A friend told me yesterday of an interesting experience that one of her friends had.
She was in the lobby of her building, when a stout Egyptian woman walked by--one whose size and shape wouldn't have been considered particularly pleasing to most westerners. The bowab and the other men who were in the lobby started talking to each other, and their tones of voice alerted the expat to the fact that something interesting was being said. So she asked the bowab what they were saying.
"We're admiring that woman. She's big like a horse!"
Well, that explains why, when I'm out walking with Jeff, young Egytian men sometimes look at me, then grin and give Jeff a thumbs-up. Apparently overweight is good here!