Dating and marriage practices in morocco

It is true that in cities Moroccan women wear short-sleeved tops and knee-length skirts (and may suffer more harassment as a result), and men may wear sleeveless T-shirts and above-the-knee shorts.However, the Muslim idea of “modest dress” (such as would be acceptable in a mosque, for example) requires women to be covered from wrist to ankle, and men from over the shoulder to below the knee.It is also wise not to smoke in public, as some men still seem to think this indicates that you are available for sex.

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It is customary to take a gift: sweet pastries or tea and sugar are always acceptable, and you might even take meat (by arrangement – a chicken from the countryside for example, still alive of course) to a poorer home.

You’re expected to tip – among others – waiters in cafés (1dh per person) and restaurants (5dh or so in moderate places, 10–15 percent in upmarket places); museum and monument curators (3–5dh); (5dh); filling station attendants (3–5dh); and porters who load your baggage onto buses (5dh).

Nonetheless, you should try not to affront people’s religious beliefs, especially those of older, more conservative people, by, for example, wearing skimpy clothes, kissing and cuddling in public, or eating or smoking in the street during Ramadan.

Clothes are particularly important: many Moroccans, especially in rural areas, may be offended by clothes that do not fully cover parts of the body considered “private”, including both legs and shoulders, especially for women.

Many women compare Morocco favourably with Spain and other parts of southern Europe, but there is no doubt that, in general, harassment of tourists here is more persistent than it is in northern Europe or the English-speaking world.

Harassment will usually consist of men trying to chat you up or even asking directly for sex, and it can be constant and sometimes intimidating.

In villages and small towns, and even in the Medinas of large cities, many women still wear the veil and the street is strictly the man’s domain.

Most Moroccan men still expect to marry a virgin, and most women would never smoke a cigarette or drink in a bar, the general presumption being that only prostitutes do such things.

Different women seem to have vastly different experiences of sexual harassment in Morocco.

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