Monday, January 02, 2006

Babies and Eyebrows

I went to Mrs. MM’s place today to help her study for an English exam she has tomorrow. She has skipped the first two years of English and started studying straight from the level 3 book so she could pass an entrance exam to get into seminary school (howzeh). I’m not sure it’s a good idea to skip so much foundational stuff, but she really wants to get started on school soon.

Here’s an interesting fact, Mrs. MM was married at 14, had her first child at 15, and now, at 34, has already married off said first daughter (daughter was married at 18, a year and a half ago.) She’s a fantastic cook (how could she not be, she’s Iranian) and her youngest daughter is 11 years old and has already started learning how to cook. So far, she can cook rice, chicken and spaghetti and do all the house chores. They sure do grow up quickly. I think that’s why I get along with the kids. I’m in denial of my own looming (fine, already here) adulthood.

Mrs. MM is a fun lady, and her youngest daughter is something akin to a prodigy; she’s just brilliant. Her husband (ayatollah garb alert) is currently leading a group of people at the Hajj, in Mecca and he’s a Seyyed, which, from what I’m told, means he’s a descendant of the Prophet. By dint of his lineage, he gets to wear either a black or a green turban. (So that means Khomeini is also a descendant of the Prophet, judging from the black turban he wore.)

Anyway, Mrs. MM wondered how I’ve been married so long and can’t cook and don’t have kids. Incidentally, Ms. N also thinks I should have kids as soon as possible; she had her first son within a year of her marriage, while she was in her last year of university. I know I got married before my senior year of college (wow, frightfully young), but a kid then would have killed me.

It’s better, they all say, having children as soon as possible after marriage. The ladies in my grammar class and I have already talked about this and they, too, feel that now is the best time to get started and get done, before I’m too old to keep up or worse, infertile. They may be right (less age difference, you get to see them grow up…blah blah) but really, I love other people’s kids enough… I don’t need my own. Not now anyway. Anyway, they also recognize the Iranian trend of marrying young and having kids fast. So many of these ladies are in their 30’s or 40’s and already have married children or grandchildren. In some cases, they have adult children *and* newborns.

Another interesting thing, while I’m on the topic of things people find so odd/curious/unnatural about me, is several of the ladies’ concerns about my eyebrows. Let it be known now, I was growing them out because well, I thought I’d get something nice done here in Iran. After my haircutting incident, I decided I’d just get them done in Pakistan, where I can make myself understood. I was never a huge eyebrow plucker anyway. A little cleanup is good enough. I really don’t dig the pencil thin perpetually surprised unnatural looking darkened with mismatching pencil eyebrows anyway.

I tried to explain to the ladies that my eyebrows aren’t that thick, dark, or long anyway so I can’t do much with them except let them be…(my kid sister got the awesome eyebrows gene, that little punk. Actually, she got the overall gorgeous looks and size 0 genes too, for that matter.) Anyway, I tried the whole “I like it natural” argument. I’m not sure they understand… they just kind of nod blankly.

But I don’t mind. I find it amusing and also so touching that they’re concerned about my eyebrows and skin and childlessness. Honestly, they’re just so sweet and well-intentioned and curious that I can’t hold it against them. And they have every right to be concerned with my skin. It’s horrendous, yes even moreso than it was in the US. I’m concerned myself. Why, at 25, does it look like I hit puberty yesterday?

On the other hand, I have found myself talking with ladies about Bobert on more than one occasion as we take inventory of all his ‘beautiful’ (their words, not mine) features, like his nose, his beautiful glowing white complexion, his eyes, his height, and his general splendiferous beautifulness. He’s like one of the girls we all talk about. I also find myself boasting about his absolute self-sufficiency and use that as a partial explanation for why I can’t do anything. He does it all himself and without complaint, so I never learned.

Today, Mrs. MM and one of my college-bound conversation students and I were talking and they were all saying how handsome Mr. Robert is and how every feature is perfect. Ah, my little fop. All he needs now is a cute little mincing walk.

He was always the wifier one of us two anyway, so it makes sense that we talk about his clear skin (I hate him for it and yet am optimistic that any potential kids will inherit this trait generously from him) and his domestic skills (again I’m hoping future progeny will be like him too, except they won’t bruise like peaches).



Blogger huma said...

the skin's not clearing up -- what do they do for skin care over there -- might be useful to pick up some tips. don't let natural become a unibrow.

10:53 PM  

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