Why Love? Because this weekend is the 12th wedding anniversary for my wife and I!
But what does love have to do with Jordan? Well … there is a very important word you will start hearing quite often soon after you arrive in Jordan:
Habiibi (for saying to men)
Habiibti (for saying to women)
The phrase literally means “my loved one” and I hear it several times a day. Actually it is directed at me several times a day. Are Jordanian’s flirtatious you may ask? Not overly. In fact it would be shocking to hear a woman (besides my wife) call me Habiibi. You see, Jordan has a very high gender role separation. Men and women generally fulfill traditional roles within the society (although this is changing), and this also means that men interact more in the public sphere with other men and women with other women.
So it is very common for men to greet there male friends as Habiibi. Or stangers who are around your same age or younger. The same is true for women greeting women. If anyone here in Jordan is calling me their loved one it’s invariably another guy. Which can take a little getting used to, but now it is quite normal for me.
However … a guy should never greet a woman who is not his wife (or daughter or perhaps little sister or other younger female relative) as Habiibti! This would be shameful and embarrassing. So I must say here in Jordan I have dozens of Habiibis, but only 3 Habiibtis. (my wife and our 2 daughters!)
Guys don’t be surprised when you visit us here if I greet you on the cheek with a kiss and a hearty “my loved one!” Please don’t punch me.
That said … there is only one true Habiibti for me … thanks for 12 wonderful years of marriage!