With Sophia in New York, I figured rather than pouting, I’d put on some of my best clothes and go out on the town. I heard about this new exhibit, so I figured I’d go and check out the scene.

“Why not?” I asked myself. “I’m always hearing that you can meet classy chicks at an art gallery.”

So, I got into my car and drove to this gallery in downtown Tehran. I had heard a lot about this exhibit: it was sponsored by the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri and contained the best international entries of cartoons mocking the Holocaust. The exhibit was packed, as it was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself who called for the cartoons as a response to last year’s caricature of Mohammad in a Danish newspaper.

It had been a long time since I’d been out alone, so I was a little nervous approaching any of the available woman. But as I enjoyed some of the complimentary cheese and tahini, I saw her, like a vision from the Arabian Nights. Her eyes were like sensuous burning coals. Well, actually, all I saw were her eyes, since she was wearing a burkah.

I introduced myself. You could hear the nervousness in my voice.

“Hi, I’m Neil,” I said.

“I’m Sarvenaz.”

“So, how do like the exhibit?”

“This exhibit is important as it will finally expose the Holocaust myth that the Zionist entity has foisted on the world.”

She obviously was very bright. But since I hate to get into politics on a “first date,” I decided to change the subject.

“The tahini here is excellent. Have you ever tried the tahini from Trader Joe’s?”

Sarvenaz started laughing. At first I thought she found me amusing, but then I realized she was laughing at one of the satirical cartoons hanging on the wall.

“I like this cartoon where American students are being dragging in chains to go to a “Holocaust” Museum and forced to learn the untruths about the so-called concentration camps.

“I get it.” I said as I nodded. “The Holocaust Museum is being presented like a concentration camp itself — and the students are the prisoners. A weird concept, but clever.”

“We received entries from all over the world. The truth is slowly getting out. Knock on wood and spit on the Israeli flag.”

Although Sarvenaz seemed a little neurotic, I guess I’m always falling for the “passionate” type. She was opinionated, but I like a woman who has a mind of her own. There was something very intriguing about Sarvenaz and I definitely wanted to know her better.

“So, which piece of art do you like the best?” I asked, trying to sound “bohemian.”

“I like the work that most tests the filthy pagan West’s commitment to freedom of speech,” she replied.

“You mean like this one of Hitler and Anne Frank in bed together, having just had sex?”

“Oh, the West and Anne Frank!” she protested. “The Holy Anne Frank. You can mock our Prophet, but if we caricature the holy Anne Frank, you Westerners consider it an outrage. You laughed at us when we went on rampages across the world after the Prophet was insulted. Now we’ll see the real outrage as Western hypocrites take to the street burning down mosques while waving their precious copies of Anne Frank.”

It was at this point that I decided to change the mood into something a little more romantic.

“Uh, so, have you had dinner yet?” I asked.

“I will not eat again until Israel is wiped off the face of the Earth!”

“Not even a little snack?”

But Sarvenaz was totally fixated on the art show.

“This next cartoon is excellent. I am sure it win a medal of honor.”

“Hmmm… I’m not sure I get it… ” I said, trying to weigh my words carefully, so as not to look like I didn’t understand art. “Why is the Statue of Liberty holding a book on the Holocaust in its left hand and giving a Nazi-style salute with the other. Is this supposed to be Dada?

“You’re obviously not familiar with the artist. He is brilliant in the way he expresses his vision so succinctly. Let’s see who’s rioting now after this cartoon is seen by the American public?!

I sighed, clearly uncomfortable with my knowledge of art history. Sarvenaz laughed at me, mocking my values.

“So, obviously your Western sensibilites are disturbed by the satiric nature of these Holocaust cartoons. You are nothing more than a worthless Zionist swine who manipulated the Danish media into mocking the Prophet’s name against their better judgement!”

“I’m sorry.” I said, apologetically. “I’m a little distracted today. Maybe I’m just feeling a little lonely. You see Sophia went to New York and I’m left by myself for the next seven weeks without my Sofotchka or a blog editor.”

For the first time, Sarvenaz’ eyes showed warmth and compassion. She turned away from the Holocaust revisionist cartoons and focused on me.

“Oh, look at you. That sad face. You look like a sad little puppy dog. Why do I suddenly feel so much compassion for you — you greedy dishonest Zionist-American fool?”

“You know, my car is right outside. And it is a Prius, so I don’t waste too much Middle Eastern oil. Would you like to come home with me tonight?”

“Do you have HBO?” she asked.


For the first time in my life, I praised Time-Warner.

And so it was written, so it was done. We went back to my place. I got my mind off of Sophia. Sarvenaz watched a little HBO. This morning, as we made love for the third time, I wondered if our relationship could be a building block to the start of a lasting Middle Eastern peace plan.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: A Wimpy Post About Friendship