No sand between my toes
July 24, 1998
I read, enjoyed, then studied and contemplated my feelings about the exquisitely articulated articles by Laleh Kahlili ("Loving an Iranian man") and dAyi Hamid ("Loving an Iranian girl"). The fact that these articles have stirred-up a discussion is an indication that we all know deep inside they are both right. Of course, it is evident that both writers are well-educated and have great penmanship. It is also obvious keh mozoo-ro hesabi charb o chilish kardan (they have exaggerated). But, the principal of the matter is a fact, and a part of our Iranian mentality. No matter how much we deny it.
Let's start with "Loving an Iranian girl." But first, let me introduce myself. I do not drive a BMW. But, I am a Mercedes-driving, cellphone-carrying, club-hopping, lady :-) I am no doctor or engineer, but an executive, in a large firm. I do wear three pounds of makeup and hair spray. On occasion I have been seen wearing a mini skirt or two. I am still (as my dad put it couple of hours ago) dokhtareh nazeh baba (daddy's angel). I despise Shahram Nazri and Shahram K. And... ready for this? Hafez. Why? (answer to all the whys provided at the end)
Aaaand, for all you hopeless romantic guys: I don't like midnight strolls on the beach-- you know: just you, me and the moon. I much rather stay home with that someone special and watch a real stupid yet funny movie. uhhhhh, and the most amazing fact is that I am not torshideh (pickled/old maid). As a matter of fact I am zood az aab gerefteh (fresh out of the water).
Anyhow, much to my surprise, every single man I have conversed with, either online or through the infamous Iranian friends/matchmakers, are all aggressively looking for a wife (every single one, without an exception). Or, perhaps I am naive enough to believe it. I don't know.
When I inform these hard-to-trap eligible bachelors of my present state of desiring solitude, they somehow presume naaz mikonam (playing hard to get). Or, they assume as soon as I lay eyes on them, I will drop everything and fall helplessly in love and runaway to ends of the earth with them. As a matter of fact, last time I heard the phrase "my biological clock is ticking" was from my most favorite online buddy, a hard-to-trap eligible bachelor. He said, his biological clock was not only ticking, but it was running out of batteries. He is my daadaash (brother/soul mate) now...lol...
Upon conversing with these debonair eligible bachelors -- aka, gifts from God -- I do ask their age. I do not ask about their education or profession. I take everyone at face value. I judge them on their behavior and actions. I do not ask about their marital status. I assume they are honest enough to honor their commitment and respect their involvement with whomever, rather than lah lah zadan posht-e sare har ki keh gireshoon miyaad (flirt behind their mate).
To be honest, I am a little cynical of the man (or woman for that matter) who hasn't been able to find THE RIGHT ONE for a decade or two. I guess, this portrays he/she isn't willing to compromise in order to settle down. I said compromise, not settle for less -- there is a difference. In my opinion, no two beings are the same. In order for two to become one, both must let go of some of the extra baggage hanging around. And, I don't buy the "Ohhhh, why can't we be our own individual." I realize, I am walking on thin ice here, but...
Okh okh... now, my favorite part: cheshm o goosh basteh (innocent girls with closed eyes and ears). Fekr mikonid kee cheshm o gooshe-shoon ro baaz kardeh?! (Who do you think has opened their eyes and ears?!) Another man like yourself, not an animal. Azizeh dele man (dearest), what goes around comes around. That is how the universe was designed. I personally find this double standard extremely insulting. I have never been able to comprehend or digest the fact that it is commendable for my son or brother to "score" but unacceptable for my daughter or sister.
It is a fact: the female gender matures earlier in life emotionally and mentally. And strictly, for your information, I disapprove of "scoring" regardless of age and gender. I may make an exception, between mature adults who intend to have a long-term commitment. A piece of paper is not required, but a commitment of hearts IS. There is the issue of God and khotbeh-ye aghd. But I am still working on that one.
Now, "Loving an Iranian man":
I am also a woman totally confused about her culture. But, NOT her beliefs. Even though I went to junior high, high school, and university here in the United States, I think I am much more of a traditional Iranian woman, than some of my old friends, neighbors, and relatives who are still in Iran. I won't go any further into why I am more Iranian than most Iranian women in Iran but that's another three megabytes. For now, just take my word.
What is the difference between an American and an Iranian woman/man? Ma'refat (honor/honesty). Atefeh (kindness). Hamoon eshgh o atefeh beh khaanevaadeh (love and kindness toward family). Living in California I've had the opportunity to get to know many people from around the globe. Looking at Americans, Hispanics, Orientals, and other cultures, I don't see oon eshgh o mohahbat-e maadar-e irooni (the love and passion you see in Iranian mothers).
I have never dated an American man. Now that I think of it, I have never even dated an Iranian man. I just married one. Well, except for that one shopping trip to buy this beautiful state-of-the-arts PC. Is that considered a date?... lol...
I do admit that I enjoy the company of a BMW-driving, cellphone-carrying, club-hopping chauvinistic pig. Why? (Remember answers to the whys are at the end). Loving an Iranian man is not easy. No matter how educated, how liberated, or how sheek he is. He still has the image of his father, grandfather, and uncles in the back of his mind. What is that image? It is MARDSAALAARI (patriarchy). After all that, isn't it amazing that these two obviously very intelligent beings, khanoomeh Laleh va Hamid agha, del ro beh dast-e ham zaboon dadan? (Sorry. Don't have time to translate any more. Editors have lives too, you know.)
An American, European or whomever you choose as your mate will never know jom'eh- haa baagh raftan baa khaaleh o amoo o dar o hamsaayeh yani chi. They can not comprehend or begin to imagine the joy, the experience, keh chaadorshab zeereh derakhteh toot migeriftim o hameh-ye bacheh-haa baalaa-ye derakht miraftan o derakhto tekoon midaadan... maamaanaa-moon chaador-beh-kamar-basteh (mesleh ghamar khaanoom) daad mizadan.. aayyyy zalil mordeh movaazeb baash khodaa begam oon baabaa-to chi kaar koneh... oooy haaji biyaa in varparideh ro begir keh aajezam kard...
I bet most of you have a big smile on your face right now. You know why? Because you know exactly what I am talking about.You can see it. No matter how much or how well you try, a non-Iranian mate will never know where you're coming from, or what is really in your heart. No matter how much we try to run away from who we are, ultimately we return to our roots. What I have expressed here is not all about me, it is about most Iranian women abroad.
Now, answer to all the whys: this applies only to me, not all my sisters. At this moment in my life, unlike a few years or months ago, I am secure enough to admit, I prefer being shallow according to most standards. I do not enjoy rattling my brain to understand Hafez. I do not want to be an intellectual. I do not even want to think. I will not compromise my standards to please my man. I will not go for a midnight walk on the beach -- simply because I don't like the feeling of sand in between my toes.
I prefer the company of a BMW-driving, cellphone-carrying, club-hopping chauvinistic pig far more than the serious intellectual who enjoys debating -- politics or Plato. I want a simple happy life with no complications. I no longer save or care about money. I no longer care what people think. I choose my own path now, while honoring what is most important to me: my children and my heritage.
I hope I can bestow our remarkable traditional qualities to my children. I try to preserve and pass on..rasm o roosoom.. hayaa o nejaabat...tarbiyat o adab ... aatefeh o ma'refat -- va az hameh mohemtar oon eshgh o rooh-e aseel-e irooni.
And personally, I believe the ability to totally khod raa beh dasteh khodaa sepordan is a virtue, and not too many of us are capable of doing that . That is a very personal belief but I figured haalaa keh baalaa-ye menbar neshashtam yavaashaki ino ham ghaatish konam.
Kholaaseh, tool o deraaz shod.. faghat mikhaastam do khat benevisam... In conclusion, right or wrong does not matter. This is who I am. This is what I believe. I am an Iranian woman.
an Iranian man
By Laleh Khalili
an Iranian girl
By dAyi Hamid
woman back home
Never met her; want to marry her
By Ramin Tabib