Egypt: Being a Man
Yep, it’s mostly Muslim country in Egypt. This means that most of the women are covered up, some where you can only see their eyes, most with head coverings that let her face be seen and little else. Right away I picked up that all the questions were directed at me, and not Lara. I also noticed that a lot of the time when she would ask a question, the answer was replied back to me. Here in the States, I’m accustomed to hanging out with some assertive women, and I’m usually happy to go along with their plans. Suddenly, in Egypt, I was the decision maker, I was in control and expected to lead.
I don’t think either of us was fully prepared for what that meant.
Mid-week, Lara pointed out that I was coming into my own, that my backbone had doubled in size from what she normally knew me to be. Meanwhile she was grappling with “keeping a lid on it”. I think the culture ate away at her identity – it’s hard to be an alpha anything when people don’t even address you. The role reversal was liberating for me. I suspect that if I can hold on to that, I’ll be a much more effective pair at work. I expect that my life may take a significant course change. Lara, may come back broken, or she may overcompensate when she returns two weeks from now.
Having been “the man” for a week, I feel like I have a lot more confidence in myself. I greet people and look them in the eye. I am not afraid to be decisive, or to ask questions, or state my opinion as I once was. I’m a whole new Will in some ways. Something to look forward to in 2010.