Do you know what’s a strange proposition? Asking someone you’ve never met before – but whom you follow on the internet – if they’d like to meet IRL. I’ve been contacted out of the blue for hang-outs via this blog a bunch of times. Some of the people have become great friends, others mere acquaintances, and one was a particularly awkward incident in which an inexplicably aggressive little man demanded I sell myself to him between intermittent monologues about life as a hedge fund manager. Despite that train-wreck of a lunch (oh god I bet he’s going to read this and then I’m going to bump into him tomorrow), I’ve never said no to anybody who’s asked. On the other hand, I can count the number of times I’ve extended the warm hand of uninvited friendship on just one hand. And tonight was one of those times.
It all started yesterday when I read GQ.com's latest 10 Essentials. Despite being one of my favourite recurring internet columns since men.style.com started it all those years ago, the thing that prompted me to click on it was the man whose essentials were being shared: Hooman Majd.
Millions are Americanophiles, billions are Francophiles, I am an Iranophile. You see, growing up a Baha’i in Christchurch, New Zealand, I had a surprisingly multicultural childhood. There were two ethnicities present at my primary school (white and Asian), but in the Baha’i community, I was exposed to every race imaginable to a young Kiwi: Maori, Pacific Islander, African, Indian, Chinese, South American, American, Arab and Iranian.
The Iranians, or Persians as we call them, were my favourites. They were hospitable in ways you cannot imagine – if you were at one of their houses and you admired something they owned, they’d give it to you (and no amount of protestation on your part would make them take it back). Snacks were served within seconds of stepping in the door, they had a sense of humour that was far cheekier than you’d ever imagine, and the children usually spoke better English than we did, and had a warmth and grace that I could only hope to emulate (and that my Mother forever told me I should).
As I got older I dated the girls, learned bits of the language, and befriended a Persian oddball who moved to Christchurch to study engineering (show me one Persian male who doesn’t study engineering and I’ll introduce you to another 50 who do). His name is Sheida and I’m still proud to call him my number one son.
I’ve known about five Hoomans in my life, all of whom were Persians. One even risked his life to save mine in a freak snowboarding accident in which I fell off a small cliff when I was 12. So when I saw the name Hooman Majd, I thought to myself – this guy is a Persian! I must read on!
Turns out he is a journalist and author cum menswear blogger, who Glenn O’Brien once called the most stylish man he knows, among other lashings of praise. I started off with the blog. It’s reminiscent of Jeremy Hackett’s book Mr Classic – filled with short entries about the little joys in a man’s life; calling cards, tie clips, Persian lamb scarves and a good canvas duffel. As you can see in the GQ photo above, his look is refined and dashing; he’s handsome, has a great grey beard and wears clothes with supreme ease.
It’d be safe to say I got a little obsessed.
Within two hours, I’d read his entire Wikipedia page and discovered that he is the son of a Persian diplomat, the grandson of an Ayatollah, and a two-time translator for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (though not necessarily a supporter of his politics). After retiring as a high level music executive at Island Records, Mr Majd went on to write numerous pieces about his native Iran, including two books, one of which was a New York Times bestseller. (I ordered it – The Ayatollah Begs To Differ – on Amazon. It’s slated to arrive tomorrow.)
His cousin is Darius Guppy, the staunch idealist who was convicted of fraud in 1993 when it was discovered that the armed robbery in which his multi-million dollar jewels were stolen was staged – to relieve Lloyd’s bank of insurance money, an act of retaliation after said bank lost his father’s fortune. 18 years – and a change of perspective – later, he was quoted saying, “In the West, money has replaced God as an idol. Money is now pursued as an end in itself, as against the means with which to lead a happy life, and this has caused our economic problems.”
But I digress.
Today, I visited new store H.W. Carter and Sons on North 6th in Williamsburg. How did I know it had opened? I read it on Hooman Majd’s blog. I even told the shop assistant about the blog post then reeled off facts about Mr Majd’s life while the retailer read it on the computer behind the front desk.
This evening in another bout of insomnia, and after reading most of what is to be found about Hooman Majd on the internet, I decided to drop him a line asking if he’d be interested in meeting up for coffee. In the email I mentioned my blog. If he clicks on the link, he’s going to find a picture of himself as the main entry. If he reads all the way to the bottom of this post, he’s going to probably think I’m insane.
Mr Majd, if you’re reading, I’m not insane. Perhaps a little over-enthusiastic, definitely a bit impulsive, but not certifiable in the traditional sense. I’m just having a little trouble sleeping.
I’ll let you know if he replies.
I LIKE YOU!