Nada Creidi is not typical. That is, she is not one of the young Arab women whose day still turns on a routine of home and family life, nor one whose job, wealth or education permits any significant measure of independence. Nada does represent another group, however; the young women from families of moderate means and education who today are swelling the ranks of the Arab working girl.
Nada, 22, is typist, telephone operator and part-time receptionist at the hotel Pavillion, a four-star hostelry in Beirut’s Hamra quarter. She speaks Arabic and French fluently, enough English to register the guests. Nada lives at home with her mother, her father, a retired taxi driver who managed a three-car fleet, and an older sister, Marie, an elementary school teacher.
When Nada completed her "brevet" studies (roughly junior high school level) a family friend offered her job running the magazine and gift stand at a small hotel not far from her home. In spare moments she taught herself to operate the hotel’s switchboard and moved into her present job at the pavilion when the hotel opened. Nada takes shorthand classes each afternoon when she goes off duty and hopes to land a job—on the ground—with an airline. So she can take advantage of travel benefits. Last fall, she joined a group friends on a 17-day tour of Turkey and Greece by bus.
Such a trip suggests fairly liberal parents, which is the case—now. "They used to be very strict," Nada admits, "especially when my sister was young. But we’re both grown up now and we talk things over with our parents."
Nada goes out with friends an average of three evenings a week. "Twice on the weekend, but usually once during the week," she says. "I have to restrict myself because I have to get up at 7:00 to go to work." Dates are usually for dinner, then to the movies or dancing; weekends to the beach. Her firm and music tastes are "mod" and her reading includes Hitchcock and "really deep things, like psychology."
Most of Nada’s paycheck goes for clothes. "I know how to sew, but I don’t much any more." How does she feel about the demise of the mini skirt? "Strongly! I won’t stop wearing ‘le mini’ to work no matter what," she insists. "It’s so practical. But ‘le maxi,’ I’ll wear evenings or for very casual parties. ‘Le midi’, never-except as a trench coat with boots. Then it’s great."