by Luna

by Luna

Luna

Luna

Blog Intro

Hello, I'm Luna, and I'd like to welcome you to "Kisses from Kairo,"* my blog about living and working as an American belly dancer in Cairo.

Life in Cairo isn't easy for dancers, foreigners, women, or even Egyptians. It is, however, always exciting. That’s why after living here for seven years, I've decided to share my experiences with the world. From being contracted at the Semiramis Hotel to almost being deported, not a day has gone by without something odd or magical happening. I will therefore fill these pages with bits of my history in Cairo—my experiences, successes, mistakes, and observations. Admittedly, my time here has been rather unique, so I want to stress that while everything I write is true, my experiences do not necessarily reflect the lives of other dancers.

In addition to my life as a belly dancer, I will write about developments in costuming, performances, festivals, and, of course, the dance itself. I will also make frequent references to Egyptian culture. I should note that I have a love/hate relationship with Egypt. If I make any criticisms about the country, please keep in mind that I do so with the utmost love, respect, and most of all, honesty. Egypt has become my home, so I want to avoid romanticizing and apologizing for social maladies, as most foreigners tend to do. Nothing could be more misguided, patronizing, or insulting.

I hope you find this blog informative, insightful and entertaining, and that we can make this as interactive as possible. That means I'd love to hear from you. Send me your comments, questions, complaints, suggestions, pics, doctoral dissertations, money, etc., and I will get back to you. Promise. :)~



My Videos

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Eat My Feet

This post is for all the guys, real and virtual, who have ever said they want to kiss, lick, bite, tickle, rub, suck, wash, or eat my feet.  Gentlemen, be my guest.  I have THE most disgusting feet on the planet.  Dancer’s feet.  There’s years of ballet and belly dance under those things. (There’s some men under there too!).  Actually, they’re more like tools than feet.  I have hammer toes, ingrown toenails, calluses, corns, blisters, open wounds, broken bones, premature Arthritis, dead skin, and permanently blackened heels.  Bunions run in my family. I walk and dance barefoot on surfaces you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.  My feet are so gross even the podiatrist grimaces when I take my shoes off.  In fact, they’re so untamable, I’ve given up on them.  I no longer bother painting my toenails.  Who would I be kidding?  Besides, ninety percent of the nail polish disappears after just one show.  I don’t clip my toenails either, but then again, they never seem to grow past a certain point.  Hah!  They probably get filed down from all the friction that occurs when I dance on wood and concrete surfaces.  I still clean them every so often, although it doesn’t really make a difference. They just get dirty again. 

I make up for the nastiness of my feet by keeping a nice manicure.  One inch glue-on talons by Kiss, Sally Hansen, and Broadway.  They don’t sell them here, so I replenish my stock whenever I go back to the States for a visit.  I buy around six or seven boxes, which lasts me about six months.  Glue-on nails aren’t exactly the healthiest thing, but I love the length they give my fingers.


The last time I went shopping for glue-on nails at CVS, I came across a rack of glue-on toenails.  Imagine that!  You can actually give yourself an instant pedicure.  For a minute, I thought they would be the perfect solution to my unsightly feet.  But I decided against it in the end; I’m pretty sure they haven’t come out with hammer toe shaped plastic toenails yet.  And, judging by what happens with my glue-on finger nails, I just know those fake toenails would pop off while I’m dancing and land in someone’s plate. 
There was one time when glue-on toenails probably would have served me well, however.  It was after a show I did at one of Cairo’s upper crust membership clubs.  The man who hired me, who was well into his eighties, decided to give me some feedback, as good Egyptian audience members always do.  He said that everything about my show was berrfect, except for one thing.  'Za nail on your big finger (he meant big toe) is too short.  You need to make it long and pointy, like za classy Oriental ladies zay do it.'
Oh my God.  The old man just told me to grow some long pointy-ass toe nails!    
'But…. WHY?!?' I asked him. 
'Because here in Eeejibt, a lady will not be respected if she does not have a long finger nail.  Za beeoble will say she is of za lower class.  I am sorry, but you don’t want anybody to say about you that you are sharmoota.  So for the nekist barty inshallah you will make your finger nails (i.e. toenails) long.'
Wait. What does toenail length have to do with people thinking I’m a prostitute?  If anyone thinks that about me, it’s because I’m a belly dancer, not because my big toe nails are short.
And then I responded.  'You know, back where I come from, it’s the complete opposite.  Long pointy toe nails are considered trashy.  Besides, I don’t think that’d be too comfortable.'
As usual, I was getting nowhere with this conversation.  But oh well, you know what they say.  Customer’s always right.
Come to think of it though, I believe the man may have had a point. Pun intended. I have seen quite a few pointy toenails on women since moving here.  I just never knew it was intentional, or that it was a status symbol!  It was one of those things I would see and be like, OK, and then move on to thinking about more important stuff, like pointy pinky fingernails (and I do mean fingernails).  Indeed, one of the most curious things about Egypt is the phenomenon of the long pinky fingernail.  If you examine the hands of some Egyptian men, you’ll find that they have at least one very long pinky fingernail.  They keep all their other nails short, except for that pinky nail that jets out, kind of like a small switchblade.  It looks very pirate, and kind of reminds me of Captain Hook. 


Now, I’ve never actually inquired into the uses of long pinky nails, but apparently it’s widespread in Asian countries as well.  I just leave it up to my imagination.  And this is what I’ve come up with so far: Tooth pick, nose pick, guitar pick, Q-Tip, letter opener, weapon, teaspoon, coke spoon… 
No matter how I try to understand it, I don’t think I’ll ever get the long pinky nail.  And it kind of irks me, especially when I see it on good looking guys.  I mean, who wants to imagine a hottie engaging his pinky nail in the ways I described above?  Definite deal breaker.  On par with bad teeth, bad breath, and my bad feet. 


Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure that if more men saw my feet, they’d think twice about harassing me or trying to pick me up.  Especially if they saw them right after I finish a show.  Since I dance barefoot, my feet are all sorts of dirty when I finish dancing.  And since I usually have to run off to a gig somewhere else, there’s no time for me to wash them.  So I just slip them back into my socks, or sandals if it’s summer, and go about my merry business.  Both the interior of my socks and the insides of my wooden sandals get black really fast, and I wind up having to scrub the life out of them when I get home.  I have a special sponge for that too.  There’s no way I’d use the same sponge on my body and my feet.  Even if I wash it before using it on my body. 
Because feet have the potential to get very dirty, especially here, it’s considered highly insulting if you sit with your legs crossed and the bottoms of your feet are facing someone.  If you do that, you might as well curse out that person’s mother.  You’ve basically just communicated that they are as dirty and low as your feet.  Shoes are also insulting in this part of the world.  Hence the famous shoe-fling at George Bush in Iraq a while back. Though it’s G-rated for us, 'son of a shoe' is a huge insult here.  As is calling someone a shoe.  It gets worse it if involves flip-flops.  Shib-shib, in Egyptian Arabic.  Saying you want to hit someone over the head with your shib-shib can get them really angry. 
I never really appreciated how insulting feet and shoes can be until I came to terms with how disgusting mine are.  It would be plain rude for me to let anyone look at my feet, let alone put them in their mouth.  Just as rude as all the creepy so-called men out there who share their nasty foot fetish fantasies with me.  Too bad I’m never rude.  Otherwise you guys might have to put my foot in your mouth.


Here's another great feet blog by the one and only Princess Farhana:  "Dancer's Feet." 
 

7 comments:

  1. *lol* great blog, great story. I know what you mean, preferring to dance barefoot myself - but not nearly as often as you. And foot fetishists are obviously everywhere, as even I can tell you...
    Please keep on writing, dancing and having fun while you do!
    I want to go to Cairo for years now (only for holiday) and never managed, it´s so interesting to read about your experiences.

    Thanks a lot to you, Judith

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    1. Thanks Judith. :) You should definitely come to Cairo. Perhaps before things potentially get worse. If you ever make it here, drop me a line.

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  2. When I lived in Southern India, I saw many men with the long pinky nail(which was creepy to me.) I was told it was to signify that they didn't work as a laborer. This is interesting because it was people from the lower class afterall who sported this fasion. I guess the middle and upper classes didn't need the same physicaly distingtion.

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  3. That sort of makes sense. Gosh people are so obsessed with status it's not even funny. I'm just waiting for the day I see someone with a long middle finger nail! :D

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  4. I've told a few guys that from where I stand, the long pinky nail is really gay. They are so shocked. You can see it on their faces that they begin to reconsider. :O
    -Zaina

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    1. Yeah it's not my favorite thing either. Though I've never told anyone that. Like I said, instant deal breaker! LOL

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  5. what i can do to have feet fetish with you Luna i'm in Cairo now :)

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