A step-by-step guide for a single Moroccan gal in her twenties.
1. Acquire boyfriend. This could be someone you meet at school or work, or maybe the brother of a close friend.
2. Get their digits. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Begin to text each other constantly. Do not feel afraid to express your love soon, and often. Exchange furtive conversations when your parents aren’t around, but keep them short because cell phone recharge is expensive. And make sure not to label his number, so his identity is hidden in case someone borrows your phone or gets suspicious.
3. Arrange the time and place of the date. Make sure you have cross-referenced your family’s social calendar (see step #5) and enlisted the help of a cousin and your awkward foreigner host sister to tag along as chaperones. The location for the date will be where all dates are, obviously: food court of supermarket mall in nearby city.
4. On the appointed day, get dolled up in skinny jeans and a shirt that might suggest at cleavage. Take a lot of time straightening your hair and applying your makeup. Pay special attention to achieving those dark, thick eyebrows you see on TV.
5. Catch a bus into the city with aforementioned chaperones, your mother, and a few other village women, in order to attend a wedding.
6. Put your mother in a taxi and tell her you are going to the mall with your friends and will show up at the wedding later.
7. Go to mall. Browse stores that sell clothing you will most likely never be able to afford.
8. Begin frantically texting date to ascertain that he IS, in fact, on his way. He is traveling an insanely long way for this date. Like, hours and hours on a bus. So it’s important to check in about his new status every few minutes.
9. Visit bathroom. Remove makeup and re-apply.
10. Sit nervously in food court.
11. Your date shows up with his brother. Congratulations! Your date has begun!
12. Although you text each other a gajillion times a day, and you haven’t seen each other in four months, you and your date have very little to say to each other. You, your date, your date’s brother, your cousin, and your awkward foreigner host sister sit in near silence in the food court.
13. Eventually, some conversation strikes up, and you adopt a nagging, scolding tone with your date, probably emulating the way most male-female interactions appear to you.
14. After 25 minutes, remind everyone that you do have to be on the way to that wedding, but suggest the group stays together while you all try to find a cab. Then while you’re all walking through the dark streets “looking” for a taxi, you can get a little hand-holding action in. Genius move.
15. As you walk, it becomes apparent that this was a double date all along, and brother pairs off with cousin. Awkward foreigner host sister is awkward.
16. 45 minutes after the date began, you, cousin, and host sister bundle yourselves into a taxi. The date is over.
17. Once you arrive at the wedding, spend the next two and a half hours in the corner with cousin and host sister, dealing with the fallout from the date. (Don’t worry, the food will not be served for another few hours after that.) Reassure your date that you do, in fact, love him, despite any behavior to the contrary. Accept his poetic re-affirmations of love in response. Spend a long time discussing possible merits of brother with cousin. Numbers are exchanged. Cousin and brother begin texting each other. They will fall in love soon.