Before reading this MyTake I advise you to read these 7 disclaimers.
Disclaimer 1: I'm talking about Middle Eastern and North African men from MENA and not those living /born in the west. This might not apply to the latter ones. I'm a North African girl who grew up in the Middle East with different communities of the middle east. I currently live in France for my studies.
Disclaimer 2: The MENA men I'm talking about are Arabs, Persians, Turks, Berbers, Kurds etc both christian and Muslim.
Disclaimer 3: I'm mostly talking about men who are part of the middle class to upper class since they were the types of guys I interacted with.
Disclaimer 4: I'm using French men as-well as my interaction with the men of GAG as a reference.
Disclaimer 5: I'm talking about MY OWN EXPERIENCE. Yours could be different.
Disclaimer 6: I'm not saying these things are better or worse, it's just a comparison from my own observations.
Disclaimer 7: What I mean with western men is men from Western Europe (in particular) but possibly to a lesser degree North America, Australia, New Zealand etc...
A few years ago I joined this website in order to have a clearer idea of the dynamics of relationships between men and women. I was a very active member and liked to ask a lot of questions on here, however after realizing that this website's following and my environment were largely disconnected, I stopped using it because I felt like it couldn't give me a concrete and effective idea on the men I was interacting with in real life. I couldn't relate to most issues on this website.
However, some things are as I believe inherent to male nature and apply to all men around the world so I still chose to come back . Now here's the major differences I noticed between Western men and men from North Africa and the Middle East.
This MyTake's aim is to explain and showcase some of the major cultural differences between western relationships and MENA relationships.
1/ It's not unusual or odd to be talking about marriage and kids the first day you meet a MENA man.
This might be odd for most western men, but in every serious flirting situation/interaction I had with a MENA man, marriage and kids were discussed on the first day to week of meeting. Sometimes, in the first few minutes!
Usually in a joking way: for example if he likes something about you he will say "I might need to go see your father this weekend and ask him for your hand in marriage".
But often seriously as-well: for example I have already been approached by a young Algerian Berber man in public who just told me "Hi, I really find you pretty and was wondering if I could get your phone number so we could know each other, I'm 24, Algerian Kabyle, engineering student and want to get married".
I feel that MENA men tend to be more serious when talking to a woman and approaching her.
He would also ask you how many kids you want and family related things.Which leads us to the point number 2.
2/ Marriage is not an option, it's a duty.
I noticed that often times, in western relationships, the marriage door is left open. Meaning marriage is just an option. Maybe you want to get married, maybe not. Often times, unmarried westerners would be living together and even having kids together out of wedlock. This is completely unimaginable in Middle Eastern and North African societies.
This doesn't exist in MENA. If you are seriously speaking to someone, it means you could possibly foresee a marriage with the person. A MENA woman would often reject a man or break up with a man if she sees that he doesn't want to eventually ask for her hand in marriage or if he takes too long to marry her.
The family will also often want to rush a marriage or at least an engagement if the kids are dating.
3/ He won't be able to live with his fiance or girlfriend before getting married.
Living with your partner before marriage is out of the question even if the both of you are engaged and about to get married.
Women and men are expected to live with their parents until they get married unless they have to study or work in another country or city. Sometimes, if they can't afford to move out, a bride might even move in her's husband's family house until they can afford to rent or move out.
Which leads us to the next point.
4/ The virginity of a woman is important and valued for both Christian and Muslim MENA men but also non religious MENA men.
If they want to marry you, they won't try to sleep with you before marriage. If they want to sleep with you very quickly, they most likely only see you as a fling and nothing more.
Virginity is very important for them even if they're not religious.
In our society virginity is seen as more than a mere religious duty, it usually tells people about the education of the girl and what kind of family she comes from. Every faux-pas the girl does is immediately reflective of her parent's education and family's reputation.
This could be very bad because of how hypocritical our society can be. Indeed, Male virginity before marriage is valued as-well but our society turns a blind eye when the men don't strictly abide to this social norm.
5/ The men have the upper hand in the "dating world"
This is probably one of the major points I want to highlight: I noticed that men in MENA tend to have the upper hand when it comes to dating or at least marriage unlike western men.
In our society many women think of marriage as the ultimate way to gain true independence from their family, moving away, and starting a family of their own. A married woman holds a special status in society. A young MENA woman dreams of her wedding day and her prince charming since childhood.
All of this results in MENA women being more desperate for marriage, especially considering that lots of them end up not finding a husband. Not finding a husband and never getting married is a big fear for many of my MENA friends.
6/ They're more assertive/ less shy/ more straight forward
Here I'm mostly comparing MENA men to the European men I encountered during my studies.
I noticed that MENA men tend to be much more straight forward and less shy. If they want to talk to you, they'll do it, they don't care about rejection as much as western men do.
They find no issues flirting with a woman even if she's way above their league.
7/ They don't care about the body as much as they do about the face and motherly qualities
MENA men like all men want beautiful women and like nice bodies on women.
But I noticed that when looking for a wife, they tend to put lots of importance on the woman's reputation, education, family, elegance, and face, more than they do on the body.
The body worshiping culture is existent but much less prevalent than it is in the west. It's not unusual to see a handsome MENA man with a slightly chubby woman. They don't care for a massive ass and tiny waist as much as people in the west do.
However they put a lot of importance on the face, hair and general femininity. Of course this is a broad generalization and there's many MENA men who care a lot about body as-well.
They also care more about the motherly qualities of the woman: whether she'd be a good mother to his children or not.
8/ They don't mind taking an arrow to the knee at a younger age
I noticed that western men are often scared of marriage and tend to want to delay it and that's if they want to get married in the first place.
From my personal experience, I noticed that usually the only thing stopping a MENA man from getting married young is education, lack of money or no job. If they could afford it, they'd mostly marry and start a family at a young age.
They're not as afraid of commitment as western men are.
9/ They're more jealous and possessive of their women than western men.
I noticed that often times western men like to show off their girlfriends/wives to their friends and other men like some sort of trophy (by the way I don't find this necessarily bad, just an observation).
While this most likely also exists in some parts of MENA, the men over here tend to be more protective of their wife and don't want to showcase her as much.
As a woman, this can be a problem for example when it comes to the way you want to dress dress this can be a major issue for many women.
For example, the Algerian man I'm currently interested in told me that he'd never want me to wear a bikini in public.
10/To him, Romantic love and passion are not as important as having a cohesive family.
I noticed that my western friends tend to value "love at first sight" "Passion" and "Love" much more than my MENA friends.
A MENA woman would rather marry a man who can afford to raise children and take care of her over a stud who has nothing to offer but his looks and sex which is why it is not uncommon to see a gorgeous MENA woman with an average-at-best looking MENA man.
I also noticed that western couples can easily break off if passion is over and the honeymoon phase faded, they often even end up cheating.
In MENA the family cohesion is much more important than passion. Some couples stay together forever and stay faithful even if they're not madly in love anymore. They just get used to each other.
This is good and bad at the same time in my opinion because it could be boring and the woman can go from being a wife to only being mother and feel neglected.
This however doesn't mean that MENA men don't look for romance because they often do!
11/ They don't expect their wife to be a bread winner or split the bill.
Pretty straight forward: they don't expect you to work and bring money home, to split the bills or anything of the sort.
He most likely won't push you to work unless he's poor, but since we're talking about the middle class and upper class average MENA person, this most likely won't happen.
He might even prefer that you stay home over you working, which can cause a bit of issues for some more career-driven women. Some MENA men get their egos hurt if their wife works or earns more than them.
But many if not most educated MENA men are usually fine with their wife working as long as it's a "honorable job". If you're a stripper or porn-star or actress etc it might be harder. Actually he won't even consider marrying you lol.
Most MENA women who work usually pick more "wife friendly jobs" such as teacher, professor, graphic designers, beauty industry, but many of them also work as doctors or lawyers and such.
12/ They tend to expect women to hold traditional gender roles
It's not unusual for me to see French couples with their children shopping for frozen meals in the supermarket. A MENA man won't be too happy eating frozen meals and would probably prefer going to his mom's house to eat a good homemade meal..
Indeed, Western men -at the least the ones in Western Europe- seem to care less about traditional gender roles.
Some MENA men are more relaxed than others when it comes to traditional gender roles, some can afford you a housemaid and some don't mind taking you out to eat, but sadly sometimes some of the men can be very annoying and see your contribution to the household as a duty and not just as something you want to do out of generosity.
This doesn't mean that they'll necessarily be assholes about it and force you to cook and clean but it means that he'll definitely want to marry you more if you had a good reputation at being a good cook or if you tell him you want be the one who cooks and cleans in the marriage .
Even when they're educated and more liberal, every MENA mean still likes his wife to be able to cook and take care of the household. In this case, a way to man's heart is through his stomach is a very relevant quote.
13/ Contrarily to popular legend, they don't necessarily always want a submissive wife.
I found it a bit weird to see how many western men online, especially on GAG and twitter want a "submissive wife" and regret the good ol' days. Though this can also be found in MENA men, I found out it's not always necessarily the thing they look for in a woman.
In the past few years I've been speaking to different MENA men, Kurds, Algerians, Lebanese, Moroccans, Tunisians, Palestinians etc, and many of them actually like, if not love, the fiery and stubborn side of some women.
The man I'm currently talking to even told me he could never imagine himself being with a submissive wife.
This however doesn't mean that they don't long for a traditional style relationship where a woman takes care of the household and the man brings money home. This simply means they want a woman with a bit of character and a woman who can discuss and debate them.
14/ The men almost exclusively prefer femininity when it comes to looks.
Western men seem to have a wider spectrum of preferences when it comes to looks, some prefer tattooed up girls, some don't. Some prefer muscular/fit women, some don't. Some prefer short hair on women, some don't etc.
On the other hand MENA men seem to all have similar preferences and tend to prefer feminine looking girls (women with longer hair, women with more feminine dresses, make up, perfume, high heels, jewelry etc).
This is why MENA girls can appear to be a little more high maintenance than western girls, especially European girls who usually rock a nice carefree look.
This also makes it harder for MENA women to fit in one specific type of beauty standards.
15/ Wedding: The bigger , the better
All of this results in the fact that the wedding ceremony itself is taken very seriously.
Unlike the West, it's not simply a small family event where the bride wears a nice simple white gown with very few people invited to the ceremony.
Indeed, a wedding in MENA means you are about to entirely turn a new page in your life, move out, live with someone new, loose your virginity and have kids.
People who can afford it often throw grandiose weddings and lots of money is spent on it BECAUSE MARRIAGE HERE IS NOT A SIMPLE CONTRACT OR PIECE OF PAPER.
It's not uncommon to find belly-dancers in Egyptian or Lebanese weddings, multiple dresses (for example in Maghrebi weddings a bride can change her dress up to 7 times), weddings that can last for days (because of the multiple different ceremonies) and it's not weird to have 500+ people invited, even people you don't know.