Nicole Sherbiny Finally Makes a Friend in Egypt: Mahmoud’s Worst Nightmare

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On the latest episode of 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way, Nicole Sherbiny finally, finally made a friend in Egypt.

Nicole’s problem making friends wasn’t a personality issue. Mahmoud just refused to “allow” her to go out for most activities until she found the women-only guided meditation class.

Nouran is an Egyptian woman and a Muslim. Not only did she quickly become friends with Nicole, but she also instantly understood Nicole’s marriage.

To Mahmoud’s horror, she opened Nicole’s eyes to some realities about life in Egypt. Naturally, Nicole’s husband and her friend immediately clashed upon meeting.

At the start of Season 4, Episode 10 of 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way, Nicole Sherbiny had been back in Egypt for about four months.

She and her husband, Mahmoud Elsherbiny, had managed to find a peaceful coexistence instead of constantly fighting.

Their secret? Not actually talking about their issues. So nothing changed, nothing got better. Nicole was still dressing per his wishes, living in his mother’s house, spending almost all of her time at home.

Some things had improved. Nicole was making use of a seemingly new air conditioning unit (or perhaps we simply had not seen it before).

Mahmoud did seem to sort of neg her about having used it. We have seen him get passive aggressive before, so that was no surprise.

She didn’t have it especially cold (no surprise, for a woman from Los Angeles) from what we can see. Especially considering that they’re in Egypt. It just seemed like Mahmoud couldn’t resist commenting on it.

Interestingly, Nicole revealed that she and Mahmoud had gone looking at other homes. They are a young married couple, currently living in a single bedroom in his mom’s high-traffic home.

Moving would mean having their own bathroom — a real, modern bathroom, where the shower does not also include the toilet. Right now, they share one bathroom with everyone.

However, they did not move out. Mahmoud, Nicole explained, was simply unwilling to leave his mom’s house. Viewers have seen this before, in and out of America.

Mahmoud’s insistence that Nicole not go out on her own and only seldom out with him really made it difficult for her to make friends. Or to, you know, enjoy her life in Egypt.

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However, though Mahmoud would not allow her to take yoga (in case she stretched and a man saw her clothed body), she was able to sign up for an all women guided meditation class.

Not only did her mental and emotional health clearly need this, but Nicole ended up making a friend.

Nouran is an Egyptian woman. She is also a Muslim woman. She very quickly understood Nicole’s situation.

She knows that Mahmoud is from a particularly conservative neighborhood and family. Nouran was quick to emphasize that not all of Egypt is quite what Mahmoud makes it out to be.

Meanwhile, she opened up to Nicole about her own background. She is a Muslim woman who, like millions of women like her, makes her own choices about how to dress and live her life.

Mahmoud has made some changes for Nicole’s sake. Not “allowing her to choose her own clothing” and not “moving into their own place as a couple” kinds of changes, but changes.

For example, he did not forbid her from taking this guided meditation class. Mahmoud explained that this is because he knows that she is unhappy.

He also went out to dinner with her. This, in Mahmoud’s world, seems to be unusual. Or maybe that’s only when it involves dining with friends?

Mahmoud may have bitten his tongue at first about Nicole’s new class.

But as Nicole began to excitedly tell him about her new friend, he clearly felt defensive.

Nicole’s new friend is an Egyptian Muslim woman … but not one living exactly according to Mahmoud’s standards. (Remember, even Mahmoud’s own brother does not live as strict of a life as Mahmoud seems to demand from Nicole)

Nouran had shared some of her own experiences with dating. Her family had told her that she, as an adult, should make her own choices about how to dress.

Later, she had met a man who tried to demand that he make those choices for her. You know, just like Mahmoud is doing to Nicole.

Of course, Mahmoud bristled at this, thinking that Nicole’s new friend was scaring her off of all Egyptian men. Or maybe he just realized that he was no longer the only person telling Nicole what life is like in Egypt.

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Mahmoud predicted that Nouran would cause problems in his marriage. How? Likely by exposing Nicole to the realities and variety of lifestyles of Muslim women in Egypt.

Nouran arrived to meet Mahmoud at dinner. She was wearing a dress with sleeves.

To Mahmoud, this was a scandalous outfit — and a confirmation of all of his “fears” about his wife’s new friend.

Many people will sort of make polite conversation — often without saying much of substance — when first meeting someone.

In fact, even when you meet someone whom you know that you dislike, most people will still stay cool and polite.

Not in this case. Mahmoud, whose voiceover to the camera griped about Nouran’s clothing (his desire for control extends well beyond his wife), more or less challenged Nouran to reinforce his presentation of what life is like in Egypt.

Basically, Mahmoud wanted Nouran to reinforce everything that he has been telling Nicole. In his mind, that is what life is like in Egypt … if you ignore the rest of it.

That is more or less Nouran’s assessment of him.

She told the camera that she’s known men like Mahmoud before. They haven’t experienced anything outside of their small bubble — the way that their family does things. And they’re not interested in broadening their horizons.

That absolutely fits with what viewers have seen of Mahmoud.

The guy is nearly 30, but refuses to move out of his mom’s place. Even though he has a wife, even though he has a job.

Mahmoud even admitted to Nicole in a previous episode that he couldn’t imagine changing his life as much as she has changed hers. (Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from demanding further changes from her)

Nouran asked how Mahmoud would feel if Nicole took her yoga class instead of just the meditation. She already knew the answer.

He said no. Mahmoud balked at the idea that a male student might see Nicole during her stretches.

Nouran tried to reason with him (a mistake), noting that essentially punishing Nicole for the eyes and thoughts of a man doesn’t seem very fair. It isn’t!

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Mahmoud then pivoted to discussing the Quran. Or, more accurately, to his interpretation.

Nouran was quick to point out that he was acting as if Islam’s holy book contained specific instructions that it does not.

But, more to the point, she cited passages in the Quran that encourage devout Muslims to make their own choices.

In other words, a few words might have changed and you’d be seeing an argument between two Christians over their own holy book.

Only a few faiths have central holy texts that instruct them on how to live their lives, but many religious folks have similar debates.

In Mahmoud’s case, that debate included him doubling down on gender essentialism … believing that men and women can never be equal because women are, in his mind, just too darn sexy. Because of boobs.

Mahmoud’s argument was essentially that women are so alluring that they must cover up.

He felt that, meanwhile, men’s bodies aren’t as interesting. That’s … clearly Mahmoud’s take, but hardly one with universal consensus.

Nouran’s key point was more about it being a personal choice than anything else. Again, Millions of Muslim women throughout the world (including Egypt) make their own choices. Mahmoud doesn’t want Nicole to do that, however.

Nicole watched all of this play out with fascination and discomfort.

These are essentially the only two people she knows in the whole country. Everyone else is either a producer for the show, or one of Mahmoud’s relatives.

She did not expect them to hit it off, necessarily. But she didn’t expect them to debate passages in the Quran within minutes of meeting.

Nouran did not mince words when she spoke to the camera after this.

Simply put, she could never do what Nicole is doing — surrender her autonomy to a man just to keep him happy.

Will all of this open Nicole’s eyes to the real options that she can have as a Muslim woman in Egypt? Or will she just keep giving in to almost everything that Mahmoud wants?

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