Beautiful, complicated, and unlike any other country in the world, Lebanese society is an often hard-to-crack puzzle. With much of its history contested and hotly debated, it is difficult to come up with consensus of what is quintessentially “Lebanese” because the answer often depends on whom you ask. So as an alternative route to asking, we’ve decided to listen and take compliments given by random strangers as clues for deconstructing the country.

1. Your umbrella suits you.
Umm…okay, I guess that’s a creative way to approach me…

2. Your English is soooooooooooo beautiful.
Good one.

3. You look like a foreigner.
I’m not going to sleep with you.

4. Wallahi you are prettier than Nancy Ajram.
I’ll take it!

5. You look like you are a Believer.
Thanks, I think?

A quick analysis of the above reveals a lot about Lebanese culture: it sometimes rains, it values Western English accents, it sometimes puts non-Lebanese aesthetics on a pedestal, standards of beauty are measured by their closeness to Nancy Ajram, and overall there is a strong religious ethos in the country.


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