#TBT: "Are You A Dearborn Girl?" - 50 Ways to Know

📷 Picture this.

 candid shots are my favorite. they remind me of the beauty and power in simply "being." of loving and accepting yourself for everything you are, flaws and all. a work in progress. 

candid shots are my favorite. they remind me of the beauty and power in simply "being." of loving and accepting yourself for everything you are, flaws and all. a work in progress. 

A 16 year old arab-american girl on one of her summer trips to Lebanon. she's running around one of her favorite waterparks, Splash Mountain, when a random boy stops her. He looks about her age, and he's wearing Hollister swim trunks. safe to say he was also Arab American. Before she could even say anything, he asks:

"ARE YOU A DEARBORN GIRL?"

she gives him that typical Dearborn girl look with the raised eyebrows, and in her Dearborn girl voice, with her Dearborn girl sass, she responds: "why?" He LAUGHS and turns to the boy with him: "See! I told you she was from Dearborn." Trying to figure out what the giveaway was, she loosens up, forces a smile, clears her throat, and asks him if he was from Dearborn too. He said that he was born and raised in Florida but has a lot of relatives in Dearborn, that he could spot her demeanor from a mile away, That her attitude only confirmed his suspicions. 

that girl was me! At the time, I was offended and annoyed at how obvious i was - I THINK MOST Dearborn girls at that age would have felt the same. But today, almost ten years later, I think back on that story and laugh. I am as Dearborn as it gets.


I can walk to Fordson High School in two minutes.

My dad would get mad if we came home with grocery bags from anywhere but Joe and Ed's across the street.

One of my favorite pastimes is sneaking into the Fordson baseball field just to say I did it.

I say "wallah" and "bro" more times in a day than I care to count. 

🗣 I LOVE BEING A DEARBORN GIRL.

THIS STORY was not the last time I was called out for being "so Dearborn," and with time, I have learned to embrace this very salient part of my identity. HONESTLY, I think more of us from dearborn need to embrace our "Dearborness." FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS POST, WHEN I USE "DEARBORN girl" I AM specifically TALKING ABOUT The ARAB-AMERICAN woman's EXPERIENCE IN THE DEARBORN ARAB COMMUNITY. I UNDERSTAND THAT other KINDS OF women LIVE IN DEARBORN, AND I UNDERSTAND THAT THE ARAB AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IS NOT A MONOLITH, I merely wish to give light to experiences to which other arab-american girls can relate.

THESE EXPERIENCES ARE REAL, FUNNY, SAD, WEIRD, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN, BUT THEY ARE "US."

THEY ARE ONLY A BEGINNING, AND IT'S TIME WE START TALKING ABOUT THEM. 

 
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Here are 50 ways to know if you're a dearborn girl. *As you read, count how many of them resonate you. after the list, you will be rated in terms of your "dearbornness." (Read on to find out ri's Dearborn rating!)

1- Being a Dearborn girl means we can't [comfortably] get our eyebrows done with anyone other than our "eyebrow lady"

2- Being a Dearborn girl means we talk one way with our Dearborn friends, and another way with practically everyone else

3- Being a Dearborn girl means if we seriously date someone, we are considering them for marriage

4- Being a Dearborn girl means we wore oversized hoodies and sweats to school as a fashion statement at least once

5- Being a Dearborn girl means we'll pretty much always be our parents' little girls, no matter how old we get

6- Being a Dearborn girl means, at times, we wear masks, for fear of being judged by others in our community

7- Being a Dearborn girl means we occasionally need to get out of Dearborn, to be someone other than our Dearborn selves for a day or two

8- Being a Dearborn girl means that there is overwhelming pressure on us to be "good girls," to keep our reputations squeaky clean until we're married

9- Being a Dearborn girl means that there is no "clear history" feature when it comes to our past

10- Being a Dearborn girl means Mangos, Al Bashas, or Tuhamas are reserved for cheat days

11- Being a Dearborn girl means we have stricter curfews than our non-Dearborn girl friends and sleepovers aren't a thing

12- Being a Dearborn girl means you've seen another dearborn girl somewhere and intentionally pretended you didn't see her...for no reason

13- Being a Dearborn girl means that the only times we can stay out past curfew are when we're overseas (wherever our parents are from) and during Ramadan (and obviously, when we're with our parents)

14- being a dearborn girl means you don't actually have best friends...you have cousins

15- Being a Dearborn girl means you have at least one secret that you could never publicly disclose (more on this one coming soon)

16- Being a Dearborn girl means you've waited at least once in a ridiculously long Tim Horton's drive-thru line

17- Being a Dearborn girl means weekend breakfasts featuring manaesh, shai, family and that one crazy relative

18- Being a Dearborn girl means you've babysat your cousins or little siblings at least once

19- Being a Dearborn girl means you barely go to Fairlane Mall to shop

20- Being a Dearborn girl means your nails and toes are done on any given day

21- Being a Dearborn girl means laser hair removal

22- Being a Dearborn girl means you know at least one person who got a nose job

23- Being a Dearborn girl means you are constantly trying to navigate your identity as an Arab living in America and have had to explain your culture in non-dearborn spaces

24- Being a Dearborn girl means you've said these words before: "Dearborn is home to the highest concentration of Arab Muslims in one city outside of the Middle East"

25- Being a Dearborn girl means you've had to ask for advice on how to convince your parents to let you go somewhere at least once

26- Being a Dearborn girl means you're hyperaware of the cultural taboos within our community, the unspoken "forbiddens"

27- Being a Dearborn girl means that you went to that bonfire because "that person" was going to be there

28- Being a Dearborn girl means your parents have a "salon" (pronounced sa-lohn") room in your house that nobody ever uses

29- Being a Dearborn girl means you grew up playing "hard to get" 

30- Being a Dearborn girl means, at the end of the day, you really just want to be accepted

31- Being a Dearborn girl means that the Walmart on Ford Road overwhelms you

32- Being a Dearborn girl means you were either really excited or really annoyed that they opened a Zara in Somerset

33- Being a Dearborn girl means you've blocked some family members from seeing your Instagram or snapchat story

34- Being a Dearborn girl means you hate using public restrooms

35- Being a Dearborn girl means you grew up listening to Stevie B, Massari and DJ Refugee

36- Being a Dearborn girl means you know at least one Dearborn Hawk

37- Being a Dearborn girl means you're either Pro-Shatila or Pro-Masri Sweets

38- Being a Dearborn girl means one of your relatives has embarrassed you at least once

39- Being a Dearborn girl means you're familiar with at least three scripts: Arabic, English, and 3rabi maktoub bil Inglizi

40- Being a Dearborn girl means you or someone you know is addicted to arghileh (hookah)

41- Being a Dearborn girl means you roll your eyes when your non-arab waiter says: "did you mean 'Fa-La-Fill?"

42- Being a Dearborn girl means that you roll your eyes whenever you hear the words "bint 7alal," "sabiyye," "sit bayt" or "3ayb"

43- Being a Dearborn girl means you're just really good at rolling your eyes (because if you talk back you'll get the sha7ata)

44- Being a Dearborn girl means being forced to eat food that you actually hate

45- Being a Dearborn girl means your grandma either thinks you're too skinny or too fat - no in between

46- Being a Dearborn girl means she'll try to feed you ridiculous portions either way

47- Being a Dearborn girl means, TO AT LEAST ONE PERSON YOU KNOW, you don't kiss and tell...because you've never kissed anyone before - duh

48- being a Dearborn girl means you know and use Dearborn lingo like "scrubbed out" or "boater" 

49- being a dearborn girl means you've been to at least one wedding at bint jebail, byblos or Greenfield manor

50- Being a Dearborn girl means you have an aunt who is always trying to find you your husband

okay ladies! add them up, and be honest! no need to deny your dearbornness. as a matter of fact, my score was a 47, so I am officially a Dearborn poster child.

did anyone out-dearborn me?


the "ARE YOU A DEARBORN GIRL?" GRADING SCALE: HOW DEARBORN ARE YOU?

0-10:

"YOU DON'T EVEN GO HERE"

11-20:

"COULDN'T GET AWAY FROM IT, COULD YOU?"

21-30:

"DEARBORN GIRL IN THE FLESH"

31-40:

"YOU still BLEED DEARBORN, habibti"

41-50:

"DEARBORN POSTER CHILD"

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I would love to hear from my fellow dearborn ladies, in part because I'm curious, but mostly because I think we need to start embracing the parts of this identity that we love, and talking about the parts that we may not enjoy so much. if you're like me, you somehow felt like you were the only one dealing with the pressures and stress that come along with being an arab-muslim girl in America. you're not alone, my love. it's time for us to be together, to be unapologetically ourselves, and to simply just be. 

COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR THOUGHTS. 💛

 

 

 


only love,

ri

 

 

 

Rima Fadlallah4 Comments