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.

* How can I fit in?
* Guiding sex drive
* Are you a man?
* Which one is it?
* Working foir international peace
* Want U.S. to kill every Afghan
* War will end in Iraq
* Standing up
* Terrorism: Hw do you feel?
* How will Iranians be treated?
* Day of mourning
* Turned my life up side down
* He's driving me mad
* Disrespectful husband
* He's no virgin
* She asks funny questions
Feeling human
Cure for sadness and horror: eating
By Kobra Khanom

September 28, 2001

* How can I fit in?

Dear Kobra Khanom,

First of all I wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your page and thank you for it. I'm a 17-year-old girl, and had been in states for almost three years. I desperately seek your advise.

My problem is that I can't make friends at all. Well I do have Persian friends and I don't have that many problems with them. It's Americans that I can't get along with and when I'm around they don't even seem to notice me. Worst of all is when I tell them that I'm Persian, and taht's when I get ignored the most. They make me hate myself and anything that relates to me.

So Kobra Khanom, what do you think I should do? How can I fit in just a little more?


Dear Darmoonde,

The best way to fit in is to stop trying. Groups have a tendency, especially in high schools, to be very mean and exclusive and the worst way to deal with them is to make them feel like you really want to be a part of them.

People, in general, run away from needy people. Stick to your Iranian friends, be proud of who you are and where you come from. You will see that the more confident you become about who you are and what you want to do in life the more people will be attracted to you. Concentrate on your studies and in bettering yourself and, believe me, the rest will follow.

I knew many unpopular kids in high school who are now happy professionals. In fact as I think back it seems the popular kids with the many friends were the ones who became underachievers later in life. So friends, as important as they seem to you now, are not a necessary ingredient to a happy future.

It is hard to be new and from a hated country but remember those who cannot differentiate between a government and a people are not worth hanging out with. In college you will find that there will be a bigger choice of people and they will be more open.

I did not have many friends in high school here either. The public schools are so big and the mindset so provincial that you should not even bother. Concentrate instead on your studies which is the surest ticket to your future security and happiness.

Consider your loneliness as a blessing because it frees you up for more studies and extracurricular activities. Pick up photography or pottery or just read more, but never, ever, forget that you come from an old and noble heritage which gives you an added perspective.

If those American classmates do not appreciate what you have to offer it is their loss, not yours. Keep you chin up and remember you are here to take advantage of the opportunities that this country has to offer. Concentrate on bettering yourself and happiness will follow.

be omide movafaghiyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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September 27, 2001

* Guiding sex drive

Dear Kobra Khanum,

Like many others, I am also grateful for many insightful advice and solutions you give about a wide range of issues and matters, which are of use to almost everybody. When it comes to the subject of relationships and sexuality, I believe it is far better to uphold what all the religions of God have guided humankind, namely that sex is allowed and healthy only within the context of marriage and between lawfully married couple.

It is important to be aware that this rule by no means suppresses the sex instinct in human beings -- on the contrary it GUIDES the use of sex instinct in the RIGHT channel. Having said this, I admit that it may well be difficult to respect this rule for many people, when there is such a great emphasis on sex in mass media and in other areas of life. BUT KEEPING AND RESPECTING THE RULE IS VERY REWARDING TO THAT INDIVIDUL WHO KEEPS AND RESPECTS THE RULE.

One of the many GOOD reasons for the importance of this rule is the many sexual diseases in our time which HIV and and AIDS are probably most known. When it comes to the subject of virginity (mentioned in the article: "He's no virgin"), I have a question and I appreciate to receive your comments.

If a man or woman is NOT a virgin, but the other party IS a virgin, and they are purssuing the possibility of marriage, is it NOT natural and logical for the one who is a virgin to think that since his/her friend is NOT a virgin, there might be some chances that AFTER marriage, that person will not be faithful, and easily leave the bond of marriage, and go with another person.

I have been emailing with an Australian girl (30-31) and she wrote that she has had sexual relationships with 4 people (last time has been about a year ago), and I did not feel very happy about the fact that she has had sex before. Do you think it is a normal pattern that males and females have towards each other with respect to virginity? I guss I can say that I am not a possessive man, and I do respect the EQUALITY of the rights between women and men.

Ba tashakkor az shoma,


Dear NM,

I do not think that because someone has had sex with others before a marriage or relationship he/she will be more prone to break the marriage vow. In fact I know many examples of women who were so-called virgins before a marriage who acted anything but after.

It seems that women who are repressed by strict guidelines of sexuality have a tendency to sexually bloom after marriage has freed them from the notion of virginity and not necessarily with their husbands. So many a virgin can turn quite promiscuous after marriage. What you need to be afraid of, more than whether or not someone has enjoyed sex before they met you, is hypocrisy.

That girl from Australia is at least being honest. I value honesty much more in a person than virginity. Virginity is lost in one movement, but honesty is for a life time. What I would have men and women watch out for is dishonesty and pretense. There are good condoms to protect you against most diseases but none to shield you from a lie that can break your heart.

So if you were my son or brother I would tell my dear sir to seek honesty and truth in your life mate. Virginity is overrated and can never make up for lack of character. So the answer to you then is that no, I do not think that people who have slept around, no matter how many times, are more prone to betrayal. Especially if they are giving you that information themselves.

Beware of those who wear sheep skin but are really wolves. Those are the people I would have both men and women stay away from. If only we had heeded this in our own recent history!

be omide khosbakhtiye shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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September 26, 2001

* Are you a man?


From your recent emotional remarks and your longing for drinking Vodka in Darband, I gather that you are not a woman! If I am right, then why did you choose to portray yourself as a woman by choosing "Kobra Khanom" as your pen name? Did you think that people would not take advice from a man?!



My Dear Setareh Khanom,

Let me tell you that you have a beautiful name. If you had logged on when the link to my interview with Radio Free Europe still worked, you would not be asking this question. I always thought that women were precieved to be emotional. But it seems that you think it is a sign of manliness?

It was hard for a person of any gender to remain unemotional in the past days since Sept.11th. Sometimes pouring out of emotions help us deal with tragedies too large to digest. We live in a world where it is still not offensive to tell a woman she sounds like a man, but it is considered pejorative to tell a man that he sounds womanly.

Anyway, I assure, dear lady, that I am a daughter, sister, wife and mother. Certainly a woman. I want to thank you for thinking this way because I have been accused often of taking women's side when giving advice. I am also happy that I can sound like a man, because to give good advice you certainly need to empathize with both points of view and cross gender lines.

I am also of the opinion, despite the current fashionable banishing of men and women to different planets, that we, men and women, are more alike than we think.

Be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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September 25, 2001

* Which one is it?

Dear Kobra,

I have read, article after article after article in the iranian.com since the tragedy on 9/11 searching for the best answer to the question of how should I act now? One article says "Ask why", the other says, don´t ask. One article says we should "Respect their sorrow" and the other says this is our chance to explain.

Which one is it? Everybody has a different points of view. I read so eagerly searching for the answer and I haven´t found one that would suit me and my lifestyle. I liked the Abgoosht solution but that is only short-term!

I recently answered a dear American friend´s email by writing only a simple "it is so sad and tragic." I let it go at that. Of course, I wanted to debate, explain, and question but I thought it may make matters worse and come between our friendship. That answer seemed sufficient and I actually felt okay about it.

As it was before this tragedy, I think most Iranians had felt like they should keep a low profile but now what? How much lower can we go? We are intelligent, creative, sensitive, and warm people; it would be difficult for us to now just be plain ordinary people, don´t you think?

However, maybe it is time to change. I feel like in order to just survive I must keep a very low profile. Sad to say, I am ashamed to say it to you, I have even thought about telling my 9-year-old who so proudly informs everyone he meets that he is half-Iranian to stop doing it. I thought about doing this only for his own happiness, so that he would have friends and their parents wouldn´t hold anything against him.

Thoughts of going back to Iran has also crossed my mind. Why not? In Iran my children and I will not be outsiders. However, I don´t see that happening under the current regime. I guess I will continue searching and reading, and by doing that and talking with my dear Iranian friends and family, I will come to the best solution that will suit me and my life the best. What do you think?

Sad & confused,


Dear M,

At times like these it is normal to be confused. But why are you ashamed? Stop feeling that way. And by all means do not tell your son that he should change his heritage whenever some fanatics blow up some place.

It always amazes me when we ourselves seem to buy into all this bullshit profiling. We are not to blame for these fanatics behaviour. Only if we feel ashamed of who we are are we in fact affirming their reason for being: our infiriority complex vis a vis the west.

So remind yourself of your greatness -- your Iranian splendour and let your son see the strenght you find in being yourself. Let the world fall apart around you but you stay solid as a rock for your son.

We mothers especially have to be strong in times when all is thrown into doubt because our children depend on us for direction. It is our duty to remember that we come from a place so rich in humanity that if you recite one of our famous poems everyday you will still need a few lifetimes to recite them all- remember those beautiful poems like: "Bani aadam azaaye yek digarand / keh dar aafarinesh az yek goharand".

Take solace in the beauty of your heritage, your humanity your son and keep your pride and hope intact because if you dont you will have done your son a disservice. Moving away never solves anything. The true sign of courage is to stay and make a change. Stay true to who you are, be proud of your heritage and keep hoping for a world where your son will be happier. Becasue if you do not show him how, he will not learn to hope. Let time heal your wounds but remember fear devours the soul. Do not let it in.

Be omide sabr va ghodrat baraaye hameyeh maadaraan donyaa,

Kobra Khanom

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September 24, 2001

* Working for international peace

Keep up your wonderful support work for the Iranians in the United States. My family background is French/Irish/Persian, so I have been fortunate to have both the "born in the USA" and strong Persian traditions to enrich my life.

During the past week of horror as the country reels from the devastaing terrorist attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, we of Middle Eastern background have dealt with the fear, broken hearts, and uncertainty of our own families, neighbors, colleagues and the families of the victims.

My husband is teaching in Egypt this semester and my son will soon be on active duty in the US Army again as a Chaplain. It is time for me to begin working full-time again, not only for financial reasons, but also to keep my mind engaged as our country undertakes the complexities of eradicating terrorism.

I join you in concern for the people of Afghanistan and now, for those citizens in Pakistan, who will certainly suffer the consequences of the military engagement.

I have spent my entire professional life working for international peace, better understanding between people of the West and those in the Middle East and Central Asia and, as a university educator and former member of a diplomatic Mission in Washigton DC, always preferred education and diplomacy over armed conflict or war.

In this very special time, individuals like yourself who reach out with words of love, affection, comfort and reassurance to the general public (especially those who for whatever reason are not/cannot be close to their own "Aunties") are very important to the emotional well being of this Nation. Many thanks for your efforts.

Mahlia Khanom

Dear Mahlia,

Thank you for expressing your thoughts and giving your support. I am hoping that people like you share their views and thoughts in the hopes that we who think free may link and not suffer alone. I too went back to work and found concentration and focus on one particular problem,craft or chore tremendously liberating.

I do believe that meaningful employ is the best way to inner peace. So I wish you all the best in your going back to work. Work is the cure for most things. I also hope that you and your husband are united soon. I love to teach and think it is truly the most noble vocation.

As a mother I congradulate you on a son, who no doubt, makes you proud. His role is especially important in this time when war is on our heels. May he have strenght and patience and empathy and instill it in his flock.

People of multiple backgrounds like you, are all in a way teachers, or at least examples, of the wonderful possibility of harmonious blending of cultures and prespectives so crucial to both personal depth and collective peace.

Be omide sohl dar jahan va azadi dar Afghanistan va Iran.

Kobra Khanom

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September 19, 2001

* Want U.S. to kill every Afghan


I want Iran to join the U.S.A and fight this . Iran and the U.S have been at odds long enough.

I am American and my husband is Iranian and we love each other and have been together since 1976. I worry about him I fear that some uneducated whit person will do something him. He is my life and I know about hate. We were together at the time of the hostages.

My daughter she is beautiful and strong and I do not worry about her as much .She can hold her own, she is 14 and truly American. She does look like her dad. We also have family in Iran and every time I hear Iran on the news I have fear and hope it will be positive news about Iran supporting us.

I can not help wanting the U.S to kill everyone one in Afghanistan. Now if I feel this way and I am love with an Iranian what is wrong with me. I feel bad , but I am American and I really feel this way.


Dear Debbie,

There is nothing wrong with you. I am an Iranian and I too worry that my children might get harrassed. It is terrible to have to worry how Middle Eastern your kids look. But these days horror has given birth to more horror.

I understand your need for revenge I too wish the elimination of the Taliban. But not of Afghanistan. I think it is very important to understand and be clear that it is Islamic fundamentalism and fanaticism that you hate and not any one nation or people. Your feelings of love for your husband and wish for revenge are not incompatible unless he is a Muslim fanantic.

As a woman I despised the Taliban even before this attack. They treat women little better that the Nazis treated the Jews. In Iran as well you have those who share Taliban views and try their best to implement them. We still have public floggins and stoning in Iran for God's sake.

But the repugnance that I feel towards these extremists does not in any way make me less Iranian in fact it makes me in many ways more patriotic becuase they spell doom for all of us.

I often say these days that women in Iran and, more so in Afghanistan, are like the Jews in Nazi Germany. We too are the victims. I love Iran, I love that whole region especially our dear neighbour Afghanistan, and I hate the fact the Muslim fundamentalism is suffocating whole populations and especially women. You too love your husband and are angry that this tragedy, caused by these people, has caused you to worry about him. I worry too and pray that all this horror leads to much needed change.

In the hopes of freedom in Iran and all over the Middle East and peace in the world.

May your husband, daughter, and all our brothers and sisters everywhere, who may look Middle Eastern, be safe.

Kobra Khanom

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September 18, 2001

* War will end in Iraq

Being born here, I don't understand people who feel they have to kill other people who do not believe in their God. Would not a great God be able to defend Himself?

I don't believe most Moslems believe like the people of Afghanistan, but if they support them, that is hard for me to take. Also I believe Iraq is where we will find the end of this war. It is my hope that we in America can find the end of bitterness with Iran, not because we need them, but because it is time.

Got to go to work now. thanks

Aaron J Urie

Dear Urie,

People who are willing to die and kill are usually that way because of a mix of anger and blind faith. A lethal mix. You and I will never understand these fundamentalist Muslims any better than we understand the Kahana Zionists or the Branch Davidian Christians. To me all kinds of fanaticism is dangerous for free thinking peoples.

It is a sad day when a U.S cleric declares that holy war should be waged (Jerry Falwell and others like him). It is sad that Middle Eastern Americans have to fear for their lives while they are the victims of these fanatics themselves. Often leaving theirbirth place because of the oppression meted out by religious governments.

So as an Iranian-American I can say that I am afraid of fanaticism both here and in Iran. I too wish that Iran would use this chance to side with the U.S. I do wish that this problem is eradicated. It will benefit us Iranians more than anyone if we are rid of Islamism.

May our countries find peace.
May Iran find freedom and seperation of church and state like you enjoy here.

Kobra Khanom

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September 17, 2001

* Standing up

Salam Kobra Khanom,

You, like many of us binationals, are caught between the thrungs of two forces pulling at us. For us this isn't as clear cut as "good" vs. evil" because we know here isn't all good and there isn't all evil.

But in the over 20 years that I've lived here, I've never felt the urge as strongly to want to belong, and this past week I realized that I have to acknowledge there is good in America. As part of that, comes the responsibility of voicing my opinion, not cowering down, but standing up and speaking up, with letters to the media, discussion groups, my representatives or whatever form it takes.

By taking an active part in the American democray, I not only don't feel like a hypocrite or an outsider, but can also affect the policy towards my other home, Iran. These are indeed troubling times, but growing times as well, for all of us.

Kind Regards,


Dear Moe,

Thank you for your comments about our situation in this time of boundless sorrow. I strongly agree with you that our interests as secular Iranians are best served when we engage actively in our host countries democracy.

Your email gives me hope and makes me realize that there are a lot of us,who having tasted democracy outside out nation want nothing more than it having a chance to bloom in our own nation.

Let us hope that the government of President Khatami siezes this chance by siding with democracy and freedom and justice. This event should be used to suppress the activities of the extremist minority in Iran -- they have lost face.

Tuesday Sept. 11 should be a mirror that we use to hold against the face of Islamic extremism. In the hopes of restored peace and liberty for all nations and people,

Be omid aazaadi dar Iran,

Kobra Khanom

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September 14, 2001

* Terrorism: How do you feel?

Ever since I started writing this column I have been answering readers' questions. I consider it a privilege to be able to help other compatriots with their problems in this small way. But tonight some three days after the twin tower's tragedy I feel like it is my turn to ask you, my dear readers, for your ear.

I am awfully depressed. I cannot hold my tears back as I write to you. I do not know why? Is it the massive loss of lives or the fact that the term Iranian-Amercian, which I never used too comfortably in the first place, is now even more difficult to digest. I just cannot feel a part of an American war effort no matter how necessary or justified it may be.

As politicians talk of war and imminent victory and around me my fellow citizens adorn everything proudly in the flag and talk of American unity and resilience I feel more and more alienated. I have gone and bought a flag and put it up as a sign of solidarity with my neighbors and respect for my adopted country. But happy about a looming war, I can never be.

Tonight I am just home sick. I am home sick for a Darband where you can order a chatval of Vodka and listen to Vigen. Tonight I wish I was at least in Los Angeles or somewhere were I could be surrounded by my dear, wonderful, sweet and peaceful compatriots. Because you and I know that that is how we really are. Do not forget it. Don't you ever let them feel otherwise.

We are an essentially good people whose history has taken them down a harrowing bend. I do not know why I even had to say that but it makes me feel better to see it up there on the screen. It somehow affirms my sense of being Iran to tell you this. So tonight, my dear friends, I thank you for listening to me and tell you that knowing that you are somewhere out there in all your Iranian splendor makes me feel much better.

I ask you to send me any questions or similar feelings you may be having in these difficult times for us secular, peace loving, international, multinational Iranians. May God bless our motherland and bring it somehow closer to our respective adopted nations. May this calamity somehow bring us closer to democracy and freedom in Iran.

Because whatever side I may have taken in these twenty some years of exile, where ever I may have lived, my greatest wish has always been for a free Iran. And Ask you my dear readers to indulge me and take a minute and wish for it with me.

Be Omide Azadi dar Iran,

Kobra Khanom

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September 12, 2001

* How will Iranians be treated?

salam be shoma kobra khanoom,

ba in etefaghi ke oftade fekr mikonin ke ba iraniha che raftari dashte bashan inja? yani momkene hamoon kari ke ba japanese kardan after Pearl Harbor ba ma ham bokonan? midoonam ke kare iran bist vali baraye ina fargh nadare, belakhare az oon Middle East hastim.


ST khanom aziz,

in fekri ast keh emshab dar zehne khaili az maa iranihaaye america hast. ama shoma yadatan bashad keh ma alan dar donyaye agah tari zendegi meekonim. be har hall an balayee keh sar japoni haa amad "precedent" hast va baraye hamin fekr nemikonam keh tekrar beshavad. hata Peter Jennings dar ABC news meegoft keh in eshtebah raa nabayad americayee haa dobareh bekonand.

TV maa keh hata ba chand arabe americayee dar bareye in mozoo mosahebeh dasht. pass shoma narahat nabashid va be ghole inha "paranoid" ham nashin. baazi mavagheh bayad kami aghebate in donya ra be zaman va ghesmat sepord. inshallah har cheh khosh ayad peesh ayad!

ba hamdardiye faravan,

Kobra Khanom

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September 11, 2001

* Day of mourning

In respect and solidarity with the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, I will remain silent today. I ask all to contemplate this tragedy and what it means.

Kobra Khanom

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September 10, 2001

* Turned my life up side down

Salam be shoma!

The past hour I've been reading the letters you´ve been answering. So now I like to get the same kind of good advice, if it´s not much to ask!?

I am a Persian female in my early 20s, and I´ve lived outside Iran most of my life. The past two years I´ve been trying to get over a nice and really charming guy I met. But because of the internet and so on, I´m always updated about him!

I was "walking on clouds" until I got to know the real him. In a short time he turned my life up side down! I was really sad and upset, but decided that the sooner I get over him, the better. But now I know that I´ve been cheating myself all the time!

I have my moments when I could die for him and moments I wanted to see him dead... Har rooz be fekre sham! Now I´m considering to "pick up" what we had. What do you think? I already know that this isn´t healthy for me but I can´t forget him. Because of him I hardly date guys, I´ve become too picky! In pesar zendegimo beham zadaeh, and he doesn´t know it. Toro khodaa be man begoo che kaar konam!

Bye bye!


Dear MI,

I always find it amusing when people answer their own question. You admit that this guy is not good for you. So you know that to pursue him would be futile. The question then is not whether or not you should pick up where you left off with him but rather how can you forget him.

The best way to get over a guy is to find another one. All this talk about a proper amount of mourning time etc... is a lot of New Age khoraafaat (hog wash). If you really do need to mourn his loss and cannot bring yourself to go out with any one else, then do so.

But take care of yourself while moping. Take a trip, read good novels, see a lot of movies, hang out with girlfriends -- in short do whatever it takes to get over the guy. You do not want to make the same mistake twice.

Remember, you said it, this guy is not good for you. Keep your chin up and move on. If you find yourself depressed and unable to do anything then do by all means seek the help of a therapist.

Be omid movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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September 7, 2001

* He's driving me mad

Hello Kobra Khanom!

I am a new comer to this site but I am, as is everyone, now addicted! The problem I am about to explain does not really have anything to do with being Iranian but I think you give the best advice around. Anyway... to the real story.

I am a 20-year-old Iranian girl and have been living in London for 13 years. I have just finished my degree and am going to carry on with my masters next year. I have a lot of great friends. I have a great family (but very strict, like all Iranian parents), a good summer job as well, making enough money to keep myself happy. I have a lot of things to look forward to. So as you can see there should be no complaints about my life; I should just be thankful, right?! But here it comes...

I have been seeing this guy for about five months. It is my first real relationship (except the silly ones at school) and I really do feel a lot for him. But my problem is that I don't think he feels the same way about me. This relationship has made me nothing but miserable. He is all I think about and I just can't stop sitting there analyzing the things he does....

I don't want to give the boring details but I agree that he is probably not the best person for me. I think I am also quite an insecure person. I am not saying I have low self-esteem, no; I have never been short of options when it came to guys (I hope I don't sound big headed). It even makes him jealous. But this relationship has made me feel so at risk.

He is a very (very) good looking guy. I mean he gets more lustful and envious stares in the streets than anyone else I have ever met! This has obviously made him quite self-assured. Unlike myself. He is very different towards me. He has had loads of girlfriends, a very different life in Zimbabwe (he is mixed raced). He hasn't had much of an education (he says he never liked school) but he is very smart and gets his things done without any problem.

He was the one who approached me and, although I hadn't taken any notice of him before, he swept me away... I could not refuse. The problem is that we don't see each other very often. Sometimes I don't see him for more than two weeks! He works full-time on the other side of London and he gets very tired. But he doesn't even want to see me on his days off! I also work full-time but I would do anything to see him!

We talk on the phone every day. I mean he calls me sometimes four or five times a day and we end up talking for hours. Yesterday we talked a total of six hours on the phone! Of course I don't mind that at all but it doesn't make sense to me. He obviously doesn't want to see me for whatever reason he may have. But then why on the phone so much?

I have had many talks with him about this. Last time he told me that since he recently had a very serious relationship (they were about to get married) he is not prepared to get into another one just yet. Fair enough. But how long am I supposed to wait?! Or should I really have to wait? He knows how I feel about him and he knows that I don't want to get into a "serious" relationship but I don't think seeing each other more often means that we have to get married! He said something like he holds back because he doesn't want to develop strong feelings for me.

I don't know what to do. I have tried a couple of times to break up with him but he has managed to change my mind every time by making me believe that I am making a big deal out of small things. I like him a lot and I really don't want to break up with him. I can't even bare the idea. He is in complete control and just not serious enough. Breaking up seems like the only way forward. I know I will get over it one day but at the moment I feel so miserable I could burst into tears any minute.

I don't want to be in love with him. But I can't help it. Am I in love? Or is this just an obsession because he is my first real one? Whichever it is, I have tried everything to stop thinking about him and this problem and get on with the rest of my wonderful life, but I can't. It gets to a point where I hate going to see my best friend because she is constantly either with her boyfriend, or is talking about how wonderful he is. It makes me want to cry. I feel like I don't want anyone else. I can't even feel attracted to anyone else.

What should I do? Should I break up? I know it seems like a small problem but it's driving me mad! I can't think of nothing else! What is wrong with me? Please give me some advice...



Dear C,

I do not think matters of the heart are small. I also fully understand your infatuation with this guy. We tend to become obsessed with the ones who do not reciprocate our love. You answer your own question. This guy is not in love with you nor good for you.

Not wanting to get serious because of fear of getting hurt is one of the oldest excuses in the book! Your guy seems like he is a playboy. But I am not interested in his character as much as I am in how you are handling the situation. Your behavior is obsessive and can only lead to more heartbreak.

You seem like a mature enough 20-year-old to break up with this man and stick to it. Tell him that you feel like this relationship is too one sided and therefore not good for you. Take a trip, pick up a book and cut off the phone line. Drown yourself in your work, force yourself to go out; in short do whatever it takes to get over this guy.

It is okay to cry. But do not let this thing go on until you have no self-esteem to claim. Sometimes we have to be strong to avoid pleasures that in the long-run only harm us. You yourself admit that this relationship is destructive for you. Stay away from this guy. You are too young to waste your time on someone you already doubt. Keep your chin up and stick to your decision. You are a mature and intelligent young woman and I have no doubt that you can manage.

If you have problems following my advice write again and we will take it from there. I am sure form the tone of your letter that you are capable of showing great resolve and doing what is right for you.

be omide movafagheeyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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September 6, 2001

* Disrespectful husband

Dear Kobra Khanom,

I follow your column in iranian.com. I am a Spanish girl and married to an Iranian man. I have been married for 6 months, but before we got married we lived together for one year just to be sure we want to be together. We did it and we got married.

Well, my mother came for the wedding and stayed for 4 months. My husband was very bad to me and so disrespectful to me and my mother. I talked to him and I told him I would never do something like that to his family. I don't know why he act that way, but my mom left,worried.

Anyway, my husband changed after we married. I do all he wants in the house. I clean, cook his favorite food (Persian of course), do his breakfast, lunch, laundry, etc. But he doesn't do anything in the house. He just gives orders and he always complains about my work in the house. Like he says "This is not the way to clean... you are carelees... the rice is not cooked well..." etc.

I don't know what to do. I try my best. On the one hand he is very giving, but to me, material things are not very important. My husband is very good looking and he knows that. He always makes coments about his pretty face, and complains that I am getting chubby. I am only 120 pounds.

Kobra Khanom, you are Persian. Can you show me a way to make my husband accept me the way I am, or to tell him something to change?

Thank you.


Dear BB,

Stop doing everything for the guy! You are spoiling him and he is taking full advantage of it. If I were you I would get a job to get out of the house. If he complains about your house work and cooking, stop doing it.

Tell him if he does not stop treating you like a maid you will leave him. Tell him that he has changed too much since your wedding and you will not put up with it. I do not care how good looking this guy is; he sounds abusive to me. It seems you live in the U.S. Tell him that here in America no one is a slave to their husband.

Get a job so you can leave him if he does not change. Get help from a marriage counselor as soon as possible. Do not get pregnant until he has changed. Keep your chin up and get the help you need. Otherwise you will get stuck in an abusive cycle all too familiar to some of us.

Write again to let me know what happened.

Kobra Khanom

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September 5, 2001

* He's no virgin

Salam Kobra Khanoom Joon,

Hale shoma chetor hast? Kheili az shoma mamnoon hastam, az advice keh midin. Kheili komak mikone. Man alan yek saal mishe keh ba doostepesaram hastam. Oon yek shahre dige hastesh. Avale ashnayimoon, oon az man kheili az gozashtam soal mikard, va az doostpesare ghabliye man azam soal mikard. Man ham hame chi ro be oon goftam. Az man porsid man virgin hastam? Va man be oon goftam keh man virgin hastam, va hamintor khaham moond ta mogheyi ke ezdevaaj konam.

Man az oon in soal haro nakardam, chon be khodam migoftam, keh oon tooye gozashteye boode, va man nemitoonam kari bokonam. Monteha baad az chand maah dige, my curiosity got the better of me, va man porisdam keh chanta doost dokhtar ghablan dashte. Oon goftesh keh doost dokhtare jeddi dota, amma baa 23 dokhtar khabide!!!!

Kobra Khanoom, man asheghe in pesare boodam, vali vaghti inro shenidam, aslan yek joori shodam. halam dasht bad mishod! Ba oon dava kardam, va goftam keh to chetor in kaaro kardi! Oon goftesh keh midoonam kaare ghalati kardam, amma nemishe karish kaard.

Nemidoonam, yani hanooz ma dota bah ham hastim, va oon kheili fekrash, mesle irania hast, midonin keh chi migam. hamishe mige agar keh to virgin naboodi man aslan be to mahal nemizashtam. amma oon agar ba 0 ta dokhtar ham mikhabid hich gonahi nabood.

Man hamishe behesh migam, keh tooye Quran neveshte keh pesaar, va dokhtar mesle ham hastan: no one is better than the other! Goftam naneveshte too Quran keh pesaar mitoone ba harki bekhad bekhabe amma dokhtar bayad virgin bashe!

Maan vaghan asheghe in pesar hastam, we have been through a lot this past year. Amma har dafe harfe sex ya gozashte mishe, hamash be gozashteye oon fekr mikonam va hersam migire. Bekhodam migam keh dige man karish nemitonam bokonam.

Midoonin hamechish khoobe, bejoz een. Man hamishe be khodam migoftam keh man pesari mikham keh khodesh virgin bashe. midoonam keh too een dore zamoone kheili kam peyda mishe. Vali be khodam migam keh hamechi perfect nist, vali I cant help feeling sick to the stomach whenever I hear him talk about the past ya hata dokhtar ha, nemidoonam, hamash yade oon chizayi keh behem goft mikonam.

Nazare shoma chi hastesh? Fekr mikonid man bayast chi kar bokonam?

Ghorbane shoma,


Dear VC,

I hear your dissappointment. Here you are having saved your virginity to lose it to someone as innocent as you only to find that he had slept with twenty-some women before you. I too always found the double standard that Iranian men have regarding this matter a bit archaic if not down right ridiculous.

Now there seems to be a little resentment in your tone which is really not very healthy way to start a marriage. You resent him for not having held out as long as you did. There is only two ways you can approach this problem. One is to forgive him in the true sense of the word and never mention it again. The other is to break up and hope that you will find a virgin like yourself to unite with.

If you love the man it seems irrelevent to me how much sex he enjoyed before you. Or do you think that human beings are like machines with an odometer which indicates wear and tear? The man is honest with you and as long as you think he will be faithfull in the future I do not see how the number of women before you makes a difference. Hopefully they have taught him a thing or two so that he will know what to do when that special eve comes around.

He is not any less innocent because he slept with other women. Innocence comes from purity of the heart. It is my sincere belief that you can engage in sexual activity before marriage and still have a pure heart. I respect men and women who choose to wait to lose their virginity after marriage. But I find being overly obssessed with it a bit silly.

I think you should see it this way: It is disappointing that your fiance does not share your innocence in matters of sex, but you can be sure of another characteristic of his which is more important than virginity: honesty. The fact that he is honest with you is more important, as far as I am concerned, than him being a virgin. Virginity is easily lost that first night but honesty lasts a life time.

As for the double standard he has regarding virginty for women as opposed to men, you better find out if this is just about virginity or extra-marital relationships as well.

Be omid movafagheyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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September 4, 2001

* She asks funny questions

Hello Kobra Khanoom,

I have had a relationship for which I wanted your advice about. One year ago, I met a Persian girl through a family member who lives in a different city than me. Upon our meeting, I believe there was chemistry and that there could be potential for further friendship -- even love. We began talking subsequent to our meeting and she approached me with serious "questions" about me, my life, my beliefs, and future goals -- which I took as a sign of a woman with a sense of seriousness.

Mixed in with the seriousness, however, was a picture of a jet set type who is always partying and involved with friends in traveling here and there. In addition, conversations with this woman would encompass very deep emotional issues. The sum total of her character was on one level very intriguing -- because of her care free nature, but at the same time, certain things she said made me believe that she is very unrealistic about life in general with the purpose of sounding "chic" or cool.

Months of phone conversations and invitations led to her spontaneously visiting me. In retrospect, the one day-stay was a blur to me. I was infatuated to the point that I wined and dined her. However, regarding more important matters, we did not talk face to face, we did not become more intimate (no sex) even though it seemed that those things should have happened. I did not feel comfortable.

Being face to face somehow took away the image I had of her. This was six months ago. I sought to see her more often but she refused and said that long-distance relationships don't work. She said we should wait until we both graduate and then get involved -- which will be six months from now. This is impossible to me. To make a long story short, I have not seen her since and our telephone conversations are few and far between. We no longer do talk about the things we used to.

I am a bit confused about the whole thing. On one hand, this woman and I seemed to really see many things eye to eye, even enjoying many of the same things, which is what attracted us to each other. On the other hand, I have this feeling that she was really after something else, maybe something more material. I'm a grad. student at an ivy league school. Suspecting this, I decided to cut her off out of my life.

However, she calls me occasionally asking me funny questions, like "where am I going to be in the future" or "do I have a girlfriend". I was brought up to be polite to people and be strong. I was also taught to be positive and patient. This woman clearly has issues, but something inside me still misses her energy and innocent side, although I don't know why. Although I'm trying to put her aside and move on, it seems to linger in my mind.

Please give me any advice about you deem helpful. Do you give someone a second chance? Does one wait? If you really feel that someone is pure, but social circumstances cause them to act funny to you move on or be forceful and try to change them?

Please give some of your great advice.



Dear BaBa,

It is not possible to change people. At least it is very rare. So you should not start any relationship with someone if you think they should change. It is not fair to them either.

As to giving people a second chance I see no reason not to. You are young and so is she why not explore the possibilities a bit more? Other than that I do not think that one meeting is enough to really know someone. If she does not want to see you until after graduation then just wait. Try meanwhile not to obsess about her. Take advantage of your last days in college or grad school. They are, believe it or not, precious.

Also it is best to give people the benefit of the doubt -- not all women attracted to ivy league grad students are gold diggers! She seems to have cooled off which indicates that she is not one. Do not doubt her sincerety until she gives you a real reason to.

Be omid movafagheyate shomaa,

Kobra Khanom

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