I had just been back in Tehran after spending my freshman year in the US and had nothing else to do but visiting friends and relatives and go here and there, when my high school friend Jamal called and asked if I wanted to go to Taj Tennis Club in northern Tehran. He wanted to play some tennis and also introduce me to his American “girlfriend” Kathy!
I was not much of a tennis player so I asked him to bring his extra Slazenger racquet and Fred Perry outfit so that I could get on the court. Jamal was a good tennis player and a member of the Club. When we got there, Kathy, an eighteen-year-old American girl whose father was working in Iran was waiting for us.
“This is Kasi. I am teaching her how to play tennis.” Jamal said with a boyish laughter.
“My name is Kathy, you Silly Savage! Kathy, not Kasi. When are you going to learn English?” She had a nickname for Jamal, Silly Savage that actually fit his character quite well!
It turned out that Jamal had met her in the Club a few weeks earlier and was teaching her tennis. Kathy, more than anything, was amused by Jamal’s simplicity and good nature, but there was nothing else going on there. After a little bit of chit-chat about my college town in the US, I could tell that Kathy was getting interested in me. The three of us played some tennis and then sat in the Cafeteria drinking Tang (powdered) orange juice and Café Glacé, as was customary by the snobs and the spoiled kids of northern Tehran!
Jamal didn’t speak much English so he tried to overcompensate by constantly laughing and joking and the physical touch. He reminded me of myself of about a year ago, completely clueless about the ways of the women and the world! One thing that I had learned dating women in the US was that a man can be hot, aggressive, funny or smart, but at the end of the day, it is the woman who makes the final decision!
After tennis, we decided to go to Chattanooga for lunch. We had a couple of Tuborg beers and Beef Stroganoff for lunch and then as I was trying to figure out the next move, Kathy suggested that we go to her house for a swim. She said that her family lived in a large, rented house nearby. We didn’t have our bathing suits with us and Jamal didn’t want to ruin his expensive tennis shorts so Kathy offered her brother’s cut-off jeans, and we got on our way to her house.
When we got there, we opened the large metal double door and parked the car on the gravel near the front stairs. There was nobody home. We put on her brother’s cut-off jeans and jumped into the pool, not knowing what to expect next. A few minutes later she showed up in a nice bikini that highlighted her attractive figure.
As we were splashing and horse-playing in the pool, we heard a loud roar coming from somewhere in the neighborhood. Jamal and I looked at each other wondering what that was all about! She just laughed and told us that it was the roar of the lion from the nearby Tehran Zoo! I guess that we were so preoccupied with other evil thoughts that we did not notice that she lived a few of blocks from the zoo. I think that the hungry lion was calling for his afternoon snack!
We took the cue from the hungry lion and told her that we were the real Persian lions in this neighborhood and started roaring and clawing her! As we were getting more and more playful, Jamal went under the water, put his head between her legs and lifted her out of the water on his shoulders! She started screaming and hitting Jamal on the head! Jamal just threw her back into the water!
When she resurfaced and stood up again, her bikini top had gone missing and was floating nearby and a pair of beautiful, champagne-glass-size breasts were staring deeply into our eyes and burning our souls!
Jamal, was uncharacteristically silent. I knew for sure that he hadn’t seen anything like this before. Actually, I don’t think that he had ever been that close to a beautiful and naked woman. I was quiet too and I couldn’t hear the hungry lion roaring either! She quickly broke the silence and whispered quietly, “I want my jeans back, now!” I knew that I was good to go! I gave her my cut-off jeans and told Jamal to do the same. He quickly did it like a good and polite kid! She threw them out of the pool as far away as she could! We didn’t care! We were then drawn to her like a magnet, me in the front and Jamal in the back!
“This is a called a Persian Sandwich! Have you ever had a Gol o Bolbol ice cream? The one that they put the ice cream in between two wafers!” I said with a smile.
“Just shut up and kiss me! I know what Bastani is! ……. Silly Savage, what are you doing back there? I am not that kind of a girl!” She said playfully.
It was a confusing situation and at times Jamal’s hairy arm would get in my way! I don’t know what he was up to, but we sure were having fun! Jamal didn’t last for too long and with a loud moan, he was done for the day!
یک، دو، سه، بینهایت! جمال فوری داماد شد
He moved away and floated on his back in the pool while things heated up between Kathy and me. With her arms tightly around my neck I started looking around the big yard to distract myself and prolong the pleasure. As my eyes were roving from one fruit tree to another and past a small brick room at the end of the yard, all of sudden my eyes locked on to a motionless older man squatting in the shades of the grapevines, watching us. It was such a piercing gaze that my heart almost sank. I pretended that I did not see him and quickly looked the other way. I knew that I had to wrap up the matter-at-hand with Kathy as quickly as possible and get out of there!
Shortly after, as she caught her breath and loosened her grip around my neck and shoulders I told her about the man under the grapevines.
“He is the gardener. He lives with his wife in that small room at the far end of the yard. We caught him watching us another time and told the owner of the house. But he didn’t want to get rid of him. The guy has been a gardener here for ages. Anyways, my dad’s assignment is almost over and we are moving back to the States by the end of summer.”
I quietly told Jamal about the guy. He looked at him from the corner of his eyes and was alarmed. “We should get out of the pool as quickly as possible before the guy comes after us with a shovel. I don’t want my naked ass to be fed to that hungry lion!”
By then Kathy had her bikini on and was going inside. As soon as she was out of sight, Jamal and I quickly jumped out of the pool and with one hand covering our fronts and the other covering our naked butts ran towards the house!
A while later, her mother and brother came home and parked next to my car. We kissed Kathy goodbye, said hi to them, pulled the car out of the driveway and left. On the way back home, we played Jamal’s favorite tape, “It’s Five O’clock” by Demis Roussos and laughed about our encounter.
A week later, I was on my Iran Air flight back to the US thinking and smiling about my short summer trip, the roar of the lion, the piercing gaze of the gardener and the floating bikini top!
As I look back on that summer vacation, I can’t help but wonder that perhaps today, somewhere in the Midwest, there is a suburban blond mom sitting in her kitchen and with a twinkle in her eyes, telling her family while watching Ahmadinejad on TV, “Trust me, Iranians are fun people. When I was 18, I spent a wonderful year over there!”