My mother always says that I have to have the last word. Indeed, perhaps I do. Particularly when it comes to the across-the-board generalizations of Iranian men that are becoming all too prevalent. They can be positive (oh, they're all so haaaaaaaaaaaaandsome!”) or negative (“they are all mama's boys”), but they are all, certainly, ridiculous.
I read Mitra's recently-published article with interest [Guys are stupid]. By now I am familiar with where my family and friends stand on the State of the Iranian Male. So the opportunity to hear a new person's opinion intrigued me. I fought my way through the jungle of her foul language, slicing away at vines of “suck this” and “ass” that. I was wondering, first and foremost, what Iranian.com's male readers must have been thinking! But I was able to find my way around the forest of her distress and see a girl who has, simply, had a bad experience.
And you can't fault her for that.
I should confess here that I am a reformed Iranian-male basher. I, too, have been tempted to attribute one bad dating experience to a general chromosomal defect particular to the Iranian male. This is unfortunately what seems to happen in Iranian dating circles. It's hit or miss. One good experience, and Iranian men are validated. One bad one, and they are shunned for years. The same certainly goes for how men feel about women. Particularly after “doing time” living in Vestvooood, I have fielded my share of sly comments from male friends about how “difficult and shallow and boring” Iranian women are.
So, what caused the change in me? Why wasn't “I Hate Iranian Men” penned by Lilly Ghahremani? Because over the years and over the chances I've had to really get to know a range of Iranian people, I have realized the validity to my father's observation that “the good Iranians are very good, and the bad Iranians are very bad.” Perhaps there is no in-between. But there is definitely variation.
After having dated Iranians and others, the truth appears to be that there are kind people and unkind people. I hate to break it to Mitra (and any of our female readers), but any honest guy will tell you that guys think about sex all the time. Your Iranian beau was just being crass about it. And it is his crass-ness, his lack of tact and overall lame personality that upset you. Not the country stamped on his birth certificate.
The possibilities are infinite, but many Iranians begin their quest for a soul mate with the familiar. Perhaps we have been told about the Iroonis For Iroonis Code that rules the cosmos (or just the rule that exists under our parents' roof?). But it seems that we are all making generalizations about what it means to be Iranian, and what we believe we should be able to expect from one another. As my old teacher said, and to use one of Mitra's favorite words: “to assume makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'.”
I have met Iranian men who, not identifying Persian features in my face, made sexual comments about me – and of course, in front of me – that required me to snap back “khejaalat bekesh!” But I have also dated Iranian men who treated me with the utmost respect, and made me proud to be dating them. Then again, I have dated Americans and men of other nationalities; again, personalities fell on both sides off the coin. Respect and maturity in a relationship have nothing to do with ethnicity. They have everything to do with upbringing, morals, and core personality.
I felt obligated to whip up a response on behalf of the legions of Iranian women who I know have read Mitra's article and did not agree, but went on with their busy days. And certainly because I felt that the article ignored my Iranian guy friends, who are each and every one well-spoken, interesting, classy, and thoughtful. (Don't worry guys, here I'll state for the benefit of the ladies that they're also extremely handsome and straight). Honestly, deleh dokhtaraa bekhaad to be with them!
The world is a sea, people. Other fish in it, and all that. If what pops says is right and “the good are very good and the bad are very bad,” Mitra, there could very well be an amazing Persian guy right around the next corner.
Lilly Ghahremani is a literary agent in San Diego. She has recently launched Full Circle Literary, LLC, which she hopes will become a haven for aspiring Middle Eastern authors and others. Please see www.fullcircleliterary.com for more information.