In a country that does much to prohibit contact between men and women, some Iranians are reviving a practice that dates to the time of Muhammad, who saw it as a response to the sexual needs of pilgrims, soldiers, and other travelers. Temporary marriage was a legal way to satisfy those needs.
A couple can marry for as briefly as a few minutes or as long as 99 years. Children of such a union are legitimate and enjoy some legal protections. Some couples are relieved to have marriage documents in case they are stopped on the street.
While sigheh has its supporters among a curious coalition of feminists, clerics, and officials, most Iranians reject it as little more then legalized prostitution and a deplorable acknowledgement that the woman is not a virgin, deemed important in this society.
End of Culture Extra
In the Oct. 5 New York Times, Janet Maslin reviews Stephen King's book about how to write. Did I say that this was the New York Times, a paper meant to set some standards both in reviewer and reviewed? I did say it was the New York Times? The one in New York?
How To Get a PG Extra
Hollywood honchos, harried by Joe Lieberman, might consider the tactic used by the publishers of The Man Who Came to Dinner, the 1939 Moss Hart, George Kaufman comedy. At the end of the 1968 Dramatists Play Service edition, a section called "Suggested Text Changes," offers this help:
With the consent of the authors, we suggest below a few minor changes in the text of the play. By making these changes, high schools and similar groups will find it considerably easier to produce it before audiences which may consider the original version a bit too "advanced" or "sophisticated."
This is followed by more than 50 suggested cuts and substitutions, including these actual examples:
Page 11: Omit "sex starved," substitute "slimy."
Page 12: Omit "navel," substitute "belt."
Page 13: Omit "brassieres" and substitute "girdles."
Page 14: Omit "fawn's behind," substitute "horse's neck."
Page 24: Omit "sex," substitute "hand-washing."
Page 52: Omit "have his diapers changed."
Page 62: By a little rearrangement, Bert need not bring in the tray of drinks.
Page 65: Omit "a loud," substitute "an enthusiastic."
Page 65: "Omit "In Billy's Tavern," substitute "in the hotel lobby."
Page 74: Omit "How's the mattress business, Lorraine?"