He was reading a French-African play⎯upside down (meant as an obscure joke).
Throughout our relationship, I've learned a lot about setting boundaries and being more verbal when it comes to my needs.
From the moment I touched down at Tehran airport a couple of weeks ago, I, and the two women journalists I was travelling with, thought of little else.
"The night is gone," said another great Persian poet, Rumi, "and day has arrived/ and the sleeper shall see what he has dreamed." We can only hope that that spirit of beauty, the one that produced some of the greatest poetry, architecture and science in the world, will one day crush the plodding literal-mindedness of the misogynists in charge, will one day rip the veil, and the headscarf, and the chador, away.And so it was when Iranians rose up against a regime – a tyranny, complete with secret police, torture, mass deaths and mass terror. Well, us, as it happens, the good old Brits, in cahoots with the CIA, in order to keep our hands on our favourite sticky Middle Eastern treat, oil.This, alas, is not bleeding-heart liberal angst, but a fact."In the name of God", too, that you yearn for it, pine for it, so that when, at 8am, your plane lifts above the runway, and Iranian soil, you beg for it."O Winebringer," you say, or words to that effect, to the steward, "bring us a bucket of wine!It's also, presumably, why, for all the public signs of piety, only 1.4 per cent of the population go to Friday prayers.The fact is that Islam was an Arab import to a culture whose central religion – Zoroastrianism – was non-proselytising and based around a transcendent, non-personal, non-patriarchal God. Let My People Go Recently, a friend had a five-hour date with a woman he'd met on J-Date. This habit, I imagine, is due to social anxiety, narcissism, or some combination. If you think you might be a Chatty Cathy or Charlie, here's a test: Do you love the interplay of bass and treble in your own voice? Did you raise your hand in third grade even before the teacher asked anything? If you don't want hot monkey love with a particular human, you need to communicate that. That way both of us can cut our losses and move on. Zip it Up Lately a buddy told me that 70% of the men she meets online yap the entire time they're together, never attaining even basic information about her.How free did we feel, before this hot, itchy, blinkering carapace swaddled our heads and addled, it felt, our brains? Our guide had brought thick brown viscose gowns to preserve our modesty, but I preferred the ancient, knee-length jacket I'd bought from M&S.And what was it like, we wondered, to whip off your cardie when you felt a bit hot? But when the velcro strip I'd stitched on to it, to ensure that no one suffered an offensive flash of betrousered thigh, came off, our guide rushed at me with a safety pin. I don't know what toxic chemical they'd been dipped in, but by the end of the week I had skin like a crocodile.