There was the aroma of kabab, ghormeh sabzi, beer and wine, mixed with Persian music. People were mingling and having a good time. I didn't know anyone except my friend Davood and his wife Shrine, who insisted on going to their friend's (an Iranian doctor) party.
Everyone was dressed up. Men in black and women in their fancy gowns and jewelry. It was the presidential inauguration party. I felt out of place because I had dressed casually. I blamed Davood. He had told me, “Don't worry about anything. These people are so down to earth and khaakee.” I got a Heineken, my favorite beer, and decided to at least enjoy myself.
The party turned into sub-parties. I was standing between two groups. On my left, they were talking about health management, and how revenues were bad and second BMWs were not affordable anymore. On the right, they were talking about Iranians in California and how artificial they are compared with those in the northeast. I became so bored. I looked around to find Davood, but there was no sign of him.
Shrine was talking with a bunch of women. I walked toward her.
— “Hey Shrine, do you know where Davood is?”
— “No… Oh Aziz … Sorry, you are lonely. Come, come. Let me introduce you to some of the finest Iranian women. Then you won't look at those American women anymore.”
— “Great. Are they taken?” I joked.
— “Behave yourself.”
Shrine introduced me.
— “Everyone, this is our friend… And this is Khanoom Doctor Firoozi, Khanoom Doctor Shadi, Khanoom Doctor Salami, and Khanoom Doctor Mehraban.”
I thought, oh no. Now all these doctors will talk shop and I am going to be lost. But they were all focused on food.
Doctor Shadi, with that very expensive brilliant stone on her neck, was talking about her kabab recipe. Then she turned to me and Shrine and whispered, “Can you believe this girl, Farnoush (the host's daughter)? She has changed her boyfriend again. I heard she is now going out with this ugly Latino. How the hell will she be able to get married? I think she better go to Iran and do hymen reconstruction surgery — before it's too late. I've heard it's very cheap these days. Just $600. One of my good friends is a surgeon, if she needs one.”
Davood showed up. We went out to smoke.
— “You know what? Shrine's friends are so funny.”
— “Yeah, but I tell you, that Doctor Shadi , she can talk. Oh boy. She's an unusual doctor.”
— “Who? Parveen? Are you crazy. She's not a doctor.”
— “But …”
He interrupted me.
— “I know Aziz. Listen. There are two ways for an Iranian woman to become a doctor. One way is to go to medical school. But the easier way is to get married to a doctor. All these women are housewives.”