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Most polite people in the world
An outsider's perspective

By Gordy Guillen
January 12, 2000
The Iranian

One evening, about a year and a half ago, my cousin and I decided to go to a Mexican restaurant to have dinner. Little did I know that that evening was going to be the start of a wonderful relationship, as cheesy as that may sound.

As we sat down for dinner, I noticed this beautiful, olive-skin woman who immediately caught my eye. Her long, onyx hair flowed like a brook along side a snow capped mountain. Her eyes emanated sensuality and caring. I had to meet this woman who sat two booths down from me. She was with her overprotective, proud father. I knew by the look in his eye not to come anywhere near their table. Luckily they both came in separate cars.

I was finished with my dinner and I stalled for time by shooting the breeze with my cousin, as I waited for her to finish and separate from her bodyguard. I just had to meet this classy woman. Finally she finished, paid for her meal and as she walked by she gave me one of those Hi-I-think-you're-a-hunk smile. That was all I needed to approach her.

I followed her to her car and I gave her one of the stupidest, cheesiest, caveman lines: "Hi, I know I recognize you from somewhere." Come on, how do you approach someone so breathtaking? Being Mexican-American and from southern California, I assumed she was Mexicana. Boy was I wrong. Nahal is definitely not a Spanish name. Nevertheless I fell deeply in love with this Irani and the charming culture.

I'm a fourth generation American of Mexican descent and I love both worlds, but both worlds were all I knew. Nahal became my girlfriend and she welcomed me into her home and life. She was born in Iran but moved here as a child. She speaks Farsi fluently and lets me know when others are commenting about us.

Her parents are typical Iranian parents who love her to death and encourage her education. For their standards, they are definitely open minded. The reason why I say that is because, I'm Mexican-American (not Iranian), I'm Christian (not Muslim), and I have a wonderful six-year-old son. I think that in any culture parents would be concerend if their child dated someone who has a child. But with my irresistible charm and thick eyebrows, I was welcomed into their home to eat dolmeh with polo and aash.

Nahal's mother had a concert in Los Angeles this past November. She's is an excellent traditional Iranian singer (and cook). The concert was fantastic. I was introduced to the tombak, setar and other instruments I can not pronounce let alone spell. Nahal's mother sang like an Iranian angel. That night taught me a lot about Iranian culture.

If any Iranian wanted to know how they are perceived by Americans, well then let me give you an earful. Iranians are the most polite people in the world; everyone made me feel like I was part of them. Those of high economic and social status treated me with much respect. Although I was thrown off by the greetings of hugs and kisses, I didn't mind because Iranian women are one of the beautiful, classiest, and respectful women on this planet.

I got along with everyone and I was surprised about how many similarities I had with these joyous people. They enjoy life as much as I do and education is a priority as in my life. My culture cherishes the elderly as well as the Iranian culture. My culture adores food because this is how you taste life. So let me tell you that Iranian life tastes wonderful. I love kabab, polo, aash, taftoon bread and everything else I haven't tasted yet.

The food at Iranian restaurants on Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles is delicious. The institution of the family is very important in my culture and it is priority in the Iranian culture. Although the food, language and music are uniquely Iranian, Iranians are no different than I.

My girlfriend Nahal has given me a passport into another odd and yet familiar world that I am fond of. And I enjoy all the experiences whether I'm being kissed by a forty-year-old male with a beard or drinking chai and eating Iranian sweets with Nahal.

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