Sunday, November 06, 2005

Kuwaiti Men and Their Humor

I’ve been getting a lot of flack lately about my view of Kuwaiti men. I must admit, there are some things about Kuwaiti men that make my blood boil (and not in a good way). However, there’s one unique quality in Kuwaiti men that I have yet to find anywhere else in all of my travels: their humor. Most of the Kuwaiti men I’ve been fortunate enough to meet have been unbelievingly witty. They’ll throw a zinger your way that’ll crack you up before you can help yourself. I’ve been trying to pinpoint the exact science behind the ‘Kuwait Zinger’ and this is what I’ve come up with so far:

1) The Kuwaiti Zinger is usually an observation of something in the situation that no one else caught earlier.
2) It is wicked enough to strike true, but gentle enough not to cause too much pain to the victim.
3) It is always delivered with a grin and/or a kind word, usually a traditional idiom or saying.
4) The following kind word/idiom is meant to restore the victim’s dignity, and is usually successful in doing so.
5) The Kuwaiti Zinger only applies to the situation at hand which is what makes it so beautiful; it can’t be recreated or stolen.
6) Being zinged only endears the victim to others who are witness to it; it never lessens him/her in their eyes.
7) It is always delivered when least expected, but never in an inappropriate situation.
8) Once a Kuwaiti man tosses a zinger at someone, a new positive energy can be felt by everyone in that given situation.
9) Kuwaiti women are capable of zingers as well, but from what I’ve seen, Kuwaiti men perfected the art.
10) The closest thing to the Kuwaiti Zinger I’ve seen in the States is the ‘burn’ – but the ‘burn’ is very negative and doesn’t really follow most of the rules stated above.

I am always open for opinions and corrections :)


Blogger nibaq said...

We also smell funny.

12:37 AM  
Blogger Jan6a said...

True Daat! I noticed Kuwaiti girls who hang out with the right crowd (brothers/cousins/guy friends) learn the art unconciously and they too become masters.

wv: mdwankk - moby dick is a wanker!

12:37 AM  
Blogger Delicately Realistic said...

Ambay sa7 kalamich Mac! They are really funny. They always have something humourous to say. Never thought of it. Oh, and I agree with Jan6a, girls can only get it when they hang out with a really funny guy a lot. Too bad we don't see much of this humour on tv or in theatres.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Molecule said...

The Godwin girl so SWEET.It is like all the goodness and innocence and happiness in the world in one little bundle.

You Kuwaitis are so charming I think,yet undiscovered by the world,and perhaps that is the secret.

There was a reason why I started to write this comment,but I seem to have forgotten it Im afraid.

I hope that does not sound patronising....I think it is.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Molecule said...

I have a little girl called Afiyah from Bangaldesh,who looks so like her,and she fills me with such joy every time I see her.

1:59 AM  
Blogger McArabian said...

nibaq Only Kuwaiti guy I know who smelled funny is my brother. Hmm...

jan6a You're probably right - I'm not giving Kuwaiti girls enough credit in that post, sorry for that :)

DR Come to think of it, that's a good point, why *don't* we see this type of humor on TV?

CA I'm thinking you're commenting on the earlier post about the Godwins. Yes, she's a sweet looking kid (mashallah!) :) Not sure about the 'undiscovered' part - but thanks for the compliment :)

2:51 AM  
Blogger Erzulie said...

I think zinging is also in the family. My immediate family is a bit sarcastic so zinging is very usual and welcomed. The only people I zing are the ones who're closest to me. A bunch of guys here are experts in the field though; they named one of the guys "Shei`7 il `6aqa6." And he really is. Around the guys only though. With girls, he's a smiling angel.

6:06 AM  
Blogger U.E. said...

Hmmm, this post requires a follow up... show me a zinger! Or am I obliged to attend the next bloggers meeting and meet some actual Kuwaiti men and experience the zinger in person? *Oh the horror*

Nice recovery post btw. Although highly unnecessary; anyone who has read enough and cares to see it can see that you don't criticize Kuwaiti men, just the idiotic and immoral actions of some of them.

9:24 AM  
Blogger William said...

Even the stupid ones can make a smart remark though :) At least alot can do it in good taste.

Hrmph, I won't be able to attend the blogger thing next Thursday. Have plans with my dad :(

1:13 PM  
Blogger Closet Diva said...

As much as I dislike verbal harassment, I must admit that the bedouins drop the most outrageously creative comments to women in public. I really struggle to stifle my laughter, and I envy their wit!

1:58 PM  
Blogger shady q80 said...

Sometimes I can't help myself, I usually end it with "sorry but that was too easy" or "you know that was too funny to ignore"

It's just a sudden urge, and I can't not blurt it out.

Though I have been able to push it way overboard...its all good though, I hope.

2:04 PM  
Blogger TANTALIZE said...

Hi McArabian.
I must admit that Kuwaitis have a sharp and witty flavor to their sarcasm. Even when their wiseass cracks are ludicrous, they yield humor.

2:44 PM  
Blogger funny said...

The zinging group is the best kind of humor.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Judy Abbott said...

Its true kuwaiti men have more since of humor on certain situations more than any other nationality.
I refer this to the PR (public relations), this is the most important tip in PR and wiothout it no work can be done in kuwait.

Another thing when women do that ga6at of jokes, men think they are flirting with them.

Unknown: i dont think you can get those jokes they make. but maybe i will show you one oneday :)

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Ibod said...

Zinger KFC

10:09 PM  
Blogger McArabian said...

erzulie So he's never zinged a girl? The cool thing about guys zinging girls in Kuwait is that it's tease that's not sexual. I've actually seen the guys in the blogging community zing girls in the comment section - we have some champion zingers here ;)

UE I'm not sure how else to explain the zinger, it's close to a tease but a tease denotes 'flirting' when it's not really flirting. The zinger is always done in good fun and rarely has a double meaning :) Weirdly enough, whenever the guys in the blogging community put a zinger in the comment section, it's always in the Kuwaiti dialect - it's one of the reasons why I think it's a kind of humor that's unique to Kuwaities. But if I ever see one in English, you'll be the first to know!

I try to be more careful in my posts than I am in the comment sections. But I was reading a couple of earlier comments I put in and I did notice a lot of negativity in my words towards Kuwaiti guys in general. This post was just a reminder to me that they're human just like everyone else and it's time I started differentiating.

william Yeah, a zinger is always made in good taste, otherwise it'll just be an insult ;) Have fun with your dad!

CD It all goes back to the mastery of the language. I guess there's some truth in the general impression that the bedouins are better at Arabic than the rest of us - and yeah, the ones I've met have always been immensely witty :)

shady La bil3aks - the Kuwaiti Zinger is never too offensive that the victim can't see the humor behind it - bas don't be too mean :P

tantalize Exactly :)

funny It certainly is my favourite kind of humor. Well, that and watching people getting hit on the head with a flying projectile - that always cracks me up for some reason.

judy Good point on the PR thing bas I'm not sure about the flirting thing. I've tossed a couple of zingers around with Kuwaiti guys before bas I'm sure they weren't thinking I was flirting with them. If they were, I'm going to be really embarassed.

ibod Tara the word 'zinger' has been around way before KFC started using it.

10:17 PM  
Blogger A3sab said...

Ilove the word zinger Where did you get the word from neve heard of it ibod said it reminds me of KFC

11:37 PM  
Blogger Brava Valentia said...

maybe am always around boring, serious men , they never sound funny to me !!!! where do i find them ? HELP

12:21 AM  
Anonymous ibod said...

inzain can you give us an example of ziger without lettuce allah e3afeech.

3:50 AM  
Blogger McArabian said...

a3sab Heh, it's an actual word. Here's the link for the definition of the word from
It's sort of an old word, so no one really uses it anymore :)

MC Walla madry 7abibty, maybe you're hanging out with older men? It's usually younger Kuwaiti guys who do zingers :)

ibod It's difficult to show a zinger - you just have to be in the situation. Bas this is a good example of a zinger on Laialy_q8's blog - look for feras' second comment (ily katba bil arablish): Link

4:36 AM  
Blogger The Don ® said...

True, but there is a reason behind the skill, when you enter an informal dewanias (guys gatherings), you can listen to the guys keep going at each other.. making fun of one another all night long until they get tiered and go home.. this is the sorts of enjoyment when sitting with each other, and if there aren’t a good crowd for big laughs, they turn to the TV and start making fun of anything and everything on TV.. My 16 year old brother does it with his friends sharp shooting each other with words that would make you bleed, and even my dad is doing it in his dewania.. it’s a non stop wittiness all night long every night.. make fun of anything and everything that moves around you.. and when you pass by them in public, I can assure you, they won’t help it, they will be making fun of you too.. because that’s that source of fun we have..

11:35 AM  
Blogger Spontaneousnessity said...

ya7lelhom 3yalna, sa3at yemalqoon bs ham ya7lelhom.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Sheba said...

hehe thats so true, and i must agree with The Don, practice does make perfect & these men do it all day & all night (the jesting i mean)

1:23 PM  
Anonymous ibod said...

Then again why did KFC call their sandwich zinger? But I get your point now MC quite original to come up with a word like zinger, you can call it a whopper for all I care, I would call it schemata/6anaza/thagha6. out of the ordinary post though …

1:25 PM  
Blogger The Krispy Dixie said...

Kuwaiti guys are excellent zingers and I do agree it has a lot to do with them spending so much time practising in the diwaniyas... Some of them do it in a 'maleeq' sort of way tho and that ain't cool, but the ones who know how much to push it are just superb! :D

I also know a lot of kuwaiti girls who are excellent zingers :D Mama Fusla sounds like she's an excellent one... Amunki as well :D

wv: tsUtru(?) (Why yes! T'is me! :D)

6:41 PM  
Blogger McArabian said...

Don Yeah, some guys will do it all day and all night, bas keep in mind there's a difference between zinger and plain old i6naza - zingers don't really hurt, bil3aks they're very gentle compared to the 'burn' that a lot of Kuwaiti guys do around each other. The zinger can be tossed at a girl without hurting her feelings :)

Sponty LOL!

sheba It's funny to hear that guys actual practice this - whenever I heard a zinger it always felt like it was naturally witty :)

ibod Fast food joints always grab words and try to make them their own. The word 'whopper' is actually a real word - I think it means 'punch' as in to hit someone - thanks for the compliment :)

Krispy I have yet to hear a good zinger from a Kuwaiti girl - but then again, I rarely hung out with Kuwaiti girls in Kuwait. That will be corrected when I come back to Kuwait inshallah :)

10:30 PM  
Blogger teagirl said...

I agree with jan6a, the girls who hang out with these guys are almost better than the same guys she hangs out with.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Temetwir said...

mcarabian does this have anything to do with samboose's last topic?

10:45 PM  
Blogger kila ma6goog said...

totally agree with 2,5,7, alot with 8
goood job

11:42 PM  
Blogger McArabian said...

photo I would love to meet these kind of girls everyone talks about :) I hung out with guys bas I never picked up the art of tossing a good zinger :)

temetwir Your zinger comment was part of the inspiration :) I read that comment before I went to bed and dreamt of this Kuwaiti fella throwing a zinger (not the sandwhich, the actual comment) at me. So I wrote up this post :)

kila Thanks - glad you agree :)

12:08 AM  
Blogger Delicately Realistic said...

Mac! Today one of my guy friends at school asked me asked me what is the thing that u feel makes kuwaiti guys unique?
What do u think I said?
Humour of course!

CD 3ad I have a whole list of funny things guys have said to me, but none come to mind. 7asfa.

3:02 AM  
Blogger LaiaLy_q8 said...

i don't think i want anything other than a kuwaity "Zinger" :)

5:24 AM  
Blogger Equalizer said...

I can have a zinger with cheese right now!

j/k :p

9:55 AM  
Blogger NuNu™ said...

Hope kuwaiti men just get well soon =/

11:03 PM  
Blogger McArabian said...

DR Ha! Good answer :)

Laialy I have to admit, nothing cracks me up look a good Kuwaiti zinger :)

Equalizer Aren't you worried about bird flu? ;)

Nunu Laish? Are they sick? :P

1:09 AM  
Blogger Temetwir said...

mcarabian heh ic.. details of dream would be nice

7:30 PM  
Blogger McArabian said...

temetwir Laish? Is tafseer a7lam one of your many hidden talents? ;)

It's embarrassing enough to mention that I dreamt of a guy, lets let it go at that :P

11:00 PM  
Blogger Qatar Cat said...

I can only comment on what I see in the Kuwaiti blogs around - and I think you are right :) Have to add that ladies are abreast with guys when it comes to "zingers".

Cat is back!


1:11 AM  
Blogger Sailor said...

wala e7na mo hayneen , we have a sense of humour .. o its understod by everyone . some coutries hassense of humour that is understood only by them . i cant stand watching other countries comedy shows coz it sucks

5:34 AM  
Blogger NuNu™ said...

I guess, in their mentality ;P

12:32 AM  
Blogger Desert Girl said...

You hit the nail on the head with this post. I've tried to describe to friends in the States what makes Kuwait so unique and I often say that it is Kuwait society's unique way of making fun of itself (and others). I don't think it is just men, however. There are some extremely funny female zingers out there. Very insightful post! :)

3:52 PM  
Blogger Gigi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Gigi said...

I keep on coming back to reread this post :D

I'm quite mad about Kuwaiti Men and can be quite blind to their faults!
(It's possible that yen6ebiq 3alay the "il-qerd ib3ain ommah ghazaal" formula) Bas shasowee a7is-hum minnee oo feeni oo damhum khafeef 3alay galbi!

So I really loved the way you've analyzed and broken down this oh-so-essential ingredient of Kuwaiti Men...

And sexy pic, too ;)

Gigi, appreciatively

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NSU - 4efer, 5210 - rulez

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah! That's so true. Especially when put in a situation where they actually have to deal with foreigners. They dont mind speaking right to the persons face and saying something along the lines of "Shyaby hatha? shigoul?" It cracks me up everytime. Most of the guys that I find hilarious are Kuwaiti. And you're right, I dont think I've ever met a person who has that Kuwaiti sense of humor.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah,kuwaiti men are have very nice sense of boyfriend is kuwaiti he always mke me laugh.and he's so good.kuwaiti men are good wen it comes to a girls.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very strange

3:14 PM  
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