I recently went to Casablanca, a really nice “fusion” restaurant on the Corniche in Ain el-Mreisseh, to celebrate a friend’s graduation from one of the American universities here in Beirut. The food was good, and the service was exceptional. Afterwards, while the rest of the family, which was in town from Jordan for the event, went home to recuperate from their busy day, I went back to East Beirut to go home but stopped at a bar with a friend of mine (the recent graduate’s cousin who also lives in Beirut) for a quick drink.
The bar where we stopped is by my house and is called Gauche Caviar. For those not familiar with French or the republic’s political landscape, the “Caviar Left” is often set in opposition to the “Cassoulet Right” by lazy political analysts, journalists and barstool sociologists, much in the same way “Latte Liberals” are compared with “Meat and Potatoes Conservatives” by people like David Brooks, the American media’s answer to the idea of a public intellectual.
In any case, we met up with my friend’s ex-girlfriend, who, with some friends, was making merry with a mixture of Red Bull and Vodka. We started talking, and she told me that she had gone to university in the US, and I was surprised to learn that her focus has been “Marxists Economics.” (I imagine her diploma only said “Economics,” but that’s what she told me, and it makes the story better.) I asked her if she recognized the irony in a college graduate with a degree in Marxist Economics partying at a place called Gauche Caviar, and in Beirut no less. It seems that as an Anglophone, she had been going to the bar for some time before someone explained the name to her.
This weekend, I saw that same lovely woman in a nightclub called Basement, whose ingenious new slogan is “It’s Safer Underground,” where she was dancing atop a table to the pulsing electronic buzz of what passes for dance music these days. Despite my distaste for the DJ’s repertoire, she cut a sexy figure with her cigarette tracing patterns in the dark and her scantily clothed olive skin, moving left and right and up and down, mesmerizing all but only the most unobservant or intoxicated in her close vicinity.
As I was leaving, I couldn’t help myself from tapping her on the shoulder and whispering into her ear, “You know, for a Marxist, you really know how to shake your ass.”