Green Card Love

I swore this one date would be the last date in Iran


Green Card Love
by Layla Kamm

I am doing this last one for my mom, I tell myself. I could have easily gotten out of it but felt bad for my mom and her never-ending efforts to set me up on dates. So I finally agree to see some random suitor who is the brother of my second cousin’s friend. After all, this is Iran and everyone has a cousin who has a friend who has a brother who is single.

Right off the bat, I don’t like his voice when he calls me. Nonetheless, I still go along with the process. He picks me up in a car that hasn’t seen a car wash in a decade. He is nice enough to get out of the car though when I come by. And he takes off his sunglasses so I can see his face. I don’t take off mine. I prefer to remain obscure for longer. (God only knows how awkward it is to get into a stranger’s car for the purpose of marrying him one day but I am in Tehran, without my own car and my options are limited.) At least when I went on blind dates in the States I used to drive my own car and not have to endure being with a complete stranger in their car. This time, even before I left the house I swore this one date would be the last date in Iran.

We find a coffee shop nearby. I had already investigated the closest place possible and had made up a story that I was invited for dinner to my aunt’s house, that way a 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. date would suffice. As we sit down and the waitress brings the menu, my suitor so very politely asks me what I want. I order a café latte. Then he asks me if I want cake, which is rather a normal thing to get on coffee dates here. They only have apple pie, regular cake and cheesecake on the menu. I tell the waitress I want the regular cake, which she informs me they are out of today. Then I say I want the cheesecake. After the waitress is gone to bring our stuff, he tells me he has never had a cheesecake but is excited to try it. I just smile politely at him. When they do bring the cheesecake and I put my fork through it, I realize it’s not even cheesecake as I know it to be. It’s a really weird combination of mouse cake and plastic.

I open a pack of sugar and pour it into my café latte which fortunately tastes good. The smell and taste of coffee makes me relax a bit. The waitress and two other girls are now sitting across the way from us and all three of them are smoking inside the coffee shop—chain smoking I mean. The Godfather soundtrack is playing in the background—ironically so— as my date tries to catch glimpses of my eyes and asks me important life questions such as where do I intend to live, and why have I not been married before and what am I looking for in a partner. I pretend to be interested in his questions and I feel bad for his enthusiasm and worse for the lack of my own. I answer them politely as best as I can. But when he asks me why I would not want to live in Iran, I say fiercely and rightfully ‘I don’t like it here’ as if I have earned my right not to like it here by hard work and doing time away in exile— as if no one can ever take away that right from me.

By this time, I think he may be slightly offended, if not hurt at my answers. I feel even worse now.

Then of course we get to the inevitable question of Green Card. And this is when he confesses that ten years ago he and his brother both entered into the Green Card lottery. His brother won and he didn’t. His brother moved to the States where he lives now, in Oregon, and is happy. He stayed in Tehran and forgot about his dream of moving to America. At least he tells me he forgot. Now I really feel bad for my lack of interest. Had I been interested in him, it would have made his day—if not the remainder of his waking hours—for his next question which he shyly gets to is: what happens if we do end up getting married as far as his Green Card situation goes? Again, I politely explain that hypothetically speaking if we ever get married— which we won’t— I would then have to apply for a Green Card for him. It would take about a year from the time I file until he arrives on American soil, I tell him.

He smiles internally, I can feel it. On the outside, he tried to remain neutral and cool.

I look at my watch and point out that I may be running late for my dinner party. He waves his hand at the waitress asking for our bill. He tells the waitress that he really liked the cheesecake and will order it again next time. I don’t mention the fact that it was fake cheesecake. From this day on, he probably will remember me every time he encounters cheesecakes. I don’t mind that at all. We walk back to his car. The drive from the coffee shop to the house is only seven minutes to be exact but feels like an hour.

When I am getting out of the car I thank him and say, “Reapply for the lottery again. Don’t give up hope yet.”

He smiles in a sad way this time as if knowing the hypothetical situation is out the door. “It was good to meet you.” He responds.

I walk back to the house very quickly and don’t turn back. As I walk, I wonder is it ever possible to separate love and Green Card in this country?


Recently by Layla KammCommentsDate
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more from Layla Kamm

Just say No!

by farokh2000 on

Dear Layla;

I am not sure how long you have lived in the U.S,, but it seems you should have learned to say no when you are not interested in going on a  " blind date".

Why not say you were not interested on this fixed date from the beginning than to patronize the poor soul and pretend you are interested and then act like you are better than him, just because you live in the USA!?

That would have saved you from wasting your time and him from knowing how pathetic you and your attitude were.

Esfand Aashena

Most excellent! ALL cars in Tehran look like no wash in 10 yrs!

by Esfand Aashena on

Even if your car is brand spanking new or worse you JUST washed it they all look like they have never been washed before!  Clean cars and Tehran are oxymorons!

I recommend you keep dating and going to blind dates that your mom or other family members recommend!  They can be fun.  Look at it this way, do you have anything better to do (fake aunt dinners is used a lot by everyone ;-) or anything to lose?

Keep going and maybe you can even find a green card husband who ends up being good.  If not and you sign a pre-nup (you said you're lawyer right) what could possibly go wrong?  You just divorce and get back on the saddle! 

Bottom line, don't worry be happy! 

Everything is sacred


A nice story

by radius-of-the-persian-cat on

Its a nice story, and it is written with hearts blood. As a non-Iranian I can assure everybody here: It does not cause any adverse feelings against the country or its people. I"m even very curious now how this special cheese-cake might taste. The world would be boring if there were only Starbucks and Disneyland  type of places. And I guess if Layla writes about a smoke-filled room, even the tobacco smells different in Iran, more aromatic and natural  than the world-wide Marlborough poison-gas.

But JJs comments say it all: Being sent to a planned date with a person selected by somebody else will in many cases make even the nicest place look dim and ordinary. I fully understand this causes a counter-reaction in any modern, educated person. We are not cows or horses, that its owner sends for mating to a matched partner. There are so many things in western life-style that can be criticized, but a free choice of partners is definitely one of its big achievements.



by hirre on

Vaghean marg bar amrika... :) No seriously, if Iran would be democratic, then nobody would leave it in the first place. During the 70's people from the US/Europe were moving into the country... Also don't have high hopes for the US/west, every empire has a fall.... Unfortunately people in Iran still think the west promises mountains of gold and rivers of milk, they don't know how hard average joes work in western countries... I know a lot of iranians (especially imported iranians wives) that after a while get tired of the mentality in the western countries, e.g. that each person must be equal and work and contribute to the society in general and that everything in the west is "perfectly" scheduled... Many of them go back to Iran for periods of 3-6 months each year just to cope with the situation... For many iranians from Iran just working so much in the west becomes a problem (especially for some iranian women), and in some cases people move back to Iran, trading western/social freedom with accommodation.

The truth is different...

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

There are cases when Green Card couples fall in love or are in love. But marriages, on average, often don't last even under normal circumstances. And when the Green Card enters the equation, it just makes it easier to escape an unhappy, or artificial marriage.

I enjoyed your piece. When your suitor is not sincere (he's not interested in YOU, but is looking for a way to leave Iran), when you go on a date under family pressure, nothing good can come out of it. Naturally, you were bored, indifferent, even annoyed. Anyone would be under the circumstances.

You described an uncomfortable situation very well. Thank you for sharing.


Dear Layla

by Manam_Babak on

Thank God this is going to be your last date in Iran. I feel sorry for the guy that had to go out with you. No I take it back, I am glad for him that it did not work out between you two, cause if it would have it would be the begining of his measrable life away from home. As to "Green card and Love" I don't think you know or will ever know the meaninig of love, so stop trying. So go back to California and start your routine of one night stands, that suits you better!

Soosan Khanoom

Faramarz and Layla,

by Soosan Khanoom on

Faramarz and Layla,

Why searching around the world while you both are here in our sweet little IC corner? Don't look any further.

Come on you two are match made in heaven. Throw a big wedding party and invite all the IC members.  

That would be fun : ) 


right on Shirazi73

by Damavand on

I have to mention that there is so much interest in Iranian girls in US that when you see a single and available Iranian girl you have to wonder why!

Layla you have no right to play games with another person because your mom wants you to. You are not honest with yourself, mother and your date. I predict a life filled with struggles no matter what you choose to do.

As for Iranians who seek green cards, I can say that any society produces wise and happy citizens along with restless individuals who think happiness is somewhere else. Obviously the ones who get into a marriage to find their way into land of plenty will pick up on being unhappy as soon as the honeymoon and novelty is over.


What a ...!

by shirazi73 on

You are a rude, self centered, egotistic Los Angles Iranian. You don’t take off your glasses to greet him; right away you judge him by his car; you admit he was polite to you and the waitress but you continue to pretend and be a fake. You criticize the coffee shop, the food, the music, the service, the topic of discussion, the guy’s honesty, the cigarette smoke and everything else you can think of except you fail to notice your own behavior and rudeness. You have such high regard for yourself that you write if you would have shown a little interest you would have made the guys day.

Layla Kamm

Thank you!

by Layla Kamm on

Thank you!


What was the caliber

by zztop on

of the gun put to your head to go on this date?

At least the guy was honest (or stupid) enough to make his intentions clear.  What were yours?



by IranMarzban on

"I wonder is it ever possible to separate love and Green Card in this country"


i`m a citizen and nobody cared so stop generalizing people please thank you   




The other side of the coin!

by ariane on

I married my wife who was an american citizen. We initially thought about living in Iran, but she visited there and after 40 days told me that she couldn't live there, so I had to move to US. We are happy, and the marriage, as far as I, the beneficiary part, was concerned, was not for the card. I love her dearly and we are happy.


hamsade ghadimi

very good writing layla. 

by hamsade ghadimi on

very good writing layla.  i enjoyed it immensely.  i had an apple pie in iran that was anything but apple pie.  i think it was just regular yellow cake.  it cost $5.

Anahid Hojjati

Dear Layla, thanks for sharing your story

by Anahid Hojjati on

Recently we have had several blogs on IC about Iranian women marrying for green card. It was time to read about the other side of the coin.   There are now more Iranian women who marry guys from Iran. However, we have not heard about their experiences that much. Yours,  never got to the point of marriage but still touched on couple issues. Thanks for sharing.