Napoleon mon amour
The Zoroastrian professor
December 6, 2005
Now things between Napoleon and I, as you know from the previous chapter, are not going too well. Nothing has changed but a premonition of something bad is laying heavy on my heart. Also, this is Josephine’s week here and I am not being invited over any more. So I decided to back track a bit and go back to last year when I first started sleeping around. This way you will understand me a bit better perhaps. And anyway who said an erotic diary has to be linear. Naa baa baa joon we flash back and forth. All yours truly wants is to keep you entertained.
I was still married to my husband and living in Iran. I was miserable in my marriage and Napoleon was far away. I met someone who helped me feel better. I wrote the following then:
I called the number he had written on a piece of paper. The professor had begged me two nights before, to call him in such a suave fashion, in a room full of people, including my husband, which betrayed an enormous amount of experience in these matters. These kinds of playboys I shunned when I was young because I believed they were chauvinistic and vacuous. But now this man somehow made me feel safer. I, in my forties and not very beautiful, did not feel like starting an affair with someone who is careless or who may hurt me more than my husband already did. I needed someone who was of the old school. The kind of man who would woo you and make love to you and would never tell anyone and more importantly would never make you feel anything less than a wonderful woman.
Marriages may become sexually boring for men but they hurt women. The less the man shows interest the more the woman feels inadequate and undesirable. Most of the time the man, instead of trying to find something in the woman to keep him interested and to maintain intimacy, feels also inadequate. Instead of their relationship evolving it stagnates. This happens probably due to the fact that we still have a very narrow view of male/female role-playing. The woman wants the kind of attention she got while she was being courted and the man having fulfilled his pursuit loses his erection before he knows what is happening. Using the penis as a barometer for the quality of a relationship only promotes infantile behavior. No one talks, no one experiments and things become excruciatingly drab and boring. The man becomes scared of coming near the woman for fear that he may not be able to perform. The woman wallows in her misery thinking that it is her, her looks, her weight, or her nose that has become repulsive to the man. The man thinks that he is probably witnessing the natural phenomena of losing interest in the same woman after a while. The man blames nature. The woman, almost, always blames herself.
Being in my second marriage, but exactly at the same place I was in these matters in my first, I am more experienced than to entirely blame myself. For one, I know that I am never boring. My insecurity simply lies in the fact that I am fat. I have read my Laclos and seen my French new wave movies and know that the only way to keep a relationship from becoming sexually boring is to keep the man guessing about your whole hearted interest in him. Looking the way I do that is not easy. That is why I am perpetually either dieting or feeling bad about not dieting. But even the most homely of us can stir-up enough doubt about our loyalty to keep our men interested. Most men love whores. They get turned on when they imagine their women making love to other men. (Of course never in the course of this discourse am I including all men or all women. Here I am using a cautious ‘most’ and using my own experience and all the talks I have had with men and women. No claims to any scientific objectivity here.)
Having reached a point in my marriage where sex happens with less regularity and fearing that it may dwindle altogether the way it did in my first marriage I am more than open to an affair. I have tried everything else to keep this marriage going and now I am simply fed-up and feel terribly neglected.
There is a man I adore named, like my father, Ali. He is a friend. My attraction for him was at first only intellectual-- here in Iran he is the only person I have met whose English, wit and knowledge I admire. Slowly I found myself thinking more and more about him and trying to arrange all sorts of excuses to see him. I started confiding in him and felt, maybe wrongly maybe not, that he may have some tender feelings for me. But he is a recluse and hard to figure out, or maybe he is afraid of the baggage I carry. Anyway, I cannot help caring for him and wanting him. He is much older than I am and not really the type you would masturbate thinking about but I simply adore him. It is not so much sex that I want with him but intimacy-- the kind of intimacy that includes sex but is more about mutual caring and understanding. I dream of an affair where we meet once a week, in the afternoons, but over a long period, the way I have seen the French, most well versed in such matters, have afternoon affairs that are meaningful. I knew a very elegant lady in Paris who had been with her twice a week lover for almost twenty years a couple of years less than with her husband.
Last night I wanted to see Ali. My husband was going to work late so I thought this would be a good night to see him alone. He had said he wanted us to meet without others around. I was very happy to plan to meet. But I knew that he would be hesitant and non-responsive and that that would make me feel worse. So I fished in my bag for the Professor’s number. I am very liberal but not very suave in such matters. I have not done this that many times. Twice in my first marriage did I betray my husband and never yet in this one.
My mouth was in my throat when I called the professor. I was happy that he was not home. This way I could leave a message and it would be up to him to decide to call back or not. I told him I would be home until 2:00 PM. He called at 1:30. The mutual friend who had introduced us was here chatting with me. So I asked him if I could call him back he said, “Yes, if you promise to see me today.” I laughed and promised to call back.
When I called back he asked me if I wanted to go for coffee or dinner or just to see his house. But Ali had called by then and I had arranged to meet him between eight and nine that evening. I told the professor that I would love to go over to his place for a drink with our mutual friend Mahmood. He begged me to show up alone, he promised to be a gentleman, and told me how he wanted to cook dinner for me. I preferred dinner with Ali I also did not want to take my clothes off in front of this stranger yet. So I told him that I would be at his place at seven only for a couple of drinks. He responded in French that he would be counting the minutes.
When a woman has been with a man for a long time she stops the kind of grooming that she did when she first met him. It becomes silly to wax your legs and paint your toe nails and take perfumed baths when he only sleeps with you once every two weeks and does not even notice when you have been to the hairdresser. So many women just “let go” of themselves which in Persian, more than in English, means that they let go of their obsession with grooming. You may have just written a difficult article or made a lot of money on the stock market but when a woman stops grooming herself to the tee she is labeled as having “let go” of herself. I am perpetually accused of this crime by other Iranian women.
I spent the afternoon with the help of Roya khanom, the babysitter, grooming.
Roya khanoom is young and has huge breast, which she flaunts. Everyone in our household, including my husband and children like her breasts, yesterday as she was putting on my make-up I found myself staring at them. I realized that perhaps, I more than anyone else, like these pair of breasts: so much firmer and more youthful than my own. I felt butterflies in my stomach about going to see the professor the way I did as a teenager. I got ready and went to my friend Mahmood’s house first. There I got his much needed advice and ok on my hair and make-up and clothes and had a much more needed drink.
I arrived at the professor’s twenty minutes late -- a very civilized amount of tardiness by Iranian standards. Opening the large gate to his house he beamed a huge smile that took away all my anxiety and made me feel comfortable. He took me by the hand and showed me his villa in which he takes great pride. The place was a gem. With old-Persian furnishings and little ponds and a mina bird who, “loves to talk to women.”
He did everything so skillfully -- from the amount of pressure he put on my hand as he held it to his smile that was neither too much nor too little-- making me feel beautiful and incredibly at ease. After showing me his house. He poured me a drink. Before I could finish, he started fixing my hair, smiling, telling me that he was trying to find an excuse to touch me while being a gentleman. I looked him straight in the eye as though telling him that he did not need an excuse- he put his lips to mine and kissed me passionately holding me so tight I could feel the thumping of his heart. One gentle pull back on my part and he stopped. We went in the garden and sipped our drinks and talked. Every word I said seemed to delight him. He told me that he teaches pre-Islamic law at Paris University. But he wants to spend more and more time here. His family is one of the most ancient and noble Zoroastrian families in Iran. Like me, much of his wealth has been confiscated.
We went back in the house and he kissed me again. I had told myself before I saw him that I would only let him go to first base -- just some kissing maybe some petting. And like a tango, him taking a step forward and me a step back, we continued to kiss and caress for a good half hour. He asked me if he could touch my breasts. A silent half-tilt of the head was taken as a yes and he took my breasts out of my shirt, cupped them tightly and suckled them like a hungry baby. It does not take much for me to get turned-on and this act of his aroused me to the point where I was not sure I could stop him any more.
He took me to the bed, I told him I had to leave. He said he promised that he would let me go in five minutes. I decided to give him the five minutes because I wanted it just as much. He lay me down on his bed. While kissing me he opened my legs slightly and pushed ever so gently against my koss with his thighs. I felt his erection against my body. He begged me to touch him. I touched him just long enough to see how hard he was. The third time I told him that I really had to leave, he kissed me all over my face made me promise to call him and got up to call me a taxi. He told me he was jealous of Mahmood, I assured him that Mahmood and I were just friends. I told him that I had never betrayed my husband before. He told me he was happy about that.
He walked me to the door telling me he wanted me to stay. I smiled and told him I wanted the same. But I sat in the taxi happy to be driving to meet Ali.