Thursday, May 27, 2010

Love & Morocco

A little Moroccan story # 2

Morocco is a country of feisty people and opportunistic minds. A lot of young Moroccan men dream of making it big either in Morocco or elsewhere, but by far the most popular dream is just getting out of Morocco, into the wealth and freedom of Europe/USA/etc. There's even a joke going around that Morocco’s main export is eligible grooms :).

If you’re a woman and you visit Marrakech, Fes or any other bigger place, you’re bound to encounter young men looking for a one night stand, future sponsor or a de jure wife. Any white woman will do, her outlook is not a factor. If you’re not familiar with the tactics and maybe also just a bit naive, it is very easy to be swept off your feet by powerful words and seemingly sincere feelings that those dark eyed passionate men claim to feel already after few mint teas together. How many women hear something like that back at home on a regular basis? Every woman wants to be cared for and cherished and those men play right on those women’s insecurities – who wouldn’t want to be loved just as they are? Not as a bit thinner or prettier, but just as they really are. Realistic view of the situation is of course that those women are just being used for money, visa or marriage and the guy’s love will dry up as quickly as the minutes pass after you've lost your usefulness to him.

Marriage proposal is something that any woman visiting Morocco will experience sooner or later. My funniest proposal was in Fes when a guy suggested i marry him and when i turned to leave, he yelled after me on the street that he will be a good husband, will cook and clean :).

I’ve made some curious acquaintances in Morocco and after you get past the playboy hustler image and they don’t see you as an opportunity for a better life anymore, it is quite interesting to talk to them – to listen to their stories, opinions, thoughts and ambitions. These are the guys you see hanging on the streets or cafeterias, hair carefully oiled, dressed up to their eyeballs in Versace and Dolce & Gabbana knock-offs. They really do aim to get out of Morocco, but if that fails, they would also go for a woman who lives somewhere in Europe, but is rich enough to support him in Morocco. They don’t necessarily want to abandon their family and friends, but easy life and get-rich-quick schemes are definitely in their minds. Next time you go to an internet café, look around before ferociously logging on to your e-mail account – it is not at all uncommon that behind one of those computers you will see guy with a bunch of instant messaging windows open on his screen, chatting with more than one woman in the same time and proclaiming his undying love to each and every one of them. It’s a game and it’s fun, and the grand prize is the easy life!

I read an interesting list once. It gives few handy pointers to women who truly believe that they have found a true love from an Arabic country, but who have still maintained enough presence of mind to think realistically and doubt even a tiny bit in His motivations. The original list is in Estonian (Islam-introducing website in Estonian), but here's the summary:

Depending on what he wants from you, tell him that ..

1. you are not really wealthy at all and you did not pay for this trip yourself, it was a lucky prize of some sort.
2. it's almost impossible to get a visa or a permanent residence permit to your country
3. you don't believe in premarital sex
4. it's customary in your society that men pay for everything
5. you do not agree to take things further with him unless you get to meet his family (not close friends, but exactly his parents)

How big is his love afterwards?



When me and Ylle visited Fes, we actually had an chance to meet and observe one such couple. Let's call them Houssam and Aiko. Houssam was a 26 years old Moroccan man with a strong philandering feel about him. In Estonia a man like that would be described as "bangs everything that moves". The girl he was trying to reel in was this little timid and frail Japanese woman. She was slightly over 30 and clearly very much in love with Houssam. I imagine she wouldn’t be considered a beauty in her own country, but she was definitely a very cute and lovely girl. Houssam and Aiko had met a year or so back on her first trip to Morocco and without really speaking each other’s languages, they somehow started exchanging emails. Soon after Houssam proposed to get married and Aiko happily accepted.

 Houssam and Aiko

We met them in the riad, they had just come from visiting Houssam’s home in the desert. At the first glance they were a cute couple, but the more you looked at their dynamics, the sadder the situation seemed. Houssam was indifferent and sometimes even rude with her, which is actually very uncharacteristic - men like that usually are sweet as honey and make a woman feel like a princess. If you are trying to get a woman to marry you, you really want to keep her happy and illusioned. All that made me and Ylle think that if he is already now so distant and uncaring, what will he be like after they get married and everyday routine kicks in?

Aiko spoke some English and when she found out that I am married, she seemed to decide that I am exactly the right person to talk about her love life with. She was telling me how Houssam wants to move out of Morocco right away, but not to Japan, but to somewhere in Europe. She was an office worker back in Japan, she couldn’t really imagine starting her life all over again on a new continent. I got this very strong vibe from her that she desperately wants to get married and start a family, the pressure she was feeling to accomplish all those goals was quite obvious already after a brief conversation. Maybe back in Japan it was somehow shameful that she was over 30 and still unmarried. She wanted kids but Houssam didn’t want any yet, he was also not interested in meeting her family in Japan. Frankly, the guy seemed like a complete douchebag and I really couldn’t believe she was even considering starting a life with him. But it wasn’t my place to comment on that, so I kept my mouth shut. I just listened to her talking about the man of her dreams and a wish to start a life together.

I made some photos of them and when I got back to Estonia, I sent them copies as well. Houssam answered right away, all flirtatious and eager, which reminded me immediately how he was trying to brush against my hair and kept petting my hand back in the riad’s kitchen when nobody else was around. I’m getting a gag reflex just by thinking about it. I’m telling you, the guy was a dog and he definitely had many irons in the fire at the same time. Aiko e-mailed me back as well, thanking for the photos and going into a monologue about her relationship again. We e-mailed back and forth for a while before she asked right out if I think she should marry Houssam. I guess she still had doubts, good for her. I told her about my little observations, but all in all I don’t even know what she decided in the end. We lost touch at some point, though would be interesting to know what became of them.


My husband is Russian and I am Estonian. A lot of people ask how do we cope with the culture differences. And every time I want to ask back: “What culture differences?”. I mean, yes, Russians and Estonians have some differences when it comes to general background, temperament, language  etc, and at times even interpretation of historic events between those two nations, but come on! these are not exactly cultural differences that cannot be overcome. Me and my husband agree on way more things than we disagree on and we have generally respectfully decided to avoid discussing certain topics that we can't see eye to eye on. Regardless of history between Russians and Estonians and apart from politics meddling in, we’re not at all that different and we are quite capable of peacefully co-existing in Estonia. But every time I read about some girl finding herself a dark eyed handsome Muslim boyfriend during a vacation in a country like Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Morocco, I wonder if she really understands what she is getting herself into. Now there's a cultural clash waiting to happen!

Islam actually has a pretty well defined set of rules and regulations to live by and women, though maybe more homebound with children and with a bigger load of household chores thereof, are actually still quite protected. A man has obligations when it comes to how he treats his wife, how he behaves with his family and how he lives his life altogether. And a proper Muslim man will follow those rules to the best of his abilities. It doesn’t make him a religious nut or a raging extremist, its just a way of life, a code of conduct if you will. And therein lies a catch. The Qu'ran forbids a Muslim man from marrying a non-Muslim woman (except Christian and Jewish women who are true believers). But a man who is shopping for a wife in the beach resort or in the internet is by definition not a devout Muslim and therefore also not following the teachings of Islam *. And a woman marrying a guy like that has absolutely no guarantees that she will not be mistreated or disrespected and a man like that will have no moral compass to set his behavior by, except his own understanding of right and wrong. And that understanding may not be anywhere near to the woman's understanding. CLASH!

* The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (saw) said:
Whoever marries a woman for her glory, Allah will not increase his, but will bring him humiliation; whoever marries her for her wealth, Allah will not increase his, but place him in poverty; whoever marries her for ancestral claims, Allah will not increase his, but in meanness; whoever marries a woman for nothing but to cast down his eyes, guard his private parts, and to establish a relationship, Allah will bless him through her and vice versa. 
(Al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib)


Note: This article is part of the Lonely Planet Blogsherpa Travel Blog Carnival #6 "Encounters", hosted by Camden Luxford from The Brink Of Something Else. Follow the link here to see more photos and stories about "Encounters: portraits of the inspiring, unforgettable or downright strange people you've met on your travels" from some of the world’s best travel bloggers.


  1. Interesting post but it is not forbidden in Islam for a Muslim to marry a non-Muslim. A Muslim man can marry outside his faith (to a Christian or Jew), some go even further. Allah is merciful.

    1. It is forbidden, men and women equally...cause in most cases it is not forbidden for men, only for women but that's totally's both !

  2. You are right, The Quran really allows Muslim men to marry the women that are from People of the Book (Christians and Jews). But it also says that those women have to be true believers and they are eventually expected to submit themselves to the Will of Allah, which is not likely to happen with a white girl from a secular culture. Plus, Allah might be merciful when it comes to such unions, but the tight-knit communities of Muslims are not.

  3. Hi, I just found your blog through a link from somewhere else. This is a really interesting post. I really hope Aiko decided not to marry that douchebag. It always surprises me how easy it is to be blind to the facts of a situation when everyone around you can see the truth.

  4. Damn. That's telling it like it is. To be fair, I do know Moroccan Man/Foreign Woman couples that have great relationships, treat each other with dignity, and seem to truly love each other. I also know more than a few mercenary Moroccan women who have married strictly for the visa. My wife is Moroccan and I'm American, she didn't marry for wealth, nor the visa since I'm not planning on going back to the USA anytime soon. I'm enough of a pain in the ass that she must love me because seriously, no visa would be worth my idiocy.

    The sad thing is though, your article is exactly right. Those cyber cafes are filled with young men and women who dream of winning the lottery with a foreign marriage. The really sad part is that sometimes they end up getting the shaft too. It's a two way street when a flabby 60 year old woman marries a handsome and fit 23 year old guy, she's using him too. Sometimes the guys are really in love and they get tossed aside like trash...I've seen that happen.

    People sure are stupid and ruthless when it comes to bettering their lives.

    Great post. Really well written and a warning that needs to be taken seriously.


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  6. Samir, i'm not saying every Arabic man is like that. I'm sure most men are decent, family oriented, moral men, but you cannot deny that there are a lot of young wannabe playboys who are trying to score a ticket "out of the country" by marrying a tourist. It doesn't happen so much in developed countries, because borders are open and you don't need to marry a random person, to get a visa to Europe, USA etc.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. No Samir, I have not seen any sign of 'endless hate' in Ragne's post- she seemly told it as it is- same thing happens in Kenya, Thailand, Gambia and Brazil too!

  8. Dear Ragne,
    You might be right concerning some parts of what you've said, but bare in Mind that Not most of Moroccan men are like that! You've transcribed a huge amount of hatred in your article whilst you ignored to mention that not all Moroccan men are looking forward a fake Marriage in order to get a visa out Of Morocco.
    I am a Moroccan Man in deep Love with a European girl.
    I love her so much and we are really so happy together!
    When she 1st visited me In Morocco She didn't spend a penny
    I took charge of her and showed her around and we spent some wonderful moments together, We are not looking forward marriage (not yet) so I'm definitely not Loooking forward a visa ( mention That I already have a uk visa ).
    My gf claims to love me as hell and I share the same feelings with her.
    My story might be considered as typical example to prove you're somehow wrong in what you said!

    Moroccan men are not fake!
    Maybe some of them
    But not all!
    (you can read their body language easily)!!

    1. Of course most men are not like that. The post isn't about what all Moroccan men are like, the post is about a funny subgroup who are interesting to write about. And i don't think there's hatred in my post, i really have no special feeling on the subject, i'm just writing about my observation about something i keep seeing on my travels. Interesting that nobody accuses me of hatred when i write about Moroccan food or handicraft.

    2. May I ask if you are still around how you can read it in his body language? I have been talking with a Moroccan man for almost three months he is coming here next month after Ramadan. I love him so much and he says he loves me as much if not more, he will be here for a month then wants to buy my passport and ticket back with him and has already asked me to marry him. Any advice

  9. Propaganda and stereotype Dutch image about foreigners..The dutch are the moste hating people in europe..they have no culture no background no manners..and are the wordt western country and population of western europa...

    trash shit dutch woman seeking revenge !!

    get a life

  10. Am a Moroccan guy Married to an American and we are doing really good, we both live in the USA, it took me forever to adjust the life style here.... We both miss Morocco..
    We respect each other and communicate about everything... I understand there is a huge gap but it really can be overcomed, funny it happened to me to know Houssam--- I do not think he left Morocco
    Well I have come across alot of older Westerns women browzing in Moroccan night clubs and beaches looking for desperate Moroccan young guys. Same as older men looking for Moroccan chicks... Wonder why you have overlooked this matter... Go into any Marrakech or tangier night clubs and you will see

  11. I actually know quite a few Moroccan-American couples whose relationships are solid and based on mutual respect and love. I never said that Moroccan-foreigner relationships don't work or are a scam. I just talked about my observations in one particular aspect. It's the same in Egypt, Turkey, Cuba etc. I don't understand why Moroccans are taking it so personally? And i haven't overlooked the fact that older Western men and women are strolling the clubs for partners either, this article just wasn't talking about it. Just the same way as this blog post isn't covering Western gay men looking for casual sex in Tangier night clubs or child prostitution. The blog post was only talking about some young guys interested in marrying out of the country. If you deny that this happens then you're not being realistic.

    1. You're getting off lightly, I can think of a couple other nationalities with a better grasp of English who'd have trolled on this post's comments section to the end of time.
      I know the kind of guy you describe, and any Moroccan pretending otherwise is a hypocrite, or seriously delusional.
      I feel bad for Aiko. I hope she got her wits together, dumped that sleaze-bag and found happiness with someone else.

  12. Lady this happens everywhere you should go to the Philippines, and this issue is everywhere. The thing is that all men are the same. If you act desperate ..chances are you get abused anywhere in the world. I snuggest come to the Philippines I'm Filipina and I tell you men here are worse, a lot of them abuse women.

  13. I just feel that some Moroccan guy broke your heart.

  14. i only can say that first of all, you have a complication about moroccan guys and stuff, i don't deny that this problem is actually here in morocco, but you generalize, you must have included a thesis and anti-thesis in your topic, so that it will not show only the bad side and the hatred you mentioned above,
    i'm moroccan , i love a foreign girl and she loves me more than your mind can bear , we will get married and she will decide where to live here or there :) !!
    get your facts straight for once !

  15. also; i forgot to mention, i've been outta morocco many times, i'm a traveled as well, and i discovered that there are still stereotypic hateful racist people in europe ! :) cheers

  16. so I currently dated a Moroccan guy, I just found out he have a wife in different state and another girlfriend in the same work place as we work. its sad what those man are doing and its unfair how they play with peoples feeling. its unbelievable and I guess i will never understand why would you have a wife and 2 girlfriends at the same time..all I know I will never in my life date Arabic person again. Great blog by the way! It shows the real of them Moroccan guys.

  17. you cant be that assho..

  18. I'm a moroccan guy, and I'm really sorry for how some Moroccan guys can do such freaky things, and play with other people's feelings.. that makes me angry..
    unfortunately, the majority of youngs nowadays , dream of europe.. and can do anything to realize that, due to lack of faith and manhood,, this is not the teaching of Islam. and our religion restrict fooling others..
    I know this post won't change anything, but I wanted to tell Moroccans commenting this thread , "You shouldn't deny the reality"

  19. to the owner of this blog,
    this is the bottom line about moroccan men.

    1/ there is differences in this country, in terms of, language, traditions, thinking, Features.

    2/ you have to see, how men in other regions, treat, talk, behave. take for instance, the north of morocco, it's not like the south, or the east or the west.

    3/ marrying a young man, from a new generation, isn't like marrying or being in love with those who are quite older; in other words, the young people, are easly adopting with other societies, have awareness about what women need; loving to discover new thing, from a different continent.

    4/ it's not a shame, or weird if someone told you that he want to get out from the country. it's a desire, we all have wishes, is it bad to tell what is in our hearts?; from the deep down.

    5/ want to go out from morocco, doesn't mean he is using you for that purpose, I love women from other continent, such as america or europe, because I feel so good with them, I feel That I am with those good people, who understand what I want and I too try hardly to do in return.

    6/ I truely have a desire in my life, to marry an american girl, I always eager for that, I watch alot of movies, so It's probably the same in the reality, but girl, it' something that comes from my heart. I love your language, we spent years and years to get the language, It's not for a scamming purpose or giving feeling guilty for other girl from another country. but because, english is a good language to know, so as the woman who speaks it.

    7/ you feel so good safe;, when you have that person in another country calls you, tell you, that you are welcomed to his country, and that he'll show you some new things; places, that no tourist have seen in the past. and he will tell you that you don't have to go to hotel. he will provide all the essential things that is needed, he will probably, go in fight with others to protect you.

    8/ so, why it will be forbidden for us, to feel the same way, about you, when you are there.

    9/ it's a shame to stay in one place for the whole of your life, not discovering new places, people, countries, habits, traditions. you should move to other countries have a desire, thing positively, no to much worries. relax, take it easy. we are also human; it's just an issue of cultural points.

    10/ I love you all, and this isn't a scam, it's just my feeling. women, people who reads alot about the moroccan society and its variation, diverse, languages, they'll probably get the clear idea, why these people strive to go out of this country, and why they are so lovely, and they have a good feeling towards western girls.

    11/ I hate that islam you talking about, I've seen in other posts, some american girl, type that islam is a relegion that was invented by murders and she' added that of course his name was mohammed. i feel so sorry, about this girl. she have no idea about islam or morocco.

    12/ it's so shame to call morocco, as an arab country. wake up, girl, there are amazigh (berber) who doesn't talk arabic or have any relation with their society or habits. fu***. and I am not an arabian person. I am amazigh from the north of morocco, and we were called rif that was colonised by spanish regime in the past. if you love to talk more, let me now. and sorry if I said something not good. or you got shocked with what I wrote down. thanks guys and girls.

    1. Married to a MoroccanOctober 30, 2015 at 8:36 AM

      LOL This was good! I know many Moroccan who are genuinely good people who love mingling with peoe from other cultures. Most of the men are 100% interested in European and American women because we are free thinking. When choosing a partner in life one must look for someone to grow with. There's nothing wrong with looking for the one you desire in life. My husband and I were looking for each other at the same time. He is from Meknes, Morocco and an absolute blessing. When we met I had no money, could not sponsor him for a visa and he knew all I had to offer was love. My darling did not care one bit and even paid for my entire trip to Morocco the first time. When there I paid for nothing and wanted for nothing. His parents, grandparents, siblings and friends all welcomed me. Never have I ever felt as if he was using me for anything. How can I when he pays all ours bills while I save my income for myself? This is what a good Moroccan man is like. He's a loving husband, awesome father, gentle lover, bestfriend, partner and above all a wonderful human being who lives life as a good Muslim man.

  20. hummm...interesting...

    1. hi everybody, i heard and read a lot about some overseas people's experiences with african people in general. what does hell lot of people know is you can always find bad and decent people wherever you go in the world.of course just like anyone, moroccan guys want to travel and see other cultures and lives styles, discover and have personnal experiences, do it the wrong way as most guys lie and trick, and they just ruin it for the decent guys. to me personnaly and to be honest with you yes i have experienced women in my country which is morocco and overseas girls from great britain. i was amazed about the love making way, there is a big big difference between both which i can say our girls are borring in bed, since then i always got that idea in my head i want a girl from overseas, even if i could find someone who would actually move with me here in morocco. but the chances are way too impossible as for some stupid guys actions. i can't deny that i've learned a lot from other's people culture. but it is honestly a shame that all women now label the whole group, based on some ignorant and scamer few.

  21. Hi....
    This is so interesting topic, find out while i get to know abt morrocan.

    Let me introduce my self first. I am separated woman, Indonesian... Only ordinary like othet Indo women. Have 2 gorgeous daughters that i love so much.

    Getting know single Morrocan guy from internet. He is Morrocan-Spanish actually, live in arab, has settle live there... Ohhh, he has USA and Arab citizenship.

    We talk everyday by online, seems nice guy, never flattering, never promise, and good listener.

    I told him all abt me, ordinary, not wealth, have 2 kids... He is okay. He just wanna know me for further opportunity.

    Well, i never been to Europe, Arab, USA or any other country which far from Indonesia, but all i can say is : its depend on the person, if he is a jerk, wherever he comes from "jerk is a jerk"..

    And i am not looking for money too in him... Never ask abt his assets, or anything. FYI, i leave husband and all the assets coz i dont wanna pretend of fucking marriage, and i am happier :)

  22. The absolute love of my life is from Morocco AND Muslim. We WILL be married soon and I have absolute faith in him as he does in me. It is wrong to generalize anyone and the only thing it accomplishes is narrow- mindedness. In America, there are men AND women who are equally scamming and using others. I just laugh when I see articles and posts such as this! Spread the love! ~Peace

  23. Is it normal for a 31 year old Moroccan guy to want to spend the rest of his life with a 54 year old eurpean woman? The family adored her within a month. He does not work, he says he would like to take English classes but has no money, he has to take care of his sick parents and they are madly in love in two months.

  24. I am a 23 years old American girl that is about to marry a Muslim man from morocco .... I agree with the person above... not every man is looking to get a visa only.... I know very little Moroccan Arabic but I am learning for my man ....and he is very interested in teaching me........ every nation has ppl that r bad.... just be carful ... not just of Moroccan ppl but of evey nation ....

  25. I've seen those kinda of guys in Morocco, but I am always shocked that they'll always have some foreign lady willing to get married to them in a hurry. They are as greasy as their hair. I am afraid the foreign ladies cannot tell who is a decent moroccan guy and who isn't? And those guys never have a real job, always live in some kinda of slums and have to go to the internet cafes....altough in Morocco, plenty of guys that are engineers, doctors, lawyers, officers etc...PhD's right and left. Seriously, college is free. But again the normal guys are so busy working and having a life that they don't hang out in chatrooms seeking desperate foreign ladies hoping to land an instagroom.
    Maybe these women should get to know more about Morocco, the country, make friends that would share a similar socioeconomical background and have at least some intellectual knowledge in common. Those moroccan friends will eventually be their guides and steer them clear from these types.

    1. I met a Moroccan man on vacation there, he was our tour guide. We have been email for 6 months as friends. He just told me he is married and has 3 children but wants to leave his family and marry me. Not that Im intetested but thats doesnt sound like a good muslim man to me and more like a scam


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