Portrait: Kristel

Meet Kristel. Yes, with a K, one L. The traditional french spelling is so common ya3ni, there’s not point in sticking to it.

And if there is something our Kristel isn’t, it’s common. 

Kristel lives in Ashrafieh (where else?), but not in the little zawarib, no no, those are just too ghastly cha3bi for words, no, Kristel lives next to sa7et sassine, in front of the Byblos Bank SkyScrapper, where she can closely keep an eye on how those mhebil take care of papi’s money ( that she likes to think of as her own, but May God keep papi in good health for long years.)

Kristel is a proud Christian Maronite even though she nevers attends Church and seldom prays (one still has to send a little prayer to above to maximise one’s chances of getting a proper husband), but hey, this is Lebanon, where you’re no one and nothing if you don’t claim to who will listen which religious sect you belong to. I mean, God forbid, someone might actually mistake her for an Orthodox wou yiiiiiih 3aleyeh, it would be a proper catastrophe.

Kristel sometimes thinks these strict religious barriers are a shame, especially when it comes to that nice, good looking, sweet Sunni fella who attends university with her and who asked her out. Nice as he may, Kristel could not believe her ears and started laughing uncontrollably to his face. I mean, was he kidding? Did he not know she would NEVER EVER start something with him? I mean, to start with, she told him, I wouldn’t even know where you live, habibi, you live in Verdun! Verdun, she said, that’s like, the Other Side of Beirut. Kristel never goes there and has no intention of starting, what would be the point? It was enough of a cultural shock starting university at LAU, with suddenly meeting all these muslim Lebanese who fasted during Ramadan and things. Kristel’s highschool had barely no muslim student, so really, she had no idea. No, and besides, she could never date that guy, Mami and Papi would never approve, and there and then would go the superb wedding Papi said he would pay for with the 1200 guests, fireworks, Zuhair Mrad wedding gown with those lovely Swaroski sparkles and hairdo from Simon. The girls would absolutely DIE from envy, and Kristel has no intention of renouncing all of this, even though Sharif really is kind of cute and clever.

When Kristel says she “attends” university, it is to be understood that she goes, yes, all decked out in her finest clothes from Aishti, her gleaming Merc shining in the Beiruti sun, thanks to Gamal the Egyptian from the nearby gas station, but that there is not much studying involved. When she graduated from highschool, papi asked her what she wanted to do. What Kristel really wanted to do was lie on a beach and party hard all day every day (and night) but she figured that might not get her a husband, men you meet in clubs are soooo superficial. So she enrolled into graphic design at LAU, you know, to reveal her artistic side, hoping that would be an easy major. She got really surprised when a good majority of students (even girls, can you imagine!), were talented, hard working and creative people, actually looking forward to getting a degree. 

So Krikoo (her super cute surname) kind of stopped going to class, and hangs out in the Cafeteria with her best friend Karla, where, nicely hidden behind their pairs of Marc Jacobs shades, they criticize everything and everyone, with a specific emphasis on the young women running to their class.

– Would you only look at this one? Wearing glasses, no proper hairdo or brushing, reading like some kind of nerd?

– And this one! Such a fat ass! 

– D’you know? Mami always tells me the guy who would get me will be super lucky, ya3ni 3anjad i understand what she means, we’re the onyl girls here who take care of ourselves properly. 

– We’re a dying breed, Kristel will say, replying to the BBM of the late thirties balding man currently living in the UAE whom she thinks will propose next time he comes to Lebanon. Yup, a dying breed, 

Thanks be to God, will mutter Lara, the waitress/student at the cafe. Thanks be to God. 


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