It's just something we Iranian girls eventually have to do
By Raha N.
April 29, 2002
It was yet another boring, uneventful day at class. I rested my head on my folded
arms to catch a few seconds of sleep before the teacher turned to scrutinize my pathetic
excuse for homework. As soon as I had my eyes closed I heard a whisper in my ear.
It was Mala, my Indian friend, starting yet another pointless, ridiculous discussion,
I was sure. "Are you planning on getting married?"
What a ridiculous a question! I'm Iranian; I don't PLAN to get married. It's just
something we Iranian girls eventually have to do. After all, baba hamishe mige "Dokhtar
In my family, marriage was never a matter of choice, just a mater of fact. It wasn't
something I had thought much about while growing up. It was something I would have
to deal with eventually, as the inevitable always is. So I wasn't really PLANNING
to get married. I didn't exactly have the date set on my calendar, nor did I have
any vague idea as to whom oon pedar sookhteii ke miaad mano begire would be
(as my mother would often say when she found me incompetent in the kitchen). Therefore,
I can safely say I had no definite PLANS for my impending marriage.
So what would possess her to ask such a thing? Did she
have her plans laid out? Even without a prospective husband? Maybe this topic would,
after all, be slightly more interesting than her usual nonsense!
So Mala explained to me how a marriage would normally take place in her culture.
Her parents would find a guy they like, run a background check on him and his family,
and then ask Mala her opinion. If she says yes, then her parents go proposing. However,
the last time they did that, Mala was heart-broken. The guy didn't seem to be interested
in her and preferred another girl, who just happened to be proposing at the same
So I explained to Mala that we Iranian women have class, dignity, pride and sharm-o-hayaa!
We do not go proposing to a man. We stay chaste, decent and respectable until the
right man comes along. We then play a few mind games and pretend that we are not
THAT interested. When it seems as though they may lose interest, we send our parents
to say "Baleh" (Yes).
That is when I thanked God and our forefathers for having created the traditionswe
now so value in Iran.
Or do we?
I just remembered a wedding I attended last summer in Tehran. One of the guests,
a mother of a well-to-do family with two beautiful, educated daughters, grabbed the
hand of her ideal doomaad (groom) and asked him to dance with her, then 16-year-old,
daughter. Isn't this essentially the same in Hindu customs? Maybe a sugar coated
version. I wonder if Iranian mothers in Tehran now actually go proposing for their
daughters? I have not been there long enough to see for myself; however, I have been
told that this is one of the fast growing trends in our beloved vatan (second to
As a proud Iranian, I ponder over the idea of following the examples set by my fellow
hamvatans. I considered placing an ad in the local paper to invite khaastegaars (suitors).
The ad would have read:
I am a beautiful, kind, warm, gentle 22-year-old, with a heart of gold and (and
a whole lot of other chaakhaan - lies) interested Iranian men please contact me.
I am also an ideal candidate for marriage. Satisfaction guaranteed." (No money
back guarantee though. In true Iranian style, I intend to claim and keep every cent
of my mehrieh - dowry).
But this didn't seem good enough. To keep up with the
trends in Iran, I would have to actually GO khaastegaari and court a guy until he
decides he will marry me. So now my mission should be to find eligible Iranian men
and pasham ba naneh baba va ye daste gol beram khastegari (go proposing)! This would
mean a different kind of ad. Here's what I thought of:
Attention all 6-figure incomed (Dollars not Rials) Iranian men. If you happen
to be tall, handsome, sporting a six-pack, carrying a BMW/ Merc key chain, having
a mother who lives far away, and no sisters, then this is YOUR lucky day! You must
be sensitive, but not a bachenaneh (mummy's boy), loving but not controlling, and
respectful towards your family but not their slave. If you do meet these criteria,
give me your mothers contact information; my mother would like to have a few words
with her. Important: If you happen to be an Iranian man AND perfect, forget our mothers.
Tell me where you live, I'll be on the next flight out!
If either of these ads were to actually be published, my father would make Kaleh
Paacheh out of me and have it for breakfast. How am I going to get married? I don't
know. What I do know is that I'm neither going to play the khaastegaari game nor
am I going to chase after any guy!
I guess I'll just have to wait and see.