Overheard in Lebanon

Lebanese have a way of being overly honest and frank, especially when it comes to their opinions on your hair, makeup, health and weight loss or gain or the potential of either of these things based on what they think of your eating habits. They may also may be overly honest on things such as their personal health issues that we may not talk about with strangers in America. I like the candor and find it funny, refreshing and entertaining.  For all their honesty in may areas, they still are very passive and non-confrontational when it comes to stating some things that actually needs to be said. Such as dealing with a disciplinary problem,  being honest about not wanting to do something they said they were going to do (I mean why even suggest it if you aren’t really wanting to follow through and then why not just be frank if you changed your mind about something?) No! That honesty is only reserved for telling you that it might be time to freshen your hairstyle or get a tan.

I have tried to write down and collect some the entertaining comments that I have heard to date.

Q: What is that sound?

A: Fireworks.

Q: Oh? How do you tell the difference between fireworks and an explosion?

A:  We don’t. Here they are the same. They use grenades for fireworks.


Sign above restaurant/wedding venue:  “No shooting (guns) allowed.”


Comments made to me:

“Oh, that Manoushe stand? The first time I ate there I got bad diarrhea.”  (said to me as I am eating my manoushe).


“Your hair is not looking very tight on the sides like it was when I first saw you. You really need a haircut.”

“You cannot eat too much shwarma. It will make you gain weight and you shouldn’t  gain weight.”


Q: “What did you do? Because you are looking much more beautiful than the last time I saw you. ”

Me:  “Well, last time you saw me my hair was curly.  I guess you are not a fan of the curly hair then.”


Q: “Why does your hair look different?”

Me: Because my straightening iron broke.

Q: “Well you should really get another straightening iron.”


Q: “Did you just wake up? Because you look really bad today.”

Me:  “No. I just have a sinus infection and my face is all puffy. “


Said at a staff meeting: “We can include the Syrian families we are supporting in the church’s Valentines dinner.  It should be OK because of the families we are supporting, all the men currently only have one wife.”

“We did have a donkey on the farm. But he committed suicide. He jumped off the cliff with a rope around his neck.”

Me: “Of all the people I have ever had to deal with in my career, he is one of the top 10 creepiest, most unprofessional guys.”

The Pastor (without skipping a beat): “Should we get plaque or certificate made for him for that?”

A later conversation with the creepy person referenced above:

Him: “If I wasn’t married I would have asked you out already.”
Me: “If you weren’t married I would still have said no.”
Him: “Really?? I was for sure that I felt some chemistry when we first met.”
Me: “No. You did not. In fact, my colleague thought I was going to punch you out for being inappropriate.”


  1. Paul Troquille

    Here in Tanzania it is a compliment to tell you you are fat. They equate fat with prosperity. I was introduced at a secular college group, “Here are our guests speakers and look at them, they are so fat!”

    1. esthersadventures (Post author)

      It is definitely not a compliment around here! They like the ladies very skinny here. That is why they are both watching your weight and telling you that you are gaining while simultaneously piling your plate and telling you that you are not eating enough of their cooking.

  2. Casey Carroll

    I love the “one wife” one. That’s funny!

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