Me, Myself and Somaye #2: Facing Phobias

Me, Myself and Somaye chronicles the experiences of an international student coming directly from Iran, who had never been to another country, started college a few years later than average, and was raised in a culture diametrically opposed to most of the trends and behaviours practiced in the Netherlands and at University College Utrecht. Funky banner inspiration courtesy of De La Soul.

By Somaye Dehban (’07)

Please don’t hit me! Please!

I would have gotten on my knees to beg him not to hit me if he would have come any closer.

It was just 15 minutes after arriving at Schiphol, carrying two suitcases and wearing my long dark-blue coat when the tattooed man – he was covered with them – was getting closer to me, while Bamshad was just few steps away at the telephone booth calling his relatives to check where they were.

Repeatedly, I could hear myself saying: “Please, don’t hit me! Please!” when the tattooed man was getting closer, in his tank top, in the middle of winter, with overly pumped arms which were covered in tattoos up to his neck. I didn’t dare move an inch while counting his steps away from me; trying to organize my not-practiced knowledge of English over the last couple of years to be able to make a sentence to beg him not to hit me. All the while struggling with why in the first 15 minutes of entering this country I had to encounter one of the more irrational phobia’s of mine: tattooed men!

Thinking about it now, I realize how much I was influenced by the illegally downloaded American movies that I watched back home and the stereotypes that were seeded in my mind, among them my understanding of the ‘Western world’ and the dangerous character of the tattooed man.

I am not sure whether I said it out loud or if my lips were just moving without any sound coming out the last time I repeated the sentence: “Please, don’t hit me! Please!” The tattooed man was just one step away from me, Bamshad was on the phone and my breath was caught in my chest for I don’t know how long.

They were looking for a parking spot and will be here in 5 minutes. Are you OK? What were you saying while I was on the phone? I could not hear you.

“When did he pass me?” I asked myself while looking for the tattooed man who was now standing at the café in front of us, next to the telephone booth. Did I say it or not? I can’t remember the moment he passed by at all. I could smell a perfume that was not Bamshad’s.