#5. Embroideries.

Embroideries is a humorous and intimate analogy of sexual politics in Iran, written by one of my favourite writers, Marjane Satrapi. I fell in love with Satrapi’s work after reading Persepolis, a comprehensive graphic novel which explored the transformation of life in Iran during the onset of the chaotic revolution. Embroideries is post revolution and it recounts the experiences of different women in Satrapi’s life. These experiences range from nose jobs, travel, and sex to magic, marriage, and parenthood.

“‘Opium has many virtues,’ my grandmother would say. ‘It’s not just good for reducing pain. Look at me, I have always had wide open eyes like you. So when I was younger, I took a little taste before going to parties. It made my eyelids heavy. It gave me a languorous look. By the way, you should learn to close your eyes a little … You’ll find lovers more easily.”

“To speak behind others’ backs is the ventilator of the heart.”

“Of course, you know, my child, men’s pride is situated in their scrotums.”

“I never really understood how it was possible to marry three times. Just one marriage was enough to make me realize that living with a man was unfeasible!”

“You must pay close attention when choosing your future husband. Don’t marry with your heart but with your brain.”

“You must marry the one you love. I had a marriage of convenience. The result? I never knew what love was, because love is the opposite of good sense.”

“Marriage, it’s like roulette: sometimes one wins, often one loses. Even if you’re very in love, it can still go bad.”

“… The worst was yet to come. The old guy didn’t want a divorce! I made a thousand prayers for him to die. God, have him croak. God, have him get cancer. God, have him be hit by a car. God, have him have a heart attack. God, have him be killed by a robber. God, cut his veins!”

“‘You can’t leave. You’re mine!! Without you, I’ll die.’ ‘SO DIE!!!'”

“… to be the mistress of a married man is to have the better role … do you realize? His dirty shirts, his disgusting underwear, his daily ironing, his bad breath, his hemorrhoid attacks, his flus, not to mention his bad moods, and his tantrums, well, all that is for his wife. When a married man comes to his mistress, he’s always bleached and ironed, his teeth sparkle, his breath is like perfume, he’s in a good mood, he’s full of conversation, he tells you: ‘you are beautiful and intelligent. With you, I never get bored. You’re extraordinary, a rare pearl.’ He is there to have a good time with you.”

“We good wives, we pay for our own foolishness. We project everything onto our husbands. Men are aware of this and they exploit it.”

“I have decided to take my life into my own hands. I want to find a man who understands and respects me. Your prayers work. Say one for me.”

“You know men!! As soon as you give into them, they ignore you.”

“You know, men, like women, have their menopause at 50. Except with them, it’s invisible. It’s the reason why they want to be with younger women: to feel young too. To prove to themselves and to the whole world what they are capable of! If they’re with an old woman, it must mean that they are equally old.”

“And why is it the women who have to be virgins? Why suffer torment to satisfy an asshole? Because the man who demands “virginity” from a woman is nothing but an asshole!”

“One isn’t born courageous, one becomes it.”

“Bahar is very young. Let her study, be independent, become someone!”

“One doesn’t send one’s child into the arms of a stranger with the excuse that he’s rich, that money isn’t everything in life.”

“Let her air out her heart. There’s nothing better than talking.”

“Here, in Iran, we have no future. Go ahead, get married, leave!!”

“In short, he agreed with everything I said. If you knew the promises he made me! Anyone in my place would have fallen for his pretty words.”

“… as far as your virginity is concerned, now that you are married and divorced, it’s normal that you’re no longer a virgin! You can make love with whomever you want, without anyone knowing! You know! There’s no meter down here!”

“That’s life. Sometimes you’re on the horse’s back and sometimes it’s the horse that’s on your back.”

“When the snake gets old, the frog gets him by the balls.”

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this insight into one of the many works by one of my favourite writers. You can buy Satrapi’s book below:

Happy reading and like always, I truly appreciate the time you have spent here.

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