Welcome. Khooneh-ye khodetooneh.... consider me a good friend -- or a kind aunt if you prefer. Tell me what's on your mind. I'll listen carefully to whatever is bothering you and try to give you some honest advice. Let's have a chat... email me at kkhanom@yahoo.com

This column is updated Monday thru Friday.

* Can't find a girlfriend
* I want him to be mine
* Be more careful
* Pornography's effects
* Deevoonasham
* No time for haal
* "Vel matal" in US
* I attract religious men
* Don't want a weak man
* He likes it, I don't
* Don't set new rules
* I really want him
* I can't fall in love
* Will he come back to me?
* Lost parents
* Should I meet her?
* First time
* Confused love
* Older girl, younger boy
* Chat marriage
* Breat hair
* Doodool Talaa Syndrome
* Wait for years

Kobra Khanom's interview with Radio Free Euorope (May 26, 2001) >>> LISTEN HERE


* July 2001
* June
* May
* April

August 31, 2001

* Can't find a girlfriend

Dear Kobra Khanom,

Let me start this way : I am the last of a 4-child family. We fled to America because of the war and stayed in Iran for 4 years. I don't know why maybe because of me being a foreigner or having older parents compared to my other friends, I could never find a girlfriend. Until we moved back to Iran. Again I was used to hearing "no" from girls. It's funny I never heard a yes from a girl until now that I am 24, I have a lot of girlfriends, but it's just friendship.

I attended a very good but religious high school. In my high school I changed totally, I hated hated hated myself for masturbating. I thought I was doing the biggest sin of all, being frightened I might loose god's kindness to myself. I couldn't eat bananas saying to myself that the poor can't afford it, it's not right. In family reunions I would only eat one kind of food to be ethical. I would wear the cheapest shoe possible which had bad side effects on my feet. I would only listen to rowzeh and sympathies of religious leaders. I would only listen to Quran.

And this went on and on. Until I entered one of Iran's best universities I had the same thoughts. Even once after year and a half of not masturbating, I did it and I hated myself so much. Until 3 years ago. I having been taking pills for a long time, not now however when in 9th grade I used Ritalin, in high school Imiperamin. Sometimes I even used sleeping pills to sleep. I never had a girlfriend , and I had lost my self-confidence so much.

Let me add that a lot of my friends, boys and girls, find me a fun guy. However, I have been turned down by every girl I have approached. The last one was the hardest. I fell in love with her because she was smart and beautiful. At least I found her perfect. I should add I hate airheads, so for a present I bought her "World in 2000" by the economist publications. But she said "no" to me too.

As for my job I am working with my dad in his industrial complex. I am starting my own trading company being parallel to my father's factory. He wants me to takeover as CEO, so I am taking care of most of his responsibilities. I am not shy in business or with the tycoons I have to meet because of business, but when it comes to girls I just can't. I never kissed a girl on the lip. I never had an emotional relationship with a girl, I never had sex, and at this age, masturbating for a need is a turnoff.

I have no problem in terms of making money. I have a car and we live in a good complex. But I just cant find a girlfriend. I am not a very attractive man, but not ugly. I am not tall and or very muscular but not short either. Sometimes I think I should just call up a hooker, but I don't want to loose my virginity like that.

I have a lot more to say about my background but I don't want to take too much of your time. What should I do?


Dear M,

You should masturbate. Do not even think about of it as a sin. It is not. You can never be too old to masturbate. It is fine to do it no matter how old you are, as long as you feel like doing it. It is a simple handy way of taking care of a biological need.

It is great that you are so helpful to your father and that you have a bright future ahead of you as CEO of his business.

It is also great that you are honest and have an ethical approach to life. You can be a moralist and masturbate every day. As far as I'm concerned one has nothing to do with the other. You having gone through a darvish/religious stage in your youth is also very normal for an intelligent boy.

I remember going through a period where I thought I had visions and I tried to be ultra good. It was just before my atheist stage around the age of eleven. So nothing about you sounds strange or unfun. Stop labeling yourself.

As to not having a girlfriend, a lot of guys are late bloomers and are shy and have problems finding girls. This too is normal. Do not obsess about it. Maybe you can try lowering your standards. You will be surprised at how much fun less beautiful or intelligent girls can be. Try to find a friend who is better at meeting girls than you are and see if he can teach you a few things. Believe me it will happen.

Now if you still feel really depressed you should see a therapist. But do not make it a bigger deal than it is -- so what that you are a virgin at 24? It is not the end of the world. Or do you want me to tell you about the boy your age who has AIDS?

Any way sex is over-rated, but success is not. You have one. Just be patient and you will get the second.

be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

August 30, 2001

* I want him to be mine

My name is N. I live in Denmark and it's been 2 years since I moved here and I'm 17 . I just wanted to talk about something and probably get some advice as well.

Okay, about a year ago I met a guy called D. He seemed such a nice guy at first. Then I kind of liked him and adored him as well and it turned out to be my dreamy guy. Well first I just liked him like others so I always tried to look good, behave myself and did what I did when the other guys were around. I always seemed to get nervous when I was with him but afterwards I'd just forget him and go on again.

Then I went to a new school which turned out to be his old school as well so everyone knew him. He was very popular in school because he's really handsome and sexy (that's what I love about him). I talked to girls there and they all had spent sometime with him. Then I found a girl called S., from Iraq. She really liked him and I always talked about him with her. She seemed so interested. We talked and talked every time I was up there with him and his family because that's how we met. Our families were really close then. So we talked about his amazing eyes and stuff. Afterwards I thought wow I think I'm in love with him. Mind you, I have to say I don't love him though.

Okay, let me tell you something else. When I was 13 I fell in love with the guy next door. He was nice to me. We never got together since we were so young. I never dared to tell him how I felt. We were in Tehran (Shahrake Shahid Mahalati) if you knew that neighborhood, you'd know what kind of people live there: fundamentalists, and he was one of them. He was always telling me what to do and what to wear as a friend. He always told me that if he turns 15, he will never talk to me cause it's a sin. Well I'm the opposite compared to him. I hardly believe in God, much less the other things.

Okay, when I fell in love with him, I was encouraged by my cousin because she had a boyfriend and I didn't so I fell in love with the first one who caught my eye. I don't think he loved me so much but I think he was kind of confused about me. I don't know how he felt but I know that he wasn't indifferent, you know. Then one day I traveled to Turkey for vacation and when I came back he had moved somewhere else. I got him to write something in my diary and kind of wish me luck. But I told him it was my brother's diary, so he kind of wished luck for him cause I couldn't tell him the truth.

We had a lot of memories together, things that I will never forget. When he left my life, I suffered a loss (really). I cried often and was sad. Well, I was stupid, but so sweet when I fell in love with him. I never thought of kissing him or something like that -- never -- but now it's different. After that I got so interested in football. It was 1997 right before the World Cup in France. So it kind of seemed natural to love football. (I always love things a lot. As Iranians say, I'm efraati. Well I don't know how to say it in English. But I'm like that . I don't love when I love, I LOVE.)

Before I never knew what Red and Blue were. I couldn't even tell them apart. LOL. But then I got to be a Red (Persepolis) fan. First it was only the National Team. Just them. I loved Abedzadeh a lot, but not that much. Just normal. Then I was totally in love with football and I forgot all about him (not totally though). He always will have a part of my heart as my first love.

I was turning into a fundamentalist as well. But I moved to West Tehran, which suited my personality better. But I barely took my roosari off when I was in Turkey. I never showed my hair to anyone except for my family. I don't know why I did that. But I just did.

Okay, when I was in high school I found some crazy friend just as crazy as myself and fell so so so so hardly in love with Persepolis because it wasn't the National Team anymore and I could always think about them and dream about them at night. When it was time for azaan, no matter where we were, we would pray for our Abedzadeh to get better. We were CRAZY. I still am. All the time we were doing something related to them, I mean always! We were insane and crazy about all these things

Then I moved to Denmark. It was really hard for me to leave my favorite club and player, and my dear friend F. But I had to do it. I'm still crazy about football and still cry when we lose, and scream when we win. I remember when people saw me back then in Iran, they would start to give me advice -- that I can't be like this or ruin my life and stuff. I never listened and will never listen since I always get really good grades in my school and still do.

These things really make be happy, even though my father cheated on my mother and married my mother's cousin. My mother made life hell for me 'cause I loved them so much. She always told me that I can't buy newspapers or just one a week, or that I can't buy it by myself cause bad people are around. Sometimes when I cried or said thing like "I want to die for you" and stuff, she would punish me. But I always thought I was the happiest girl on this Earth. Sometimes I think nothing surprises me. Even my father's second marriage didn't shock me. LOL. Yeah I loved football. I know it was crazy but I lived in it so much. I even flirted and fought with guys about Red and Blue.

Anyway then I moved to Denmark. I miss those guys so much. But now I think I really love him -- I mean the guy I met. I just want to see him but I don't know what to do. He had a girlfriend. She was Danish and he got hurt cause she cheated on him. Then he never got another girlfriend. I don't why. I want to be with him. We have everything in common. He's a good guy. I know that, and he's so handsome. He's a little big headed, so am I. He's selfish the way I am. He talks about himself a lot, so do I. He's open-minded, I think I'm too.

You know, I always think about stuff -- about everything. He doesn't believe in God. I do, but I'm not religious. I love dancing; so does he. He's a good fashionable guy, so am I. He's a short guy. I'm short too. I'm a little overweight though, and that's why I think he doesn't want me. The problem is our family. How can we get together while we are that close? Sometimes he's so good to me then other days he seems indifferent toward me. He asks me to have a ride with him and then the next day he doesn't talk with me.

My friends tell me that I should tell him how I feel. But I'm SO afraid I might lose my pride. I know it would be the last thing I would do. I really want him. We really really suit each other. We are both Iranian. Well, I thought probably he doesn't like Iranians and wants to be with Danish girls with blue eyes and blond hair and stuff. But he told ME that he hated the way they think about life and he told me that he likes Iranians.

I'm afraid it's just me. I'm afraid he doesn't feel anything. First when I felt I like him, I would refuse his family's invitations. I wouldn't go. And when he was around, I would go somewhere else and not sit beside him, or something. That made him so uncomfortable with me. I was so goofy.

I decided to show him my feelings and talk to him, to be a good friend. Then he was supposed to come to our house to fix something . He lost his way. I found him and he told me to sit in the front seat. We listened to Rap music. He would call me "dear" and stuff. He was so kind to me and I was happy and pleased. Then he started talking to everyone else. I realized that he loves talking about auto mechanics. Naturally, I hate it. I'm a girl. I tried to talk to him about things I've been through in coming to Denmark. I thought maybe he's been through the same things and he would open up, but he didn't. The only moments he would talk was when I talked about himself. He was always listening.

Then I saw him twice in the street and he told me once that he's busy and has to go. Then the other time I didn't want that respectful reaction of him so I just said hi and walked away and once me and my brother went to say good-bye to him when he was off to vacation. Well, he looked at me for like 15 seconds, something that he really doesn't do and I looked back. He has the most beautiful eyes. Everyone knows. It's not just me. He's known as someone with beautiful eyes. I always refused to look at his eyes when he talks to me. I would look away. I couldn't bear that look. But that time I was advised by my friend to look back. And I did.

My brother knows. We both know that our mother knows too, but she pretends that she doesn't cause I'm not comfortable with it. Now please tell me what to do. I'm so confused. I want him to be mine. I'm not sad though, because I think it's good to be in love. I enjoy every minute of it. But sometimes I want him to be there for me. That's all. Please help me, help me.


Dear N,

Your letter brought a smile to my tired face. It made me remember more innocent days when love of a guy could be replaced by the love of a football team. You are right to be happy and enjoy every minute of it.

I used to love Persepolis and Manchester United, which at the time (here I reveal my many years) had George Best as its star player. I remember my room in Tehran adorned with big posters of Persepolis players and George Best. I also fell in love again with football when our team made it to the World Cup and was lucky enough to see them play the U.S. in Lyon, France.

Denmark too has a very good football team. Schemichel(?) who was the best ever goalie who helped Manchester United win a triple cup, used to be their goalie. Is he still playing?

Unfortunately here in the U.S. it is hard to keep up with European football, which is a passion of mine. My children used to make fun of me being in love with Ginola who played with Totenham Hotspurs and became a l'Oreal shampoo ad guy. He is absolutely gorgeous with that wavy blond hair and solid thighs, and somehow football makes his natural beauty come out. So all this to let you know that I hear you about the love of guys and football.

Now as to what to do with your new beloved in Denmark. You seem like an intelligent girl. You tell me that you do enjoy the suspense of being in love and not knowing what he feels. So why push it? Watch some good football now that you are in Europe. See, if the guy likes you, he will come to you. If not, there is always football. There is no hurry in complicating things. Concentrate on your studies and the world will be yours to have some day.

be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

August 29, 2001

* Be more careful

Dear Kobra khanom,

It is great reading your column and your advice to people who need it. I always think that what you say is very liberationg and caring. But there is one thing that really bothered me the other day and that was your response to an 18-year-old girl in Iran who told you she doesn't enjoy love making out and being touched as much as her boyfriend does. She asked for your advice...

It is good to tell people how to enjoy sex if they are asking that question but she is only 18 and in Iran with a young boy. I don't think she was asking you how to enjoy sex, she was asking if there is something wrong that she doesn't enjoy being touched.

I think when it is time, a woman wants to have sexual relationship as much as a man does and there is nothing wrong with that. But don't you think telling an 18-year-old girl to show her boyfriend where she wants to be touched is a little over the edge? You could have told her that if she doesn't like it, it is okay. She doesn't have to feel obligated, she can let her boyfriend touch her when she feels like it.

I have been 18, I have lived in Iran and I don't think it is a good idea to give this impression to a kid that the only reason she doesn't like to be touched is because her boyfriend doesn't know where to touch her. These are kids we are talking about, some of them don't even know about protected sex.

You are great but please be a little more careful with your advice to young kids. Thanks. I look forward to read more of your advice.


Dear SJ,

Thank you for reading my column and giving me your insight. From my experience the biggest problem with teenage boyfriends was that they did not know where to touch. And the biggest problem with teenage girls was that they were too shy to tell the boys what to do. This was as true in Tehran as here in America.

Now this girl in question was already engaging in sex with this man. So her question was not whether she should continue the touching but why she was not enjoying it when she likes the guy. I wanted her to know that it was normal for her not to enjoy herself if the guy did not know what to do -- even if she does like him.

I believe more women should have the courage to demand their pleasure from men. I really think it is irrelevant whether they live here or in Iran. Once the bedroom door is closed, the rules are the same.

I do also always recommend that women abstain if their men refuse to indulge them. Please do feel free to write again. Input from caring readers is a great fuel for my work. Keep on reading my column!

Kobra Khanom

P.S. Oh and the answer to your question: No I do not think telling an 18-year-old girl, wherever she may live, to show her boyfriend where to touch her is over the edge. I think it is absolutely necessary that someone should say it.

August 28, 2001

* Pornography's effects

Dear koobra khanom,

I am one of your new admirers and I have found your articles really useful. I have a problem with my sister. You know I am like the other boys who keeps some pornoghraphic pictures. My 12-year-old sister saw one of them by accident and I was too late in stopping it.

Now I am really worried about her because she is very young and curious. So I think it will have bad effects on her future. Please help me to keep my sister away from any psychological or physical problems.

Thank you for your help,


Dear MN,

I remember always sneaking up to my older brothers' bedroom in Tehran when I was around the same age as your sister and looking at his Playboy magazines. It is perfectly normal for young people to have pornographic pictures in their rooms. I would not worry about your sister.

You might want to explain to her that these pictures are not so bad and that they are a part of growing up. Tell her that men like looking at pictures of nude women and that you are not abnormal for possessing some.

If you engage her in a candid conversation you may be surprised at how much she already knows. Anyway what better way to engage in talk about sexuality than with an older sibling. I believe that the best way to solve problems is openness especially between siblings.

So be candid and tell her how she got you worried. But do not feel bad or responsible for what has happened. Do not turn it into a big deal. Stumbling upon a brother's pornography, unless it is something horrendous, will never damage anyone psychologically.

be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

August 27, 2001

* Deevoonasham

avval az hame be khatere tame zahamaty ke shoma baraye hamvatanamoon mikeshid khastam tashkar konam va bad ham mikhastam yek kam az een donyaye bad ke sar be sare hame mizareh shekayat konam .

man hoodoode 3 sale ke ba yek nafar doost hastam va kheily doosesh daram. az bachegi mishnakhtamesh va hamishe doosesh dashtam. ta mogheee ke pedar madaram nemeedoonestand hame cheez khoob bood ta een ke man be iran raftam va hame fahmidand va kholase roozegaremoon ro siyah kardand.

pedaram vaze mali kheily khooby dare va choon een roozha dokhtere folan karkhooneh dar bayad ba pesare yek karkhoone dare ezdevaj koneh, ba mokhalefate khiely shadidy roberoo shodim. kheily ha motaghedand ke oon pesare man ro be khatere khodam doost nadreh balkeh bekhatere poole babam va vizaye usa hast. man ham nemedoonam chera doosam dareh vali har chee hast man deevoonasham.

nemeedoonam cheekar konam. az yek taraf hata roye een ro ke be madar pedaram begam ke kheily doosesh daram ro nadaram va motmaenam ke tahte hich sharayetee onha ghabool nemikonand. az yek taraf ham har karee kardam natoonestam faramoosh konam. man 20 salame, ghablan ham doost pesar dashtam. fekr mikardam male sene kamame, vali oon ham nist.

komakam konid


R aziz,

Maadar va pedar joz khosbakhti cheeze digari baraaye shomaa aarezoo nadarand. In raa bedanid keh agar ham eshtebaah meekonand baa hosne niyat shomaa raa naseehat meekonand. Anhaa dar zendegi tajrobeh ziyaadi daarand va in tajrobeh baaes meeshavad keh nesbat beh shomaa bad beentar bashand.

Shomaa agar khaili motemavel hasteed baayad movaazeb baashid chon donyaa, makhsoosan Iran, bekhaater bad bakhtye mardom va va'ze bad eghtesaadi va bekaari ye ziyaad, khaili poolaki shodeh. Yek dokhtar yaa pesare pooldaar baayad khaili movaazeb baashad keh sarash kolaah naravad, makhsoosan agar Green Card ham daashteh bashad.

Massalehye shomaa maraa yaade yek daastaani andaakht keh khaaleh am tareef kard. daastaan in bood: paadeshahi be pesarash goft keh movaazeb baash in doostaanat to raa bekhaater pool va maghaam meekhaahand. Pesar javaab daad keh na baabaa shomaa eshtebaah meekonid inhaa doostaane man hastand.

pedar be pesar goft keh emshab goosfandi raa sar bebor va sare khooninash raa dar kisseh bogozaar va boro khaaneye doostaan dar bezan beheshaan begoo keh aadam koshti va az darbaar pedar beeroon raandeh shodi. agar in doostaan to raa dar khaaneh raah daadand meefahmi keh doostat hastand. pesar in kaar raa kard va kessi dar raa beh rooye oo baaz nakard.

Shomaa ham be aan pesar begooid keh shomaa meetavaanid baa oo vaslat konid vali pedar be shomaa pooli nakhaahad daad. Agar oo haazer bood shomaa raa bedoone maghaam va pooletaan ghabool konad aan vaght khaahid daanest keh oo shomaa raa doost daarad.

be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

August 24, 2001

* No time for haal

Dear Kobra Khanom,

I am a 21-year-old young man, finishing up my undergraduate education. Recently, I have noticed that many of my friends, and even my own family, have been critical of me, because I do not take any time off my schedule to experience "haal and eshgh", specifically spending time with girls.

Let me just come out and say that I am a red-blooded heterosexual. Anyway, they say to me that if I don't spend some time with the opposite sex and enjoy life fuller, then I will slowly ostricize myself from the social world around me.

As I mentioned earlier, I am finishing up my undergraduate education, and I have at least four more years of medical education ahead of me, starting next fall. I am a very serious student and spend almost all of my time and energy on my studies, and as a result, I barely have any time left for the "pleasures" of life.

I want to ask you, one who is an objective and keen observer of all such matters, whether this apparent "obliviousness" on my part, which everyone has been commenting on, will really hurt me in the long run. I am not asking for anyone's pity, nor am I trying to gather attention onto myself. Your kind attention is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Bee Haal

Dear Bee Haal,

Haal which could be interpreted as joi de vivre, or joy for life, is a loaded term. What gives you haal or joy may be your studies and the prospect of being to help others get over diseases in the near future. So tell your critics that in fact you are baa haal--only not their type of haal.

Now I do think that you should always take seriously criticism that comes from people who love you and know you because as we say in Farsi, people do not say many things if there is not a little to be said -- agar nabaashad cheezaki mardom nagooyand cheezhaa. So maybe there is a little truth in their comments. Maybe you should try to loosen up and see if you can enjoy their type of haal.

As a doctor you need to empathize with your patients and the best way to do that is to experience different kinds of pleasure as long as it is not harmfull to anyone. The more you know about the intricasies of life the better a doctor you will eventually be. So force yourself to have light hearted fun sometimes. In the long run it will pay off and you may even like it. So do not label yourself and be open to the possibilities that life puts in your way.

be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

August 23, 2001

* "Vel matal" in US

Dear Kobra Khanom,

I was vacationing in Iran for the past 8 weeks and just got back to the US. Before I even drank a glass of cold water or opened my suitcases , I turned on my computer and checked your page. I did not write to you from Iran because my accesses to internet was very limited.

I had a great time in Iran. Every night was "bekhor bekhor" at my relatives' and friends' houses . I think we are "vel matal" in the US and should really go back. Iranian people within the country need your advice and help there.

When I was spending time in Shomal, I tried to find your pioneering counterpart in answering people's questions -- Jenaab Sarvaan, that is. I wanted to give him your warm regards and respects and also introduce him to your column. I could not find him. But I had an opportunity to talk to a retired navy officer, and asked about Jenaab Sarvaan. I was told that he is living in Germany and is very sick and old.

While I was In Iran everything was very inexpensive to me, because I sold my dollars in the black market (corner of Khiyaban Shah and Ferdosi, close to the Turkish embassy). I was spending very well and experiencing a lavish life style there. Since I have come back to the United States, I really can not spend money because everything seems very expensive to me.

I'm having a very difficult time adjusting myself to the prices here. I really don't want to go to the grocery stores to shop because of high prices compared to grocery stores in Tehran.

Now here are my questions for you. Please help me as best as you can. How can I adjust myself to the product prices here in the US? The second question is, do you know markets in the US that I can shop (with Tehran price tags on the goods) and pay in rials? My last question is, can I sell my dollars in the black market in Washington Dc next to the Turkish Embassy and obtain rials? Please answer to my questions as soon as you can.

Your starving fan

Dear starving fan,

Stop thinking in rials and get yourself a job. I don't know of any place where you could exchange your rials for black market dollars.

I am happy that you looked up Jenaab Sarvaan and that he is still alive. I assure you that I would love nothing more than to do this from behind a computer in Iran but I wonder if I could do it as freely.

If I am not in Iran, Iran is with me every tap of the keyboard.

Hoping that some honest dollars fall your way,

Kobra Khanom

August 21, 2001

* I attract religious men

Salaam Kobra Khanoom,

First of all let me say that I truly enjoy reading your articles. You are an enlightened and progressive woman and I respect your advice greatly. I am a happy, successful, educated, 24-year-old Iranian woman whose lived most of her life in America. Neither of my parents are very religious and they never emphasized religion in our upbringing. I am personally atheist/agnostic. My plight has been that I almost always attract and get involved with religious men.

The problem has been getting more severe lately and I seek your wisdom. I date men of diverse ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. For the most part, they are all extremely kind and generous men, which is what attracts me to them and vice versa. However, at some point or another, we start having problems over our different religious beliefs. Usually, they are trying to make me convert.

Now I have studied most popular religions in college and independently. I've come to the conclusion that although spirituality is an important essence in one's life, organized dogmatic religion is not for me. In fact, I often get into arguments because I know more about the religion than the person I'm dating and they get frustrated when I question certain beliefs or practices.

The worst case was my last boyfriend who decided to embark on a Muslim missionary in Pakistan. Basically, he left me for god. After him, I've been trying to be very careful in screening the men I date to make sure they are not extremely religious. However, it seems that whatever guy I meet, no matter how educated or liberal he seems at first, always turns out religious - praising Alah, Jesus, or some other deity.

Kobra khanoom, I try to be open minded and understanding of other people's views. But honestly I can't get over the fact that I see religion as very oppressive, specially towards women. I am liberated and at peace with myself and the world. I am fortunate to have a wonderful family and a great life. I volunteer w/schools and am very active in the Iranian community.

However when men tell me they are Muslim or Catholic or whatever, the warning sirens go off. I attract these men, and in return am attracted to them because they have such good hearts. But I can't let myself get close to them because I know it will never work out. Is it the religion which makes them have some good souls? How can I meet someone whose caring and yet agnostic/atheist like me?


Spirited Fairy

Dear Spirited Fairy,

You sound like you are a very mature 24-year-old. I do think that it is possible for you to find someone who is closer to you in his philosophy of life AND is kind and generous too. You should just be patient and make sure you express your views on religion early on in the initial stage of the relationship so as to avoid misunderstanding.

But remember it may be your confidence in your beliefs that attracts men who are seeking answers. Stand firm and keep a sense of humor about it all. It is possible to be athiest/agnostic and love one who is not. It would be a stagnant world if we only bonded with people who share our beliefs.

So do not worry keep your confidence and one day you will fall in love and see that you do not care who he prays to or not. Love is about tolerating, even cherishing philosophical disagreements -- it does not digest fanatics well.

Be omide khoshbakhtiye shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

August 21, 2001

* Don't want a wek man

Hello, my dear Kobra Khanoom,

Only God knows how much I LOOOOOOOOOVE you. When I go through your comments, my heart overflows with a feeling I can't explain. I'm a girl of 32 living in Tehran. I've got a very good job. I'm highly educated, of reasonable beauty, from a traditional family, and financially supporting two families -- both my own family (my parents and my younger brother) and my older brother's wife and their two children]. And I've got no complaints. It even gives me a lot of joy when I put their benefits before my own.

So what's wrong? Okay! Let me tell you. I had a difficult life in my twenties. I had to work hard and study at the same because I was extremely ambitious and still am! I didn't have enough time to think about boys, love, marriage and... I saw them all as obstacles in the way of my life. All those hardships made me develop a very strong personality, which is now considered a weakness by some people, even my parents!!!!

Dear Kobra Khanoom, maybe they are right. Maybe there is something wrong with me. I'm quite puzzled now. I've always felt different from the girls of my age. Even some friends of mine say my attitude is not the norm!!!! I've never wished for gold and jewels, expensive perfumes, and even an expensive dress! When I was young and I couldn't afford them, I was too realistic to wish for them. Now, I can afford them but I don't want them any more.

And the main problem: My parents pressure me to get married to a gentleman who has recently proposed. But, I don't love him. He is educated and rich but I don't find him as strong as myself. In fact, the wealth he believes he's accumulated belongs to his father. I'm sure of this because he is not used to working hard!

Dear Kobra Kanoom, Bekhodaa, there is nothing wrong with me! I don't hate men! But the ones I've met so far have had weak personalities. I have a heart full of love and emotion. I even sometimes feel lonely and yearn for love. But I don't want to marry just because I feel lonely. The idea of getting married because I feel lonely fills me with DISGUST!!!!!!! I think loneliness is not a good reason for getting married. I've got so many other qualities & qualifications that I can be loved for them.

I want to be a successful lover, as I've been successful in my family life, in my education, and in my job. But my parents say it's getting late. Okay! LET IT BE LATE! LET ME LIVE ALONE FOREVER! I'M SURE NOTHING BAD WILL HAPPEN TO ME! But they don't understand. I don't know what to do.

Last night that gentleman was here but I was about to vomit! Because he foolishly boasted about his new BMW given to him as his birthday present!! I wanted to kill him!!! My parents and I had a quarrel when he left. They believe my behavior was unlady like. And I said I hated being the lady they want

You know Kobra Khanoom, even if I'm not the lady they want, they themselves are responsible for it because I had to do the jobs which boys of my age or even older ones couldn't do. My mother has stopped talking to me. I am thinking of renting an apartment and leaving my family. But I feel worried about them as well. I truly love them. I don't want them to feel despised since, as I said, I financially support them. I know they love me as well. But we don't understand each other. They're driving me crazy!

Kobra Khanoom Joon! Tell me what to do! I even feel guilty about the quarrel we had last night because my father had a heart attack almost two weeks ago and he is still in bed. I'm ashamed of myself. Tell me what to do.


Dear Puzzeled,

You are absolutely right in not wanting to marry just because it is getting late. Believe me 32 is considered late only in traditional societies. You are a very kind and capable woman who supports your entire family (I would love to have a sister like you). Next time they try to tell you what to do tell them that if you can support the lot of them then you can make your own decisions for god's sake.

Do not feel guilty about your dad and mom. Believe me you are the last person to cause your dad another heart attack. If you are lonely find your own partner and don't feel like you have to find the perfect man. You will be surprised at how much fun imperfect men are. If you are financially secure then you can afford a partner that is not necessarily wealthy but is educated. I would look into university/scholarly types.

Remember you may have planned your whole life with precision but the affairs of the heart are best left unplanned. Just open yourself a little and change your high standards for a mate. You will be surprised at how many good men are out there once you stop having them pass hypthetical tests in your mind. Do not feel desperate about your aloneness -- cherish it. It frees you to do what you want. Travel, find new interests and open yourself to possibilities.

Do not mind your parents -- smile, say yes, and ignore their advice when it is repressive and pointless. Iranian parents think that nothing but a marriage, however bad, brings happiness for their daughters. They mean well but cannot help being old fashioned. It must be really hard to be a 32-year-old woman in Iran who is unmarried. No one considers you successfull unless you are married.

But you should leave the ignorant to their opinions and know that to be strong, motivated and responsible AND without a man is better than to be weak and with one. The men who are treatend by your success and stregnth of character are not worth having. If you do not find a man who admires the fact that you are supporting your entire family and are successful in your career, you should not feel like you have to marry at all. So please remain who you are and think of yourself first. If you are not happy, those you are helping won't be either.

be omide khosbakhtye haghighee baraaye tamaame zanhaaye hamvatan,

Kobra Khanom

August 20, 2001

* He likes it, I don't

ba arze salam.

man dokhtari 18 sale hastam. ba 3-4 pesar dar hade salam va sohbate mamoli ertebat daram.vali ba yeki hodoode yek sal doost hastam.ba ham be park, cinema,.. miravim.be khone ham gahi miravim. oo az 6 mahe pish harakate lamsi mikone va khodesh khaili lezzat mibare vali man lezzat nemibaram.albatte inkar ra doost daram vali lezzat nemibaram.

chand roze pish ba ham dar khone tanha bodim,inkarha tekrar shod va oo kheili hashari shod va ba esrar az man sex mikhast.man ham dost dashtam vali ehsase lezzat nemikardam, va mokhalefat kardam, ta ye tori bedon sexe jeddi tamoom shod.

mikhaham rahnemae koni eshkal az kojast? az oost ya az man va chetor bayad kard az ravabet lezzate jensi monaseb bord.

az shoma motashakkeram.


Khanom s.,

shomaa baraaye lezate jensi bordan baayad khaastehaataan raa be zooje khod begooyid. khejaalat nakeshid va agar az kaari lezat nemeebareed beh oo begooid. shomaa baayad be oo neshaan bedahid keh kojaa raa chejoor lams konad.

khaili haa hataa bad as chand saal ezdevaaj hanooz be shohareshaan ham nemeegoyand keh lezat nemeebarand va shohare bichaareh ham be khiaale khodash khaili balad ast va dar taareeky meemanad.

lezat jensi moghehee khoob ast keh dojaanebeh baashad. mesl goftegooye khoob meemaanad -- agar yektarfeh baashad sokhanraani meeshavad, agar do tarafeh baashad mosaahebat meeshavad. eshgh baazi bedeh bestaan ast va shomaa baayad be oo aan cheezi raa keh darbaareye badanetaan meedaaneed yad bedaheed taa oo zabaane badane shomaa raa befahmad.

lezate jensi baraaye zan khaili meetaavanad khoob baashad vali baa khejaalat joor dar nemeeaayad. be oo befahmaanid keh baraaye inkeh lezat bebareed baayad be khaasteye shomaa goosh konad. agar nakard az hamkhaabi baa oo doori konid.

be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

August 17, 2001

* Don't set new rules

Kobra Khanoom,

With all due respect I must say I am disappointed and baffled at your "one-size-fits-all" approach to your online help. The reason is you don't consider the background of the advisee with regard to culture.

I could not even believe things you said in "First tim" advice. Iranian culture does not forbid sexual pleasure between married couples. The culture considers it a sin outside of the marriage. What you said to that woman was exactly the opposite. Is this the kind of advice you give to a Muslim woman ??!!

Next time drink less and know the guy more before going to bed with him!!!!!!!! NO! You are wrong! You are talking to person from Iran and not Sweden!!! You should have said, don't have sex with someone who is not your husband!! This is the norm in our culture. You don't have to set new rules, our culture has already done that.

The underlying message that I got from you is that as long as it does not hurt anybody such as the one night stand, doing it is okay! Is there anything in this profane world of ours that is not okat, even though it does not "hurt" someone ?

Thank you!!


Dear Mr. ZA,

I was born a Muslim but do not believe that sex should be had only inside the marriage. I also think that telling someone they have sinned because of a one-night stand is not only wrong but destructive and malicious. What you are talking about is not cultural difference so much as it is a religious vs. a secular view of a womans life.

I do think we as Iranians have a duty to express our secular views loudly. Just because a question comes from some one who may be religious -- it does not mean that I have to change my philosophy to answer her.

Ever since I read Kants "Critique of Practical Reason", I have agreed with his notion of a catagorical imperative which is absolute moral law but based on reason. I believe that that which does not harm anybody is not wrong. This is not moral relativism this is believing in everybody's right to be who they want to be as long as they do not harm anyone.

This is what is meant by civil society. A society whose laws act as protection for its citizens and not as moral guidance or judgment. This is all about civil liberty and freedom and the right of a woman to make a mistake without someone in a beard telling her that it is a sin.

This is not anything goes. This is Kobra Khanom's philosophy of freedom of sexual expression and I will defend it till my fingers drop off. I do not care where the woman in question lives. Sweden or Mashad does not matter. In fact even her relgion is irrelevant here -- or do you think I should change relgions with each question?

She felt like her one-night stand was a sin and I believe it was not. I wanted her to know that another Iranian woman half a globe away does not consider that what she did was wrong. Stupid maybe but not a sin -- no way. There are many Iranian Muslims who do not believe that pleasure outside a marriage is a sin. They are not any less Iranian because of it. They are reformed Muslims.

Those who think some tenants of this ancient religion are worth keeping and some not. In a country that has made religion the number one tool of repression especially towards women, I believe we need as many Kobra Khanoms as we can get. As many older women who are not intimidated by moralizing men.

This is to the girl who wrote me about the one-night stand: I recieved this letter which made me think of another reason for you not to feel bad -- you can find solace in the fact that what you did -- however stupid -- may have felt the next day is a revolutionary act because in our country it is illegal and punishable.

How many American sorority girls can boast commiting federal crimes after a party?

To the dear Mr. Reader who is fed-up with the profanity of the world and not about state sponsored murder in his homeland: May we some day be able to have this discussion in our own country without the risk of me being arrested and you just walking off.

In the hope that that day will soon arrive,

Kobra Khanom

August 16, 2001

* I really want him

Dear Kobra khanom,

I have been with this guy for two years now, and we live in different states. I can not tell you what things I have done for him and how much I love him. He has basically been my whole life.

During this time, my mom knew everything about us, but my dad didn't. I was waiting for a good time, to tell my dad. This guy gave me a promise ring six months ago. So, then I thought he really wants to do this. We would talk to each other on the phone, maybe 5-8 times a day, we knew where we would go and what we were doing, and every 2-3 months we would see each other. His family in iran adores me, at least this is how they are on the phone!

To make it short, last week we were together for a whole week and we had the best time, and he surprised me with more DIAMONDS! So it was great. When he left, after four days, he decided to BREAK UP with me, because he thinks he doesn't wanna be in a relationship, and he wants to be free.

Now, this gentleman is 31-years old, and I am 22. I am dyinggggggggggg here. This guy is everythinggggggg to me. I love him soooo much!!!!! I don't know why he is doing this. Why would he do all these for me and then decide he doesn't wanna be with me and say that he is not happy with me after two years? He blocked me from emailing him, too.

Please help me. What should I do? I really want himmmmmmmm. I wanna build my life with him.

Thank you,


Dear 22,

Your letter is testimony to the fact that diamonds are not a girl's best friend, in fact they can fool and be cruelly misleading! I hear your pain. Being dumped after having been given a ring is incredibly unfortunate and torturous.

But let me tell you the sooner you get over it the better. The guy, whatever his intention might have been, has backed out. I am sure once you look back after a period of time you will see that you were blind to the signs of constancy from the begining.

But no use brooding over the past. It is time to move on and you need to gather your strenght and not let this unfortunate affair eat away at your youth. I just answered another heart broken compatriot that the best way to get over a guy is to find another!

If you are very depressed and do not think you can get over this guy by yourself then do seek some help from a therapist or a trusted friend. Sometimes after a defeat in the matters of the heart we need to nurture our soul and get help from those who love us is the best way. Your mother being privy to your love life is great. Who better than her to help you mend a broken heart.

Remember a heart which has learned to love once will always love again.

In hopes of your rapid recovery, write back if you need more help,

Kobra Khanom

August 15, 2001

* I can't fall in love

Salam Kobra Khanom,

Man Ye Moshkel`e Taghriban Bozorg Daram . Man Ashegh Nemisham . Hame Chiz Baram Mamooli Be Nazar Mirese. Kheyli Say Kardam Yeki Ra Doost Dashte Basham, Vali Natonestam . Ta Inja Ke Mohem Nist, Migzare.

Az Badbakhtiye Man Dokhtari Ahsegh`e Man Shode Va Tebgh`e Mamool Man Nesbat Be oo Hich Ehsasi Nadaram . Chand Bar Ham Telephoni Ba Ham Sohbat Kardim Va Say Kardam Khodam Ra Yek (Dive Pedar Sokhte) Neshan Bedaham. Ama Hich Asari Nadasht`e.

Chand Bar Ham Doostan`e Nazdikesh Baraye Gavahi Dadan Be Eshgh`e Khanoom Ba Man Sohbat Kardand. Man Khar Shodam Va Dar Park Ba Khanoom Gharar Gozashtam . Va Moshkel Akhar Man Shoro Shod. Az Chand Roz`e Pish Alave Bar Khanoom, Dostan`e Samimiy`e Khanoom Ham Be Asheghan`e Ma Ezafe Shodan.

To Ro Be Khoda Rahi Be Man Neshon Bedid Ta Az Sharre oona Khalas Besham. Bye.


Pesar joon, ghorboonet beram, shomaa keh moshkel nadaari -- koshgeli! Man nemeedonam chera, vali khaanomhaaye javaan az mard bee tafaavot khosheshaan meeaayad.

Nassihate man be shomaa ineh keh khodaa raa shokr konid taa nobate aashegh shodan shomaa ham bereseh. Dar zemn har cheh zoodtar beh aan dokhtar rok va jedi begooid keh ehssaasa doostaaneh baraaye oo daarid vali na eshghi. Beh oo befahmaanid keh in bekhaater oo neest balkeh shomaa osoolan injoor hasteed. Har cheh mehrabaantar baa oo baashid behtar. Vali oo raa beeshtar az in vassvasseh nakonid.

Be omid inkeh roozi eshgh raa becheshid,

Kobra Khanom

August 14, 2001

* Will he come back me?

Salam Kobra Khanoom,

I'm 27-years old. I got engaged when I was 21 in Tehran with very handsome doctor who loved me very much but used to bother me a lot. I broke my engagement and came to America. He came as well. I got in touch with him (which was a big mistake) but we were talking to each other and sometimes seeing each other for almost four years.

He went back to Iran and he insisted that I go back just for a visit. So, I went (the truth is I still love him).

When I went to Iran the next day he came to visit me at my parents' home and he told my parents that his mother is waiting for me at his home and he took me there! HIS PHILOSOPHY WAS THAT WE ARE GOOD FRIENDS ONLY.

He called me almost every day and took me to his home BUT in front of me he talked with other girls and saying that "I have so many girlfriends and most nights I'm at parties..." I didn't say anything, just kept silent. I was broken hearted and I told myself maybe I deserve it, because I left him. But Kobra Khanoom, I did so many things for him and asked for his forgiveness but every time I did, it got worse.

By the way his mom loves me so a lot, but she stopped calling me too. Anyway, I stopped getting in touch with him as well as seeing him. I didn't say GOODBYE when I came back to America, not even to his mom because I wanted to show him it was enough playing already. Somebody should push the finish button.

The interesting part is that when I told him that I want to do this he was insisting in being friends and said he loves me a lot, but like a sister. I said NO.

The truth, Kobra Khanoom, is that I still love him a lot but I'm so broken hearted. Do you think he will come after me? Do you think I made a good decision or not? Please let me know.



Dear Ms. Z,

You did do the right thing. Now just stick to it and do not budge. Any man who brags about his many girlfriends to a woman is only a boy and does not deserve serious consideration. He has told you loud and clear that he does not love you and he only wants to be friends.

It is well known amongst most women of dating age that if a man, or in this case a boy, says that he just wants to be friends, he is no longer romantically retrievable! So just cut all contact with him and his family and get on with your life. Let him go to all the parties he wants and break all the hearts he wants.

You, if you do not lose your all important, most precious, confidence, will find yourself someone who does not play games and who will love you. Even if you never meet another person this guy sounds too spoiled to have worked out long-term anyway and you are better off without him. You did the right thing by leaving him the first time.

So I commend you for your decision to break-up completely with this boy and only urge you to be strong in carrying it out. He, not being in love, wants to keep you around as a friend. Why not, it is nice to have friends around who adore you. You, being in love, should be very careful not to waste any more time on a relationship that seems to have become very one sided.

The best way to get over a guy is to quickly find another. I remember how my father, who knew I fell madly in love more often than most people, would often tell me: beh har baaghee meeresi goli barchin va boroo (in every garden, cut a flower and move on). So you too should not stick around waiting in this garden anymore.

Try to find a more fertile one in which your youthful passion can bloom. I know it is easier said than done but you have taken the first step. Now just make sure you are strong and can keep your chin up and give your youth other chances. Maybe someday you will find a garden whose flowers bloom forever!

Be omide movafaghiyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

August 13, 2001

* Lost parents

Hello Kobra Khanom,

I enjoy reading your column! My name is Denise and I am 35-years-old and recently married. I have a quick question for you and others from the Middle Eastern countries.

My husband Ali is originally from Afghanistan but he is of Iranian decent. He has lived here in the United States since 1978. He was seventeen years old when he came here as a high school student.

He grew up and went to school in Kabul. When the Russians invaded that country in the 70's he lost all contact with his family. Do you have any advice on how to find out if his parents are still alive? I beleive they are probably some of the thousands of people who have been displaced due to all the chaos.

His father's name is Safar Ali Mowahed. In case anyone out there has crossed paths with him.

Thankyou for any advice you can give us!!!!


Dear Denise,

I will forward this to the editor and ask to kindly post it and that way maybe you can get some leads. Other than that write to your local congressman about your situation and maybe he could help you. Also, maybe a relief agency that works in Afghanistan could also be of help. I hope that you do find them.

It must be very hard on your husband. Losing a father is bad enough under normal circumstances let alone like this. Being from Khorasan, I have a great affinity for the Afghan people. It is an incredible shame what is happening to that country and its beautifull people.

Read the piece by Mohsen Makhmalbaf on this site about the plight if Afhganistan ["Limbs of no body"]. It is a very long article but no amount of words can do justice to the depth of this tragedy. My father always talked about the pure hearted nobility of the Afghanis.

Please give your husband my salaam and tell him I am almost from the same khak (soil) and that today I too will pray for his father whatever that might be worth.

May some day all who have lost their loved ones find them. May you and your husband be able to go back to his no-doubt beloved motherland in freedom and peace.

In the sincere hopes that that day will come with haste,

Kobra Khanom

August 10, 2001

* Should I meet her?

Dear Kobra Khanoom Joon,

I recently, got to know a girl on the internet. However, the way I got to know her was very unique. All I will say is that it wasn't in a chatroom but more like an act of fate. We emailed and got to know each other without knowing about each other's physical appearance.

We found out we have a lot in common and finally exchanged pictures. She is indeed beautiful. We both agreed that we want to meet. We both live in another city and therefore the issue of long distance is a big one. This has made me skeptical.

The whole situation seems to be too good to be true. I am afraid that if I meet her and like her then a whole array of problems may arise. The most important of all, distance as well as other issues. I am afraid of long distance relationships and everyone I talk to tells me they don't work. I am scared. At one point I think she is my dream girl and by the same token, I fear that if she is, it won't work out because of the obvious obstacles and may eventually self destruct.

I am very confused. Should I meet her? or should I just cut off the relationship and stop emailing?

Khehilee mamnoon az raahnamaayeetoon


Dear Sleepless,

It used to be people would travel deserts barefoot for their beloved now it seems they don't want to take a shuttle between cities? Look, if you like her and she looks good what in the world do you have to lose? I mean distance is really not a good reason to stop you from seeing someone specially in our age of easy transport.

Unless she lives in Iran and/or has visa problems, or you do, in which case you have to find a non-comittal way of seeing each other. But if you both live in the free world then why not? As long as she agrees that intimacy online does not garauntee one offline and that your meeting will be strictly to test the possibilities of a real life relationship.

If you see her and still love her then move or have her move for heaven's sake - young people these days are so practical and logical! But perhaps you are afraid of her not liking you the same way after seeing you? Or you may be afraid of falling in love?

But remember "fear devours the soul". It is a necessary ingrediant of youth to abandon yourself to love and lust once in a while! If you ponder the matters of the heart too long you will lose the beautiful spontaneity that is a prerequisite of most forms of youthful pleasure. Take too long deciding to do this or that and you will be an old man before you are one.

So my advice to you is to do by all means see her, but explain to her that your meeting is in no way a commitment or promise, and that it is strictly to test the waters. If you see her and it does not work then take it form there. But do not, never, ever, worry about a bad outcome when you can dream of the best one.

Sweet dreams,

Kobra Khanom

August 9, 2001

* First time

Kobra Khanom,

Nemidoonam chejoori shooroo konnam. esmmeh man "m" hastesh va baraayeh avalin bar chand shab pish sex daashtam va ehsaaseh besiyaar gohi mikonnam. rafte boodim club, badesh ziyaad mashroob khordam, kheyli bikhiyaal shodam, yani aslan khoddam naboodam.

ammaa nemidoonam. pessare ham irani bood.

daaram say mikonam keh fekresho nakonnam. ehsaaseh gonaah mikonnam badjoor. hashariyam naboodam. ammaa bikhiyaal boodam. maghzam.

Toro khodaa yeh chizi beh man beghin. Namaaz shooroo kardam. Mikhaam baazham beh khodaa nazdik besham. Eehsaas mikonam yek shok bood keh khodaa mikhaast beh man beddeh. Nemidoonam. Baavaram nemisheh man in kaaro kardam.

Bebakhshid az faarsim va kalaameh haayyeh bad. Plz write back. Thanx.


M Khanom,

Az inkeh yek shab baa kassi hamkhaabi kardeheed nabaayad ehsaase gonaah kard. One night of bad sex should not make you feel guilty. Unlucky, maybe, but guilty certainly not.

Albateh baar aval khaili bad ast keh shomaa mast va bedooneh eshtiaagh in kaar raa anjaam daadeed vali donyaa beh aakhar naresideh. Avaleen baar osoolan baraaye heech kassi khoob neest. Haalaa baayad yaad gerefteh baashid keh baraaye lezat bordan az eshgbaazi baayad aval ham raa shenaakht va bad, ham raa doost daasht. Makhsoosan baraaye zan, chon lezat bordan baraaye oo beeshtar be mohabat va tajrobehye zojash bastegi daarad.

It is a shame that your first time having sex took place under drunkenness and without desire -- but it is not the end of the world. Now you know that in order to enjoy sex, especially for women, it is better to know the person and maybe even like him!

Pass nassihate man be shomaa in ast keh aan shab raa faraamoosh konid (agar mast boodid in kaar assaantar ast!) va ehssaasse gonaah nakonid. benazar man faghat kaarhaayie keh be kassi zarar mezanand va yaa aazaar meedahand gonaah hastand. Khariyat-e yek shab agar zararri be kassi nadaahsteh baashad gonaah nist. Lezat jensi gonaah neest. Kassaani keh intor fekr meekonand yaa maale ahde boogh hastand yaa faashist va mardom aazaar.

Shomaa, khaahare aziz, faghat movaazeb baashid keh dafe digar fagaht dar soorati keh vaaghe'an meekhaahid, sex daashteh baashid, na bekhaatere beetafaavoti yaa masti. Baraaye khodetaan arzesh ghaa'el baashid va ghadre khodetaan raa bedaanid. Beekhodi rooh va badanetaan raa be kassi nadahid. Va kamtar mashroob bokhoreed, makhsoosan agar baa mard morede allaaghehtaan beeroon meeravid! Vali ehsaase gonaah nakonid.

Agar namaaz be shomaa aaraamesh meedahad hatman bekhaaneed. Yaadetaan naravad keh kaari keh shomaa kardeed heech ajeeb nist va 100% gonaah neest. Ghadre khodetaan raa bedaanid va aassaan khod raa be kassi nadahid.

If praying brings you peace, by all means do it. But know that what you did was stupid but not at all a sin. know your own worth and do not give yourself to anyone easily.

Be omide shabhaaye behtari baraaye shomaa, wishing better eves,

Kobra Khanom

August 8, 2001

* Confused love

Dear Kobra Khanom,

I have faced a big dilema in my life and I am hoping you can give me a broader prospective on my problem I have fallen in love with an Iranian angel who has a pure and lovely heart. She is new to U.S. This angel has some problems which have changed her destiny and brought her to where we live.

She was in love with a guy in Iran and her parents did not like this guy at all. This guy left her after couple of years of relationship and went to Europe. She became very sad and heart broken and lost her contact with her boyfriend.

She then decided to come to the U.S to forget her boyfriend. Her parents, who are financially very established in Iran, found her an Iranian man from the U.S. to marry her and bring her to U.S. This gentleman marries her and brings her to the U.S, but very soon she finds out that this gentlenman has lied about his education and age. To make it short, they agree that they would live together in a house like a friend, without any relationship.

Then she meets me. I did my best to help her and make her happy at every possible time. She initiated our relationship, and I am so happy that this happend, but I am so afraid to lose her. Sometime she says that her husband is a good guy and loves her so much. Meanwhile her first boyfriend is back in Iran with no money or job, and is desperately asking her to forgive him and get back to him. But she has told him that she loves me, but this guy keeps calling her from Iran.

Anyway, it is a mess. I have no idea what she is up to, but when she is with me she says that she loves me. Once she told me that her life is very complicated and she does not want to ruin my life, but on the other hand when I ask her if she wants me to forget her, she says "NO".

I am in a stage that I have to decide about my life, and I don't want to see my love growning while she is with somebody else. I know this is a bit confusing, but I hope you can figure it out.

Thank you again and hope to hear from you soon,

Pesare Confused

Dear Pesare Confused,

As complicated as this woman's life might seem to you, it does not seem that way to me. It seems that your angel is not so. Angel's are by definition innocent and untouched. Your beloved has three men that she is puppeteering at the same time. If you were my son I would tell you to stay as far away as possible.

Now I know that you are in love. And that love blinds, but take a look at this woman's way of dealing with defeat and you will have an insight into what is awaiting you if you stick around and make a career of making her happy. The first time she was dumped, she upped and married someone to get out of Iran.

I do not care how prevalent or necessary marriage-in-order-to-emmigrate is, or how bad things are in Iran, I think it is dishonorable for a young woman to marry only to change her situation in life and her place of residence! It is a sign that she is a user of people.

The fact that she has all the three men, the ex-boyfriend and the quasi-husband and you, the lover, all on a string, still hoping that she will choose them, is a sure sign of her ability to seduce and manipulate. Why is she in touch with the first guy, if he made her have to marry someone she does not love and move continents?

I think it is because it gives her a sweet feeling of revenge to keep him around and begging. It also acts as a challange to you and keeps your love on fire. It is the oldest game in the book of seduction to keep all interested parties aware of each other's interest. Nothing is more of a turn on for the lover than the scent of competition.

I suggest you read Marcel Proust's "Rememberence of Things Past" (I think you can get the short version, "Swann's Way"), and see what dynamics go into making poor, respectable Mr. Swann fall in love with the career seductress Odette. Young, pure-hearted men should stay away from Odette types and leave them for the more experienced women who are worthy of their sex.

I suggest that you tell her that you can only be serious with her if she leaves both other men and stops all contact with them. Stop having sexual relations with her until she does this. It will only confuse you to sleep with her and wait for a decision on her part. You are in love. You need an exclusive commitment that is not just verbal, and in order to get on with YOUR life you need a peace of mind.

Now a little seduction game is not bad but one that goes on and on will become obssessive and destructive to you. So tell her that you need stability too and that you cannot wait forever for her to finish flirting with everyone. She should take steps to assure you that she reciprocates the feelings you have for her. Living with her "husband" and corresponding with the ex-lover only shows that she is keeping her options open. Tell her that if she loves you, she should give up those kinds of options. If she does not, leave her.

There is a fine line between love and obsession. I think we love those who are good for us but become obssessed with those whom we know, deep down, are not good for us. This is because short of obssession, we cannot logically justify our blind devotion for the harmful beloved.

A word of advice on angels: they are very few of them these days, man or woman. Yours may look like an angel but she surely does not sound like one. So ask for the assurances you need and stick to them.

Be omide movafaghiyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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August 7, 2001

* Older girl, younger boy

Salam Kobra Khanoom,

Moshkeleh man az dideh khodam kheili bozorgeh. Man aashegham, aasheghe dokhtari ke nemitoonam daashteh baasham, yani mitoonam vali nabaayad!

Een kas, khaahare dooste samimi maneh, va az man 4 saal bozorgtareh va yek ezdevaaje naamovaffagh ham daashte, va yek bache daareh. Man 18 saalameh, oon 22, va fekr konam bekhaatereh senneh kame man hast ke pedar maadar joftemoon hattaa aba doostimoon (relationship) mokhaalef hastan, vali khodemoon hamdigar ro kheili doost daarim va az har forsati baraaye didan ham estefaadeh mikonim.

Man baayad chetori pedar maadaram va yaa oon pedar maadaresho raazi konim?


Aashegh khaan,

Moshgel shomaa va doost dokhtaretaan baa zamaan dorost meesheh. Ya pedar va maadar in raabeteh raa ghabool khaahand kard yaa shomaa eshghetoon aatishesh meesoozeh taa khaamoosh besheh.

Chahaar saal faaseleye sen'niye ziaadee nist vali 18 baraaye ezdevaaj, yaa zeeyaadi jed'di shodan kami zoodeh. Shomaa baayad ghabl az inkeh vasslate abadi baa kassi bokonid aval khod raa khoob beshenaasid.

Agar ham keh vaagha'an hamdigar raa doost daashteh baashid zamaan neshaan khaahad daad, ham be shomaa ham be vaaledeyn, keh shomaa va eshghe beyn shomaa dotaa jed'di va davaam avaardani ast.

Pas nasseehate man be shomaa in ast keh bogozaareed hameentor zamaan bogzarad taa vaghti keh aanhaa shomaa raa ghabool konanad. Gaahi zamaaneh behtareen hallaal moshkelaat ast, makhsoosan dar seneene javaani.

Aasheghi zibaast vali vaghti keh bee mane' shod, lezatash kam meeshavad. Haale haazer raa ghaneemat bedaareed va ajaleh nadaashteh baashid. Eshgh baa ajaleh joor dar nemeeyaad.

Be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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August 6, 2001

* Chat marriage

Salam bar Kobraye azizam, khobiin?

Aval begam ke man aasheghe kalaame zibaaye shomaa hastam. az khodam baraaton begam ke dokhtare 27 saale hastam va mesle khaili haa tabe chating mano ham gerefte.

Seh maahe pish dar chat baa aaghaaii 31 saale aashenaa shodam va email zadan raa aaghaaz kardim. az hamoon ebtedaa baa ham gharaar daadi bastim ke na az zaahere ham beporsim na az vaze maali na az khaanevaadehaaomoon va na khaili chizaaye dige va faghat va faghat tabaadole afkaar konim va chat partner baashim.

Kholaase mitonin hads bezanin ke chi bar sare maa aamade? Ishoon chand vaghti hast ke bedoone inke mano dide baashe, faghat bekhaatere aghaayede man va inke maa khaili tafaahoom daarim, az man taghaazaaye ezdevaaj karde va khaaste ke hamdigaro bebinim. Maa hardo dar Tehran hastim.

Haalaa moshkele man chi hast? To ro khodaa fekr nakonin ke khodkhaah hastam. Man haghaayegh raa baraaton migam. Man dokhtari hastam ke khodaaro shokr az baabate zaahery va baatenidaaraaye emtiaazaate ziaady hastam. Khaanevaade man ham besiaar fahmide va tahsilkarde hastand. foghe lisaans va daraamade besiaar baalaaii daaram, va mohemtar az hame chizi ke behesh mibaalam in hast ke besiaar paak va manteghi hastam.

Man sharaayeti baraaye ezdevaaj daaram, mesle tahsilaat, khaanevaadeye fahmide, daraamade maghool va shaayad khaandatoon begire: ghade boland (ghade man 170 cm hast) va cheshm paak mikhaam. Man mitonam baad az didane in aghaa agar sharaayet motaabeghe mayle man nabood, tamoom konam maajeraa raa, valy masale injaast ke khaili delam misooze baraash. Nemikhaam ke beranje va raabete paaki ke maa dashtim baraaye oon khaatere bad beshe.

Haalaa soaalam az shomaa yaa ehtemaalan kassi ke ashenaaii be computer daare in hast ke aayaa man mitonam be tarighi aadress yaa shomare telepone in aaghaa raa az email aadresesh paidaa konam? Midonin cheraa? Chon agar paidash konam, khodam yavaashaki shoroo mikonam be tahghigh va dar soorate javaabe mosbat, gharaare molaaghaat mizaaram va bad in forsato be oon midam.

Dar ghaire in soorat khayli mitarsam ke bekhaatere hamoon masale zaahery, yaa chizaaye dige, javaab manfi beshe va baese aazaare ensaani besham. Chon oon midoone ke man ham behesh alaaghemand shodam valy nemidoone ke taa hadi nist ke rooye khaastehaam paa bezaaram.

Haalaa shomaa dooste khoobam chi migin? Aslan ghadam be in masir begzaaram yaa na? Va aayaa mitonam taghalob konam va bedoone inke azash beporsam, aadressesh yaa shomaare teleponesho dar internet paidaa konam?

Rooye maahetono miboosam.

Chat Girl

Chat Girl aziz,

Bad az khaandane naameh shirin ghalam shomaa meefahmaam chetor in aaghaa aasheghe internety shomaa shodeh! Shomaa baayad baa oo rok baashid. Tamaam hosne in email in ast keh aadam meetoneh baaham beereeyaa va sameemaaneh va rok sohbat koneh.

Taa jaaee keh man meedaanam nemeesheh esm o telephone kassi raa baa adress email paydaa kard. Vali agar ham meeshod, in kaar dorost neest. Hamaantor keh gofteed taghalob ast. Vali shomaa be oo begooid keh meekhaahid oo raa az door bebineed va yaa esm oo raa meekhaahid bedaanid. In khayli manteghi ast keh agar meekhaahid baa oo vaslat konid baayaad oo raa beshenaasid va darbaareh khodash va faamilash aagaahi daashteh baashid.

Oo nabaayad tavagho daashteh baashad keh shomaa nadeedeh oo raa doost daashteh baashid. Pass khejaalat nakeshid va be oo begooid keh heech no gholi neemtavaanid bedahid taa oo raa roo-dar-roo beshenaasid. Momken ast oo ham az shomaa khoshash nayaayad. Shomaa agar az oo khoshetaan nayaamad aanvaght baa kamaal zeraafat raabeteh raa beham bezanid. Shomaa be oo begooid keh taa oo raa nabinid beeshtar az yek doost nemeetavaanid baashid.

Be omid movafaghiyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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August 3, 2001

* Breast hair

Baa arze salaam,

elate rooyeshe moohaaye zaaed dar atraafe noke pestaan chi mitone baashe va aayaa raahi baraaye az bain bordane aan hast?

Az raahnamaaei shomaa khaili motshaker mishavam.


Dooste aziz,

Maa zanhaaye irani messle inkeh nefrinemoon kardeh baashan az hameh jaamoon moo dar meeyaad. Ay kaash keh pool yaa mohebat ham be hamin asooni dar har goosheh kenaari sabz meeshod.

Yek khanomi benam Niki Tehranchi dar hamin site darbaareh-ye moo va zan irani maghaalaate khaili jaalebi daarad ["Vezvezee","Super agent","Abroo Kamoon"]. pass in raa bedaaneed keh dar massaleye moo, khaahar ziyaad daareed.

Va ammaa javaabe shomaa. Man az yek tabibe hamvatan keh messl shomaa yeki as khaanandehaai maa ast porseedam, oo goft keh in moo dore sineh daraavardan 'normal' yaa tabi'i ast. Vali messl hameyeh moohaaye nakhaasteye digeh, democracy saresh nemeesheh va rooye bazihaa beeshtar dar meeyaad, rooye baziyhaa kamtar, va rooye deegaran aslan.

Dr. aziz farmoodand keh baa epilation (moochin ya moom) ya laser moo haa raa bekanid.

Be omide beheshti keh dar an mooye nakhaasteh baraaye zan irani voojood nadaashteh baashad,

Kobra Khanom

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August 2, 2001

* Doodool Talaa Syndrome

Can you enlighten me as to the dynamics of a relationship I am involved in? I am an American woman who has been dating a 37-year-old man for the past eight months who was born in Iran but has lived his life in America since the age of 5. His father passed away 10 years ago. His mother is a very successful realtor, and is 55-years old.

His older brother moved another state because of their mother's domineering, demandingness, and interference in his relationships with women. She lied about the woman he was in love with and broke them up. Soon after he realized the lies, but it was too late; his love was gone. He then moved away to keep his mother from further ruining his life. He is considered the bad son.

The mother has latched onto the younger son, my boyfriend, and demands he do everything for her. On his days off from work, (which are very few), she TELLS him to come over to do things for her. He just says. "Yes, Maman" even if he has plans with me. He either brings me along or breaks plans with me.

I have been patient and explained that it is unfair that he dumps me for his mom. It is rude to stand me up, and that as a man he should tell his mother he loves her, and would be glad to help her WHEN he has some spare time, but to stop telling him what to do. Also to tell her to stop DEMANDING he do these things, and ASK.

She is very wealthy and can afford any help she may possibly need. she is still a young woman in good health and can do many of these things herself. For example: When she needs the oil changed in one of her cars, she TELLS him to do it. If I need the oil changed, I pay someone. I am a very poor, single mom with no child support, living in orange county. I have a hard time buying groceries and paying my utilities. I do everything for myself or I go without. I don't even feel I can ask for his help because his mom has him all used up.

Last week I invited her to my family dinner which we have once per month to celebrate all of the birthdays and anniversaries of our family members within that month. We never invite anyone outside the family to this function, except serious boyfriends, or girlfriends. Because it was also my boyfriend's birthday, we did make an exception and invited his mom.

I explained what the dinner was for and who would be there, specifically no one outside of the family. His mother had the nerve to invite a guest who also brought a date! When she found out the next day that I was upset about that, she made up a story to tell her son, that I had asked her for something and when she handed it to me, I flung it across the room! He was furious with me and told me never to disrespect his mom again. When I asked him what he was talking about he told me the story. I flipped! It was 100% fabricated. He now claims to believe me and admitted the story about how his mom used to lie about his brother's girlfriend and split them up. He claims to have made a decision to respect our relationship and put me 1st in his life.

Because of how his mother treats me and now this lie she told about me, I do not want to interact with her. she does not want to see me either. He spent his birthday with me on the actual date of his birthday. His mother through him a party a few days later. Somehow it just felt so wrong that he was at a party she threw after lying about me.

If we are a serious couple, and he always talks about wanting to marry me, it doesn't feel right for me to be left behind. Yet she tries to boss me around and lies about me so I don't want to see her.

Should I just give up and leave the two of them alone? As much as he hates it that she treats him like a little boy, he keeps letting her. He now tells me it is their culture and he was raised this way. On one hand he hates it and furiously complains. On the other, he defends it and protects his mother's behavior.

Although he says he has decided to honor our relationship and live in the American culture with the dynamics of the mother/son/girlfriend, I am doubtful he can do this. And even if he can, what will happen on Christmas? Will he leave me for her half way thru the day? She completely lives as a liberated American woman except where it suits her to use her son as a slave. Then she reminds him of their Iranian culture.

After reading this, it seems to me I should just run! I really love this man and think he is the most honorable man I know. He is perfect for me, but his mom could ruin us. I think she already has.

Knowing the Iranian culture, do you have any advice for me?

Thank you,

The Other Woman

Dear Other woman,

It is very hard to deal with an overly possessive mother-in-law especially if you are not yet married. What you describe is nothing new to me. It is the exaggerated up shot of what we call the Doodool Talaa (golden penis) Syndrome.

Often Iranian mothers, when raising their little boys praise them in motherese for their little "golden" penises. All the Freudian connotation of this aside, Iranian mother's are not alone in manipulativeness and over indulgence of their boys. Here you have the same stereotype about Jewish or Italian mothers.

It seems that in traditional societies where women had little social or legal and economic standing of their own, they had to in some ways assure their securtiy through their son's unbending loyalty to them. Old habits die hard even if oceans and years seperate them from their original purpose.

Now what you should do about this situation is greatly dependent on how deeply you love your boyfriend and how much he loves you. If you do love him deeply and he reciprocates then maybe you can come up with strategies to limit the mother's power over him.

This is what I would do if I was in love with a boy with Doodool Talaa Syndrome. I would first of all tell him he has to marry me. There is no way you can compete with the mom if you are battling from the weak position of "girlfriend". In traditional Iranian culture "girlfriend" is very low in prestige and can never really compete with Mother. But if you are a wife and then a mother of your husband's children yourself, then you are elevated in the hierarchy of the extended family and can hope to exert some influence.

So my advice to you is that you tell this man that if he really loves you he should marry you. If he resists then move on and forget about this mommy's boy. Hopefully next time you will meet an Iranian with a more mentally balanced mother.

Imagine an American realtor and a possessive Iranian mother all rapped into one! I do not envy you! Like if the wife character in "American Beauty" was also a Jewish mom! Because, if he is hesitant to commit and his mom hates you, you have very little chance of making him change his mind and her's -- you will just increase your own chances of heartbreak and humilitation.

Being a single mom the last thing you need is to be humiliated and hur. You have to think of your own child first and make sure that you are in good shape for him/her. Too much of this kind of crap with the mother and boyfriend will drain your energy and leave very little of you for your child which should, after all, be your first priority. If he is not madly in love with you and is not willing to show his mom his commitment to you by marrying you, then he is too much of a package to work on.

The mom, having lost one son, will only be more possessive of this one. So tell him that at this point he is really only worth staying with if he loves you enough to marry you and help you in handling his rude and manipulative mother. But stick to what you say and do not turn it into a meaningless threat. Maybe if he sees that he will really lose you he will see that he needs to be more assertive with his mom.

Also next time you need an oil change tell your boyfriend, Iranian or not, to help you. Men like feeling needed.

In the hopes that all will work out for you and your boyfriend,

Kobra Khanom

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August 1, 2001

* Wait four years?

Dear Kobra,

I am a 21-years old boy in Iran, a university student in software programming and one of the three top students in our class. I also work more than the university and try for extra knowledge like MCSD.

My father has bought a house and a car for me, but as you see it is my father who has bought these things for me not myself and I am not happy about this.

Although everyone in the computer field has told me that after university I will find a good job and can build my own life, I am not sure things would go well like this forever, as I would describe it below.

Three months ago I met an 18-years-old girl who is exactly the one I want. We talked a lot I became more enthusiastic and now I believe that she has everything that I want . She has also agreed to wait 3 or 4 years for me.

You know at first 3 or 4 years seems easy but in reality nobody knows what would happen! There are problems . First of all I think that I am too young and inexperienced to think about things like marriage even for 3 or 4 years later. I think marriage and love might slow my studies and affect my progress. I love my studies and don't want to see slow down.

Also she is a girl who would agree to be my friend only if I promise it ends with marriage! Certainly she is the one who I want for marriage but I don't know what would happen in those years and whether I or she would change or not.

Please give me advice because it is an important decision which affects our future. I really don't know what to do


Dear Student,

I do not see how your engagement to this young woman will jeopardize your studies. I think it is wise of you to wait three or four years till your studies are completed and you are financially independent before you marry. Make sure she does not get pregnant before you are ready! If you do change or if she does then that was meant to be. No one can really predict the future.

But before you commit to this young woman you should make sure that you too want to wait for her. It would be dishonorable of you to make any promises to her if you are not one hundred percent sure. She may be upset now but it would be far worse if she waited a few years and then found out! So take a little time, weigh things out and see if she is the one that you want as a life-long soulmate.

If yes, then make a commitment to her, plan out your studies and goals and set a hypothetical date to get married and let that inspire you to work harder and with even more focus. Tell her that she has to give you the time and space for you to get to the point were you and her can unite. If you are not sure that she is the one, or that she will remain the one for you after several years, then be honest with her and ask her for more time under less commitment.

Tell her that you need a mid-point date like a year at which time you can both review the situation and then decide. Explain to her that at 18 it is even more important for her to be sure of her love for you and your compatibility with each other. Explain also that three months is a very short time, especially at such a young age, to get to really know each other.

If I were either of you I would wait at least another year before an engagement on the grounds of age alone. If she is mature she will understand and respect your reasoning. I am very proud when I hear of young compatriots who excel at their studies or fields of expertise. Please keep up the good work and remember that love can help one's work but obsession hinders it-except maybe for poets. So make sure that you will not get too involved in something that you will later regret.

Once an uncle, who is a good business man, told me that whenever you negotiate in business, and the buyer or seller is too insistent on you making a decision quickly, you should stop and take your time because acting in a hurry will lower your negotiating ability.

In my experience in applying this advice I have found that most negotiators are willing to wait. Now, do not get me wrong, I do not want to lower your relationship with this young woman to the level of a business negotiation but I think big decisions should be taken with the luxury of ample time.

Wishing you clarity of heart and mind, and be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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