Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran
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Moaveni's homecoming falls in the heady days of the country's reform movement, when young people demonstrated in the streets and shouted for the Islamic regime to end. In these tumultuous times, she struggles to build a life in a dark country, wholly unlike the luminous, saffron and turquoise-tinted Iran of her imagination. As she leads us through the drug-soaked, underground parties of Tehran, into the hedonistic lives of young people desperate for change, Moaveni paints a rare portrait of Iran's rebellious next generation. The landscape of her Tehran — ski slopes, fashion shows, malls and cafes — is populated by a cast of young people whose exuberance and despair brings the modern reality of Iran to vivid life.
hour, smoking soggy cigarettes and waiting for a table. It was the only café in Tehran designed with innovative elegance and attracted young people starved for aesthetic beauty—the artists, writers, and musicians whose sensibilities suffered acutely in a city draped with grim billboards of war martyrs. Elvis’s coffeehouse inspired imitations all over the neighborhood and then the city. In early 2000, when Celine and I first began to haunt the tiny, modern nook, it was one of a kind. By the
work, tennis, and lunch with American friends. His cars were to him what that sad patch of garden was to my grandfather in San Jose—a tender ritual that paid homage to a lost world, a task that kept the hands busy, while the apathetic spirit lived in the past. It was a self-imposed exile, but exile nonetheless—isolating and melancholy, an island in a strange, hostile society. Under usual circumstances, I didn’t pay much attention to Dariush’s deeper thoughts. They were typically narcissistic in
outfits each day: the manteau/outer layer, and the under-layer that you would wear upon arrival at your destination. Inspired, I scribbled in my notebook: Have Arash make knee-length tunic with matching pants, and reversible silk coat. Next came evening wear. Banal prom gowns, mostly, but a ripple of pleasure passed through the crowd, and they cheered energetically, as though they were imagining themselves making grand appearances at parties in those very outfits. There were only two looks on
decades, destroyed in revenge for his betrayal. She had found no better metaphor for the death of her love than the destruction of trees. In California, the absence of gardens seemed the bitterest part of our reconstructed lives. They tried to make do, my grandparents. Their apartment in San Jose, which faced the garbage dumpster, had a small, squalid patch of green out front, covered in coarse, dusty ivy. My grandfather, whom we called Agha Joon, patiently cleared it away, and tried to grow
sidewalk. I had been so busy contemplating “to veil or not to veil” that it hadn’t occurred to me anyone else would notice. It was like wearing a neon sign, blinking “Muslim! Muslim!” I reached the U.N. Plaza Hotel and joined the other journalists, television anchors with brand-name voices, in the lobby. As though the self-immolation I had subjected myself to en route was not enough, a prominent television reporter took one look at my covered head and informed me imperiously that I was not