The bi characters in Date Palm


An excerpt of Climbing the Date Palm, the sequel to The Second Mango, featuring its two bisexual characters. Chef Aviva calls out Prince Kaveh’s casual misogyny while teaching him the fundamentals of culinary knife work, and then they commiserate over the similarities and differences in their experiences with biphobia.


“I’d much rather be in here, learning honest toil. Before I walked through that door, I felt completely useless, like a forlorn… I don’t know, a captured maiden in a legend.”

Aviva lifted a sunny face to his and asked serenely, “So feeling useless makes you a woman?”

“I didn’t mean it like that. I—” He picked up the knife again.

“Now we’re going to cut across,” she said in a low voice, wanting to make it clear she wasn’t finished with the other conversation. She began to demonstrate, and he followed her lead.

“Okay, so some real women aren’t like that. But women in legends — somehow in stories, it’s always—”

Piles of neatly diced onions gathered in the wake of their knives.

“Yes, women in stories. Here’s another onion.” She plunked it unceremoniously next to his pile of translucent white squares. “Tell me, Highness, the people like us in stories. What are they like?”

Kaveh grimaced, and he stared off into space for a moment. “Maybe you’ve made your point.”

“Then stick your point into that onion skin and keep going!” She flashed him a sparkling grin and fished another onion off the pile for herself.

“Why do they hate us?” Kaveh’s words fell from slack lips, and the rest of him was drooping morosely. “What’s the point? I’ve done nothing wrong.”

“They don’t hate me. They just like me for the wrong reasons.” There was a rare hint of sadness in her voice.


Available on Kindle | eBook package from publisher (4 formats) | Paperback from feminist bookstore | Paperback from Amazon

Illustration by Erin Ptah


About Shira

Queer Jewish feminist author
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8 Responses to The bi characters in Date Palm

  1. J.L. Douglas says:

    I love the onion scene.


    • Shira says:

      Google image search Jonas Kaufmann and you’ll see why Kaveh’s a scruff-puppy. 😉

      • J.L. Douglas says:

        OH I SEE

        So am I wrong to now assume that Farzin is also based on a dashing opera guy?

      • Shira says:

        If it’s not gonna offend your politics to see something that’s SO TOTALLY BIASED against Elizabeth I, watch this. It’s mind-blowing.

        (The dude, from what I gather, is a historical figure who was trying to play up to both women on the hopes that one of them would make him king. Sleaze.)

    • Shira says:

      Yes and no…. there isn’t a direct model for him in the opera world. But some of the themes were inspired by something opera left unresolved, just like my shenanigans with Riv and Isaac.

      (Aafsaneh was inspired by the incredibly moving portrayals of noble queens given by Joyce DiDonato, especially her Mary, Queen of Scots.)

    • Shira says:

      please understand that I am not pro-MS or anti Elizabeth; the opera is just REALLY BIASED. I mean, it was written by Italian Catholics or something, right?

      • J.L. Douglas says:

        I understand! This is wonderful. I love this period of history simply because the information that has come to us is a bit more balanced than other times in history. Even Elizabeth’s supporters slyly criticized her sometimes. There’s just so much that survives, which I think is great.

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