20  J I M C A R R O L L I altered my dress so as not to draw attention to myself. Adam was irreplaceable in this endeavor. He commented, “You can’t keep wearing that robe and the cloth on your head. This is Lon- don.” Only with these new clothes could I be comfortable in the pubs the King’s College students frequented. The dishdasha, gutra and iqal were put aside. The taste of ale was new. But if I went to the pubs, there were no other choices if I was to participate in the social milieu. I didn’t at first care for the warm, slightly bitter flavor, but I soon learned to enjoy the liberating effects of the alcohol. The young women were a puzzle. I had never experienced interaction with women outside my family. For some months their direct eye contact frightened me and caused me to seek ref- uge. But I discovered the women were seeking my company and stories. “Please, tell us again about riding a camel in the desert. You’re like someone from a travel book.” I complied but did not enjoy that particular identification. The years at King’s College passed quickly and I was no lon- ger a young man in a dishdasha from the desert. I had assumed the dress and demeanor of the London college student. My facil- ity with language paved the way for these departures. The pubs of east London were now comfortable as were the direct gazes of the young women. My dark features with delicate but sharp angles were unusual enough that I had no trouble attracting their attention. What was the point of struggling against this advan- tage? What would have been a crime against Islam in Kuwait be- came commonplace for me. Molly’s red, free hair had intrigued me from the beginning. She displayed herself to me in a manner completely routine for her, but nonetheless striking. I first spoke with her on Wednes- day evening in the Red Lion. “Why are you looking at me with such intensity?” “Because I want to. Is that a problem for you?”