This article has been written from a man's observation and point of view so let's hear it from a woman's point of view. Let me make it clear that I thank my lucky star to have been raised in a matriarchal family where men were (and are) pro women and for the most part women rule in my family (except for my mother who was content with being a housewife) so I have rarely experienced mistreatment and because I have always been independent I did not have to tolerate what I did not like.
My opinion (which I hope helps) is based on hearing complaints from both sides and all age ranges as well as what I have observed. I pride myself for being trustworthy enough for people to confide in many (even the ones who have never met me and simply come to know me through my music posting or writings at the site).
I have been observing our men and women behavior since I was very young.
Although I agree that most Iranians did not know how to be a couple, I disagree that nowadays they do not. I do not mean to be biased but I am so impressed that some of the Iranian housewives who can not read English do watch Iranian relationship experts and read articles in Farsi about improving their relationship skills.
Let's remember that our society for the most part wanted women to be mothers, wives and obedient (which meant follow husband's instruction no matter how stupid). The last one was considered great quality. I believe one can be a great mother, lover and partner if the man has enough confidence to see that an equal partner makes life a lot easier and more enjoyable.
The reality is that many of the baby boomers have their parents who are in their seventies and eighties living nearby and their behavior greatly influences them.
I was appalled a few months ago when I attended a party where all educated Iranians who also think they are elite because they have a few bucks (or think they do) had attended. A man who has been my friend for decades and happens to be very successful, sophisticated, and eloquent (by everyone's observation) was there with his beautiful and educated Iranian girlfriend who is also in our age-group.
I found her crying in the lobby. When I asked her what was the reason for her crying , she answered that her boyfriend had called her “kesafat” or dirty because the host (who is married) had danced with her. Well, the host danced with all women who were on the dance floor to make them feel welcomed. I was outraged and told her that I would take her home although she lived far.
The boyfriend has known me for more than 26 years and he would never want me to think bad of him so he came back and angrily asked her “let's go”. That night, I cried all the way driving home because I could not be live how backward that educated man was and could not understand why an educated and beautiful woman would tolerate such abuse (while crying she told me that when they go anywhere he flirts and talks to all women and she has to sit and not look at anyone!). Sounds familiar?
Not long ago I volunteered to be the translator for a domestic violence case. The woman who had been an accomplished singer in Iran as well as very educated. The man was attending school and although they are both in their early thirties from the moment they got to the America he had begun calling her ugly and fat and boldly stating that he deserved better. He also only favored their son and ignored their two girls.
She told me that she often buys him cards and writes loving words and cooks his favorite or lights candles and try to get his attention. She would have to beg many times “do you love me” and in typical old fashion manner he would answer “khodeto loos nakon” which I am not certain we have the English equivalent (don't be silly is the only thing I can think of).
Let's face it many of these couples came to US (or Europe) and the man pursued an education and worked while the wife stayed home, raised kids and her only contacts with the American culture was going shopping and learn enough English to get by. All the banking and finance and major decisions were made by the men and she never tried to learn in case got forbid she became a widow (that is my dad's second reasons as to why women should be educated and self-sufficient).
The gap widens as the husband who interacted during the day with educated and accomplished women who could hold their grounds discussing any subjects from stick market to sports so when he came home he would see his wife as the “mother of the kids” sort of speak and never encouraged her to take courses at night while he watched the kids or even to read. Also, instead of calling her fat, he never encouraged her to join a gym to go at night while he was home.
Also the couples were busy with raising the kids and taking them to various activities so they never developed or learned the art of being a couple. Once the kid did not need them, they had nothing in common because they never grew together.
I remember when I was in college I always told my married friends that once a month they should get a baby sitter, dress up and go out for dinner, have a few glasses of wine and do not talk about anything but what they want. I was often laughed at and was called the romantic idealist. I still recommend it but not sure who would actually do it.
I agree with the fact that many men think the sign of being a man is to drink or flirt. I remember two years ago at my girlfriend's birthday, her rich, fat ass, illiterate boyfriend who has money insisted that my son should drink to show he was man. I lashed out and yelled in front of everyone in the restaurant that only uneducated, fat, illiterate men without confidence would consider drinking the sign of maturity.
I do however, totally disagree that as mothers we see our boys flawless. I always speak to my son and never take his side so he can stand on his own. I also have raised him to know that being a man means being smart enough to accept and respect intelligent women and consider it an advantage to be wit one. I bought him wine when he was 12 and he did not like the taste and he does not like beer either. Despite being hands he does not think that chasing girls and drinking are signs of beings a man.
Unfortunately, I am appalled to see that many women still encourage their daughters to go for someone with money instead of with someone who loves them and treats them well. We have the highest rate of divorce because some of the women have the courage to leave the security of a home an being provided for to keep their sense of pride and donor. If only most baby boomers would recognize that having an intelligent, educated and successful partner actually makes them look smart for having chosen such partner, we would have a lot less problems and divorce. Our brothers need to get rid of the old fashioned thought that if you treat a woman nicely she will take advantage of it. I assure you that I interact with women from al walks of life and if they are shown respect and praised for their contributions, they will go miles to please their men.
As a woman I walked away from the man of my dreams three years ago because for reasons beyond our control we could not be together. Despite being surrounded by men, to this day I have never even for a second forgotten him and his headshot is framed among Iranian narcissi flowers in at my desk, on my refrigerator, in my wallet and next to my bed with a poem titled “how sweet is your memory” written by him for me. Do you know why?
The answer is simple, I knew he was the man of my dream from day one because he never judged me, never told me what to do, always reminded me of my good qualities (although I made sure I mentioned my bad ones all the time) and totally accepted me for who I was and what I did. Despite being very conservative, even tempered and logical not once did he criticize the fact that I am loud, opinionated and impatient. He brought out the best in me by overlooking my shortcomings and pointing out what he found good about me.
I could not believe that he took my advise regarding his business for which I did not know much about but expressed my opinion as someone looking for his services and he implemented all my suggestions at his web site. As an educated, successful man (with gray hair and brown eyes to die for) he was not threatened by a woman in finance industry giving him suggestions. He even has changed the color of his shirt from conservative brown to my favorite Iranian color which I only stated once. You know that a typical Iranian man would have laughed and thought how dare she makes recommendations about my web site knowing that I have been in this business for decades?
My point is that if our brothers begin to see their wives as their life partners who have hearts and souls and treat them the way they want to be treated, talk to them openly and try to find out what their desires are, you will be amazed at how much happier our couples will be.
Let's make something clear. I am number one fan and defender of Iranian men and want them to be happy and find it so gratifying that many actually listen to me and report that their relationship have improved and my recommendations are something as simple of genuinely doing something unexpected like making her breakfast (forget serving it in bed) or letting her sleep in a little while you do things around the house.
If you are interested in a subject matter, tell her and even bring home books for her to read if she shows interest. Simply pay attention and listen and never think that treating your partner as equal in front of other Iranian degrades you. Wrong. If you treat your partner with love an respect, everyone around you will pick up on it and will praise you.
I am now encouraged to write the follow up to give our men more helpful hints . Stay tuned!