Proper use of Dr. by Iranians

Iranians with PhDs sure love to call themselves Dr.

Almost every one who completes the post graduate degree, and is Iranian, stomps about socially like a small child who didn’t get the ice cream, as if they have really achieved something huge. If this describes you, remind yourself that Iran is oppressed.

As a self congratulatory pat on their own backs, they think they can walk around head high, unusually larger than most noses tipped into rarified air, and demand everyone call them Dr.

Often, Iranians are ridiculed socially in the US. Those of us who know it, juts know it and have given up trying to correct it. Partly because we seem oblivious to the plight of our country, but mostly if it isn’t the rough accent, it’s the penchant for pretending to be Tony and Italian, or the insistence that your Persian food restaurant is somehow Mediterranean cuisine, and that all Shiraz wine comes from Shiraz. (The Shiraz grape originated in Iran but was made famous by the French, as usual. Get over it.)

But to those of you who desperately yearn for the attention, and are simply dying to let everyone know that you have a PhD, unfortunately you can’t use Dr., and should just get on with your life. Here’s some hard to tell truth. Hard for me because I have been holding this in for now 30 years or so, as I have suffered the insufferable announcements and introductions.

Here’s the etiquette in the West (In Iran you can ask them to call you whatever you want, if you are brave enough to go back and demand it, although I wouldn’t announce it too loudly over there either) you can ONLY call yourself a Dr, under 2 conditions:

1 – You are a Medical Doctor.

2 – You are university staff with a PhD, who does not teach (if you taught a class, you could call yourself Professor).

Anything else, and it is not proper to use Dr. I know, but, but, but, stop crying right now, go and get them now and cross it out on the business cards you had made up, and just take it like a man.

You can of course use PhD all you want, but you have to put that at the end of your name so I hope you can handle that, so yeah.

Also, for all of you who have them, please know that having a PhD, does not make you necessarily smarter than everyone else. You don’t get your own lounge at the airport. You merely have debatably more useless information than most people, but that is debatable. I think I have quite a lot of useless information (like use of Dr. etiquette) myself and am willing to put mine up against anyone’s for comparison. And equal ridicule.

Finally, and I can’t help but hope that this one stings just a bit, just so you get it. Having a PhD does not make you special or can force people to listen to you more than anyone else, it just means you really really really liked going to school.

A lot.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong or impressive about that.

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