and never appologise for it, and never make sense to any other but Algerians and perhaps other North Africans, namely Tunisians and Morrocans who thankfully share a bit of our Burden-Gift.

So you would say things like: Azul, Ca va chwiya? Hamdoulah. wenta bien? ok Ciao a bientot, oui oui Bye
A phrase containing no less than 5 languages, would you say this person is talented or a multi-tongue illiterate? or Trilingual Illiterates as they call us in the confidential report released through Wikileaks (see below).

We Algerians are either extraordinarily talented and gifted for languages or we can't master one language completely and fully.
A real linguistic indigence we suffer from, not many Algerians can start a sentence in the same language they finish it in, even the one who claim to be "Arabisant" will undoutedly use a couple of words like "ca va" and think they just spoke in Arabic.

It may seem all fun and cool to speak 3 to 5 langagues at the same time, but it is not fun when you find you can't express yourself in any of these languages alone. Have you ever wondered how this came to happen? have you ever stopped to think what the ramifications of this are?

Despite the Goverments best efforts to "unify" the national language, declaring Arabic Official lanaguage and Berber co-official. French though not an official language, is regarded as de facto co-official language as it is widely used by goverement officials, newspapers etc... having three official languages and perfecting none is where the dilemmas lies.

Not a huge number of Algerians will master all 3 languages, some master Arabic, some French and only the berbers will speak berber, even though it is taught is a number of schools, it remains largely marginalised and underdeveloped.

So I tried to do some research on the subject, and it reaped no result, there is no Algerian phrase book or a guide to the Algerian language, a dictionary would be out of the question.
Having considered writing a phrase book myself, I realised what an arduous task it was going to be and prompty gave up (probably also due to my a-peut-priste side). Algeria being so large, wide and diverse boasts so many dialects, accents and idioms it would take a team of people and a couple of years to finish.  By that time and with all the new linquistic additions and introduction of English words and so on, my project would be irrelavant.

I won't pretend to offer solutions or a conclusion, I can barely go three words in Arabic without uttering two in French but I fear for the desintegration of our language (bomb dropped). I will strive to finish my stences in the same language I started them in, I think that would be a good start or perhaps teach my children Arabic or is it Algerian? or French? (this is going to be harder for me than for them, I am just not going to have children)

I will leave you with the Algerian slogan that embodies everything said above all in 4 languages:
One..Two...Three...Viva l'ALGERIE

A MUST READ: What Wikilaks has on the subject:

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Little Algiers N4

My train alights at Finsbury Park station, too absorbed by my book and practicing the ever annoying read & walk, I hear a couple of Algerian guys whinging behind me “jat’ha leqraya hadi”(1) I control my reflex and manage not to turn around and acknowledge their protest or indeed acknowledge I understood what they were saying, I walk on thinking….and so it begins

What was I doing here again? My mind is mangled with the plotline of my book and it takes me a few seconds to readjust my mind and my bearings, it comes back to me, I am here to view a flat, as I punch in the post code into my Google map I quietly pray it indicates a minimum of 2 miles away, but it doesn’t, it’s showing 0.8 miles to destination to the ghetto more like I thought, dear Lord I have to walk through Black Stock Road, the notorious little Algiers known to all Algerians as the Algerian ghetto and to the police as a hot zone or red, I am not familiar with coppers’ terminology.

So I brace myself, put my sunglasses on, button my shirt up, lower my jacket to hide my curves, I stand in front of a shop window frantically looking at my reflection, trying to alter details to avoid looking remotely attractive, Algerian or interested, I pray to god I walk the length of that road until the moving little blue dot says you are here.

I walk decided, take fast and determined steps, I fix my gaze on the horizon, my phone clenched in my palm, my thumb hurts, I am pressing too hard, my muscles are tense, I feel indignant, why must I feel uneasy and apprehensive walking down little Algiers, surely I wouldn’t have felt the same in big Algiers…

I feel eyes on me, stares, somebody points his chin in my direction to bring his mates attention to me, I continue walking with a firm step and a security about me that is supposed to deter any harmful intentions, after a few hours walking down this road, actual time 3 minutes, I start to feel at ease, I am in Algerian territory here and above all in England, surely I am safe, so I start taking in the surroundings all behind the safety of my shades;

Young men lining the walls all along the road, some in congregations laughing aloud, some in twosomes gesticulating something passionately, I notice the customary position, one leg on the floor and another bent backwards to lean on the wall, not without leaving dirt marks, some huddled around a small box of Chemma (snuff) taking it in turns to put a small dollop onto their upper lips, producing a fat lip that brings back my initial angst;   A coffee shop, two tables on the terrace/pavement, five men huddled around a single cup of espresso, passing it to each other in what looks like a very odd coffee ritual, I do a quick survey and count 5 out of 7 fat lips, 3 tracksuits and all wearing trainers, Oh I am sure they have a football game later, they wouldn’t be hanging out in sports gear for no reason…or so I’d hope.

I check my phone quickly as I reach my destination, a beautiful Victorian house, ground floor flat conversion with garden, I curse the Algerians and grudgingly inform the agent that the area is not suitable for me and that I hadn’t checked the location prior to accepting the viewing and for that reason, I am out, I dare not mention that I would refuse to live in this beautiful Victorian house in this “once” lovely area because my “own” people claimed the area and turned into little Algiers.

I wondered if houses around this area were difficult to rent out due to the high concentration of Algerian around and if the property values have decreased for the same reasons, I dare not ask him as I am sure he would not dare comment, but if he did, I wondered if I would take offense or agree…

I resume the 0.8m walk back to the station and make sure to walk on the opposite side of the road, I pass a “patisserie” and couldn’t resist the urge to go in and buy Garantita(2) , the croud of young men gathered aimlessly in the shop all look at me in unison and their loud chatter quickly becomes muffled she is Algerian I felt like I had just walked into Harrods sporting a shell suit with Burberry trainers, I ordered in Algerian attini 2 garantita(3) please so the waiter all smiles proceeds at cutting a huge baguette and starts inserting the pieces of Garantita into it, I assumed it was someone else’s order so I stood there scanning the display of cakes and patisseries from the 90s with think creams and strawberries, do you want harissa khti?(4) I politely decline just the garantita thanks, The waiter shakes his head in disapproval and mutters something under his breath, I look around the other tables, baskets of bread on every table, ahh that love affair Algerians have with bread, I recall seeing a man pick up a piece of bread from the floor, kisses it lightly then puts it on top of a bin or a higher surface from the ground, as an Algerian, witnessing that doesn’t shock me but it makes me smile fondly. Ok I will take the bread khouya (5)

200 yards to the station, I glance over the other side of the road where that single espresso was being turned around like a joint of Hashish, the espresso was still there, I realise there sips didn’t qualify as such, they are barely touching their lips to the glass and making a swift sucking sound to make the pleasure last, I will not pretend to understand this odd phenomenon but I find it highly amusing and couldn’t help but smile inwardly of course – no facial movement when walking down Black stock road.

Back in my neck of the woods, I feel relieved then irritated by my feelings of apprehension in the midst of the Algerian community, where I should feel safe and right at home, but I was safe and it was like being back in Algiers, perhaps a more rough area of Algiers, but Algiers nonetheless, apart from a few stares and harmless albeit annoying whistles my trip to little Algiers was a reminiscent of a trip down Belcourt (6) but I question what deters us from living near little Algiers, or be seen there, is it because of the dodgy antics some of our fellow Algerians are getting up to there and some extremist views or because it reminds us of things we wanted to get away from ourselves

It remains amazing to see how the Algerians in London have claimed their own little area and made it their own and ours even if some of us tend to avoid it like the plague/hate it or snob it, every single Algerian will find him/herself drawn to it at some point in their London life.
Think of it as a tourist attraction the little Algiers of London, full of character and multi-cultral atomsphere that makes London so Unique.

Dz-Chick …she likes her garantita sans Harissa
(1) Expression to say: She got the urge to read this lass…but it holds a more condescending connotation
(2) Chick pea flour based pizza/flan …yum!
(3) Can I have 2 slices of Garantita
(4) Do you want Chilli paste sis?
(5) My brother- a more polite way of addressing people, I wasnt trying to talk ghetto
(6) A popular district in Algiers

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