Some years ago I was told by a friend, who was going through a difficult time ending a relationship, that I was good at giving advice. It was not the first time someone had told me this. I decided, with the help of Jahanshah Javid, that it would be a good idea to start an advice column that gave guidance freely, openly and from the heart. When choosing a name for my ‘Iranian Dear Abbey’ I remembered my nanneh (nanny), Kobra Khanoom, in Iran who though illiterate was full of wisdom and goodwill and used to give everyone advice that was simple and confident.
There is a tradition in most cultures, certainly in our Iranian one, of wise women giving advice. It is the kind of counseling that is free of psychological and clinical training, unafraid of being sued and boldly free of any disclaimers. It is the kind of advice-giving that is as old as when people first started telling each other their problems. I have decided to revive Kobra Khanoom’s advice column because the older I get the more ups and downs I experience, the more like her I become.
So if you need a naneh to help you with a problem ask Kobra Khanoom and she will try her best to answer your question. It is, after all, up to you to listen. Email me at MsKobra@yahoo.com
Question: I am divorced and for the past 10-11 years, I have chosen not to become romantically involved with a man. It was not just one reason but many that led me to make such a choice. Now that my youngest son is 17 years, I have decided to focus on developing a romantic life. However, I have gotten so good at avoiding men’s advances towards me that I don’t know how to stop myself.
Family and friends call me the “great escapist”. Many men have been interested in me but I practically run away from them. The men are left confused and frustrated.
Kobra Khanoom’s Answer: I never could understand how people can actually ‘choose’ becoming romantically involved or falling in love. In fact the term falling in love clearly connotes ‘falling’ which is an involuntary act by nature. What I mean to say is that probably more than you ‘choosing’ it is perhaps that the right man has not come along. If he had then you couldn’t help to ‘choose’. That is the nature of love and romance– it has to be involuntary. Make it a choice and it becomes something else: an arrangement.
We have become a society that stigmatizes the ‘victim’ or those who feel they have been wronged. Everyone is supposed to be responsible for their own misery. Well some of that is right and good but then again not everyone chooses their destiny there is such a thing as just bad luck. Some people have been wronged by those they loved and trusted and are too shell-shocked to go on having normal lives. But because they are told that the worst thing to feel is to feel like a victim they make themselves believe that the life they live no matter how lonely and sad is actually a ‘choice’.
It could be that you were afraid of getting hurt or hurting someone. What ever the cause of your so-called choice of not getting involved, the good news is that you are now ready to move on and want to enjoy a romantic relationship.
Here is what I believe you should do: just say yes to next guy you think you can stomach. Dating like everything else becomes easier with practice. In fact it may even turn out to be fun. Don’t expect romantic involvement right away start with good old casual sex. If it is good then let it take a romantic course if your partner is so inclined. Remember it does not have to be a heavy life or death choice. Just push yourself to have some fun. Even pleasure takes a little perseverence and discipline. Taking your clothes off in front of a man becomes easier with each date! It is easier to become romantically involved when the sex is good. Go out there and start with getting laid!