“She must work for the CIA.” This is usually the first thing people think when you’re an expat living in Beirut. Why else would you come to a city like this? Certainly it couldn’t be for the awesome weather, the cool people, or the absence of anyone related to George W. Bush in the halls of government, could it?

Naw. You must be a spy.

(Image via christianpost.com)

It’s important to be able to distinguish between people who are potential spies, and randos who just decided to move to Beirut because it sounded fun. You don’t want to be constantly suspicious. Being in a constant state of suspicion actually makes you less likely to pinpoint things that are real threats.

(Image via cinetropolis.net)

Here are some signs a person may be a spy. Or maybe they’re just an asshole.

1. They are shady about what they do for a living, but want to know everything about you.

a. If they’re a spy, they’re doing this to collect information on you while maintaining their own clandestine status. It’s likely they’ll accompany this closed lip-ness with an incredibly smug air of “You’re not important enough to know what I do for a living.” Or “If I told you, I’d have to kill you. But you’d almost think it was worth it to die, because what I do is that impressive.”

(Image via vignette1)

b. If someone isn’t a spy and they do this it means they’re either a drug dealer or a Machiavellian ass-clown. Refusing to divulge any personal information while pumping someone else for theirs is a classic manipulation tactic. Don’t fall for it.

2. They’re paranoid.

a. CIA agents see threats everywhere, especially in Beirut. They may give you all kinds of unsolicited advice like, “Change up your route every day on your walk home,” as though someone is watching you every second and really gives a fuck to watch you debate over which toilet paper to buy at Co-Op.

b. If a visitor to Beirut is this paranoid and they aren’t a CIA agent, it means they are just obnoxious or high. You can be friends with them if you want, but it means putting up with a lot of whining and stress in the meantime.

(Image via quickmeme.com)

3. They’re Orientalist to the extreme

a. Do they act like they think they know everything there is to know about the Middle East, as though early on in life, God handed them the Bible and it was “Everything the White Man Needs to Know About the Middle East”?

But when you think about it, it sounds like they learned everything they know from the second Sex and the City movie and the State Department Travel Warnings?

If so, they may be a spy.

(Image via matrixgames.com)

b. Or maybe just an asshole.

How To Tell if Someone is a Spy (or just an Asshole) in Lebanon

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