'If I was able to identify the scent of this smooth-operating-uber-trendy-brand-junky-Persian-male, I knew that Roya was already in love.'
It was a Thursday night, which is the equivalent of a Friday or Saturday night in the US. There’s one “weekend” day in Iran, and most of the Middle East, instead of two days. Friday is the day that’s considered to be the day off. So naturally Thursday nights happen to be the busiest time for the young and hip to hit the streets.
“Honk!” One car screamed for a while when our driver forced himself in the left lane as if it was his last chance, ever.
'Take a left at the next exit. We want to go through Jordan Street to get there.' Roya said to the driver of our stretch black Mercedes 600 with tint so dark we could barely make out the streets and people from inside the car.
Wearing our manteaus and headscarves in tandem with the windows and car interior, we were 'black on black' in its truest aesthetic for a night on the town in Tehran.
'Yes, Madame of course we will.' Replied the driver, as he prepared to get in the exit lane of the expressway we appeared to be on. This took a lot of skill, considering that most traffic signs, signals, and lights are for decoration in Tehran. It works out rather well when you're hastened but, not so much when you're just cruising, or when you're a pedestrian. That's when it becomes really hard to cross the road at intersections.
“Wow. I remember you warning me about the traffic situation and driving style here baby-doll, but I had no idea it was this bad.” Rob chimed as he moved his hand and firmly grabbed the back of my neck, in a semi-choke hold. I love when he does that. I in turn gave him a peck on the lips and smiled big for him.
“Excuse me, but there seems to be too much traffic entering Jordan Street. If you would like to get to the engagement party on time, may I suggest another route Madame?” The driver looked a bit flustered as he said this.
“No!” Screamed Roya at the same time I chirped, “Yes!”
We looked at one another. Roya was showing me a confused face.
“No, stay on this path and stop banging on driver.” Roya quipped in her intellectual-sounding British tongue. She grabbed a Davidoff Light carton out of her monstrous Fendi spy bag, which probably costs about eight-thousand EUR. She proceeded to take one of the remaining boxes out of her almost empty carton of thirty.
She has the most beautiful hands. Although I knew this habit of hers would kill her sooner than she may have originally been destined to leave this planet, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by her long and graceful fingers. She pealed off the easy-to-grab plastic wrapped around the box by pulling the protruding tip, hastily. Then moving onto the almost thinner-than-paper foil wrapper, and slipped it off, almost perfectly. After that, she grabbed the pre-folded, and now the size of a pomegranate seed, plastic wrapper, placed it in the middle of the rectangular two-inch-wide foil wrapper, and folded them both into a ball the size of a 6-carat round diamond . She dropped the foil-engulfed-plastic-ball into the ashtray in the side door on her right.
She looked incredibly chic as she did this. Suddenly I noticed that she was becoming increasingly jumpy. I couldn't place where her arousal trigger was stemming from. Her perpetually black nail polish juxtaposed to the cigarette that fit provocatively between her suntanned fingers, distracted me too much to give it any more thought.
“You know this helps prevent major fires from happening, when you’re smoking a fag.”
“What do you mean?” Rob turned away from the window and gave his attention to Roya.
“It’s simple really. The foil prevents the plastic from catching on fire in the automobile ashtrays. I know it’s brilliant isn’t it?” She asked consciously.
I could tell she was feeling good about her chance to “spread some knowledge” as she often liked to quip. She got the know-it-all gene from her mom’s side of the family, that’s what her dad says anyway.
“Sure. OK. It’s good to know how much thought you put into everything.” Rob retorted and went back to his street gazing through the dark windows.
It sounded like the cars were honking from every direction. We were sitting in gridlock on the heavily crowded and trendy Jordan Street strip. Roya put her window down. She took a drag of her cigarette, before realizing that it wasn't lit.
She started rummaging through her dark and obnoxiously pricey yet enviably-lux handbag for a lighter when all of a sudden a handsome man sprouted in front of her window.
“Hey beautiful lady.” He said as he courageously reached into the window to light her cigarette with his wind-breaking Mont Blanc monogram emblazoned lighter.
The smell of his Facconable cologne was heavy, as if he had showered in it, but attractive as his hand movements created a tiny wind that blew some in my direction.
If I was able to identify the scent of this smooth-operating-uber-trendy-brand-junky-Persian-male, I knew that Roya was already in love.
“Finally, a gentleman.” Roya managed to say with the most libidinous smile she was capable of. “Come in why don’t you?” She said shamelessly flirting with her doe-like eyes while trying to open the car door from the inside.
“No, thanks khoshgheleh (beautiful one). My friends are waiting for me in the car. I have a better idea though. We're headed to a party about a block away. I would be honored to have you accompany us as my guests. Seeing as how we’re sitting in a cluster of motion-less traffic, I thought it might be something you guys would consider.”
“OK. Hold on a minute.” Roya put her window up and turned to us. “So, do you guys want to party with these blokes?”
I looked over at Rob and he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, it’s not like we’re going to make it to the engagement party on time. We can go for a bit, to let the traffic die down, then we can head to your cousin’s engagement thing.”
“Yeah, come on don’t be a wet blanket! It’s a celebratory occasion for all of us. We owe it to our cousin to start celebrating him right now.” Roya added.
“Fine, we’ll go for half-an-hour. Then we’re going straight to Kaveh’s party OK? Roya? OK?” I tried to sound not too uptight as I set the rules for my older cousin.
Roya put her window down again. “Alright, we’d love to come. I think we’re just going to walk there. What’s the house number?”
“Ay val (great)! Just take a left at the next block and the house number is 935. It’ll be on your right hand side. My name’s Ross by the way, well it's Rostam, but Ross for short. See you there!” He said as he exchanged a connected look with Roya.
“I can’t believe how dishy he is. Driver, we’re getting out. Come and get us down the street to the left at house number 935 in thirty minutes. Let’s go you two.”
We arrived at the house. There in front of the main door, stood the bulkiest Iranian man I’d ever seen.
“Tu listi (you on the list)?” He asserted as he put his arm in front us, blocking any possibility for us to go past the iron-gate. The three of us stood there, speechless.
“I said are you on the list? I can’t let you in if you’re not on the list.” The bouncer inquired, in English this time in hopes of a response.
“They’re with us Hooman. Kooleh (It's cool).” It was Ross's voice. He was standing under the extravagant doorway. He started walking towards the bouncer and us.
They must have been fast walkers, him and his friends. He already had a drink in his hand too.
He now stood out of the shadow that the entrance doors had previously cast on him, in the foyer. The doors were 14-ft-high arched double-doors. They were grand, like the majority of Jordan Street's pied-a-terre. I was, at this time, able to make out more of his shape. His silhouette was in the light now, his silver Hermes belt buckle caught a ray of light from the street-lights, flashing me in the eyes.
The bouncer followed orders and pulled his arm back away from us. We walked through the gate. Ross came forward and gave Roya a kiss on her cheek, shook my hand, and Rob's.
Rob obliged and shook his hand while flashing him an approving smile. He must have been trying to encourage Ross’s interest in Roya. Meaning Rob's 'guy-radar' had deemed Ross as a 'good guy'.
Rob’s a great judge of character. Usually, he can predict the life cycles of either one our friendships in less than five minutes of acquaintance. I admire this trait so much.
I have, more than once fallen into a trap with a friend that I misjudged. Sadly, most of them were Iranian girls. Though the fact that Iranians lack unity on all levels is not a secret, so I'm still optimistic.
As Ross put his hand out to shake Rob’s hand, I noticed his Breitling watch, it was a newer model of Rob's gift from me a couple of years ago. Well, at least he has good taste.
Ross then placed his hand on the small of Roya’s back, leaned in and whispered something in her ear, causing sounds of mischievous laughter from both of them.
“Let’s go upstairs lovelies. Come on.” Roya said looking back at us with a naughty smile.