I remember ever since I was little my mom drilled it into my head that one day I would marry a nice Iranian girl who comes from a good family, who has poise, dignity and self-respect. As I grew older those became the traits that I looked for in a woman, but on a much deeper level. It wasn't enough for her to have self-respect, but her respect for herself had to be justified and consistent with some principles.
Nowadays, women (and men) have a twisted view of what they consider to be right and wrong. If you ever watch Jerry Springer you'll notice that even those from the dredges of society consider themselves worthy of respect. An old Russian adage remarks on how to drunkards at the bar comment to one-another that the other is respectable and arrive at the conclusion that both are respectable men. And that is the case with people nowadays who get together only with their yes-men or yes-women so that they can always feel that they are in the right.
This issue of respect and self-respect is very evident in Iranian women. What makes an Iranian woman different than lets say an American, Canadian, or British one, what makes her special? When it comes to beauty, it can be found in all these races, and when it comes to cultural nuances they can be learned and emulated, so what is left for the Iranian woman? It is her character and her core beliefs and values with regard to family and fidelity ingrained in her from childhood that make her different than any other woman. It is her self-respect, her dignity, and her strong belief in right and wrong that makes her an ideal mate, friend, partner, and wife. And for that reason alone, an Iranian woman is hands down worth ten of each of the women mentioned above.
Sadly though it seems that is not a trend that has passed to the the current generation. Maybe it is the massive oppression that women have suffered in the past in Iran at the hands of the religious fanatics and at the hands of abusive husbands and fathers that they have decided to make of their daughters independent, strong women. They taught their daughters, and rightly so, not to bow to any man and be proud, stand tall, and speak their minds, but in their zeal what they stripped from their daughters was a sense of right and wrong, of duty, of justifiable self-respect, modesty, and dignity. What they failed to explain to their daughters was that sexual promiscuity and indecency are not a sign of liberation and independence, but a sign of poor moral values and lack of self-respect.
Now there is a generation of wonderful, beautiful, intelligent young Iranian women that sleep around and engage in activities that would shame their families if they knew and all for what? To be more westernized, to be more liberated? If the definition of independence, liberation, and civilization and westernization are incumbent ont those type of behaviors and activities then we can make the absurd conclusion that the more depraved a society is the more civilized it is. I won't try to connect anymore dots, but I think you get the point, that a woman can be liberated, independent, and retain her dignity by being modest AND outspoken, free to choose her mate AND maintain her dignity, to have a career, education, and have 'magham' in society AND be a mother and wife. How I would respect and honor such a woman!
Now at 32, I search and search for that kind of woman and though many think they are that woman it is eventually revealed that they are not, that their self-image is so deluded and twisted by a mixture of traditional Iranian and modern western ideas that they are no longer able to see themselves for who they have become: American women who happen to have some tenuous connection to Iranian culture.
So why should an Iranian woman have any more value to me than any other woman? What is important to me is to be with a woman who has values, is dignified, educated, intelligent, and has self-respect. Her race and culture are incidental and if she happens to be Iranian then I would indeed be the luckiest man in the world. Sadly that kind of woman either doesn't exist or is among a fast disappearing minority.
Yet the sadest and perhaps the greatest obstacle to reversing this problem is that many of these women don't realize this as a problem. Case in point is wonderful young Iranian woman I met over the summer. Though she lived in Canada and I in California we wrote each other long emails and had a wonderful long-distance friendship. I was amazed and impressed with her knowledge, education, articulation…
She not only could speak 6 languages, she also wrote beautiful poetry, had a wonderful singing voice, and played a musical instrument. She restored my faith not only in women, but in humanity! Until… until I found out about her past relationship and how poorly she was treated and how even with such treatment she admitted she was still in love with him and with that admission and poor show of judgement ruined any chances we might have had. I guess it is the hallmark of women to make poor choices in men and then blame it on mankind rather than their own poor judgement.
So what's the difference to me? American, Canadian, Mexican… who cares? There's nothing about one that makes her more special, more unique, or more desireable than another. I wanted an Iranian woman because I thought she would have those values that I could not find in American culture and came to realize that she doesn't have anymore than any other woman and the ones she does have are so twisted they can not stand the test of a good hard look.
My final outlook is hopefull though. I feel that if I can be a traditional Iranian man with family values, self-discipline, self-respect and dignity, not sleep around and be respectful to myself, my fellow man, AND my fellow woman… If I can respect a woman's rights, her need for self-determination, independence, and achievement… then there must be someone there who shares my values and maybe, just maybe I'll be lucky enough to find her and she'll be lucky enough to find me… whoever she is and wherever she's from.