On joining the club

13 May 2012 § Leave a comment

Soon after PG and I had our illustrious katb kitab at the Ministry of Justice, my father  set about the process of getting PG membership to the local nady — the neighborhood sporting club around which a lot of Egyptian social life revolves. For as long as I can remember we have been meeting with friends and family at the club — for lunch, to watch a football match or basketball game, for tea, whatever. A lot of social life in Egypt revolves around these clubs. This was especially the case back in the day when the number of cafes and restaurants in which young people could hang out was limited. I remember my bestie from school days — Mini — returning at the start of every school year and telling me all about her latest summer flirtations at the club with Ahmed or Alaa or whatever the name of the current boy of summer was.

All this is to explain my father’s keen interest in getting PG his nady membership as soon as possible — once he’d joined the club, it meant he had really joined the club.

The first step in doing this required that I separate from my family membership and become my own, working adult member (“a’dwa a’mila” ). Once that step was completed I could then add my spouse and, eventually, my children and they would not have to pay the current, exorbitant new member fees. We completed this step, eventually, after a lot of wrangling and yelling and even some veiled threats (more on that story some other time), and then completely forgot about getting PG his membership. Then we got married, moved to England, and there was no point.

So, since our return we’ve been meaning to get PG his membership. A month ago we finally started the process and two weeks later, PG finally had his membership card in hand — all for the low low price of $11 (including swimming members; $6 without).

In order to get his membership we needed the following documents:

For him

– Copy of a form of ID (in his case his passport; you will need to bring the original to look at)

– Copy of a degree or educational certificate (same applies about bring the original)

– Military service exemption (not applicable in PG’s case, of course but including this in case your spouse is Egyptian)

– Two passport photos

– $6, which must be paid in dollars not the EGP equivalent

For me

– Copy of our marriage certificate (bring along the original)

– Copy of my national ID

– Two passport photos

– EGP 256 (processing fee for issuing a new club membership card linking me to my spouse)

We took our documents to the Member Affairs office and were told to come back within a week to pay the above-mentioned fees. Once we paid the fees we were told to come back within 10 days to pick up the new membership cards. In the meantime, however, PG was issued a receipt which he was able to use to enter the club as a member until the card was issued. Aside from the first step (getting me separated from my family membership), the whole process was pretty easy peasy and surprisingly well-organized (minus having to go to three different offices to first pay the fee, get the receipt, obtain the card — typical Egyptian underemployment methods).

Of course, my favorite part of this whole story is the ending. When we finally went to pick up our new cards PG’s card read:

السيدة بج حرم السيدة نيوجبشن

In English: Mrs. “PG”, Wife of Mrs. “Newgyptian”

Primitive censorship skills

When the guy printing the cards handed it over he leaned across the counter and looking at the card with shifty eyes and said, “Um, you can get that changed right now. Just go over to the cashier and tell him to change it for you on the system.” At first I didn’t get what he was on about and so I said, “What? Change what?” And he pointed to the card. I barely stifled a smile and said, “Well, we have to renew our membership at the end of June anyway, right? We can just wait till then.” In one final desperate plea on behalf of my unintentionally emasculated spouse (a woman applying for membership on behalf of her husband?! impossible!) the guy said, “Well, you might forget! Why not just do it now. Save yourself the hassle later.” Then he looked at me, looked back at PG who was standing behind me and mumbled, “I mean, unless he doesn’t care. I’m just saying…”

At which point I thanked him and practically skipped out of the office. While PG had caught the gist of what was going on, I gleefully filled him in on the exchange on the way back to the car. Then I stopped and said, “Wait, unless you actually care and want to change it now.” To which he manfully replied, “Pfftt…who cares? We can change it later.”

The next day he emailed me a scan of the ID card knowing how desperately I would want to share this tiny moment of feminist hahaha with the world.

He’s the best wife a girl could ask for.


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