11 August 2010

A Tale of Two Women

A recent Letter to the Editor in a German women's magazine drew my attention to the fact that this magazine has recently featured a few articles about cheating. One, which I had read, was a kind of how-to cheat on your partner based on how old you were. Apparently, at my age, I should forget about younger men (they'll make me feel old) and older men (they're looking for younger women). In fact, I'm pretty sure the advice was to just wait until something fell in my lap, and then to be happy about it. Most recently, there was a piece, which I hadn't read until the letter brought it to my attention, which was actually a tie-in to a newly released (in Germany) film starring Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, and Antonio Banderas. You can see the trailer here, but the chick that introduces it was so annoying that I couldn't post it. Sorry.

In any case, the article included a couple of those "we've changed the names to protect the innocent" accounts of a story "similar" to the one in the film. In the first one, a woman took a younger lover in response to her husband's infidelity (also with a younger partner). When the husband decided he'd had enough (or more likely, when the younger chick decided that she'd had enough of him), he went back to his wife, convinced her to give up her lover, and they all lived happily ever after. Well, the wife did at least, since after a year, she got back together with her lover. According to the wife, the husband only suspects, and she has worked it out so that she doesn't sleep with her husband anymore. The lies, it seems, are enough to deal with.

Reading this article makes me think of what Orhan Pamuk, in his book Istanbul: Memories and the City, refers to as the "life lottery." You know you've won it when you're a woman committing adultery in Germany and not in Iran.

So yeah, I have been thinking about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani a lot lately, and even more since the absurd dichotomy of women's lives in Germany and Iran seemed to manifest itself in a women's magazine that offered tips on cheating.

The life lottery sucks.

For information on the peculiarities of the Iranian judicial system with respect to women, please read this. There's a particularly odious bit about men who have been caught committing adultery being given the right to "temporary marriages." Seriously, James Brown must have had these guys in mind when he wrote, "It's a Man's World." For an exclusive interview with Ms. Ashtiani, please read here. And to sign a petition that may help to save her life, please go here.

Thanks Andreas for forwarding the petition to me.

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