ETHAN: Hey, don’t I know you?
FATIMA: I don’t think so.
ETHAN: Sorry, I mean to freak you out.
FATIMA: You don’t freak me out. Do I freak you out?
ETHAN: Why would you freak me out? Weren’t you at the market today?
FATIMA: You noticed me?
ETHAN: Of course I did. Sorry. Am I embarrassing you? I guess it’s a bit of a faux pas to compliment a woman wearing a veil.
FATIMA: Is it?
ETHAN: Well, isn’t it?
FATIMA: Is that what you’re doing? Complimenting?
ETHAN: It’s what I meant. Beauty like yours is hard to miss. Wow, now I sound cheesy on top of being a creep. I’m sorry.
FATIMA: Why is that creepy? Because you don’t know me?
ETHAN: Because you don’t know me.
FATIMA: Who are you?
ETHAN: Um. My name’s Ethan.
FATIMA: Hello, Ethan. I am Fatima. Pleased to meet you.
FATIMA: Now we are not strangers. Is it still creepy?
ETHAN: … Little bit, yeah.
FATIMA: Are you freaked out? Do you think I’m creepy?
FATIMA: Are you sure?
ETHAN: I’m just nervous about how you think of me.
FATIMA: Then why did you come over here to talk?
ETHAN: I don’t know.
FATIMA: You don’t?
ETHAN: I noticed you because… you were walking alone and you turned around real suddenly, and your eyes… I’d never seen eyes like that. Not angry, just… strong.
FATIMA: You liked my eyes?
ETHAN: I know. Like I said. Cheesy.
FATIMA: Why do you think that I wear this?
ETHAN: I mean I know it’s traditional. For muslims.
FATIMA: You assume I am muslim?
ETHAN: Aren’t you?
FATIMA: I am. But that’s not why I wear the Veil. In Saudi Arabia, it’s the law, but I’m not in Saudi Arabia. I’m in America. I don’t have to wear it—in fact, I’m arguably in more danger when I do.
ETHAN: So why do you wear it? Oh, you want me to guess? Are you flirting with me?
FATIMA: What do you think the Veil is for?
ETHAN: I’ve always been told headscarves are to hide your hair because the sight of a woman’s hair drives a man wild—but of course that didn’t stop me.
FATIMA: Which is why you were so awkward.
ETHAN: So is that it? You want to weed out advances from men who are only after your hair?
FATIMA: My hair is really not that impressive.
ETHAN: No, you’re tougher than that. You don’t have to wear the Veil, but if you do… if you do, people will know who you are. What you are. And if they judge you for it—
FATIMA: Now I know who they are. Would you like to have a drink, Ethan?
ETHAN: With you?
FATIMA: I thought that was obvious.
ETHAN: Don’t you have a brother or an uncle or cousin who’ll beat me up if I do.
FATIMA: My brother has bigger things to worry about. And besides, why would they worry? Do you intend to behave shamefully? Or to make me behave shamefully?
ETHAN: Do you want me to be honest? I just feel like honesty is the best defense in a situation like this.
FATIMA: Do you feel under attack?
ETHAN: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel…
ETHAN: Uneasy. More like… threatening. And not wanting to be.
FATIMA: I don’t feel threatened.
ETHAN: Maybe you should.
FATIMA: Why? What will you do to me?
ETHAN: Is that your only concern? What I will do?
FATIMA: Why be concerned with anything less? What do you intend to do to me? You promised to be honest.
ETHAN: I wouldn’t say it was my “intentions” I wanted to be honest about.
FATIMA: You want to be dishonest about those?
ETHAN: I don’t intend anything harmful or shameful, so honesty’s not really a factor.
FATIMA: I’m afraid you’ve lost me. Where does the honesty fit in?
ETHAN: Feelings. It’s not about what I will do or in intend to do. It’s about what I want to do.
FATIMA: You want to ravage me—
FATIMA: You want to rip this Veil off my head—
FATIMA: You want to liberate me from my bonds and grant me your Western Freedoms.
ETHAN: Oh, come on.
FATIMA: Then what? What do you want to do to me?
ETHAN: I want to woo you. I want to woo you the way no woman has been woo’d here in the West for fifty years. I want to make you swoon. I want to spin you up in a web of honest truths and make you dizzy. I want those flashing eyes of yours on me and I want to be worthy of their devotion. I want… you. Not for simple carnal purposes. I crave idolatry. What I want is your devotion. There. Have I shocked you yet?
FATIMA: Was that your intention?
ETHAN: I just told you my intention. What is yours?
FATIMA: You spoke of idolatry.
ETHAN: I tend to wax poetic.
FATIMA: Was that because you wanted to shock me? To scare me off? Test my muslim sensibilities?
ETHAN: Have I scared you off?
FATIMA: No. No, I think you have fascinated me. So how about that drink?