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

Messages from July 2001

* Understanding Iranian girls
* Boyfriend or parents?
* Finishing early
* Yearning for love
* How can I live like this?
* My mom doesn't understand
* My mom hits
* All I think about is sex
* My wife won't go to Iran
* Should I marry an Iranian man?
* My aunt's abusive husband
* Humiliated by boyfriend
* Should I tell dad?
* Culture clash?
* Girlfriend credit problems
* No more gambling
* How much can I take?
* Looking for a wife for my son
* Sex & PMS
* University problems

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


* June 2001
* May
* April

July 31, 2001

* Understanding Iranian girls

Dear Kobra Khanoum,

I read your advice column every day. It's like a soap opera, only they're true. They remind me of my own family. I am 23 and I have been in the states since the end of the Iran Iraq war. I was very young then and my years in American schools and my new friends have changed me a lot. I can't speak Farsi very well any more and I'm too embarrassed to even try.

But at the same time I prefer going out with Iranian girls because they seem to be able to understand me better. I'm not sure though. I haven't been with an Iranian girl long enough to really understand what they're like. I get the feeling that you cannot communicate with them the same as American girls. Is this true or just my imagination?

I mean I can be pretty straight forward with my American girl friends even if its our first meeting. But with Iranian girls there's this invisible wall like when you go to the bank and talk to a teller. I'm not sure what's behind that wall and I don't know how to get over it and be comfortable with the "real" person behind it.

I was wondering if I'm just making all this up in my head or if there's some truth to it? I'd love to hear your views about this.



Dear F,

Iranian girls maybe more difficult for you to talk to than American girls because you came here when you were very young. In our culture we are not as straight forward or blunt about our wishes and desires and women especially are admonished to act like "khanoms" and not be too candid and "shame less" (bee haya) in their conversational style.

I remember when I was a teenager how I spoke very little in mixed company because I thought it was not sexy -- silence left more possibilities. But if you managed to open my heart I would not stop talking!

So maybe you should give these girls a chance and they too will open up. Also do not get too bogged down with stereotyping it will only limit you. I am sure that there are many Iranian women who, like you, came here very young and who are more comfortable speaking in English but who do also appreciate tahdig. Just give them a chance.

May you find the best match for you,

Kobra Khanom

July 30, 2001

* Boyfriend or parents?

Dear Kobra Khanoom,

I so desperately need your advice... I have been dating a man for the past five years. He is not Persian and he is of a different religion than myself. My parents will never give me their blessings. In fact they have made me choose either him or them! Because of my deep respect for my parents I can not choose him, but because of my deep love for him, I can not choose them. I am so lost.

I have been carrying this burden for five years. I have lied so much to my parents, my heart and mind are exhausted. Then to make the situation worse I met this guy, he IS Persian, and we get along really well.

Sometimes I just fantasize about how my parents would adore him, how we could share the same culture and religion. So I get turned on by this whole idea and I want to think again about my current relationship with my boyfriend. I love him so dearly my life would be empty without him, but at the same time my life would be so empty without my family, culture and religion. I don't know who to choose?

So sad...


Dear Lost,

Yours is a hard decision to make. It is always awful to have to choose between loved ones. I would not want to choose between my parents and the man I love and I would resent both of them if they made me do it! But it seems to me that if you even have to ask the question then you may not really be madly "in love." You should first ascertain if this is the man whom you want to live with for the rest of your life.

I truly believe that a marriage between people from two different cultures can work. But it is going to be hard if your family rejects you. If you do not marry this man you may always feel resentful towards your parents and their rubber-stamped groom. So either way you are in a difficult situation.

When you have a life-defining decision to make you should always begin by telling yourself to slow down, pause. Take a break from everyone and weigh things out before you do anything.

Do not start anything serious with the new Iranian guy until you are sure of how you feel about your present boyfriend. It is a bad idea to start an affair with someone when you still have a foot in a previous relationship -- it blurs your judgement. Make sure that you are not "in love" with your present boyfriend because he is forbidden.

Often parents help kindle the fire of their children's romances by too adamantly opposing them. If you do realize that you are really madly in love with your boyfriend and that he is the one for you then just gather your courage and tell your parents. You will not lose your religion or culture or "Iranianess" by marrying a non-Iranian but you will lose your sense of individuality and dignity if you let your parents bully you into leaving the man you love. The world would be an awful place if everyone did what their parents asked them!

But remember rebellion is a lonely place carved with one-way streets and dead-end exits. It takes courage and resolve to live there but the air you breathe will be ever so pure. So my advice to you is to slow down take a deep look at this man and see if your happiness depends on being with him always. If he is your one and true love then tell your parents, stick to your decision and soldier the difficulties. If you are not sure that he is the one, then see other people and see what happens, maybe the matter will be resolved by the sheer luck.

Remember that you can keep your sense of who you are and where you come from regardless of the blessing of your parents. Losing them will not make you any less Iranian. But losing your ability to choose your own soul-mate will be a huge leap towards making you less of a complete human being.

Be omid-e movafaghiyate shomaa, Wishing you clarity of mind and heart,

Kobra Khanom

July 27, 2001

* Finishing early

Salam & ba tashakkor.

Mohkele man inast ke hangaame hambestari khily zood tamaam misheh. In masale kheyli naaraahat konande ast. Lotfan agar raahi baraaye toolaani shodan hast yaa daarooi mishe masraf kard be man begoid. Baayad be che doctory (takhassosi) beravam? Ayaa doctory dar in mored dar Tehran mishenaasid? Mamnoon.


Masalehdaare aziz,

Massalehye shomaa baa daaroo dorost shodani ast. Shomaa baayad baa yek doctor-e motekhasese majaarie edraar moraaje'eh konid. Oo meetavaanad

Tashkhis bedahad keh massaleye shomaa tebbi ast yaa rvaani, yaa hardo, taa be shomaa daarooye lazem raa bedahad.

Khaili as aaghaayoon be in massaleh greftaar hastand va man as yek doosti daaram keh shoharash een masaleh raa daasht va baa ghors makhsoos khoob should.

Be omid movafagheeyate shomaa

Kobra Khanom

July 26, 2001

* Yearning for love

Dear Kobra khanoom,

I wonder if you can help me. I am at the end of my tether. I am a 35-year-old woman, single, and yearning to find love. I have only had one relationship in my life, and that ended 8-years ago and it only lasted for under a year. I am very inexperienced, and have tried to be open to meeting someone in the last couple of years but with little success.

Last time I got pretty badly burnt. It was my one and only sexual relationship and I couldn't trust anyone after it ended. The guy was not Persian, and he had affairs on me, gave me a STD, which resulted in invasive gynecological surgery, and in the end left me for someone else. I ran into him a few days ago, and he has recently married the woman he left me for and they are expecting their first baby (not his, he has two teenage daughters from his previous marriage -- he was 10-years older than me).

Anyway, it was painful, although I handled seeing him fairly well. I think I have forgiven him, for it was so long ago, but I have little hope about meeting anyone else. I tried the internet meeting personals columns, but with no luck. I feel that as a 35-year-old Iranian woman I have little choices left to me and that makes me angry. All I want is to find love, but it seems as if being older, and perhaps not a model type precludes me from happiness.

I don't know what to do. How does one meet people these days? Should I give up on meeting someone Iranian because of my age or is it still possible that I may be attractive to someone from my own culture? I swing from anger to hopelessness, and I wish I was more open to meeting someone when I was younger. You see I never did the dating thing, and was extremely closed to meeting guys, so at 26 I threw myself into the worst kind of relationship because of desperation.

I just wish I could get rid of this ridiculous block, and be like other people. Is there anything I am not doing and should be?


Dear Ghamgin,

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Men smell it from many miles away and do a quick retreat. You should stop feeling like 35 is old. I think it is the best time of life when you have your experiences to guide you and are still young enough to enjoy your life. So begin by looking at 35 as good.

It is unfortunate that you had bad experience with your one and only guy but at least you've seen the worse and it is OVER. If you are still angry it is okay but try to keep a sense of humor and cultivate an ability to laugh at yourself.

Try to expose yourself to different pleasures of life and don't make finding a man your one and only, most important goal. Because if you do men sense it and take it as neediness and flee.

I sincerely believe that in the affairs of the heart the less you plan the better. Men prefer women who do not need them. So work on your self-esteem and try to have fun with your still youthful years. If you come to believe in your own worth some lucky guy will too. But first you have to be happy with who you are and not afraid of not finding a mate. Fear devours the soul.

See friends, join societies and clubs, travel, take a course, have fun, help someone in need and you will feel better. None of these things need to be done with a man. Get over your desperate need to have a man -- it is a turn off. Be open to different kinds of people, a good companion in bed does not have to be a doctor or mohandes! However, please make sure you use a condom next time you sleep with a man. That way if he is a jerk you won't have a disease with which to remember him.

Make sure you build your self-esteem, seek therapy if think you need it, and try to learn to feel good about yourself. I believe the inner confidence a woman exudes is the greatest aphrodisiac. Search for that inner confidence and be proud of your 35 years.

Keep your chin up and chase that gham away,

Kobra Khanom

July 25, 2001

* How can I live like this?

Dear Kobra Khanoom,

I am young and married to a man any Iranian girl would die for. He is highly educated , talented in every aspect of life, he loves me with all my faults and my strengths, we are from the same town in Iran. Everything is as if we where meant to be. I met him when I was 14. Who would have thought I would marry him when I was 25 in a different country, all the way from Iran to Canada.

My problem is this: I fell in love when I was 21. I gave this man everything -- my heart soul. We faced various problems and after I slept with this man he and I broke up and our problems began. For almost 4 years with an on again off again relationship, I thought if I gave him whatever he wanted, he would believe that I truly loved him and that I would never do anything to hurt him and realize that type of loyalty and love was rare.

It turns out I was too simple and blind to have realized what had happened. I had spent 4 years of my life with a playboy that used me and enjoyed seeing me in pain. Everyone saw it but me. I kept thinking that he was a good person. The problem is the other night I dreamt that he touched my face and told me he was sorry and I woke up the next morning crying and crying.

Kobra khanoom I am married and I love my husband. I couldn't even wash my face because I thought I could feel his hand on my face the dream was so real. My husband held me and kept kissing my face and telling me it was only a dream. I felt like my insides were being ripped apart. He came home early that day with flowers and took me to dinner and said he had never seen me so sad. God how can I live like this? I can't forget all this pain.


Dear Afsorde,

You are, in your own words, very happily married. The fact that some guy hurt you before you got married should not make you feel guilty or depressed. You should accept that you made a mistake and try to learn from it.

Do not be ashamed of what you call your simplicity. I believe it was your neediness towards that man. Do not dwell on it in your head either. Just, pause, take a look at it, see what you did wrong, and try not to do that again -- with anybody. Decide that you will never play the victim again -- do not be afraid of being happy.

You have a husband who loves you relax and enjoy it! Do not feel bad that you still have bad dreams about that nightmare of a relationship before your marriage. No one can be unfaithful in a dream -- if your husband is understanding and kind do not reject it. Be open to his kindness and let him heal you.

I think that sometimes we get so used to being treated badly that we almost crave it. If we are not exposed to it we feel like we are missing something like a junkie's fix. We forget how to enjoy the kindness that is around us here and now, in the present tense, because we get too bogged down feeling sorry for ourselves because of some ancient wrong.

Live for today my dear young lady and remember donyaa dowrouzeh. Remember the sea of kindness that is your husband and let your nightmares drown in it.

In the hope of sweeter dreams tonight,

Kobra Khanom

July 24, 2001

* My mom doesn't understand

Hello dear Kobra Khanom,

I am a 19-year-old girl who lives in Vancouver, Canada. I have a problem and I don't really know how solve it. I am a bit different with my family's beliefs and I love them but they are different. I love to go to parties, invite my friends to my house, hang around and have fun. But my mom doesn't believe in this. She sees everything in education (I am a good student too, my marks are 88% just my physics mark was low which I am upgrading to go straight to university).

I like to be an educated person too but I like to enjoy my life. Whenever I go to party once a blue moon (maybe every three months) my mother just nags and makes a grumpy face which I hate a lot. I am 19!

On night I asked her to let me go to a club. She was in shock and she told me go ask my dad ("Chesmeh baabaat roshan").

I don't' see anything wrong by going to a club. I don't' know. Maybe I am wrong but I only go with my friends. She is just too worried about me. I know she loves me but I don't like this kind of love. I want her to understand me. She understands me but she expects a lot from everyone.

I hope u know what I am trying to tell you. When I start talking to her about a guy, she says no don't! I am 19! I am supposed to hang around with guys around 21, 20,19, but she says they will just play with me; they don't know anything; don't waste your time with them; wait a little bit then you will hang around with much better guys than those. Or she says 20 or 21-year-old guys don't have anything; they have not finished university yet; they just want to use girls.

In some ways she might be right but I know how to take care of myself, and you know, I want to go to a club with my friends and I don't want to hide anything from her I want her to know everything about me but I can't when she shows these reactions. She is not narrow-minded, she is an educated woman and she is a perfect mother most of the time but this is my only problem with her.

I am not comfortable with my dad, I can't talk about anything with my dad. I love him but I don't know how to communicate with him about some problems. I am shy. I really respect him, but I can't tell him that I want to go to a club with my friends (he works in Iran and he comes here every four months).

Iran has changed a lot. When I compare myself with some of my relatives in Iran I see that they've changed more than me who lives abroad. Anyway I really don't' know what I should do, how to cope with my mother.

Also I like a guy. He is 22. I want to tell my mom about him but the problem is that I don't' know about him too much and I want to go out with him and know him more but I don't know how I should explain it to my mom because I don't even know the guy (but we go to places together with my friends and his friends).

I can talk with guys on the phone or dance with them in the party but I don't' know about dating someone. The problem is that my mother expects a lot from everyone . Dating is not a problem with her but she wants me to go with the best, maybe that person is the best for me but she doesn't want to understand it.

Can you please advise me, what should I do that would not hurt her and enjoy my life? To be honest I like to go out on weekends with my friends in the summer and sometimes in during school but she doesn't agree with this.


Dear Van,

You should know that the intentions of your mother are pure. She wants the best future for you and she, having seen more of this sometimes unfair life than you, knows that who you date and who you befriend can be great determinants of how happy you will be later on.

You have to realize that she comes from a background which is very different from yours and that in the context of her homeland, when she was growing up, a girl's future comfort depended much more on the man with whom she ended up. So be kind and do not force your honesty down her throat.

You are nineteen-years old and should be responsible for your own choices. Sit her down and tell her you need to go out once in a while. Let her decide for how long and when. You do not need to tell her the details of where you go and with whom.

If she asks tell her that you will only tell her if she promises not to make it a big deal. If she does, then explain to her that her over-reaction will push you towards dishonesty. Tell her that in Canada it is not normal for a girl your age to not date. You just want to be normal in this environment (moheet.)

But remember as far as the education goes, Kobra Khanom is 100% behind what your mother thinks. Nothing is more important than a good education. Young hearts do not need encouragement but young minds do! So make sure that the club you go to with that guy, does not come between you and your studies. Because that guy may leave you, and that club will be outmoded soon, but your mind will forever feed you.

Remember the best way to negotiate with parents is through logical, mature, persistence rather than senseless nagging. Also, once allowed to go out, make sure you show your appreciation and maturity by not abusing your new found freedom and showing up a few minutes earlier than expected.

Be omid-e khoshbakhtiye shomaa

Kobra Khanom

July 23, 2001

* Should I tell him?

Dear Kobra Khanom,

Two years ago or so, I met this guy through an acquaintance at work. He was Persian, and he seemed like everything I'd ever wanted in a man - -accomplished, brilliant, fun and funny, handsome, passionate, and crazy about me. I'd never met anyone like him before, and I let myself be swept away by it all.

As I spent more and more time with him, I started to suspect that he was not a man of integrity, and wondered if he was lying to me. By that time, I was kind of addicted to him, in a really unhealthy way. However, a friend found out more about him for me, and confirmed that he was lying to me, in so many ways. I was able to break away, and haven't seen him since.

He still keeps calling occasionally in the middle of the night, though (I'm positive it's him), and hanging up. Now that I'm clear of the haze of addiction for him, I'm actually kind of frightened of him...

Anyway, after I broke up with him, my brother introduced me to this wonderful, sweet, kind, loving man, a friend of his, who is also Persian. He is a man of great integrity, honour, and great kindness, and is definitely the most wonderful man I've ever known. I've been dating him for about 10 months now, and he's asked me to marry him. He knows about my past, including this other guy, except I didn't tell him that this other guy was Persian. For some reason, I think that it will freak him out.

He knows I have a past (and so does he), and is not really jealous of any relationship except the most recent, because he thinks that the guy was such a manipulative jerk and hates that sort of guy. He also wonders how I could've been stupid enough to fall for someone like that (and in retrospect, so do I, now that I know what I know), but he looked great at the time, and was great at telling me what I wanted to hear...

Anyway, should I tell him the whole, complete truth? I'm afraid it might wreck things, but I don't want him to somehow find out later, and feel I was dishonest (which I have been, in the passive sense). Oh Kobra, what should I do?

Thank you,


Dear LA,

In my opinion, which is just that, you should tell your fiance about your previous affair. Even if it recks things. You do not want to start your life with this man feeling like you have not told him the truth. Do not be apologetic (every one makes mistakes and your 'past' has nothing to do with your fiance really) about it and spare him the details but do tell him about this guy being Iranian.

You should act on your own principles if you too want to be a person of honor and integrity. Your fiance deserves no less. Hiding even a silly part of the truth will make you feel weak and dishonest. That feeling of dishonesty will act as a poison in your relationship. You may have once chose the wrong boyfriend but that is not a crime. Nor is it in anyway immoral. Lying to your future husband is immoral. It will make you feel dirty from the start.

If your fiance is going to act possessive and jealous of someone in your past then it is better you know this before you marry. If my fiancee had a problem with me having been with another Iranian before him I would not marry him. A man should love you for who you are not who he thinks you are. A lie, however small, is a bad way to start a partnership which, I believe, should be one of friendship and honesty before anything else, if it is to last long. If your fiance is a man of honor and integrity he will understand.

Do not underestimate his capacity for understanding. If he is the type who will break-up because of some guy in your past then he does not deserve you. Be proud keep your chin up. Tell him the truth but do not apologize! Once you have told him, explain to him that the other guy was a mistake in the past, and that you do not want to dwell on it anymore.

If you are really 'afraid' of the previous guy, and feel like he can harm you in any way, you should notify the authorities as soon as possible and talk to a lawyer. He should not be able to pester you with calls or make you feel afraid in anyway. Fear devours the soul. Do not be afraid of being who you are and expect people to love you for it.

Wishing you the best outcome,

Kobra Khanom

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July 20, 2001

* My mom hits me

First of all I would like to thank you for the wonderful column you have made on the iranian.com website. I can see that your advice will have great effects on those seeking it.

It is very hard for me to tell you this. It has been happening for a while now, and I'm not sure how to handle it. I am currently in my second year of studying psychology, but on the way have failed a few of my subjects and also during high school, I didn't do too well, on some studies.

I'm one of those people who has potential, yet needs to be pushed in order to reach full potential. My parents, like many other Iranian parents, moved here for me and my sisters to get a good education, and so when they see me failing these subjects it hurts them, especially my mom, who yells and shouts, and hits me, and this happens every time. She thinks that I don't try but I do, and the thing is because it has happened a few times, it's become hard for her to trust me.

Recently I received my grades for the four subjects I took , and I failed one again!! But I didn't have the heart to tell my mom, so I lied and told her I passed everything! And it's eating me up. I don't know what to do.

You see, I'm a devout Muslim, and I pray. But ever since this has happened, I can't even pray, knowing I have just lied to my mom! And I don't know what to do, because I know she will be hurt. What can I do? Please tell me.


Dear student,

First of all you should stop feeling ashamed. Not everybody is good at every subject. Your mother has no right to yell and scream at you, far less strike you. So you really have two problems: one is the obvious academic one the other is your mom's overreaction and abuse.

Here is what I would do. First I would go to the college counselor or therapist and explain your situation. You have to find a way to stop your mother from abusing you. Her reaction to your failing grades is bad for your self-esteem. So try to come up with a strategy to deal with her wrath. You are an adult and should not allow yourself to be a victim of any kind of abuse even if it is your mother.

Second I would start pushing myself. Again, get the help of your college advisors, get a tutor, lock yorself up and study non-stop until you pass those classes. When you finish, it won't matter that you had to take some again. Do not label yourself as a bad student and do not feel ashamed of your F's. Just get back up and try again.

Maybe you need to change your major or modify it. Your college is full of professionals who would be happy to help you. Do not be shy to seek their help. Start with the counselor and then the academic advisor -- make appointments to see them as soon as possible. When you do see them tell them the entire truth. They will help you set reachable goals to get you through college and to handle your mother.

Tell your mom,who wants the best for you really, never to strike you again. Keep your chin up and remember that many great men and women had brilliant careers despite a poor academic preformance in their youth. Be strong, be proud and get the help you need.

Movafagh baashid,

Kobra Khanom

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July 19, 2001

* All I think about is sex

Man mikhaastam beporsam ke man ye chand vaghtie ke hameye zendegim shode sex. Nemidoonam cheraa. Vali harkaari mikonam az saram bendaazam nemitoonam. Fekr mikonam ke kheyli bad chiziye. Vali nemidoonam tamrini nemishe daad. Haalaa yaa har tor ke khodetoon salaah midoonin behem begin. Man 21 saale hastam.


S. Aziz salaam,

(Bebakhsheed keh javaab inghadr tool keshid. Vali meekhaastam baa aghaayoon mashvarat konam va nazar aanhaa raa begeeram.)

Sorry it took so long to answer your question but I wanted to consult some male friends and get their input. One of them told me that men think about sex every thirty minutes. The other was a psychologist who claimed it would be harmful to advise you without seeing you -- in other words several sessions of expensive head-shrinking.

I would recommend therapy because you do show in your question that you do have addictive tendencies. But if you live in Iran and there are no such services then start by first not being ashamed of how you feel. Then try to find some other preoccupation. If you do masturbate, which I think you must, then start cutting back. Slowly reduce the dose of your masturbation. If you are doing it three times a day cut back to two and then once a day then once every two days etc.

Try picking up meditation and yoga. I know there are classes for meditation and yoga in a number of 'new age' groups that have sprouted in Iran. If you are Muslim then do the namaz which is very meditative. Read; that keeps my mind off of sex! Try reading spiritual writings that have no 'turning on' -- tahrik konandeh -- potential. Engage in charity work.

There is nothing better for putting a damper on your sexual desire than helping the truly needy and destitute. A month with the jozaamis (lepers) will, I am sure, do wonders for your sexual appetite. Often I think that if we spent more time doing charity work we would have less problems with addiction and depression. It would bring us out of this 'I, me ,mine' mode of preoccupation with our own needs and desires.'

Do not be ashamed of your feelings but do take a step to curb your obsession with sex. By admitting to it you have taken the first step.

Be omid movafaghiyat-e-shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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July 18, 2001

* My wife won't go to Iran

Hi I hope you are doing ok. I been reading you column, and respect your advice, at this time I facing a problem that made me to write to you. I am 47-years-old man, married, been living in the U.S. since 1976.

About 10 years ago I went back home and married and my wife, who she joined me 2 years after the marriage. The result of of marriage is my 7-year-old beautiful daughter whom I dearly love, and can not live without. I always wanted a second child, but my wife refued, (for some unacceptable answer, such as it's hard to take care of 2 children when we don't have any relative to help us).

My marriage was not perfect, and we have our problems, like any other marriages, and at the time of marriage (khaastagari) I told the wife that after living in the U.S. for a few years I like to go back and live in Iran, or some neighboring country so we can see our family and friends as often as we like. I had missed lots of things during all these years. I've been visiting Iran every 10 years, but she had been back home 3 times ever since she been in the U.S.

Any way right now she is not willing to go back to Iran or any neighboring country to live. She loves America. That's leading me to believe that she married me just to come to U.S., and during all these years she was insisting on bringing her family here, and every time the subject of going back to Iran comes up, she gives me different reason for not going back such as not liking the regime or bad economy and things like that.

Needless to say, if we go back, I will not have financial problems (from the savings that I have over the years, we can by a home, car, and household items and put the rest in the bank and live with the interest, or open a small business) or hopefully I can get a job in me field (software engineer).

I even suggested that if for some reason we did not like living in Iran, we always go to some country close to home, or at the most we can always come back to the U.S., but still she is not excepting my idea, and wants to stay right here.

Finally I decided to go back alone and if its necessary to end this marriage, to do so, but the thought of leaving my daughter here in America is killing me. Please help me finalize my decision.


Dear Homesick,

I think it was Virginia Wolf who claimed that women are perpetual exiles and their country is their body. Having had less of a decision making role in the history of our respective nations, until recently at least, we are less possessive of them. Being second class citizens we have less of a sense of ownership about our country. Like leaving the home of a strict father, leaving Iran is liberating for many Iranian women.

The reason you and your wife disagree about going to Iran is because there are two Irans. One Iran for men and one Iran for women. If you look at the Iran that is for women it is a much less pleasant place to live and raise a daughter. So while I deeply understand your need to go back home, I just as profoundly empathize with your wife's resistence to going back.

Look at it from a woman's and a mother's point of view and you may reach the same conclusion as your wife. Not liking the place you live is not solid ground for divorce when a child is involved! Many of us live where we are not most happy becasue of our children. Now as to loving your daughter but thinking of leaving her.

When you become a parent gender roles happily blur. A parent's country is his/her children. Only near them, raising them, does one feel complete. Notions of nationalism and belonging to a community seem like silly invetions of the human mind compared to the instictive citizenship that one feels towards the home which houses his/her children's.

You may be a homesick immigrant now but abandon your daughter and you will be a childless father-- a man without a soul. Believe me the pain you will feel in missing her will pale before your longing to be called jenab-e so and so, and your desire to be near family and friends back home. So as another parent,I advise you to stay with your daughter and make her future your number one priority. That is the only way to real happiness for you.

Do not question your wife's intentions when marrying you. Just because she prefers the U.S to Iran does not mean she is a golddigger. If she is a good mother then tolerate her problems. Besooz-o-besaz(burn and take it)! An old fashioned Iranian notion but,I believe a totally relevant notion when children are involved. Remember that you will only be truly fullfilled and happy if you make your daughter your first priority.

When she is grown up and established then you can go back to Iran or any where else you want. But the day you decided to have her you made a decision and if you do not stick to your commitment to your child you will have broken what is, in my opinion, the most sacred contract-the one between a parent and a child.

Be omid movafaghiyat-e-shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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July 17, 2001

* Should I marry an Iranian man?

Dear Kobra Khanom,

I've been reading your column in "The Iranian", and enjoy and value your advice... I've been dating an Iranian man for a little more than a year now. We love spending time together, enjoy many shared interests, and both love each other very much. What's more, my family adores him, and his family adores me. So what's the problem?

Well, no problem really, but since we're from different cultures, I wonder if there are any cultural differences that we're not aware of now that may trip us up later? Also, is it safe for me to go to Iran with him, once (if) we're married?

Thank you for your thoughts and advice,


Dear Lilli,

There are many cultural differences even between one Iranian and another depending on background,upbringing, and education. For example those Iranians educated in France are very different from those who have been educated in the U.S. It is very hard for me as an Iranian woman to characterize Iranian men and sound fair!

But here is what I think about Iranian men in vulgar generalization. I will leave it up to you to see to what degree your man and his family fit this over-generalization. You can use it as a barometer if you will. Iranian men are of the more latin/passionate type. They are for the most part extremely indulged by their mothers which are very much like Jewish moms: overly protective to the point of suffocation.

Mean mother-in-laws are a solid fixture in the demonology of any Iranian girl. But do not be afraid. These tales of mean mother-in-laws are all from a time and place where women are far from this fifty/fifty paradise that we enjoy in the West. (In fact I received a question from a woman in Iran, not long ago, who was facing meanness from her mother-in-law and beatings from her husband but could not do anything about it. This of course happens here too. And that was an extreme case-- I sincerely hope)

So our men are usually much loved by their possessive mothers which makes them spoiled. But all that maternal love and attention also makes them really soft-hearted, kind and thirsty for love and attention. So even if they are macho on the outside they are really like puppies inside. So if you indulge them a little they will be all yours.

But a word of advice on their friends and relatives: be kind but keep your distance. There is a word in Farsi which means nosy but sounds better, more like its meaning, and that is fozool. Iranians are very sociable and like to travel in packs. This living in extreme proximity to one another makes them extremely fozool. So keep your smile but avoid too much closeness until you know who to trust and then still be careful!

This is an incredibly Byzantine society you are going to enter. Largely due to our subjection to centuries of arbitrary rule, our culture and language are full of ways to say what you do not mean and to be who you really are not. If you do not see what is beautiful about this characteristic or flaw, then you should avoid Iranian society all together.

It would help greatly if you learned the language. It is not really that difficult if you just focus on learning the spoken language. It will help you understand your fiance, and be better accepted by his family. You will also come to know what I believe is the most nuanced and poetic language.

Now I don't want to have scared you off! Iranian men can be the most sensitive, loyal and caring partners and fathers. They are much more romantic than their American counter parts. Iranian families are warm and generous. I just wanted to expose you to an insiders vulgar- generalizations and for you see the dirty laundry so you will be better prepared for the adventure ahead.

As to the question about going to Iran with him. Unless you are with a monster, that should be okay. As a general rule you should familiarize yourself with the laws of any country you visit before going there.

Wishing you a bright future and welcoming you to our community,

Kobra Khanom

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July 16, 2001

* My aunt's abusive husband

Kobra Khanoom'eh aziz,

I have been in a long family dilemma, and thought who better to seek advise from but Kobra Khanoom Jan. This letter actually pertains to my aunt, whom I care deeply about and am very concerned for. My aunt came to the states over 20 years ago, after accepting a proposal from a family acquintance. Her husband lived in America, and she came here alone to be with him.

Anyhow, my aunt was unable to continue her education, for the fact that her husband demanded she work alongside him to earn money. Through the years she has worked very hard, enabling him to become a successful business owner. It has been only a few years now, that she is staying home as a homemaker.

Well, her husband suddenly went on a mid-life crisis about a year ago, and decided that she is not "educated" enough for him. After years of mentally and emotionally abusing her, he told her "he" wanted to live apart. Therefore, our entire family encouraged her to seek a divorce from him. My mother and I have been there for her with financial and emotional support.

Though money is of no object, we have spent thousands of dollars for her to obtain a good attorney and pay her expenses. Her husband has accumulated great wealth, but has hid it well. In the end, my aunt may not get any money from him. Through this period, he has been manipulating her by coming back and asking for forgiveness and saying he will change, "if she drops the divorce case".

I know this is a very frightening and difficult time for her because she is unsure of her and her child's future. However, she has not tried to seek her independence. I have encouraged her to start a part-time job and take some educational classes. Yet she is so filled with worry and stress, she can do nothing, but wait. I think she feels that the only path for her is to accept him back in her life, because she cannot make it on her own. For 20+ years, she has looked up to him, and now she is scared to rely on herself.

I am trying to understand. But I can't help but think all that time and money went to waste, and nothing good came out of this situation. Is there anything more for me to do? Should we support any decision she makes?

Merci baraayeh hamichi,


Dear Negaran,

It seems to me as well-intended as your question is, it is really not your place to steer your aunt in one direction or another. If she has been "abused" then the best solution for her is to seek counseling and therapy. She would also benefit from assertiveness training classes.

So I would tell you to give her support but let her make her own decision. If you want to help try to steer her in the direction of seeking counseling. Tell her that she should tell her husband that the only way she would consider going back is if they go to a marriage counselor before they reconcile. She needs professional help to muster up enough courage to stand up for herself. If she does not have that, no amount of support from you or anyone will really help.

If she divorces this guy, the next one will turn out the same because she allows them that. Continue to be supportive but try to get her help and let her make her own decisions. That is the best medicine for her: making her own decisions. She needs to work on her self-esteem and other's making decisions for her is not the best way to acheive that.

Tell her she needs to look deep inside, find what she likes, and nurture that. Show her that you trust her give her courage by believing in whatever choice she makes. And by all means always be there for her so that she knows that if she goes back to him and it fails she still has some family to count on.

Wishing you the best outcome for your aunt,

Kobra Khanom

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July 13, 2001

* Humiliated by boyfriend

Kobra Khanome aziz,

I have fallen out with my best friend about 10 days ago. Just to give you a brief description: I have never been in love before. I met him about 2 years ago, and we became extremely close for the past 6 months.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, we start having sex about two months ago, but actually never talked about it. We were so close and talked about everything apart from the sex. Slowly, slowly I felt in love with him. Suddenly, people came between us and he did something horrible and I never want to have anything to do with him again.

He has done horrible things in the past but promised that it will never happen again. As painful as it is, I let go of him this time, but he hasn't. He is bitching about me to everyone and doesn't seem to let go. I have been really patient for the past days and told all our common friends that I don't want to know what he is saying.

I need to completely erase him out of my mind and life and the only way is by not having any contacts to him. I am so frustrated as never before in my whole life. I just can't believe that the first time I fall in love, it all had to end like this.

Kobra Khanom, please tell me what to do? I am almost sure that if I speak to him we will make up again, but I want him out of my life. It is just so hard to loose a very special person and being humiliated by him at the same time.


Dear Tanha,

Re-read your letter to me and you will find your answer. You should stick to what you think is best for you. You think this guy is no good and will hurt you again -- I agree with you by all means. Stay away from him. Especially if he is bad mouthing you and whining to your mutual friends.

There is nothing worse than a man who sleeps around AND whines! Talk about lack of character. You expect the guy who is unfaithful (which seems to me to be what he is from reading between your lines? )to be at least "manly" enough, not to whine. Real men don't whine when they get caught screwing around. Just ignore him and whoever takes up his cause.

Do not be rude or emotional that won't help in strenghtening your will to stick to your decision. If he is your "first love" then you certainly do not want it to be the last! Plus, it seems to me an unhealthy pattern has already developed between the two of you where he hurts you (betrays you?) and comes back asking for forgiveness.

Unless you are above forty, with your biological clock ticking like mad and desperately want to have kids, and feel like this is your last chance at forming a family, you should stay away from this unfaithful whiner. He is not good husband or long-term material. Later when you get over the pain and find a real man, you may want to keep him as a friend. Be strong and remember Kobra agrees with your decision!

Be omid movafaghiyat-e shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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July 12, 2001

* Should I tell dad?

Man ye dokhtari hastam 21 saale, do maah digeh mishe 22 saalam! moshkele man ineh ke man alaan ye doost pessar daaram ke baahaash nazdike 2 saale doostam. We live in different states though. Va eeshoon 30 saaleshooneh, va baabaaye man hanooz nemidoonan ke man hamchin kassi tu zendegim hast.

Raabeteye maa kheili jedi hast. Hattaa tamaameh khaanevaadeye doost pessaram tu iran mano mishnaasan! Maamaanam midoonan, vali baabaam nemidooneh, vali man aslan room nemishe begam. Ye bar umadam begam, ke behem pareed ke, na alaan to baayad fekre darset baashi!

maa nazdike 14 saale ke az iran umadim biroon... man taazeh az junior college graduate shodam, va darsam ham mikhaam edaameh bedam. Doost pessare man kheili az daste man shaaki hast ke cheraa man hanooz be baabaam chizi nagoftam!

shomaa lotfan be man begin ke chi kaar konam? va chejori beram jolo? kheili mamnoon.


Dear Confused Joon,

First of all you should know that your dad wants the best for you. His advice to continue your education, having been repeated ad-infinitum, may be annoying to you right now but believe me it is essentially good, sound advice. He probably knows that if you get bogged down with a home and kids your chances of making something of yourself become slimmer.

Your dad, like me, has probably seen many bright women throw away their chance at professional or creative fullfillment because they or their, passionate only until marriage, naamzads (fiances) were in a hurry to play house. He is enlightened enough to know that love is not enough in a woman's life. He believes in your potential enough to encourage your education. Your father has come a long way from the traditional patriarch who sees marriage and children as the best end to a daughter's career. You need to appreciate this and give him a break.

Now as to whether or not you should tell him about your boyfriend. I bet you he already knows, but is playing the old game of beroo-nayaavardan (don't aknowlege it or it will get bigger) which has been skillfully played by many Iranian Moms and Pops since forever. By not acknowledging your relationship with this man, or not allowing you to discuss it, he is hoping to keep it from getting too serious. He is also providing you with a way out, an excuse of "my dad says no", if you ever choose to bail out of this relationship.

Your father does not want to let all the barriers down between you and himself. This may sound a bit old fashioned but it serves the function of protecting you by allowing you to use him as an excuse and by keeping the relationship in a managable porportion.

I do not see any reason to confront your father unless your boyfriend has proposed and you want to get married right away. If you do want to complete your education, as I believe you should, before you get married, then wait and tell him when you finish at least your bachelors degree and the boyfriend has proposed to you.

Tell your boyfriend that he should not push you to mention him to your father. Tell him that things are still different between men and women and his telling his family is not as big a deal as you telling your father. Tell him that if you dump him he has much less to lose vis-a-vis his family in Iran than you would as a woman if he where to change his mind.

As long as your father is not an obstacle to your relationship in its present form then he does not need to know. He can be told by both of you when you are ready to get married. You should respect your father's sensiblities and understand that his intentions are pure. Finish your education and by then if you still love this man have him ask your Dad and Mom for your hand.

Be omid movafaghiyat-e Shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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July 11, 2001

* Culture clash?

Kobra Kanoome aziz,

Thank you for a most interesting and addictive column! How you manage this every day, I don't know! whenever I read it I remember my own problems, which are more than a few! I have one particular problem which i would love to get some advice from you about.

I have a twin sister (identical) who lives in Iran. when my mother and father divorced, they each kept one of us. I got to come with mom to New York, and my sister stayed with my dad in Tehran.

I have not seem my sister in about six years. We're both 17 now. When I speak to her on the phone, she sounds like she has changed a lot. Or is it a culture-clash, a result of separate lives in Iran and America? I just feel we're growing apart. What can I do to keep our bond?

Keli momnoon!


Dear Raz,

It must have been difficult to have left father,country and identical sister all at once. But you seem to have survived it -- the most difficult part is behind you! It is great that you are in touch with your sister even if you two do not always see things the same way.

In a way, maybe, the separation was a blessing and allowed each of you a chance to become your own person. You would have had differences in outlook and perception even if you lived in different houses in the same town far less many miles and languages apart. But do not see that as a negative. Difference is good. It is more productive and fun as long as you see it as a blessing. Who wants a world where everyone thinks and acts the same way!

So, the way you can strengthen the bond with your identical twin sister is to begin by not expecting her to be like you. I mean even if she does not share your values do not judge her. Then you can try to bridge the gap on mutual terms of equal exchange. If one person begins by thinking that their way is superior this won't work.

True caring is about wanting to genuinely understand the other person. It entails a certain amount of humility. Any kind of cultural exchange has to begin with this kind of objectivity even or especially if, it is between twin sisters. I am sure if you take this approach things will bloom between the two of you. Exchange ideas, stories and tastes without being shocked if the other person doesn't share them.

Also I believe, for young people like yourself, borders are less and less relevant. Insync and Brittany Spears have their place in many a young Tehrani's cassette collection. The internet is making a joke of those trying to block the free flow of ideas from entire geographic areas. Not wanting to peddle my column... but you could try to connect with your sister by telling her to log on to Iranian.com and Kobra Khanom do you share the same daily read!

In hopes of a bright future for you and your sister,

Kobra Khanom

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July 10, 2001

* Girlfriend credit problems

Salam Kobra Khanoum,

Thanks for all your good words. It is my daily routine to read your section, keep it up! I have a small issue and I could use your wise opinion. I have recently met a very nice girl. We both feel we are in love. I really love this person and I hope to have a future with her.

At the same time she recently told me that she has a lot of credit issues (mainly because she had to support herself through school and help her parents). She works hard but the credit cards keep accumulating interest rates. I am very responsible in my expenses but I see that she is not.

I really want our relationship to work and help her. At the same time I don't want to offend her by offering her money. Plus I feel that some of her expenses might hurt her more. So basically what can I do to get the best out of this or you think this can beacome a bigger probelm in our future relationship? My main concern is should I loan her money (that she probably does not accept) or leave this as her personal issue? Thanks again,


Dear Confused,

I think money is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for us Iranians who live in the U.S. We do not know how to reconcile our Iranian attitude towards money with our American ones. I for one was told, as I was growing up in Iran, that it was not proper and ladylike to talk about money. Money was somehow dirty, and if one had it, one had an almost communal obligation to get rid of it by sharing it. It took me a while, and a few extra dollars, to realize, when I first came here, that no one fights over the bill at a restaurant.

We Iranians have a fatalistic attitude towards life -- what I call the "donyaa do rouzeh" (life lasts only two days) syndrome-- which is very difficult to reconcile to budgeting for mortgages and the very American obsession with saving for retirement. We also have a spiritual history of hippie-like rejection of money. We had no Protestant Reformation in Islam to bring about an acceptable notion of interest to our Religion. Interest is considered usuary and is still a problamatic notion today. Our literary history is studded with heros who become such because they abandoned all worldly belongings.

Add to our Iranian disdain for money, the consumer society's obssession with buying and you get an explosive combination: a sufi shopoholic! Women are more susceptible to this ethos for the added reason that in our, until very recently, traditional society, they are not expected to handle their own money. A woman who is business-like and taajer-ma'aab is, even today, considered extraordinary, and a shir zan. I know women who are good in business but play it down in mixed company. As if their acuity with money somehow makes them less desirable.

While bad credit for a woman, is not a good sign, it is still not something she is ashamed of as much as if she were a man and the roles were reversed. So how do you,who want to be generous in the Iranian way and logical in the American, approach the problem?

It seems to me that you are really asking me two questions. The first is the obvious, literal one, which asks whether or not you should offer her a loan. The second is the underlying and more important one which asks is this the right woman for you?

I do not think it is your place, before you are married or even engaged, to offer her money. You have only known her for a short while and bringing money into the relationship will not help clarify any feelings or needs. If she asks you then that is a different story. But if you think she may be offended or refuse, then don't complicate things by throwing money into it.

Now as to the underlying question. Is the financially irresponsible history of this woman a terrible character flaw? As someone whose biggest problem is balancing her check book, I have to tell you yes and no. It depends whether you can afford her irresponsible attitude towars money or not? And I do not mean only financially although that helps.

Even if you are a millionare but you are of the type who worries about your retirement, then she is not the right one for you. If you are very organized and very responsible and expect others to be the same, then stay a way from the poor girl! Because, I believe, even if you eventually marry this woman and pay off her debts she is not going to, and should not HAVE to, fundamentaly change her attitude towards money.

Only if you think that you can handle this and not judge her attitude towards money should you venture any much further with this woman. She may have a lot of good characteristics to make up for her money problems but if money is important to you: then watch out. With money she is irresponsible -- she may, with help, become better organized but she won't change completely.

I don't think you would want to live in a world where partners had to go through credit checks and no one got second chances. So if you love her and have enough money then marry her and pay off her debts and enjoy your life together. But never ever expect her to change. That will set you up for disappointment. If she does change then all the better but do not expect it of her.

Wishing you the best outcome,

Kobra Khanom

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July 9, 2001

* No more gambling

Kobra Khanum! Since that day I wrote you I haven't played! I have been practising that thing you told me to do in the front of miror and I thaink it works out for my kind of person. Experessing myself is good. But I am not stopping yet. I don't want to use any medication. I let you know.


Dear Ghomarbaz,

I am very proud and happy for you. You are young and I am sure able to make a resolve and follow through. It takes courage to face and verbalize your biggests problem. You have done that. Remember to never stop doing it-coming face to face with your demons. Remember to stay humble about the step you have taken.

Do not forget to seek counseling and group therapy. Also like the advice of the reader I sent to you, do try to get the help of colleagues and try to write or do something creative with your problem to help you face it better for the long run. If repeating does lines have helped then by all means continue. I am glad to be of help.

Be omid movafaghiyat-e shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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July 6, 2001

* How much can I take?

Kobra Khanom Salam,

I really don't know how to start this. It's very difficult having to be very open about my life. I'm 22 , working , used to study but no longer manage to do so because of the problem I'm gonna talk about now.

I live with my parents. My mom is a housewife and my dad a retired manager in addition to my brother who has just found a job with a very low salary. Basically I am the only person who's with almost a good salary that can actually pay for all the bills. I'm not saying I'm doing everyone a favor by working and paying bills it is part of my duty to satisfy my parents but not at the expense of my youth and having to stop my education because of them :(:(

I have become so depressed and I really don't know what to do. I start crying as soon as I find myself alone at home. It gives me some relief. I mean I can't just leave them and go on with my life I would feel very bad doing that but I need a life too I don't know how much longer I have to take this? How much more can I possibly take?

I also thought of getting married but that is not gonna solve my problem as I said to myself I would still be thinking of my parents and what they would go through without me! It just gets tougher and tougher each day, I almost work all day and when I get home I don't wanna hear anyone talking to me. I feel like my head is exploding. I only wanna stay at home and sleep when I have my days off and I barely speak 10 words the whole day hoping that no one would talk to me either :(

I am really stuck in the middle of all this and I feel like I'm all alone. It actually is a fact cause nobody seems to care about my situation, and if they do they don't really show it and it's like it's a must and I have to be working to the end of my life paying their bills.

I hope you'd understand me cause I'm not trying to be selfish here, only thinking about my needs and wants! I would really appreciate it if you could try giving me some advice. It would mean a lot. I'd be looking forward to your reply. Thanks so much in advance.


Dear Tanha,

You should move out as soon as possible. The financial pressure on you has resulted in your resentment towards your parents and sibling and caused -- to a great degree -- your depression. If you stay it seems to me that you will not have a chance to become a better bread winner and surely you will be of no good to your family after a nervous break down!

So, if you possibly can, get away and get yourself an education. You are young and healthy and should have to have a chance at building your own life. If you were my son or daughter and I was in this situation I would want what is best for you. I am sure that is what your parents want. It is just that sometimes people lose hope and fail to believe in your dreams. They get comfortably stuck in a low key routine.

You have to believe in yourself so that they can too. Get up, go after making something of yourself so you can be better of help to yourself and to them as well. It seems like you are the one who is the decision maker in the house -- make the decision for them. Take your time, set a goal, have a plan, make a list of things you need to do to accomplish your goal, and go after it relentlessly and selfishly. It will make you a better person -- more useful to your parents in the long run.

Be kind and polite, try to help and visit as often as possible but if you can, get out of that house like your life depended on it. Come to their help when they are sick. Keep in touch with them regularly. I assure you that no parent worthy of the name wants their twenty something daughter/son depressed, at home, and burdened with supporting the whole family.

You can live somewhere cheap, find a roomate, even work and study till you are exhausted to death, to alleviate some of the guilt that you feel about leaving home. In the end you will feel more able to be good to them if you are doing what is best for you.

Do not be ashamed of crying; it is good for you. But do not feel sorry for yourself because that is not an attitude that is conducive to making a big change in your life. It is your turn to live. Make sure that you make your flying away from the maternal nest worth the pain of seperation and financial sacrifices that you and your parents will no doubt have to endure.

Make sure you do not end up having to feed more mouths before you have finished your studies and made something of yourself. So cheer up and draw a plan.

Be omid movafaghiyat-e shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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July 5, 2001

* Looking for a wife for my son

Baa salaam khedmate shomaa khaanume aziz va mehrabaan.

Az kaare ghashange shomaa aval az hame khaili mamnun. man maadary hastam ke baraaye didane pesaram, be aamrikaa aamadam. pesaram az hamsarash talaagh gerefte va besyaar afsorde va negaraan hast.

chand saale ghabl baa khaanomi iraani va be estelaah zibaaru ke hich hosne digary nadaasht ezdevaaj kard -- az khod raazi bood o bad akhlaagh o maghroor. dar aan moge maa mokhaalef bodim, vali ghoosh be harfe maa nadada. khaanum jaan, aasheg shode bood. zibaaee ke tanhaa elat nemishavad.

man baraayash dokhtare kob va khanevaade daari dar nazar daashtam. afsoos ke javaanhaa goosh be harfe vaaledain nemikonand. haalaa choobash raa inchenin mikhorand va aan khaanom zibaaruy zeshttarin aadame donyaa shode baraaye pesare man.

zibaaee baayad ghalbi baashad. aadam baayad baatene khoobi daashte baashad, che zan che mard. aayaa shomaa fekr nemikonid elate inke talaagh dar injaa ziaad hast be khaatere hamin baashad? dokhtar khaanomhaa be madrak va pool va aaghaayaan be zaaher ahamiyat midahand. khanom jaan, zendegie tohi va bimani... hamin honarpishehaaye haalivood baayad darse ebrat baashad baraaye javaanhaa.

az shomaa raahnamaaee mikhaaham. aayaa moaseseh khaasy hast baraaye iraanihaa be manzoore aashnaaee baraaye ezdevaaj? man alaan donbaale yek dokhtar migardam baraaye pesaram. dar injaa chetor mishavad dokhtari ke az khaanevaade khoob baashad shenaakht? agar shomaa jaaee mishenaasid lotfan raahnamaaee befarmaaeed.

mibakhshid saretaan raa be dard aavardam. az mohabate shomaa ghablan tashakor mikonam,



Fakhry Khanom-e aziz,

Vaalaaa man moteassefaaneh kessi raa nemishenaasam keh baraaye ezdevaaj baa pesaretaan be shomaa moarefi konam. Vali shomaa nabaayad inghadr negaraane pessaretaan baashid. Oo raa aazaad begozaarid va baa negaraaniye khod oo raa afsoordehtar nakonid.

Heech cheezi badtar az in neest keh aadam ham afsordeh baasheh, ham negaraane in baasheh keh in afsordegi maadarash raa ham mayoos kardeh! Shomaa be oo mohabat bedaheed. Sa'y konid oo raa be haraf dar beeaavarid taa delash raa khaali konad.

Oo raa dar baareye ezdevaaje ghablee sarzanesh nakonid taa oo tashveeq shavad keh baa shomaa mashverat konad. Vali dar kaar oo dekhaalat-e nakonid. Oo yek mard ast va ehtiaaj be zamaan daarad taa ezdevaaje ghabli raa faraamoosh konad yaa khataayash raa bepazirad.

Vaghti keh aamaadehye in bood keh dobaareh be ezdevaaj fekr konad shomaa meetavaanid oo raa raahnamaayee konid. Vali aan vaght ham baayad hagh entekhaab baa oo baashad. Shomaa ghabool konid keh oo mardi baalegh ast va inghadr negaraan nabaashid. Kami ham fekr khodetaan baashid!

Omidvaaram keh pesarataan zir-e saaye'e shomaa, zoodtar naaraahatiash raf' shavad.

Kobra Khanom

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July 3, 2001

* Sex & PMS

Dear Kobra Khanoom,

I am a happily-married 30-year-old university lecturer with one daughter. My wife and I have a very good relationship (both emotional and sexual) until the time when she is having her period. During this time she does not let me have proper sex with her.

The problem is that I used to have a girldfriend who enjoyed having sex with me -- especially when she was having her period. This makes me think that my wife is acting abnormally. We have beeing talking about this problem for a long time but to no avail. She cannot even tell me what is wrong with having sex when you are having your period.

I usually have a very bad time during this one bloody week. I get headaches and become cholaric and all her efforts at masterbating me are futile.

I was wondering if you could advise me on this matter. I have seen two contradictory attitudes towards having sex while having your period. I'd like to know which is the dominant attitude among women and would like to know if there is any solution.

Let me thank you in advance for your advice. Keep up the good work.

Amoo Reza

Dear Amoo Reza,

First of all having a very good "emotional and sexual" relationship with your wife three weeks out of four is pretty good. Don't act spoiled and count your blessings. One week out of four of having to satisfy yourself sexually is not so bad, I am sure, even by Swedish standards!

Your note reminded me of when I read a long time ago about some tribe or another whose men took to bed sick, whenever their women menstruated. Your headaches if caused by lack of ejaculation should be alieviated with masturbation.

Now as to why your wife abstains from sex during her menstruation: There are a myriad of answers to this question. Amongst the friends I have asked it is usually the male partner who refrains from contact during that time of the month! But they are hardly a represntative sample.

There is a religious history connected to menstruation which might help enlighten you. Islam follows Jewish law in considering menstruation as pollution and woman's menstural blood as unclean. A woman who has her period is prohibited from preforming a number of religious duties such as praying or entering a place of worship or fasting.

A man who sleeps with a mensturating woman is also considered unclean until he has had a ghosl or ritual cleaning. So it might be that your wife feels "unclean" and wants to avoid polluting you -- if not consciously but on some deeper level.

Another good reason for your wife's behavior is that the hormonal changes that she experiences during her menstruation might simply make her too grumpy to feel like having sex. Or maybe she is not as sexually inclined as you seem to be and is using this as an excuse.

My advice to you is to give her a break and let her have it her way one week a month! Learn to cope with the situation instead of questioning it.

Be omid movafaghiyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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July 2, 2001

* University problems

Salam Kobra Khanom,

A long time ago I decided to write to you about myself. I've seen your great advice to others. Moreover, I heard a little about your background and I think you will understand my situation.

ghabl az etmaam daaneshgaah va oomadan e be khaarej, ezdevaaj kardam. Bad az hodoode 6 maah , baraaie doktoraa paziresh gereftam. Dar maahe avale voroode be daaneshgah, shenidam pedaram sarataan daare. Tanhaa pesare khoonevaade boodam. Az pedaram ejaaze gereftam ke be khaarej bargardam, Bishtar chon khanomam dar maahe aakhare haamelegi bood va ham inke daneshjoo boodam.

Bargashtam khaarej. Pesaram be doniaa oomad va hamoon rooz shenidam ke pedaram fot karde. khodam o kheili kontrol kardam. Darshaa ro be khoobi pas kardam, va dar research ham khoob pish raftam . Vali hamash ie chizi tooie dalam bood ke aaia nabaaiad pishe pedaram miboodam?

Bad az 6 mah voroode bedaaneshgaah, superviseram, goft ke moshkele maali daare va nemitoone maa ro support kone. Yeki az bachehaa raft ye goroohe dige va faghat man moondam o yeki dige. Ba ye ostaadi sohbat kardam ke beram goroohe oon. Taa hodoodi ghaboolam kard vali man naraftam. Chon Ostaadam, email zad ke mitoone maa ro support kone va moshkelesh hal shode.

Az oon moghe didam ke ozaa kheili ajib gharib shode. Dar nehaaiat, in shod ke man majboor shodam bad az 4 mah enseraaf bedam (va halaa shenidam ke nafare badi e gorooh ham majboore enseraaf bede). Haalaa fahmidam ke kheili az daaneshjoohaa in tor sharaaieti baraashoon ijaad shode.

Ostaade sharaaiet o joori kardke man shadidan afsorde shodam. Raftam baraaye second degree program sabte naam kardam. Haalam kheili bad bood. Natoonestam dige, vaarede mohavateie daaneshgaah besham. Raftam, tooie ye restaurant kaar gereftam ke kami az haal o havaaye daaneshgaa door baasham va kami khodam o tajzie tahlil konam.

Modati pish, ke kami sare haal boodam, az tarighe yeki az doostaam be kelisaa raftam. az tarighe ostaadaee ke oonja boodan, toonestam kami az maajeraa sar dar biaaram, ke maajeraa aslan taghsire man naboode va ye ekhtelaafi boode beyne ostaadaa.

Kheili baraam ehsaase taasof kardan. Va haalaa yeki az ostaadaa, ke dar kelisaa baahaash aashnaa shodam daare komakam mikone ke ye jaaye khoobi paziresh baraye doktoraa begiram.Vali alaan moondam, ke aslan mikhaam chekaar bekonam. Bargardam Iran? ke aslan doost nadaaram in kaar o bekonam. Hamoon second degree program o edaame bedam ke ye kharji baraaye khoonevaadam baashe?

Thank you very much for your time.


Kavir Khan,

First of all do not feel guilty about not having been with your dad when he passed away. You had no choice and had to go abroad to further your studies and help your wife during her pregnancy. Your father would have wanted you to be near your wife and son and continuing your education. Pass dar baareye pedar heech ehsaas-e gonaah nakonid chon oo tarjih meedaad keh shomaa donbaal-e zendegitaan beraveed.

I don't quite understand your problem with your ostaad (professor) and department. If you withdrew yourself from the program then you can re-aply. Anyway whatever your problem may have been, you do have the support of a professor who is willing to help you get into a program to finish your PhD. So you should take his offer and get on with it. Just make sure that you work under an ostaad who is willing to help and who has hosn-e niat (goodwill) towards you

The fact that you do not like the "moheet" (ambiance) of the university should not stop you from finishing your degree! You have a young son and a wife to support and you should not waste your time doing anything other than what I presume you are good at. If you do not feel competent enough in the field and feel like it is not possible for you to complete the PhD, then by all means try the second degree in computer science. But do not waste another minute brooding about your khodaa-biaa-morz pedar or feeling sorry for yourself.

You are bright and young and have a little boy whose happiness depends largely on you. I am sure that you can finish your PhD. If the ostaad in the kelisaa is kind enough to help -- then by all means take it. Go back to your program and avoid the moheet. This is the land of second chances. Even if you committed a crime you can come back! Just concentrate on finishing.

You can always work in the restaurant on your days off or in the evening if you need the money. But do not throw your brain and education away. Pick yourself up, forget the past, and finish your degree. There is a bright future for you ahead. Now it is your turn to be a father. You need to be strong and driven.

Deletoon baray-e khodetoon nasoozeh. be gozashteh fekr nakoneen va aayandeh raa neshaan konid. Shomaa baahoosh hasteed va meetavaanid doctoraatoon raa begeereed. Hooshetan ra door nareezeed. Faraamoosh nakonid keh halla nobate-e shomaast keh pedar bashid. Shomaa bayad ghavi bashid va baa tamarkorz fekri va taslat roohi baa zendegi roo be roo shavid.

Be omid movafaghiat-e shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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