Tag Archives: lebanese culture

Mr. Lebanon is Mr. International

Meet  Ali Hammoud the Lebanese winner of the title: Mr. International 2012 recently held somewhere. I thought some of you ladies may enjoy looking at his six packs as much as he enjoys flaunting them. Boys you better not complain I think I provide you with enough eye-candy on this blog. Cheers!

Mr international Ali Hammoud 1Mr international Ali Hammoud

Mr. international2jpg

Somewhere out there Fiordelli guy is pissed

fiordelli guy

Ask Ivy: The Hottest Weekly Advice Column on Beirut.com

I’m very proud to announce my latest collaboration with Beirut-dot-com ASK IVY!

Each Wednesday I will have my very own advice column on Beirut.com where I will be answering all your questions on love, dating, relationships and any other dirty little thought in your head. No questions are off-limits and you don’t have to reveal your identity so feel free to throw any of your most intimate and even embarrassing topics my way at tell.ivy@gmail.com.

From Boyfriends, Condoms and Creepy Stalkers to Spicing Up Relationships Gone Stale, Bad Breakups and Super Clingy Boyfriends, take a minute to check out this week’s Ask Ivy Column  at Beirut.com

That Awkward Moment When The Painter Asks You For…

One of the perks of living in Lebanon is custom-made furniture. Right now, I’m working with a carpenter who promised me the loveliest Parisian-style closet “that I will not find if I searched the entire country” according to him.

That’s good enough for me; even though I gave him a magazine cut-out and asked him to simply duplicate it. He did a great job on it except for the paint job- it made me nauseous. I had to get it redone.

So I sent my man out on a witch hunt for the best furniture painter in the city, someone who can make something new look vintage and shabby minus the tacky. After meeting with four, I finally found the one.

He was super attentive and knowledgeable when I met him at the workshop. I was very impressed with all the wonderful tips he gave me, the guy knew his woodwork. In fact, he was so helpful that before I knew it we had spent a little over an hour discussing the closet and all the great things it would become. He even offered to paint some chairs for me free of charge. We agreed on a price and he’d deliver in two-weeks. I felt so lucky to have found him. Until things turned weird.

“I want to ask you something, but please don’t take it the wrong way.” he smirked.

Suddenly, he was no longer the perfect painter, I took a closer look at him and noticed his shirt had been opened three buttons down and his curly chest hair could really use a trim. He wore a long gold chain necklace and it seemed as though he was bald but in denial, folding a patch of long hair growing only on one side of his head to cover the empty patch on the other.

“Um, yes, sure” I reluctantly replied

“What is the name of your colognia” he said as he gazed excitedly into my eyes.

“Colognia?” I asked

“Your smell, it’s beautiful what is it?”

I hoped this was not happening. Please tell me that the perfect painter I had found is not a sleazy old man now trying to stalk me with my scent. Why is this happening to me? Did he not know how long it took me to find him?

“ I dunno but I have to go” I said as I scrambled to pick up my stuff and get out of there.

Maybe he didn’t mean anything by it; maybe he genuinely liked my scent. I didn’t want to tell my man about the incident, I had a feeling he’d flip out and I’d lose my perfect painter. But the thought of being alone again with him again creeped me out. So I focus-grouped the incident with my girlfriends and the verdict was in: He’s a sleazebag. Apparently, it wasn’t right for a forty-something man (did I mention the wedding band) to ask a twenty-something woman something like that. What do you think, could this be an innocent question or should I make a run for it?

Read More On Sleazebags:

The Indiscretions Of A Lebanese Man

The 6 Annoying Dating Habits Of Middle Eastern Men

All The Reasons To “See” Pretty

Imagine overhearing the love of your life comparing you to another hotter chick. Now imagine him telling his friend that although he finds you cute and sweet, the hot chick has a prettier face than yours. Would you flip out, brush it off and move on or dwell and spiral into self-destruction?

When I heard that the critically acclaimed play Reasons To Be Pretty written by Neil Labute was being adapted to the Lebanese context I knew it could prevail over any cultural or translation differences and play out as though it had always been written with Beirut in mind. Better yet, when I found out award-winning director and actress Nadine Labaki was in it (whom I learned last night had never done theatre prior to this) I was determined to get myself on that guest list.

And I did. Reasons To Pretty, directed by Jacques Maroun opened (literally) with many bangs last night at Hamra’s Al-Madina Theatre. And although it has its fair share of drama, the story is in fact a comedy, one that uses humor to reexamine our very sad, limited and harsh perception of what we as a whole consider to be beauty, how we are so willing to judge one another simply by the way we look and how that alone can pull even the tightest of couples apart.

My friends have been trying to drag me to plays for years now but I’ve always resisted. I’ve just  been turned off by the idea of Lebanese overacting. But last night was nothing like that. It felt as though we were watching play in New York from the meticulous and elaborate sets, to the fast changing scenes and though the cast was an all-star one, they all left their egos behind. It was so perfectly adapted to Lebanese pop culture with all the spot-on clichés that it felt like a scene from Hitchcock’s Rear Window as we all peered into the intimate lives of two couples. And so hilarious that even as members of the audience we had to stop ourselves from cracking up as not to create too much distraction for the actors.

I’m not going to single out any actors, they were all incredible but I can’t help but form a new admiration for Talal El Jurdi, the man did an outstanding job embodying his character, to the point where I wanted to give him a big hug after the play and tell him it’s all going to be alright. And I almost did at the glamorous after-party held at Le Grey’s Bar Threesixty where everyone celebrated a job so wonderfully done.

Fashion Crime Scenes


While everyone else was busy discussing whether or not the twins should be crowned, Lebanese singer Wael Kfoury pulls a fast one on us while performing at Miss Lebanon 2012. Yup, we all tilted our heads sideways as we tried to figure out what prompted him to wear a T-shirt with a picture of Al Pacino. This reminded me of the 90’s when the entire world was walking around with cheap Scarface and Titanic memorabilia. Wael, this doesn’t make you look relevant, badass or hip, this is CHEESE!

Check out more crimes against Fashion here

Dear United Colors of Benetton,Thanks For Listening

There’s nothing more refreshing than knowing there are companies out there that are actively listening and care about their customers’ feedback- companies with management that takes swift action and proactive enough to do the right thing.

I was surprised when I received a call today from a top manager at  United Colors of Benetton regarding an incident with a store employee at their Kaslik branch I had blogged about yesterday. He had read my post and immediately looked into the matter. In fact, he had looked into the matter so thoroughly that he was able to track me through the purchase I had described in my post.

He courteously explained to me how appalled they were to learn about the unprofessional behavior of the sales girl who in fact was not a manager and how this incident in no way represents United Colors of Benetton’s culture or values. After hearing her side of the story, they have fired the sales girl and taken all the necessary arrangements to ensure this is an isolated incident and I believe they will. They have even gone as far as offering me a gift voucher at their store which I have graciously accepted.

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to know that there are still big organizations that can take negative criticism and turn it into something positive. I always try to come up with great case studies about how social media has evolved the way brands engage with consumers and I finally have one of my own. I take it back- I will definitely be shopping at United Colors Of Benetton again!

Dear United Colors of Benetton, It’s Management Makeover Time

I’m so over making excuses for bad customer service in Lebanon. I get it; some store employees are hardly making minimum wage and over worked. I sympathize as much as I can. But I refuse to be a punching bag for customer service representatives who hate their jobs.

I recently received a gift from United Colors of Benetton and made a stop at their Kaslik branch this weekend for a quick exchange. I wasn’t greeted by the sales girl who glanced at me as I entered the store but instead greeted her myself. She seemed annoyed like she had something more important to tend to. She probably did. The entire store smelled like someone was preparing some Lebanese food cook-off in the back, onions, garlic, chicken, fresh steamed rice, you name it.

I explained to her that I would like to exchange a pair of shoes I had on-hand for a smaller size. She told me she’d have to check with the manager. Minutes later an even more annoyed manager made an appearance looking flustered. She approved my exchange and sent the sales girl to get me the right size. I thanked her and decided to have a look around while I waited.

After waiting for a good ten minutes I looked over at the counter and saw the two women just standing there. So I went over to inquire about the status of my exchange and pay for a scarf I had picked out.

As I was pulling out my card to pay I had realized that there were no shoes in sight.

“Excuse me, but where are the shoes I had wanted?” I asked.

“We don’t have your size” the store manager said in a very matter-of-fact kind of way

“Oh, I see, how come you didn’t inform me as I waited around?” I asked curiously

“I did tell you, you just didn’t hear me” she exclaimed

“Did you? Well since you’re aware I didn’t hear you why didn’t you make yourself more clear instead of watching me wait around?”  I asked.

My question didn’t seem to register and she didn’t bother herself with a reply. The pungent smell from the back was now getting stronger. The manager began processing my payment in a very stern manner, her face cringed and she handled everything so roughly and even threw the stapler harshly on the counter. Her subordinate looked at her in shock and they both waited as I signed my copy of the receipt.

“Thank you” I said as I got ready to grab my belongings and prepared to head out.

Nothing. No reply. Instead they both shot me blank stares.

“ I just purchased something at your store and thanked you, are you both not going to reply?”

The manager shot back “ I don’t need you to teach me how to speak!”

“Well, clearly you’re lacking some customer service and basic social skills.”

They both began muttering something  but I didn’t stick around to hear what they had to say. I mean, under normal circumstances I would have asked to speak to the manager but this WAS the manager. Too bad for United Colors Of Benetton, I will not be shopping there again.

More Bad Customer Service  Experiences

An Unfortunate Incident At The Aishti Outlet In Ashrafieh

International Retailers In Lebanon Should Train Employees Better