Once upon a time, a nice gal who was getting restless about running out of time for finding serious marital prospects went to Zan Oosta, her cynical but experienced friend who put it to her thusly:
“Cast the broadest net that you can, aiming to catch the biggest and best but be ready to settle for the bottom feeders. For increased chances, string along a few, put them through hell and whoever lasts the longest is the one nature selected for you through its law of survival of the dumbest.
“Put up the sweetest, most innocent face, and act like an angel who has never been looked at, let alone violated. Cover up the tracks of your past relationships. Remove all traces of the other men because some men dabble a little in double standards. They think if a woman does what made them studs she is a slut. If they find out their woman has ever been touched they'll fall into a state of deadly despondence requiring immediate paramedic attention by tastefully attired and properly fragranced personnel, either that or another upgrade to their vehicular obsession. They're fragile that way. They still think their mothers are virgins and they are products of the Immaculate Conception.
“The secret with these men is to make them feel like the titans that they think they are, the coolest, best dressed, most talented, and highly desired. In reality, we all know it is the Iranian women are who are all those. So, say things that he wants to hear. Intentionally mistake him for Brad Pitt once in a while. Let him do all the talking because it gives him the illusion this is a sign of things to come. Pepper the conversation with ‘oh you know soooo much, Brad!’ In time he’ll learn how little he knows. Laugh at all his dumb jokes. Slap your knee and proclaim your day isn’t complete until he has forced the sun up with his humor and boundless knowledge. Stare at him often with puppy eyes so adoringly that when you leave he’ll say to himself: ‘Wow, I didn’t know I was such a spectacular stud. I might have to turn it down a notch to prevent mass suicide of admirers.’ They like modest girls so tell him you don’t need a big wedding, only 800 guests, 1000 tops. Keep your ambitions in check. Your moment will arrive and your patience will be rewarded handsomely.
“Once married, unleash your inner boss. Release the fury. Let the fixing games begin. Dominate the conversation. If he starts talking interrupt. If in public finish his sentences for him. Do not worry about fairness. If you do 94 to 98 percent of the talking you are still well below what wives generally average. Years later when you go to counseling complain about how he never contributes to the conversation and you have to do 94 to 98 percent of the talking.
“If he ever gives you a single flower instead of a double-double bouquet worthy of a Da Vinci painting issue implicit threats such as ‘all options are on the table’ and ‘Lorena Bobbit proved that deficits don’t matter.’ Never miss a chance to tell him he was your bottom choice and how you gave up more upscale suitors to settle for a factory reject like him. Always find flaws with the way he dresses. When he sleeps squirt some ketchup on his clean shirts and the next day start a fight over how sloppy he is. Secretly discard his ties that don’t meet your standards. If he asks yell at him that you are sick of finding everything for him. Take cash out of his wallet without telling and if he complains make a point of him being a penniless scoundrel. As a preventive measure point out a pretty woman and ask if he finds her attractive. He will inevitably claim she is ugly. That way, if he ever divorces you he’ll never be with her because he once called her ugly.
“You don't have to break him first to remake him in your own image because most men are already broken. And don't try to fix him before marriage either because taking the cork out of the bottle before it’s time spoils the wine. You’ll either spook him away or lose the patient. In fact, you probably can't fix him after marriage either but you must try as it’s the funnest thing you’ll ever do. Once he is hooked on your rice-based dinners and your ability to organize his socks you are firmly in charge. Then fix him and fix him good. Fix him hard and fix him often.
“Iranian men were broken when God formulated their DNA. Then they were broken some more by spoilage when their mommies bathed them in milk and wrapped them in silk so their delicate natures wouldn't bruise. As if that wasn’t enough those mommies kept calling them soosool tala which is why circumcision is done, a mining expedition to expose all the gold. Later they got more broken when their daddies slapped them around because it is a shortcut to proper upbringing and it shows the son who the Rostam is in the house. And a little more when the government beat them up any time the boys tippytoed into affairs not their business, such as politics. Then some more when they landed abroad but the herds of the skinny models they expected at their feet upon arrival didn’t materialize. Then they were broken beyond repair when through ceaseless ambition and well-paying jobs, they became arrogantly confident, disposing of any urge to improve.
“There is no medical cure for them. Neither books nor spiritual advisors can save the day. There is only one group with the magical power to fix Iranian men. God created Iranian women to look good and to fix men. Onward and upward, sister, because you ain't perfect until you walk around with a broken woolly mammal on your arm to show other women you got your toy to repair while they are still hunting for their own repair jobs. So, aim high and shoot low because, too many broken men, too little time.
“Have you got all that, honey?”
Somewhere else, a guy who had successfully finished the stud phase was panicking that the horse race was about to end and yet he hadn't gone home with a Triple Crown worthy of pleasing the ever unappeasable mommy. So he went to Oosta, a cynical but wise friend who spoke thusly:
“Time is running out. You are balding in places that you never had hair to begin with, and all your places that have no business entertaining follicles are sprouting enough hair to afro all of the Sixties. Your flabby belly is making a point that designer belts are pointless because you can't see through the hanging donut around your waist. Your breasts will soon need their own uplifting engineering experience unless you get a reverse boob job which you won't because you're too macho to even let a reluctant doctor examine that same area your mommy once thought golden.
“In short, you are leaking oil, have too many miles, your tires are threadbare and you are out of warranty. Look hard and grab whoever you can. If she moves, propose. If she doesn’t move show her a designer bag and go ‘Gucci Gucci Gucci’! If she still doesn’t move call an ambulance. She’s dead. And the dead might soon be the only ones willing to date you.
“Cast the broadest net you can for Iranian women, but don't leave out other minorities and majorities as backups. Still, if you are interested in getting anywhere in life there is just one solution. Only Iranian women will put up with your imagined superiority, your inferior personality, your exterior inferiority and your compulsive superficiality. Never mind that all along they were hoping to land a doctor so they would earn the title ‘Khanoom Doctor' the easy way. You might be able to net one since the fierce competition for the coveted doctor prize makes it hard to land one without being equally accomplished or from royal blood. That is good news for you, or else you'd have to grow two curled horns and butt heads with other rams on rocky summits, fighting over the remaining female ram who has got that uh-oh look on her face: ‘I'm supposed to do WHAT with that numbskull who just butted heads with other numskulls for two weeks in a row?’
“Until you have her trapped in the cage of marriage and disfigured her body with the birth of your spawn, treat her like a princess, like an infallible angel, like the Miss Universe, like God's gift to mankind, like you can't spend another darn tootin' minute without her. Play those songs that call dokhtar iroony all the highest accolades in the book. Point at her while you sing along in case she forgets she’s the dokhtar iroony in the song.
“Tell them dumb jokes. The dumber the better. They like silly men. Give them single flowers. They find it romantic. Flaunt your knowledge of useless trivia. Women enjoy a man who knows a thing or two about the Pythagorean Theorem of isosceles triangles and the lifestyle of that swine who caused the flu.
“The day after the wedding throw out those songs and the royal treatment. Stop behaving yourself because you are exhausted from all that effort during the courtship. Walk around in your most unappealing, undersized underwear, letting your big belly hang out. Why hide all the saggy flab you worked so hard to build around you when you can gross her out back into the kitchen?
“You don’t need to be funny anymore, or talk, because it is she who will be doing all the talking, thank you very much. Pretend you are listening but be careful because paying attention to an incessant talker is like staring at the sun. Many men have fried their brains attempting the feat. The overload is too much on the brain. It will shut down and go into a coma to protect its circuitry. Keep your mind elsewhere but make random noises once in a while to give the impression that you are listening. If you can limit her talking to 94 to 98 percent you are already ahead of the game and other men will envy you. Spend all your cash drinking with your buddies because she’ll take what’s left as you sleep.
“Do not do any housework! Your momma didn’t raise a son to blemish his beautiful hands washing dishes. It is your God-given right as an Iranian man to spread in front of the TV all day, watching football with other flab-master buddies. She can clean and cook while you beer-burp and scream obscenities at those inept players in the telecast who surely can hear you. They obviously aren't as strong and athletic as you even though they have zero body fat and you have zero body anything else. Everyone knows you know more than those professional athletes even though the closest you ever got to a football field was for that auto auction in the stadium. She'll take your loafing, smile at your friends while feeding them, and as soon as they leave your behind will morph into grass. You’ll be arguing who did what. She’ll educate you on how she turned away all those top notch suitors to be with a lazy son of a pimp like you whose family’s rottenness can be traced to what your second-aunt-in-law did a century ago.
“Then for the rest of your life she’ll be fixing you. You are not going to change one bit because it’s more fun watching her try in futility. If by some freak of nature you change, her job is done and she'll leave you anyway for that perfect doctor who by now is divorced and looking a fixer to take care of his brats. And that, if you are lucky, is your futures in a nutshell because the only way you both will be happy is to be miserable as long as it is in the company of the person who causes the misery. So, aim low and shoot even lower, for life is too long and your nostrils don’t match.
“Have you got all that, sonny?”
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