I had yet to see anybody drinking or smoking and, so far, the only girls I had seen had been hidden deep within the endless black folds of heavy chadors. I messaged her with the best chat up line I could think of. We sat in a cafe, her blue hair peeking out from beneath her green hijab; a compulsory garment for all women in Iran.
I expected to have to keep my head down, and to abstain from sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. So I turned to Tinder, curious to see if any local girls would be online. Esme told me of her adventures backpacking in the Philippines, of her career as a vet, of her hopes that a softening of laws and attitudes is coming to Iran.
The number of births per woman of child-bearing age has fallen from 7 in 1980 to 1.8 in 2014 - below Britain's fertility rate, for example, of 1.9.
Anything that brings young adults together in a controlled way, in line with Islamic principles, is welcome, especially as the regime has an official target to double Iran’s population to 150 million by 2050.
I lingered, unsure what to do, aware of the many people around us and the police just across the street, before thinking ‘fuck it’ and pulling her into an alleyway for a cheeky kiss.
Although not my cup of tea, I know a substantial population of men find them sexy and desirable, yet are left clueless on how to bed one. You don’t have to take her to 0 dinners or anything like that, but let’s just say happy hour and tacos is not going to cut it. You treat her like a foreigner that is just visiting – take her to tourist spots, show her around town, fun restaurants.
I told her about my current three year trip across the world, of my upcoming adventures in Pakistan, my plan to sail a raft across the ocean.
Minutes slipped into hours and, before I knew it, the sun had set and it was getting late.
On the bright side, a common ground most share is that they are traditional and feminine.
They like dinner dates, they want to being picked up, they enjoy wearing dresses and heels – essentially they embrace being a woman. Many live at home with their parents and learned how to cook and clean the tables from their elders.