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Price is right
"I need to borrow your date for a few hours"

November 17, 2000
The Iranian

Majid is one of those characters I try to avoid at any cost; and the more I try to avoid him, the more I run into him. He's rich, tall, handsome, educated, charming, successful, athletic, and confident. He's basically everything I'm not -- and I hate him for it. For a guy like me, he's a major ego crusher.

Like many hot-blooded Iranian men out there, I don't like people who do better than me in life. I can picture Majid in the morning, walking around in his designer underwear, wandering if he should wear the Kenneth Cole or the Armani suit. His biggest dilemma of the day is deciding whether to drive the Jag or the Bimmer. What a tough ife.

I, on the other hand, go through my dirty laundry in the morning, trying to find a T-shirt that doesn't smell like a corpse. My only worry in the morning is whether my pickup truck starts. I admit I burn with jealousy watching Majid cruise through life with such ease and comfort.

I figured, to avoid feeling inadequate, I should minimize contact with people like him. What puts Majid on top of my shit list, is the way he presents himself. During conversations he always lets you know how rich and successful he is.

Meanwhile, I had been asking this female co-worker out without success. She's not all that pretty but I was making her life miserable. I'm not sure what exactly happened but, to my surprise, she finally said yes. I'm not certain if it was my irritating charm or my psychotic phone calls at two o'clock in the morning that changed her mine.

Anyway, she and I were having dinner at this expensive restaurant. She hadn't slapped me or run out screaming, so I assumed she was having a good time. The waiter started taking our order. She ordered the most expensive items on the menu. She just went on and on. I made a quick calculation and realized, so far, she had cost me over $300. The woman would not stop ordering.

After the waiter left, she gave me the nastiest look and said, "You have been making my life a living hell. I agreed to go on a date with you to get my revenge. I am going to order everything on the menu and make you pay for it -- you son a bitch. This will be a lesson for you not to harass women and to understand the meaning of the word NO. I am going to make you spend so much money in this place; you'll be on welfare for the next six months. You are the biggest jerk I've ever met."

It was a setup. This woman was going to make me pay for all my sins. My date was on a mission to make me regret all those times that I treated women like sexual objects. This was a nightmare; it can not be happening to me. I was not only embarrassed, but I felt stupid.

Just as I thought things couldn't get worst, my buddy Majid walked in. I tried to avoid eye contact at any cost but it was too late. He was on his way to our table. Here comes the rich boy with his silk shirt, Italian leather shoes, designer gold watch, and nicely ironed pants. He was going to eat me alive in front of my date. I was going to look even more foolish now.

"Hi buddy, isn't that funny you and I keep bumping into each other," Majid said while playing with his Christian Dior belt. He smiled and continued, "If I didn't know better, I would think you're following me."

I ignored his sarcastic remarks and replied, "Hay man, what are you doing here?"

"Well, I'm meeting some potential investors. In today's market economy, you should always stay on top of things. I'm going to get these investors interested in some joint ventures in South East Asia. It's huge. We're talking major cash." He paused for a second, scanned the restaurant with a serious look on his face and went on, "When you get your hands on some money, call me and I'll give you some investment tips."

I got your investment right here, I was thinking to myself. Majid turned, looked at my date with the most nauseating smile and said, "And who the lovely lady might be?"

"This is ..... She's a co-worker of mine. We're having dinner."

Majid shook hands with her. He scanned the restaurant again. All of the sudden his expression changed; he looked worried. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Dude, can I talk to you in private. It's real important."

"Can it wait?" I replied. "I'm eating."

"It's only gonna take a minute or two. Please, I need your help."

I never thought I would hear words "please" and "help" in one sentence from this guy. I didn't want to leave my date alone because I was afraid she would order more food; but this I HAD to hear. I excused myself and followed Majid to the bar. He was looking real worried now.

He looked around and said, "I'm going to need your help. I have these Iranian investors meeting me here tonight. These guys are old school. They're rich, extremely conservative, and religious. I need to borrow your date for a few hours."

What the hell? I wasn't sure if I heard that right.

"Come again?"

"I need to borrow your date. You see, these guys would never invest a penny with a single guy. They have their own rules. The rule is that a single guy can't ever be trusted with money. They will not give me a chance if I sit in this meeting by myself. Your date is perfect. She looks conservative, down to earth, and even kind of ugly. All she has to do is to pretend she's my wife for a couple of hours."

"Wait a minute. You always hang out with these high-society women. Couldn't you ask one of them to be your wife for tonight."

"I actually did." Majid answered, "I came here with a girl I used to date. But we got into this heated argument and she left. So I'm truly desperate. This is a huge opportunity for me and I just can't give up on it. You should know I always get what I want."

"This is ridiculou," I faltered, "my date will never go for it. She is a respectable woman. You got to be out of your mind to even consider this. This is an insult. How would you feel if I ask you to lend me one of your girlfriends?"

Majid looked cool and confident. He looked around and said, "How much?"

"Excuse me! Are you offering me money?" I shouted.

"Would a $1,000 do?"

That's it! Now I'm really upset. I was going to kick this guy's ass. How dare he offer me money for my date. Who the hell does he think he is? This rich boy thought he can just walk in and buy his way through everything in life. I had to teach him that not everything's for sale.

On the other hand, a $1,000 could pay for a nice set of tires for my truck with enough money left over to fix that radiator leak -- but I was not going to sink that low. I was not going to step on my dignity and honor for a $1000. I was not going to make a bigger fool of myself in front of my date. I'm not that cheap.

I looked at him with disgust and said, "$2,000, and she's yours."

"Done!" Majid said while pulling $100 bills out of his pocket. He gave me 20 brand-new Ben Franklins and said, "Why don't you take a hike and I will talk to the girl."

He walked to my table and sat down. I looked at my date from a distance. The table was saturated with plates and she was still ordering more food. I made a quick run to the exit. I grabbed the waiter on the way out and told him, "You see that gentleman sitting at my table? He'll pick up the check."

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Siamack Baniameri

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