When Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess of the Great Commonwealth of Shinylocks and Prime Minister of Party Favors was doling out medals for men's discus at last night's installment of London's Paralympics, second-place finisher Mehrdad Karam Zadeh refrained from shaking the Duchess' hand, which immediately prompted speculation that the Iranian discus-thrower was making a political statement about how Great Britain and Iran aren't on the best of terms at the moment. For anyone worried that Zadeh's silver-medal freeze-out portends some apocalyptic global conflict, you can recall Uncle Mordecai from his bomb shelter-digging project — it was merely evidence of culturally and religiously sanctioned sexism.
According to the Telegraph, the Duchess had been informed before the medal ceremony (the first at which she personally presented medals) that Zadeh was going to stonewall her, but was assured that it was nothing personal because he wouldn't have shaken any woman's hand because a lot of male athletes from Islamic countries will not publicly shake a woman's hand. Now, if Middleton had been a man, well, that would have been a different matter entirely. If Zadeh had been a woman, hey, no big deal! Unfortunately, we exist in a dimension where Kate Middleton has a vagina, Mehrdad Karam Zadeh has a penis, and never the twain shall meet...in so many words.
A few unwitting observers fretted that Zadeh's non-gesture was yet further evidence of escalating tensions between Great Britain and Iran — in 2011, the U.K. withdrew several diplomats from Tehran and things just haven't been quite as simpatico between the two nations ever since.