6 Awkward Etiquette Moments

1. The Tipping

Most, if not all, gas stations in Lebanon are not self-service. While your tank is being filled, you may get your windows and side mirrors cleaned. Then comes the moment when you’re paying for said gas and you should tip the dude for wiping bird shit off your car. It’s not his fault that you park in a forest or that a sandcloud from Saudi blew in yesterday when you decided to park outside the overhang/underground lot. One problem: you have no change. You have a 5 thou and 50 dollar bill. “Is 5 thou too much? Yes, you’re forking over $50 for gas and it was dirty soapwater anyway.” Never goes to that station again. 

2. The Greeting

Saying hello is way too stressful in our part of the world. Do you kiss? Do you shake hands or hug? Is their girlfriend going to hex you if you kiss him twice? How many kisses does this person do? There’s this internal voice screaming “Wait, one for friends, two for older folk, and three for relatives on Eid. But some only do one now. Damn now I’ve lost count, look at their face, I’m freaking them out all WHY IS SHE STILL KISSING ME?” and then you nervously say, “I never know how many, ha ha…”. Never leaves house again. 

3. The Correcting

This refers to when you avoid explaining something to someone because you’re going to make them feel uneducated and sound like a pompous ass. Like when people use “wherefore art thou?” to ask where you are when, in literature, Juliet is actually asking why Romeo is a Montague, not where he is. Then there’s the graduating English Lit major who can’t correctly spell anything in their Facebook status. “Omg, I’m finaly gradauted. I can still here the applause.” Never trusts that person’s university again. 

4. The Inviting

You were invited to dinner with some friends. Your other friend calls you an hour before you leave your house and asks what you’re up to. Because you don’t like lying, you tell them your plans and don’t know if you can tell them to tag along to an outing they should’ve been invited to in the first place. You tell them to come not knowing who you’re going to piss off in the process. Your friend feels neglected for not being told, you feel awkward for being stuck in the middle, and your friends are annoyed that you didn’t tell them to add one to the reservation. Never answers phone again.

5. The Attending

You’re at a lecture, formal function, or ceremony. It’s so boring that watching a documentary about growing moss would be like co-starring in a movie with John Malkovich in comparison. What’s worse is your foot’s asleep and will have you walking out like Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects as you’re talking to yourself because Durden made you do it, but you’re sorry because all you wanted to do that night was eat an entire bag of Tostitos while streaming The Vampire Diaries. Never goes to formal functions again.

6. The Visiting 

There’s something about it being bad luck if you refuse an offering of food related to an occasion. You said “no, thank you” to your new baby cousin’s souvenir chocolate from Patchi and now he’s going to go bald at 14. Your friend’s mom is offering you a cheese sandwich, a slice of cake, freshly-squeezed OJ or, most likely, all of the above. If you refuse, it’s like you said no to a rare unicorn burger; she will think you’re an arrogant ungrateful child who doesn’t like her cooking. “No really Tante, I just ate a whole combo meal from KFC, a bowl of popcorn, and 4 macaroons…okay, I’ll have some shish barak.” Never visits friend again. Unless their mom makes homemade crepes with bananas. 

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