Parisa is a single young woman. She is 23 years old and she lives in the same small town as Ahmad, with her mother and her divorced older sister, Masomeh and Masomeh’s 6 year old daughter. Parisa is a prostitute, just as her mother and her three divorced older sisters.
Her brother lives next door with his wife. Her father moved out of the house years ago and lives in another house out in the desert, where he tends to his orchard and his sheep. He is a drinker and an opium smoker and he almost never sees his wife and daughters. He wants nothing to do with them.
Parisa has been working as a prostitute since she was 17. She doesn’t feel she was forced or persuaded into it, but she had chosen it herself over ending up the slave and servant (wife) of some guy. She owns a Peugeot 206 (car) now and goes wherever she wants freely, and according to herself “fucks who she wants, when she wants it.”
In this town, women rarely own their own car and young women are never allowed to drive anywhere on their own. Women in this area must stay at home, and this is what the women themselves consider “proper behavior.”
The women all hate Parisa. Mothers tell their daughters that she is a whore (a broken, damaged woman) and that they are forbidden from socializing with her or her family. Young girls understand this perfectly; if they are seen hanging out with Parisa or her sister, everyone in the village will be talking about it and they will have the worst rumors and labels hanging around their necks, which will prevent them from finding a good husband.
In small rural towns, reputation is everything, and people (except Parisa and her family) are extremely concerned with what other people say and think about them.
And yet, pretty much every woman in town envies Parisa because she is an independent woman, sexually liberated and free to experience the world as she pleases.
Parisa and her sisters are thin, tall, white and strikingly beautiful, and they are basically the object of lust for every man in town. Their customers are however mostly from out of town, and they don’t give the time of day to any of the “rural men” from their own village who they see as unsophisticated barbarians.
Parisa used to be exquisitely beautiful. She was breathtaking; really angelic gorgeous with alluring waist length black hair and haunting green eyes. There was always a touch of childlike candor and playfulness in her smile that I’ll never forget. But these days she’s looking more and more depressed, broken, tired (exhausted really) and old to my eyes. She started smoking opium a few years ago and now she’s heavily addicted. She smokes with her mother and sister every day.
Other than her family, she has no friends to hang out with at all. No woman will be her friend or spend time with her because they see her as a “dirty whore” and men just want to get in her pants, and they treat her like trash afterwards. She says that deep down in her heart, she feels she would gladly give up her income, her car and her freedom if a good man would marry her, love her and be her friend. But she says she knows that no one wants to marry a whore, and certainly no man could love a woman who has been touched and fucked by hundreds of men.
In this part of the world, a girl’s virginity is basically the most important requisite for finding a husband. No man is in the least inclined to marry and support a girl who has slept with another man. And cheating on your spouse is the most unforgivable sin, for a man or woman. A woman who finds out her man has cheated on her probably won’t be able to ever look at or touch him again; she’ll just cry for weeks and feel disgusted with herself.
Parisa and her family own a couple of cows that they keep in their barn. They sell milk, cheese, butter, cream, etc. that they make themselves, for additional income.
Young boys go to their house to buy milk just so they can look at the girls who don’t usually care to cover themselves up to come to the door. In this area, boys pretty much never see a woman without hijab until they marry their wife. Women even wear hijab in their own homes and so do their young daughters; they feel more comfortable this way.
One of Parisa’s sisters was married to a man in the city. She used to serve customers in their home when her husband was away. One day the husband comes home and finds two guys fucking his wife. He filed for divorce. She still lives in the city and works to support herself.
Parisa’s mother has a deep hate for men that she expresses openly all the time. Parisa is pretty much prejudiced to view men as objects to squeeze for money, and she shares her mothers hate for men, who she describes as “disgusting animals.”
Early fall last year Parisa told me that she had decided to “go straight” so she got a job as a secretary in the city. She described how on her third day her boss asked her to stay after hours for some extra work if she wanted to. She was too naive and “rural” to realize what this meant so she stayed.
Apparently he called her into his office, closed the door and started touching her and rubbing himself against her. She tried to refuse at first, but he told her that if she didn’t comply she should find another place to work, and then he practically forced himself on her.
She stopped going to work after that.
Parisa says she feels trapped in spite of her independence and freedom. She says she’s lost interest in life already and the only thing that keeps her going is opium. She says she doesn’t enjoy sex anymore.
Parisa says that she understands the irony of life; that all she really wants now is to give herself to a man, to love him and to be loved back. She says she wouldn’t mind being a slave and a servant to some guy if only she were loved and respected. She says she actually yearns for a man to brand her as his property; to want her, hold her and take care of her.