04 August 2010

Lust, Devotion, & the Binary Code by Kamin Mohammadi

Lust, Devotion, & the Binary Code by Kamin Mohammadi

A very informative and moving story about recent years in Iran.
Walking down the street as a lone woman in Tehran, it didn’t take long to have a man or two following me. Sometimes they would drive by in their cars, slowing down at the curb, calling out something suggestive, but they were not too persistent when I kept my eyes glued to the ground and ignored them.
Sounds similar to Manhattan every time I have been there. Yes, they are more persistent in Manhattan.

My lover was proficient at dating the Islamic Republic way, with stealth and planning. He was expert at using the time available, living in the moment. He, who for years I had suspected to be innocent, turned out to be an accomplished hunter. Trysts he knew how to handle, relationships he had less experience with. Most girls were willing to sleep with you, he said, but they also all immediately talked of marriage, mostly because there was no other viable option for seeing someone long term, and the rules of society, which valued a woman’s respectability above all else, demanded it. In small towns like his, where everyone knows everyone, it was hard to conduct an illicit relationship for long without attracting some attention, and anyway, as he once explained to me, the subterfuge went so deep that it even involved lying to the self, making it impossible to continue an affair for too long. He said to me once: “Haven’t you worked it out yet? This is Iran. Everyone here is acting in a film. Everything is changing, particularly for women who are no longer fitting their traditional roles but society hasn’t caught up, so they just do what they want and pretend they are doing something else all the while to make it palatable. They even lie to themselves. No one can deal with the grim reality, and they prefer the film anyway. There are seventy million people in this country, and they are all giving Oscar winning performances.”
The closest to that I have experienced is working places that had strict fraternization policies.

Read the whole thing. It is tragic and pretty and ends with a sad whimper.

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