January 12, 2003
Stuck in another traffic nightmare this time on the 101 when my cell phone rings.
It's Chloe. I try to utter "Hello" but after almost ten days spent screaming
my lungs out on camera, I can't even whisper without a scorching pain moving up and
down my throat.
Today, mercifully, my Hollywood breakthrough role as "Woman in close-up screaming
at Return of the Attack of the Killer Tomatos" has come to an end. It is fitting
that my first foray into acting in Tinseltown doesn't even consist of a line, just
a whole lot of screaming and a tortured facial expression. Believe me, I have plenty
in my life right now to easily come up with a tortured facial expression on cue.
-- "sup Naz?"
-- "Nada... Just stuck in traffic as usual..."
-- "How did it go with...?"
-- "The movie? It's over, thank god!"
-- "Great! So you're gonna be free tonight?"
I get suddenly suspicious. I smell a set up coming a mile away.
-- "Chloe!!! Forget it! I'm not going on a blind date, I don't care how cute/rich/smart
he is... I told you, I'm still..."
-- "What? Pining away for someone who dumped you?"
Grrrrr... When Chloe wants to get something, all her claws are out.
-- "I just don't feel social okay?"
-- "But Nazzzzz... It's Valentine."
-- "Forget it Chloe... I just would ruin your evening..."
-- "But Naz..."
-- "Whhheewwww...Wheeeewwwhhh" I start blowing into my cell phone "Oh...ooopppsss...
I think I'm losing my connection Chloe....Byeeee"
I hate hate hate Valentine's Day. When I don't have a boyfriend that is. And even
when I did have a boyfriend, I still resented this so-called holiday that puts so
much pressure on women's already thin self-confidence. I mean for days on end, you
are bombarded through the radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, movies with Valentine
commercials, Valentine love songs, a special Valentine episode of "Friends",
Valentine dinner specials, Valentine red paper hearts decorating everything from
your drugstore's yeast infection medicine shelves to the local butcher's Valentine
Sale "Meatballs" Specials. God forbid you don't have a special someone
in your life at that time of the year, you feel like the biggest loser on earth.
Not to mention those annoying women who take a perverse enjoyment out of advertising
the fact that they, as opposed to you, are loved, pampered and desired. You know
the ones: On Valentine's Day, they purposely wear a red sweater, a red pin, or a
red barrette in their hair, anything short of a giant billboard proclaiming to their
less fortunate sisters that they have a man. I knew a girl at the office I worked
at long ago in New York who on Valentine's Day received a single red rose from her
supposed boyfriend. Well, she spent the whole day carrying the single rose with her
wherever she went. She would rest it on her desk, in full view of the rest of the
staff, while she typed away at her computer. She would fidget with it playfully while
sipping her coffee in the company cafeteria. She even took it with her to the washrooms!
Later on, we all found out she had sent the rose to herself, which made us all feel
immensely better. Yes, this is what it's come to for us women on this most "romantic"
This Valentine has been worst than others for me. Not only do I not have a boyfriend,
I feel like I very well may have had my last chance at a serious relationship. I'm
going through that phase where I am convinced that I am an unattractive, dumb has-been
who's going to die an old "torshideh" maid. I can imagine all the relatives
in my family, Maamaan at the helm, gossiping about me and pointing me out to the
younger generation as the "One who didn't get married."
On the radio, Tom Likus is encouraging male callers to cruise their local bars and
nightclubs tonight in the hope of scoring with women desperately trying to fill their
loneliness. What a jerk! Normally, I enjoy him on a very surreal level during these
long drives home. But today, I have no patience.
I switch the radio to 670 am and it's the Dr. Holokouie show. A teary woman is on
the air. For half an hour, she tells Dr, Holokouie (and the entire Iranian community
in Los Angeles) about her sob story:
-- "Doctor...Sniff Sniff... Boyfriendam mano emrooz dump kardeh... (My boyfriend
dumped me today) Boo Hoo... Rooze Valentine Day!... Ugh Ugh... Az Iraan be man zang
zadeh migeh mikhaad aroussi koneh!... (He called me from Iran and said he is getting
married...) Arrr Arrr... Baa dokhtar-amoush!... (to his cousin!) Sniff Sniff... Maa
baa ham 3 saal doost boodim... (We were dating for 3 years) Boo Hoo... 3 taa bacheh
ham daarim... (We have 3 kids together) Ugh Ugh... Be man ghol daad baa man aroussi
koneh... (He promised he would marry me) Arr Arrr... Migeh baabaash majbouresh kardeh
baa dokhatr amoush aroussi koneh (He says his dad is making him marry his cousin)
... Sniff Sniff... Vali Aghaye Doctor, khodesh 49 saaleshe, baabaash 89 saaleshe
che joori misheh hanooz ba harfe baabaash goosh bedeh? (But Doctor, he is 49 and
his dad is 89, how could he still be listening to his dad?)... Migeh hanooz mano
doosst daareh... Ugh Ugh... (He says he still loves me)... Doctor fekr mikonin hanooz
mano doosst daareh? (Doctor do you think he still loves me?) Sniff Sniff..."
After a pause, Dr. Holokoui replies:
-- "Shomaa bacheye chandomeh khanevaadeh hasstin?"
(What number child are you in your family?)
Oh man! This is so depressing. Am I going to come to this one day? I shudder at the
Ali has not called me for more than ten days now. It's really over. Or is it? Sami
keeps trying to convince me to talk things out. When she went to his place a couple
of days ago to get the rest of my things for me, she told me he looked miserable.
No Shohreh in sight. He asked how I was doing, just wanted to know if I was okay,
whether I needed anything. Sami says that I need to deal with this right now before
it's too late, and that I can't run away from my problems. I tried to laugh it off.
-- "Oh yeah...famous line... Isn't that what Norman Bates told Marion Crane
before he offed her?"
-- "Nazanin... sometimes it would be nice if you stopped living in the movies
and joined the rest of us back on earth."
Aouch!!! Her criticism had all the subtlety of a Jake La Motta punch.
Sami's point definitely had me thinking over the past few days. I have been itching
to dial the familiar numbers and get in touch with Ali. But I don't think I want
to do it until after Valentine's Day. I just wouldn't want to do it for the wrong
reasons, being all emotional and feeling sorry for myself. If I still feel this way
after this manipulative holiday, then I will call Ali. And then, maybe... Who knows?
I get home and Chloe is whinier than a two-year old child in front of Toys R Us.
-- "Naz...pleeeeaassseeee.... Puuuuhhh-leeeezzzzeeee... Do this for me! I promised
my guy I would bring a girlfriend so we could double date with his friend. Please
say yes! As a favor to your favorite roommate!"
-- "My favorite roommate is Artie!"
Aaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!! I can't take her whiny voice anymore! I
reluctantly agree to do this ONE-TIME favor for her, if she will promise to leave
my love life alone from now on. As a secret revenge, I decide to make sure I look
most unflattering so she learns her lesson once and for all.
The guys are supposed to pick us up at 8:00 p.m. At 7:45 I am still on the couch
with Artie, singing along to Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.
Chloe comes out of her room all made up, hair, face, killer outfit and all. She lets
out a horrified wail at my sight.
-- "Naz!!! Come on hurry! They're gonna be here any minute!"
I roll my eyes and get up. I wish so much that I could spend this evening curled
up in front of the TV with Artie! PBS is having an old Hollywood musical marathon.
Now I normally don't like musicals, but I love a few: Sound of Music is one of them.
Cabaret is another. Two slightly different takes on the Nazi era! But it all works
I drag myself to my closet, where of course, I realize I have nothing to wear. Tonight's
date is supposed to be casual chic whatever that means. I just opt for some black
pants and a hideous silk shirt maamaan gave to me for my last birthday: It is mint
green with large yellow circles on it.
At Chloe's request, Artie is brushing through my hair in the hopes of creating a
halfway decent look but it's no use. The humidity of the last couple of days have
upped the frizz factor and my hair strands just won't stay still. I look like I've
stuck my fingers in an electric outlet.
The sound of someone knocking at the door turns Chloe pale with fright. After forcing
some lipstick on me, she drags me to the door, to greet our dates.
The gentlemen who are going to share our evening are two lawyers. Ugghhh!!! Already
I am readying myself for an exciting evening spent discussing the finer points of
the latest civil code amendments. After having worked for a grouchy old attorney
back in New York, all the glamour put on this profession by TV shows and movies has
long worn off.
Chloe's date seems like a nice enough Joe Everyday, although as bland and square
as can be. His name is Marc and he does mergers and acquisi...snooorreeeee!!!
Meanwhile, my date introduces himself as :"Doctor Ahmad"
-- "I thought you were a lawyer?"
-- "Yes, I am" He replies grinning " I am known in the community as
I resist the temptation of introducing myself as Mistress Zelda, Queen of Darkness.
In the car, Chloe whispers to me:
-- "So what do you think? Marc told me his friend was Eye-ranian, so I thought
he would be perfect for you!"
-- "Chloe?" I sigh " Do you say 'Eye-talian' ?"
She looks at me dumbfounded:
-- "No of course not!"
-- "Because it's ignorant."
I look at her waiting (hoping) for the lightbulb to go on. Sadly, it never does.
We are at El Cid, this weird, out of the way Spanish restaurant that looks and smells
moldy. The framed pictures on the wall evidence a glorious past but that was back
in the forties and fifties. Tonight, nary a patron inside the deserted dining room.
Except for... What in the hell are those?
-- "Chloe!" I whisper between my teeth "What are those camera people
Chloe just whispers back "Shut up Naz, this will be good exposure for our careers!"
and walks faster on ahead. When we are seated in our booth, I realize with horror
that I have been left in the dark about a little detail in this evening's plan...
WE ARE BEING FILMED AS A SEGMENT OF A TV DATING SHOW!!!!!!
I keep kicking Chloe under the table to let me get out of our booth but I get Doctor
Ahmad instead, who immediately thinks I am playing footsie with him and grins at
The cameras are all in our face, as our host shoves a microphone between my nose
and my soup plate, asking for my comments. Before I have time to throw a few choice
words his way, Chloe grabs on to the microphone and coos: "Oh Charles, we are
so happy to be part of this episode of 'Date and the City', aren't we guys?"
The two lawyers nod their head enthusiastically. Doctor Ahmad adds a cheery: "Hi
Mom, hi Dad... I am Doctor Ahmad!"
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! What kind of a nightmare
is this? Even by Valentine's Day standards, this evening rates as worse than the
time my mom set me up with a khaastegaar who asked me if I was a lesbian because
I wouldn't stick my tongue down his throat on our first date!
A-Ha! I have finally caught sight of the only escape from this evening!
-- "Waiter!" I cry out "Bring me a jug of Sangria!"
-- "Oh what a great idea!" Says Marc "I love these exotic drinks"
I glare at him. Actually I meant to have the whole jug to myself. Oh well!!!
Hehehehe... It'shhhh... like.... (burp)... 3 jugsssszzz of Shhhzzzz...Szzzssaaangria
later and... (hiccup)... I musht shay... Thissshhh iiiissshhh ... by faaaaarrrr...
the bessshhhtttt Valentine'ssshhh Dayyyy.... Ever.....Hehehehe
Doctooorrr Ahmmmaadd issshhh shooooo cuuuutteeee... I luuurrrvveee heessshhh bald
heaaaddd... (hiccup)... I keeep runnniiinngg my handssss on it... hehehe... and ashhkkinnngg:
"Genie Genie! If I rub youuuuu guuuudddd, will you grant me the-reeeee wheeeesssshhheeeezzzzzzzzzz????"
Wow!!!! I have never sobered up this fast in my life. As we were all getting out
of the restaurant and heading towards the car, TV show cameras in tow, a woman about
4 feet tall and 200 pounds weight suddenly jumped out of the bushes and into the
arms of Doctor Ahmad. She started beating his face, shoulders and chest and screaming
out profanities at him in persian.
-- "Pedar Sag.... Fellaaannn felaaaannn shodeh.... Mikoshamett.... Pedaretto
The woman was soon followed by an army of photographers, and cameramen who seemed
to attack us from all sides like the last scene from Scarface, when Al Pacino's mansion
is being besieged by Columbian hitmen.
I just stood there, numb, wondering what kind of dating show this was. But apparently,
the new camera people weren't on our team.
-- "Hey hey hey wait a minute here, what's going on? Who are you?" Our
TV host Charles exclaimed.
To which a skinny bespectacled Latina woman with an attitude, wearing a Columbo-style
raincoat and dark sunglasses replied: "I am Maria Conchita Fernanda Costas-Aguila,
from the TV show 'Caught'. This woman hired us to follow her husband, whom she suspected
of cheating on him."
Maria suddenly turned to me:
"So? How do you feel ruining the lives of a family of four?"
I opened my mouth but no sound came out. This always seemed to happen to me when
I most needed to say something! Luckily, just at that moment, Mark and Chloe pulled
up in the car and motioned to me to jump in.
"That's right!" Maria uttered venomously as I stumbled in the passenger
seat and we took off "Run away bitch! That's what you do best!"
Last I looked, Mrs. Doctor Ahmad was still beating on her husband, while what seemed
like hundreds of cameras were hovering over them, like vultures fighting over a piece
of rotting meat. This signaled the end of the evening: Happy Valentine to me!
TO BE CONTINUED.
Does this article have spelling or other mistakes? Tell
me to fix it.