Thursday, July 31, 2003

Girls riding in cars with boys

A friend of ours tells us about his experiences working on a film here: “Every day I was out in the streets in Tehran. I talked to everyone. I saw things that people who have lived there longer have not seen. It was like I was there for ten years. Like take prostitution: in Iran there is not a ‘type’ of woman who prostitutes. For many, it is not a profession, instead it is something that they once in awhile. One 16-year-old girl prostitutes because she is mad at her father. A 25-year-old is on the streets because her husband is a womanizer and she thinks ‘If he can… so can I.’ A 25-year-old student doesn’t have enough money, so she goes to the streets to sell her body. Another woman does it just to see what it is like. Of course, some of the prostitutes are also addicts. But that is not normal.”

As I wrote earlier, all you have to do is walk on the streets without a man in order to discover just how prominent prostitution is here. Yesterday, for instance, I was walking with two 10-year-old girls and men still signaled to me. What did they think I was going to do with the two girls with me? You tell me.

A non-resident Iranian friend of ours was asking her brother (a resident Iranian) to point out prostitutes. He pointed to several women getting into or out of cars in unusual places or situations. She was amazed. “Maybe I could make a little extra money,” she joked.

“It’s so easy,” I told her. “All you have to do is get into one of the cars that honks at you or flashes its lights at you when you aren’t with a man.”

“That’s what those drivers want? I just thought they were all taxis,” our friend said. She was leaning out and telling the drivers her destination they way you do when you are flagging down a shared taxi. They must have thought she was nuts.

Speaking of shared taxis
We were in one today. The driver told us that Saddam had been captured. “When is Bush coming here,” he asked? “We need him.”

I said, “You need our political help, not our military help.”

“Why? We need the military help of America. We are afraid of our government,” he said.

“Military help from America will bring about a second revolution here,” we told him. “You don’t want that.”

While we were heading to our destination, a mullah flagged down the driver. Our driver refused to stop. “May grass grow under his feet,” he said.

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