One of the '72 Virgins' Has Been Waiting to Get Laid for 54 Years

Funny story written by Olive Pepper

Friday, 3 September 2010

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I am so ready for a good time

RIYADH PROVINCE, Saudi Arabia--In this arid part of the Desert Kingdom lives Ghaniyah Hisen, whose name means "beautiful," but apparently Arab men haven't read the memo, because the woman has gone without a man her entire 54 years.

"Would it kill men in my country to look beyond the superficiality of women who look like western models to see the beauty in me?" asks Ghaniyah, whose skin men have described variously as "textured like asphalt" or "fragrant, like dead seaweed," and whose eyes she's been told are "nice to look at in the same way as a bat's."

"Men say I have a great personality, and they know I can cook up a storm," says Ghaniyah. "It's true. I can prepare traditional meals of my culture like you wouldn't believe. I've been told my cous cous with za'atar is to die for."

Apparently, Ghaniyah herself is also to die for, because she is among the 72 virgins who had been promised to Mohamad Atta for his sacrifice in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in the United States. But her liaison with Atta is an appointment for which she's still waiting, now nine years after the fact.

"Imam Musa told me to pack my bags, get ready, because I was going on a 'trip,' but here's something the Imam needs to know: I'm-still-here," says Ghaniyah. "I don't know if there was a change in the line-up or a technical glitch, but I've been waiting with my bags packed since September 11, 2001, and I'm wondering if my paperwork got lost, or what?"

Ghaniyah says the offer to be one of the 72 virgins for Atta was an opportunity too good to pass up, because none of the male members of her family have been able to unload her on any male they know. "My brother Ghanim thought one of his friends might be interested in me, about 15 years ago, but when his friend saw me through the window to our house he apparently changed his mind. It's been like that all my life. It's not that I blame them, I don't. I mean, if I were a man, I wouldn't want to wake up next to me every morning, either, but that's what we have burkas for, isn't it?"

To pass the time, Ghaniyah pretends she's in a western soap opera and makes up story lines in which she's a "soccer mom" who has a steamy affair with her son's coach. In her day dream, she's beautiful and has any number of men lining up just to catch a glimpse of her. "I picture my lover kind of like the father in the Brady Bunch. You know, for a while we were able to get shows like that, but starting in the 1980s the government cracked down and we could no longer get them. I wonder what ever happened to Mr. Brady? He was a hunk-o-rama, and yet he seemed safe, too."

Ghaniyah says she tries to take her disappointment at not joining Atta in stride. "There are a lot of virgins in our country," she says. "There are many beautiful women, of course, but there are many like me that are not so beautiful. It doesn't surprise me there was a last-minute snag in getting me to paradise with Mohamad. I'm sure many families were pulling out all the stops to get their daughters first in line. I wouldn't be surprised if someone made payments to someone so their daughter could bypass others and be one of the 72. But it makes you think: what about all the other martyrs? Since September 11 there have been many martyrs, not just from operations in the United States but in other western countries and in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Are there that many virgins in our country that, despite pumping out these martyrs like M&Ms, I'm still here, staring out the window, thinking of Mike Brady?

Whatever the answer to Ghaniyah's question, there's no doubt she's ready to go whenever she's called to the side of the next martyr. Her bag is packed, her clock is ticking, and she's in the mood.

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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