Queen of Denial, Part VII:
Gorgeous Georges all dressed up to go out to an early dinner
with me on one of his visits!
posted January 4, 2012
So, how do two consenting adults have sex in a small Syrian city where one of them is known to all (because he is a popular, single, hometown boy), and the other is the featured Belly dancer at the most popular restaurant in town? Well, I’ll tell you, it wasn’t as difficult as you might imagine, or it was more difficult than you might imagine; take your pick! Actually, the hardest part was Georges getting me to agree to have sex at all (if and when we could figure out a way to discreetly do so). I was very concerned about my reputation (and Georges’ too, of course) and worried about “getting caught” by anyone, but, especially, by my boss: Abu Jamal…
We had caused enough of a stir–just being seen together on a daily basis! We had lunch together almost daily and spent afternoons going swimming at the public pool when the weather permitted. Of course, we also went to the weekly tea dance where we were introduced (as I described previously in Part I). When Georges had to work afternoons at the hotel, I frequently hung out in the lobby living room so we could look at each other. Besides stealing kisses and “copping a feel” now and then at lunch or at the pool, I wouldn’t let him touch me in public (although the entire town suspected what we were up to, especially Abu Jamal)!
After a few pretty frustrating weeks of self-imposed celibacy, I agreed to meet Georges at a surprise destination. He told me we were going to visit his cousin, but, I had a sneaking suspicion that, whatever his “surprise” was, it was going to have something to do with our finally having sex! He asked me to meet him there myself (which confirmed my suspicions even more as the only reason to go separately was to appear not to be going together).
He wrote out the address in Arabic for me to give to the taxi driver on the designated day. I arrived in a part of town with which I was completely unfamiliar and that looked rather shabby to me, old, spooky and deserted.
Georges was waiting outside a building that appeared to be condemned by my standards. When we entered the place, I really got the “heebee-geebees”! I was sure we were unlawfully entering a vacant building scheduled to be torn down. There were no lights in the narrow hallways leading upstairs, and the place looked as if it was crumbling away along with the peeling, ugly green paint coming off the walls! I turned back several times, telling Georges I didn’t want to go any further inside this decrepit old building–no matter what his “surprise” was going to be.
He kept reassuring me that everything was okay, and finally, the second time that I made for the exit, he pinned me against the wall in the darkened hallway and gave me a long, luscious kiss that made my head spin!
After that, I rallied up my courage, and we finally arrived on the 4th floor at a door that Georges had keys to open! Obviously there was no cousin, friend, or anyone else inside the little apartment, but, at least there was electricity! Taking a good look around the place, I knew no cousin of his could be living there; in fact, the only person I could imagine living there was someone with no other choices! At this point, my dreamy, dizziness from the lovely kiss I had just received disappeared, and I started to get angry, forcing him to tell me what the Hell was really going on–and why wasn’t there any furniture (apart from two un-made beds) in the entire flat! I was completely convinced that we were squatting in a condemned building to have sex, and as much as I wanted to be with Georges, I did have my pride! Having sex in a condemned building was about as far from my idea of what our “first time” together should be like as I could imagine!
Finally, Georges confessed that he and a couple of his good friends (one was, in fact, his cousin) had rented the little dump for the sole purpose of bringing their girlfriends there to have sex! Georges and his friends couldn’t afford to spend any more money on the place, and the two little beds were really all we needed. All three friends had jobs, mind you, but they were still university students, living at home, and contributing what they earned to help pay their family’s monthly expenses. As dumpy as the little place was, it was a huge expenditure for them to undertake (and all for the sake of youthful lust)! I laughed and sighed with relief, and could finally relax and enjoy our first love-making in this dumpy little “love nest” that Georges had provided for us!
Georges and I had managed to sneak away to that run-down love nest at least once a week. When my three-month contract came to an end, I was offered an extension for another three months by Abu Jamal because the clientele of the Mogambo (made up from most of the middle-to-upper class families in Aleppo), really liked me–even if I was “debauching” one of their own)! Although I knew that Abu Jamal didn’t approve of Georges and I seeing each other, nonetheless, he seemed to like the fact that I appeared to also be in love with his little town of Aleppo! So, I stayed on for another three months, and most of the acts with whom I appeared were also extended, including my friends Jon and Sam, giving us the additional time to become like a close-knit family. Abu Jamal was sweet–even though he was a bit possessive with me and wouldn’t let Georges come to the restaurant, except with his family. “Rules are rules,” he said!
Performing in the supper club every night for 2 months to ‘Canned
music, wasn’t one of my favorite dance jobs for sure! But, easy and
it paid fantastically well and in American dollars being that the
Sheraton is an American company. The only down side besides
no musicians was that for the very first time in my life to date,
I had to PAY US TAXES!
Soon after our extension, and unbeknownst to Abu Jamal, Sam started seeing his son, Jamal. The four of us started taking little trips together on our one day off a week. We would travel by night, after work, arriving at daybreak, get coffee, and then try to find a little hotel so we could check-in early in the day; then the fun would begin and continue through to the next morning when we would pile into a taxi and head back to Aleppo!
Sam was much freer sexually than I and if Abu Jamal had ever found out what went on in his restaurant after he left, he would have had a stroke–I’m sure! (That’s where Sam and Jamal had sex–on a much more regular basis than George and I.) She would come home and into my room in the wee hours of the morning, covered with bruises on her knees and back, from having had sex on the hard cement floor!
We would laugh and giggle as she described what she and Jamal did and where they did it!
The thought of Abu Jamal coming back to the restaurant in the morning for deliveries after Sam and Jamal had “mopped the floor” (as she put it), made us laugh hysterically! It strikes me now as so funny: here I was–the Belly dancer–considered by Syrian society as less than a virtuous woman–working extremely hard to keep my perceived “good girl” reputation untarnished by any sexual exploits. On the other hand, Sam, an English dancer from a classical background, didn’t care at all about her reputation or how the public perceived her; dancing was her job; that’s all. She was only worried by the possibility of our “Dad” (a title which our boss had come to represent), finding out and Sam losing her job as a result!
Life went on pretty much as I’ve described it until my contract ended for the second time, and I was due to start work at the Sheraton in Damascus; so, no more extensions were possible. Georges and I said our sad farewells–with him promising to come down and visit me as much as he could. I guess I really didn’t think he would be able to come to Damascus, even though he said he loved me when we said goodbye. However, lo and behold! he showed up just two weeks later, and I felt kind of angry at first because he hadn’t called ahead–only contacting me once he was in town.
The Damascus Sheraton General
Manager and myself standing at the
doorway to the fancy restaurant &
supper club where I performed.
The Sheraton Damascus is a beautiful hotel and resort, with an upscale guest-roster, and managed at this time, by a Syrian/American gentleman. He had taken a fancy to me because I was the first American Belly dancer he had ever hired to work there, and I was proving to be talented, reliable, and posing no problems when it came to his customers (men that is). The thought of my small town boyfriend showing up wouldn’t do at all and especially not in the sophisticated world in which I was now living and performing.
We weren’t allowed to have visitors in our rooms, and I knew Georges couldn’t afford the nightly rates to stay at the Sheraton. Our life together was very different in Aleppo as compared to the high society I was now entertaining each evening in Damascus. However, Georges was very smart and had rented himself a room in a clean, inexpensive pension not far from the Sheraton. (He knew he wouldn’t be able to stay there with me.) Since I was performing seven nights a week, we only had afternoons together that ended up being only a handful of times during my two-month run. Each time though, he seemed more and more sad when he left, telling me that he loved me all the time and that he wanted to marry me. Georges has to be one of the nicest men with whom I have ever been involved, and under much different circumstances, who knows where our relationship might have gone?
However, I was a professional dancer, at the peak of my career, traveling the world making my way, doing what I loved most and above all things (or people) at that time in my life.
In fact, I was living out one of my earliest dreams of being a stage-show dancer (a June Taylor dancer to be exact) in Damascus. I had befriended the dancers and owners of the small Italian owned jazz and ballet company performing at the Sheraton who were part of the variety show in which I was appearing each night. I had started working out with the owner and choreographers of the ballet in the afternoons when Georges wasn’t in town; so, when one of their dancers injured herself, I was asked to step-in for her temporarily and fill her place in two dances. I danced in two numbers from the musical “Cats”, for three nights in a row. Also, I hung-out with the other dancers during the day when I was alone, going to the Souk and visiting different tourist sites in Damascus. Every night after our show, there were several dancers with whom I would hang-out: eating, and laughing. On occasion, we would go to the other ritzy hotel disco and dance for a few more hours! Therefore, the thought of settling down with anyone was an alien notion to me, and especially with a young man from Syria who now talked incessantly about coming to live in the United States! The only reason I could think of was the “green card”, and that this was what his affections were really all about. I remember just hinting at this during one of his visits, and he exploded, saying he could never, ever be with someone just to live in another country!
(top) The Ballet in one of my favorite costumes for my favorite
number that they performed. (bottom)The Italian/French Ballet I
worked and played with while in Damascus, toasting me "Farewell"
on my last night. My last night, covered with kisses and
The dance I stepped into for an ailing dancer, the arrow points
me out as I was pretty unrecognizable! (It was so fun and really
my "dream come true", ensemble show dancing that
I dreamed about becoming since I was very young and watching
the "Jackie Gleeson Show"! The number was from
When I explained that this was common practice in the USA, especially when it came to Middle Eastern men marrying American women, he became further offended, and I never brought it up again. However, in truth, the thought never really left my mind, and the real fact of the matter was that I wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment at that particular point in time; so, when my contract ended in Damascus, and I was scheduled to leave for Beirut, it was with relief–even though I knew I would miss Georges. I also knew that I didn’t love him the way he loved me, and so my leaving town for work was an easy exit out of our relationship.
Exactly one year later, I was back in Paris performing at the Palmyr Nightclub when I received an unexpected phone call from Georges!
During our time together in Syria, Georges was finishing up his last year of university studies in engineering. At the time, the Syrian government required a minimum of two years in the military at the age of 18 for both men and women. If a student was accepted to a university, it was paid for by the government, and the military obligation was delayed until graduation. I was scared to death for Georges because he was a kind, sweet young man without an aggressive, mean bone in his body! Therefore, one of my main topics of discussion with him was how he could possibly avoid his military service obligation. He had an uncle living in Argentina and even his family was considering how to send him overseas without someone, landing in jail or worse as a result. I kept on about him maybe leaving on “vacation” prior to graduation, and then, making his way as a tourist through Lebanon, Greece, and finally, Europe as a possible way to get out of the country. Of course this would mean that he could never return to Syria, because if he did, it would mean certain jail-time or worse; so I never thought he would really consider it.
To my utter surprise, eventually, Georges had done just as I had suggested, and was calling me from Lyon, France. He sounded happy, and told me that it was because of meeting me and my insistence that he couldn’t and shouldn’t have to endure Syrian military service, he finally chose to flee–with his family’s blessing. He was in Lyon waiting for his visa for travel to Argentina where his uncle lived and owned a business. His uncle had come through with an offer of a job for Georges, if he could find a way to get there! I was so surprised and extremely happy to hear this news! I wished him well, safety, and much happiness in his future life in South America. We cried together saying “Goodbye…” on the telephone, and that was the last time I ever heard from Georges, my Syrian lover.
Tourist in Damascus, Syria, in 1981
The main strip leading from the Sheraton Hotel towards the largest mosque in Syria and one of the oldest mosques in the world.
These smaller buildings lead up to the main Mosque that is located in the center of the huge souk.
More of the same
More of the same
The courtyard entrance to the main Mosque which was built on an ancient pagan temple to Jupiter,
that became Jewish temple, then a Christian cathedral and finally the mosque that is there today.
(Yes the gold you see in all these pictures is 24 karat gold and only a fraction of what was originally
inlaid on almost all the surfaces of the mosque and the ancient depositories in the courtyard.
Tome of the head of John the Baptist (actually the real head is not there but used to beand that was many years ago), located in the first section of the interior of the mosque.
My beautiful dancer fooling around in the courtyard of the ‘mosque.
Ancient Depository, old fashion bank, gold was inserted below through a trapdoor.
The entire surface of the depository was covered in gold encrusted mosaic Islamic art,
there were four of these in the large courtyard and they were each unique and very beautiful.
Getting "artseyfartsey" with my new camera!
More of the beautiful courtyard.
These pillars and arches are all that’s left of the ancient temple to Jupiter that originally sat on
this same site. The site has always been a place of worship and I found that kind of funny and pretty ironic
that most of the area is covered in commerce now being the site of one of the Middle East’s largest souks!
Another "art" shot, they were too cute to pass up while I was walking around the souk one day.
This souk was so large that I went there about 4 days a week in 7 (during my two month stay)
and every time I visited this market I would find a street and stalls that I had never been to before!
Shopping, and haggling over the obligatory mint tea!
Canals encircle the souk and old houses built along them
are some of the oldest dwellings in Damascus.
I loved the light and reflection of the canals and old homes!
Find Chapters 1-6 linked on Rebaba’s GS Bio Page!
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