The Boss V.S. Image & Etiquette Expert Sonya Sabbbah

We’ve all been there!

Whether it’s that ride with the taxi driver that shoves his nose down all the branches of your family tree, or that weird encounter with a man proudly walking out from the ladies’ room, or even that scene where an appointed Minister goes all condescending on you on Public Television, we’ve all been through one of those situations where we wonder what’s appropriate and what’s not.

How does international etiquette standards deal with each of these scenarios?

We asked 5 curious questions to Sonya J. Sabbah, Certified Executive Coach, Personal branding Strategist and Corporate Etiquette & Communication Trainer.

1- Sex: Who should be on Top?

sex etiquette in Lebanon
Not sure if I should answer this question in public, but I will try to!

Etiquette is the rule of respectful behaviour and consideration for others. So in this case, it would really depend on who weighs heavier (normally the man), so that they do not crush or cause any injury to their partner.

I hope I answered your question in the best way I could!

2- Politics: How should a politician speak or communicate to a citizen, especially in person?

Political Etiquette in Lebanon

First, I must say a few words as to how I would define a politician.

He/she is someone who serves the people in the most ethical and respectful way so that they can provide the best environment for the people to live in, ensuring them a better life, as well as work solely for their country and people.

A politician represents the people, not himself, and his power is obtained through them. So when communicating with them, especially in person, he/she should show utmost respect, modesty and consideration to the citizens he is addressing, with a pleasant smile, gentle tone of voice and show positive body language. Not shout or act as if they are superior or giving orders to the citizens.

Unfortunately, in Lebanon, some of the politicians think they are the boss and do not realize that the people are the boss – and without them, they have no power or position. I hope they wake up one day and realize that they serve and not rule.

3- Social: How do you reply to a “curious” Lebanese Taxi Driver?

Taxi Driver Etiquette

Taxi Drivers should always be polite, non-intrusive and discreet. Again, in Lebanon, this is non-existent.

Most taxi drivers ask you personal questions; your religion, your political affiliation and even go as far as ask about your marital status and how much you earn. This is definitely not appropriate behaviour and might lose them customers.

If you are caught in one of those taxis, and cannot change cabs, then either change the subject or ignore them by pretending that you did not hear them, and follow it by putting your ear phones or even playing with your phone to show that you are busy – but of course stay attentive to the road so that you don’t miss your stop!

4- Entertainment: what would you advise Lebanese singers on their dress code?

Entertainment Etiquette in Lebanon

I can write a book on this subject but let me first state a few points.

Wearing really short dresses or showing too much cleavage on top is not really sexy, it is vulgar. It does nothing for their image, instead it places them in a category of exhibitionism rather than promoting their talent. They can be sensual by dressing in accordance with their type of music but should really concentrate on their singing or art.

I would also like to add that inappropriate dress in public is irresponsible for a singer as it influences the youth to dress in a similar fashion. What an example!

Someone who has a talent should show that talent in the shape of their voice or music and not their bodies. In my opinion, some singers who dress so provocatively do not possess much of a talent and need to create some deviation through their dress code to obtain some attention or popularity.

5- Health: Should men not enter the ladies’ room or toilet under any circumstances?

Bathroom Etiquette in Lebanon

It is very inappropriate for a man to enter the Ladies’ room and can be construed as sexual harassment.

This is a very private place where a lady is at her most vulnerable. So if this ever happens to you, the lady has the right to show you the door, and not in a very positive way. Even the male cleaning staff needs to first knock at the door before entering and ensure that no lady is inside when he comes in to clean.


Etiquette is not only recognizing how to use each of the 100 spoon sizes your mom puts on her fancy dinner table, it’s also how we interact on a daily basis in our Lebanese community.

Maybe with more awareness and education these standards, each devised for specific purposes, can help us shape a better society.

Do you have your own daring or curious questions? Hit the Comments Box!

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