"So, harassing the ladies is what you do everyday?"


by Seyed-Mehdi Shojaie

"Excuse me," said the man, addressing the woman who obviously thought she was oh so beautiful, "you're not Sharon Stone, are you?"

"Well, no," said the woman flirtatiously, "but …"

"I thought so," the man interrupted her, "because …"

"But," said the woman, interrupting him, "everybody tells me I look like her a lot. Don't I?"

"Well, no," said the man firmly. "Everybody's wrong. Sharon Stone is a beautiful woman. You, I'm afraid, are not beautiful at all. That's why I thought you could not be Sharon Stone."

"You bastard," shouted the woman, angry at having been duped so easily. "What if someone spoke like this to your mother or sister?"

"Well," said the man calmly, "neither of them thinks she looks like Sharon Stone."

"So what?" said the woman, still protesting.

"Well, since you thought you looked like Sharon Stone, I thought I had to help you get over that misconception."

"Go help your mother get over her misconceptions."

"I've already humbly said that my mother doesn't have such a misconception about herself. But since you did have such an idea on your mind …"

"What's on my mind is none of your business," the woman shouted, raising her handbag to hit him.

The man pulled back and made to move on. But the woman would not give up. By now, a small crowd had gathered around them, driven by curiosity, eager to see the fight go on.

"Where do you think you're going?" one of the spectators said to the man. "You can't get away just like that."

"So unbecoming of you, Sir. A man of such character," said another spectator, pointing to the man's neat and tidy suit.

"She's young enough to be your daughter," said a third person. "You must be ashamed of yourself."

"Hey," the woman shouted at the man, who was moving away from him, "you can't just open your gab and pour out everything's in it, then drop your head down like a cow and move on."

"What's up, Madam?" someone asked. "Is he harassing you?"

"Worse than harassment," said the woman, running after the man, and dragging a few other people behind her. "He's the scum of the earth."


"Captain, Sir," said the woman at the police station, before the Duty Officer had asked her anything, "I want to sue this gentleman. He has insulted me."

"Is that correct?" asked the officer, turning his head towards the man who was tidying his salt-and-pepper hair.

"I only told the lady that she did not look like Sharon Stone," the man said. "If that's an insult, well, yes, I guess I have insulted her."

The officer, startled, turned to the woman. The woman pushed her scarf back - enough to allow two locks of hair frame her face like a pair of parenthesis. The officer could not take his gaze off her.

"But," said the woman, "is it any of this gentleman's business whom I look like?"

"But," said the officer to the man, "is it any of your business whom this lady looks like?"

"Are you a reverberator?" the man asked the officer.

"What's a reverberator?"

"It's an amplifier that repeats the sound."

"Answer my question," said the officer.

"Well," said the man, "I live in this society. How can I be indifferent to what goes on around me? Yesterday, I saw this old woman who thought she was Sofia Loren. It took me a long time to explain to her that she was not. And in the end, I don' think she was convinced. As it happens, yesterday I was at Precinct No 13, with Captain Maouchehri, because of a similar complaint."

The officer, sitting at his desk straight as a ramrod, victoriously pulled a pen out of his pocket and tidied up the long sheets of paper in front of him. "So, harassing the ladies is what you do everyday?" he asked the man.

"No," said the man, "not every day. Only when I face such a case. Sometimes it might happen twice a day. And it's not just the ladies. Some gentlemen have the same problem. Some of them think they are Marlon Brando. Some others think they are Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. And it's not all about looking like actors …"

"A professional harasser," said the woman, who had cleaned up specks of eye-liner off her face with a tissue and was putting her small mirror back into her bag. "Just as well that you've been trapped."

"Of course," said the officer, "thanks to the police force's expertise and our kids' untiring pursuit and surveillance."

"Pardon me?" said the woman, looking perplexed.

"Well, we consider you to be one of us, after all," said the Duty Officer.

"Oh really," said the woman coquettishly, "we haven't even had a cup of tea together, but we're already family?" [1]

"Ashtiyani, get us some tea," shouted the Duty Officer, ignoring the woman's sarcasm.

"Yessir, Captain, Sir," said a private, before opening the door, clicking his heels and leaving the room.

"You see, Captain," said the man, "I am neither a professional harasser, nor a fugitive who's been trapped. Whenever I've advised anyone, I have also paid the price for it. I've been to the police station too. I don't owe anyone anything."

"Keep the rest of it for the court," said the Duty Officer bitterly, placing a slip of paper in front of him. "Write down your details."

The man wrote down his details quickly and returned the form.

"You too should write down your details," the Duty Officer told the woman, giving her the form.

By the time Ashtiyani had knocked on the door, asked for permission to enter, clicked his heels and placed the cups of the tea on the table, the woman too had written down her details and returned the form to the duty office.

"Is this your home telephone number," the Duty Office asked the woman after he had skimmed through the sheet.

"Yes, it is," said the woman.

"Could you also give me your cell phone number," said the Duty Officer, "it might be needed later on." [Of course, some might object, saying that the cell phone had not been invented in 1978. This part has been added to the story at a later time.] [2]

The woman reached for the form, but the officer gave her a smaller piece of paper. "You can write it here." he said. "That should be enough."

"Do I also have to give you my cell phone number, too?" the man asked.

"Well," said the Duty Officer after a pause, "alright, then. That's not a problem."

"But I don't have a cell phone," said the man.

"Why do you ask, then?" asked the officer, gritting his teeth.

"Well, I just wanted to make sure there's no problem that I don't have a cell phone. I don't know much about the laws, that's why …"

"No, there's no problem," said the Duty Officer, before asking the woman, "What should I write down as the cause of the complaint?"

"That I have accused this lady of not looking like Sharon Stone," the man replied instead of the woman. He then turned to her and said, "Please state any other insults that I may have made."

"Well, this in itself is a form of harassment, isn't it?" replied the woman.

"But you called me bastard, scum of the earth, cow and some other things that I will mention in my suit later."

"Well, I was angry at that time," said the woman, taken aback. "What is going to happen now?" she asked the Duty Officer.

"Once the formalities have been completed, I'll send you to court, for a judge to rule."

"Will the judge decide whether or not this lady looks like Sharon Stone?" asked the man. "The judges really have a tough job," he went on, speaking to himself. "What if he has to examine the evidence closely."

"No, the judgment will concern your insult and harassment." said the Duty Officer. "By the way," he continued, looking at his watch, "our office hours are over. You'll have to spend the night here and go to court tomorrow morning."

"Now that I've had a chance to look more carefully," the man told the woman, "I can see that I was wrong in my judgment. You are not so unlike Sharon Stone, after all"

"Do you really mean that?" said the woman.

"I do. Why should I have mentioned Sharon Stone, out of so many movie stars, If there had been no similarity?"

"Lots of people tell me that. I wish I could see Sharon Stone one day to see what she herself would say."

"She's bound to admit that there's a similarity," said the man.

"I would like to withdraw my complaint," the woman told the Duty Officer. "I cannot really put up with the hassle of going to court and all that. You can tear out these forms and throw them away."

"That can't be done," said the Duty Officer. "The law must take its course."

"What about now that I have withdrawn my complaint?" asked the woman, appearing perplexed.

"Even so," the Duty Officer said. "The Law can't be ignored."

"But the Law does have the lady's cell phone number," said the man.

"It's a difficult situation," the Duty Officer told the woman, ignoring the man. "But I will sort it out one way or another."

"Ever since we came here," said the man, addressing the Duty Officer while getting ready to leave the station, "a big question has been all over my mind. May I put it to you?"

"Go on," said the officer, while tearing out the forms.

"I was just wondering," said the man, "if you don't really look like Sherlock Holmes."

---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----

* This story was written in the year 1977, a year before the revolution in Iran that overthrew the monarchy. Originally published in Persian, on the Iranian web journal, Baztab [Reflection], 3 March 2006. Translated by a friend of Iranian.com.

[1] A reference to the Iranian tradition of the bride-to-be serving tea to
the groom-to-be and his family when they visit her home to ask her
parents for her hand in marriage.

[2] Author's note, alluding to the literary tradition, in Iran and elsewhere, of adding details to texts as time goes by.




by Abarmard on

very funny, thanks

Azarin Sadegh

Very nice!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Very funny! I just didn't know that Sharon Stone was famous in 70s...or maybe originally you had chosen another actress, but you replaced it later with Sharon Stone..right?

Thank you for this entertaining and a bit absurd story..they're always my favorites!



This sure sounds like a

by Dave on

This sure sounds like a Nasruddin story (updated to include Sharon Stone.)



Thank you.

by Feshangi on

This was a very interesting story.  I enjoyed reading it. Thank you.