Their Thursday night is our Saturday night

The Afghanistan calendar is a little bit different than ours. Their week starts on a Saturday, which means Friday is their “Sunday” and Thursday night is our “Saturday night”. What I mean by that is that just like Saturday night is the night a lot of people go out, party, or do whatever, that is what they do on Thursday night. Friday is our down day as they use it to relax, clean weapons, barracks, catch up on laundry, go downtown to buy things or even use that day to take off and head home on leave.

Just as in our country, where Saturday nights mean parties, drunks on the road and weird things happening in nightclubs and house parties, the same is going on here. This has caused us to nickname “Thursday Night Man Love night”. We love to joke with our terps about this and mess with each other when it is a Thursday. When I say “mess with each other” we will joke like “hey are you getting dressed up tonight, because you know it is Thursday?” or something like, “hey, is your terp coming by for a meeting tonight, because it is Thursday?”.

It does not matter what the Koran says about homosexuality, it is rampant here. Just like in the US where people ignore the bible where it talks homosexuality, and still practice it and practice their faith. According to my terp Aziz, this southern area of A-stan if very heavy in homosexual behavior. I thought great, I leave a 18 month project in San Francisco, USA and come to war in San Francisco, Afghanistan.

When I first got here, I thought maybe it was just the US personnel being mean Americans and making jokes that are not true. But the longer I was here, the more I see it. We have several stories from our terps and from eye-witness accounts of our US soldiers that leave no doubt there is a lot of homosexuality here. From the guy in Lawara who brought his wife to the US medics to find out why she could not get pregnant, only to find out his aim was a few inches off to the couple of soldiers we caught in their rack the other day snuggled up and kissing. Yes, it is here, and a common thing that is known but no acknowledged. Kind of like that deep dark secret of a family or black sheep member of a family.

It is what it is, so that is their issue, no different than the US. Most of our terps are engaged and I think all straight. I know this because they are all saving and paying for the dowry of their fiancés. See in this country they have to pay a dowry to the father of the women they want to marry. It seems the average price is $4,000.00 USD, but I have heard as cheap as $2,500.00 USD. The other night on a night mission as we were talking to Terp Hameed about his future wife and what he paid he asked me what a normal dowry is in the US. I told him we don’t really have a dowry, but we do pay. He asked me to explain, and I told him rather than pay up front to marry, we tend to pay for it after we marry for the rest of our lives. HAHA. Of course that got some laughs from the other US personnel around. I also explained how marriages are typically paid for by the bride’s parents if they can afford it and the rehearsal dinner is paid for by the groom’s parents. He said that it must be better to be the groom’s parents then, and I told him he does not even realize how much better it is.

So if you hear jokes about Thursday Night man love or anything to do with Thursday night, now you know why. They are not all gay here, but enough for us to look at them with a puzzled face and then question about hard-core faith, praying 5 times a day, and all the other parts of their faith, but still being able to openly disregard their Koran. Who knows?

Things have been slow lately as we are in a heavy training and planning phase, so I thought rather than write about a boring day I would give a little insight into Thursday Nights, Afghan style.

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