10:46am

Thu October 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Suddenly, The 'Ladies Love Libyan Rebels'

Young Libyan men who less than a year ago were "hopeless layabouts" are now "marriageable heroes" because they took up arms against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi and toppled the dictator who had ruled Libya for 42 years, journalist Ellen Knickmeyer writes for Foreign Policy magazine.

Or, as the magazine's headline says, "Ladies Love Libyan Rebels: The Sexual Revolution Arrives In Tripoli."

"Girls around the area come up to you and say, 'Thank you! You made us proud, you made us happy,' " 33-year-old truck driver Ahmed Nori Faqiar tells Knickmeyer.

And, she writes:

"Before the revolution, young men her age 'were just lazing around in the streets, no future. I didn't care about them at all,' said Esra'a el-Gadi, 20. 'Now I look at them in a totally new light — they stood up against Gadhafi. It's something.' ...

"Jokes passed by cell phone text messages across Libya confirm the newfound eligibility of the young civilians turned fighters.

" 'Forget doctors and engineers: We want to marry a rebel,' one of the widely circulated text messages goes. 'Looking for a rebel to wed?' another SMS asks: 'Press M for a husband from Misrata, B for a husband from Benghazi.' "

That said, as Knickmeyer points out, Libya is "still a deeply observant Islamic country" in which young men and women hesitate to talk to each other. But, it seems, at least now some of the young ladies are interested.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.