Since we’re still on the subject of harassment, I thought I write this little story here.
Time: About twelve-ish in the afternoon on the fourth day of the Persian New-year March 2005
Location: One of those quite back alleys that go from Valiasr to Maghsoodbeik
People: No1- me, No2- My half English half Iranian cousin who is a year older than me and had not been to Iran for twelve years.
Costumes: Me: No makeup at all, a black headscarf tied tightly under my chin, dark blue jeans, black shoes and a very old German army jacket three sizes too big for me; my tramp look as my friends like to call it.
My cousin: some makeup (and she is very beautiful anyway), had some of hair out and was wearing a tight black Islamic uniform.
Shortly after we entered this little alleyway, we were joined by a third person: A man in his late twenties or early thirties in a white Pride.
‘Miss would you like a lift?’ he mumbled as he went past. We ignored him and continued with our own conversation. He stopped about four meters down. As we walked passed we heard the, ‘Khanoom beresoonametoon?’ again. This went on three or four times until I thought he was getting a bit annoying and it was about time he got lost.
So I went up to his car and bent down a little to be able to look at him through his open passenger window. ‘Agha (Mister)’ I said trying to keep a straight face ‘stop hanging about here or I will have no choice but to smash your windscreen.’
I stayed there for a few more seconds and continued to stare at him with a look in my eyes that in my head meant, ‘I mean it shit-face’
The more I stared, the more I realised how pathetic this poor guy looked. His outfit consisted of a white pair of trousers with a black belt and a pale pink shirt with fine white stripes. His mouth had stayed in that half open position, frozen, in the anticipation of his favourite sentence (‘Khanoom beresoonametoon?’) But what attracted my attention the most about him was his freshly shaved chin. It looked as though in the process of shaving his beard he had accidentally removed a layer of skin clean off his face which had now been replaced by a new layer which misfortunately happened to be both red and flaky. And when I say flaky I mean proper flaky as in if there was such a thing as an antidandruff beard cleanser, this guy (if he had any sense) should have been first in the queue outside the shop the day it came into the market. O how sore it looked, even thinking about it now gives me goose bumps. Enough about that though because it has absolutely nothing to do with our story.
Open-mouthed, head tilted to one side, looking up at me. He stayed in this position for about a minute after I had stopped talking. Had it not been for the occasional movement of his eyeballs, I would definitely have pulled him out of the car and got him into the recovery position, thinking he was having a stroke.
His worried eyes worked their way around my jacket, studying every rip, tear and stain (made in the hands of either my father and I, or any number of German soldiers who had been its previous owners)
As I turned around and started walking, I heard the sound of a car stopping and a door opening and closing. I couldn’t believe it. I had thought I had scared him out of his wits but what was going on? Was he coming after us? What was I to do now? Was it actually possible to smash his windscreen with my bare hands?
‘Get out of the car’ I heard a man’s voice say, ‘Yallah, get out now.’
A police car with three police officers had pulled up next to the flaky guy’s car.
Talk about unlucky! As if it wasn’t enough that this guy’s whole face was about to fall off or that he was under the impression that it was ok to wear clothes that would have been considered too gay even by a gay man living in Florida during the eighties, or that he had just been threatened by a girl to have his windscreen shattered to bits, he now had to be arrested! Even I felt sorry for him.
‘It’s ok Sir’ I said walking towards the policemen, ‘It’s fine he was just about to leave.’
‘No he wasn’t’ said one of the policemen, ‘He was just sitting there. What were you saying to him?’
‘I said I was gonna smash his windscreen into pieces if he didn’t leave.’ The policeman let out a short involuntary bark-like laugh. ‘Did you hear that?’ he said to his friends, ‘We have ourselves a bit of a Karate Kid here.’ And then he made some, ‘Ooo aaa ooo’ noises as he mimicked some Bruce Lee moves. My cousin, not having been able to understand all the Farsi bits, looked quite baffled by the antics of this chubby policeman. ‘She alright?’ he whispered a little out of breath. ‘Foreigner’ I explained. ‘I see’ he said nodding his head repeatedly a few times for some reason.
Then he turned to the flaky guy and said, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself bothering young ladies in quite back alleys like this.’
Too right Jenab Sarvan (officer) too bloody right.