1. Men don’t touch women.
2. Men can’t break up the fight of two women by touching them; they can only use words.
3. Women hitchhikers will not get in to the car of a man, unless a woman is present.
4. Never let your daughter get into a car of a man or a Moroccan couple. But if there’s a tourist woman in the car, it’s ok.
I have learned these things firsthand. But the first one is iffy. In the medina I am often approached and touched by men but always in an affectionate, slap-on-the-arm kind of way when we are joking. But I’m not Muslim or Moroccan. And it’s obvious. So that must make it OK for them. It’s never in an offensive way. Not at all. And I quite enjoy the interactions. I’ve had comments like, “Where did you get your dress?” or “Look at your curly hair!” or “Do you think the reason you travelled so far to Morocco and then met me means we are meant to be together?” (to which I answer with a blank stare). I highly doubt a Moroccan woman would be asked these intimate questions. But I’m a tourist. I’m here to interact. And interact I do!
Whilst watching two women physically fighting about their sons, Mokhtar was helpless except with his words. He couldn’t step in and stop them physically since they are women. He could only stand on the sidelines with the other men and shout for them to stop. Had I been there, I could have stepped in and helped. Glad I wasn’t there.
Two women hitchhikers we picked up the other day would not have gotten in the car had I not been there. The presence of a woman, a tourist, helped increase their confidence that they would be safe.
Two women on the side of the road where we parked to take photos smiled shyly as I stood near them taking photos. After a few minutes, the older one approached Mokhtar and asked if we could take her granddaughter to school since she needed to be there in 20 minutes and no taxi was coming by. Of course! So grandma shook my hand and hugged and thanked profusely and granddaughter got in the car and off we went. The family dog happily joined grandma and she walked two miles or so back to her village assured of the safety of her granddaughter. All because of the female tourist in the car.