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Two Iranian brothers
The concept of "tarof"


Behrang Litkouhi
August 9, 2005

The following is a play I wrote that makes a parody of the concept of "tarof." The characters are two Iranian brothers and an American prostitute. The brothers tarof with each other about who should go first, and they offer their guest tea. The prostitute picks up on the Persian culture and then refuses to be paid for her services.

The players
Ali Azadi, older of the two Azadi brothers
Behruz Azadi, younger of the two Azadi brothers
Claire, An American hooker

Scene I
Ali: Oh, I am so happy we will finally lose our virginities today.
Behruz: Yes, it shall be sweet brother. And the best part, we shall be sharing the same piece of ass.
Ali: I sure hope she is pretty.
Behruz: Sure, and if she's nice enough she'll let us try different positions.
(a knock at the door)
Ali: That must be her ... hello?
Claire: Hey sexy, it's your 10 AM booty call ...
Ali: You hear that brother, it is her ... our very own booty call ... just a second honey!
(Ali opens the door ... Behruz's eyes open in astonishment)
Behruz: Holy Mother of the God!
Claire (playfully putting her hand to his face): Oh I'm flattered babe, but I ain't no Virgin Mary.
Ali: No you're not ... and pretty soon we will no longer be the virgin Azadis, right brother?
Behruz: I can hardly wait ...
Ali: Well then Behruz, I can't bear to see you suffer any longer ... after you.
Behruz: Oh no, I cannot accept Ali, after you.
Ali: But Behruz, I insist!
Behruz: Please Ali Joon, you are hornier than a 15 year-old Iranian schoolboy!
Ali: Impossible! No one can reach that peak of adolescent lust!
Claire (breaking in): Look boys I have a long day ahead of me, a lot of clients to satisfy, you know? So let's cut the bullshit ... ok, I choose - you (pointing to Ali). Come with me.
Ali: (breaking in): Oh wait! How very rude of me for not offering our guest tea.
Behruz (shaking his head): Sometimes I wonder if we truly are Iranian brothers.
Claire: Boys I don't need tea, I just want to get it on.
Ali (with a sudden glance of suaveness): Well then, let us go to the getting it on.
Claire (mockingly): Yes, let's go... (grabs Ali)
Behruz: But you must have your tea!
Ali: Yes, your tea dear lady!
Claire: There'll be time for tea later!
Ali: Yes I agree, time for tea later.
(bedroom door closes)

Scene II
(Ali and Claire are in the bedroom. Claire has already stripped down to her underwear. She is leaning on the bed, testing its bounce. Ali is watching in awe, leaning on the chest of drawers)
Claire: This bed has sure got some bounce.
Ali: Well ... it hasn't really been broken in yet.
Claire: Hmm, I guess it's up to us to break it in.
Ali: Yes, we will break it in half babe.
Claire (laughing): Well what're you waiting for ... come get me cowboy!
(Ali jumps Claire like a horse and well, we all know what happens now.)

Scene III
(The door flings wide open ... Ali and Claire and laughing gaily. Behruz gets up off the couch quickly and nervously.)
Ali: Oh, brother, if you were only there. At the peak of my orgasmic climax I forced myself to think about how my dear brother was missing out.
Behruz: You are too kind Ali ... and you dear lady, your tea is getting cold.
Claire: I'll tell you what's getting hot...come with me.
Behruz (getting nervous, agitated): No, I cannot do it! (pulls himself away)
(Ali walks over to him ... talking so only he can hear.)
Ali: What's wrong Behruz?
Behruz: I cannot do it.
Ali: Yes you can ... there's nothing to it ... the whore will really help you out.
Behruz: No, no, I cannot even get it up.
Ali: Listen, remember what I taught you? With girls, first, you say hello ... then, you but an arm around them ... and then ... (punching his fist into his open hand) Bam! You lay them!
Behruz: If only I believed in the same things you did.
Claire (breaking in): Hey I don't have all day now ... are we gonna do this or what?
Ali: Yes of course, go ahead now.
Claire: Come on sweetheart. (leads Behruz to bedroom)

Scene IV
Claire (naked, facing Behruz) What's wrong honey?
Behruz: I do not know. Something about the whole thing bothers me. I'm not like my brother. He's one of the "other" Iranian men.
Claire: You mean the ones who just want to have a good time?
Behruz (nodding his head gravely): Yes
Claire: So what type are you?
(There is a long pause. Behruz looks long and hard at Claire.)
Behruz: Well ... I like having a good time too. But first, I guess I like to say hello ... put my arms around the girl, and then ...
(As he is saying this he puts his arm around her and throws her on the bed and tries to take off his pants, albeit with some difficulty.)
Claire: Alright, now we're getting somewhere! (She helps the pants off. The rest of history.)

Scene V
(All three at the coffee table, drinking tea. Ali and Behruz have just explained to Claire the meaning of the Persian word 'tarof,' and the importance of observing it in the Iranian culture)
Ali: Well Claire, I hope you have learned a thing or two about the Persian culture.
Claire: Oh of course, we Americans can learn so much from you ... I must leave now, but allow me to wash the dirty cups.
Ali: Oh no please, you are our guest of honor.
Claire: But I insist!
Behruz: But you have done so much for us already!
Claire: But I shall feel like an unappreciative guest if I didn't wash your dishes. Please?
Ali: No, we cannot accept! You will be late for your other clients.
Claire: Ok, but next time ...
Behruz: Of course, of course.
Ali: How much will it be?
Claire: Oh please, it is on the house!
Ali: No really, how much?
Claire: No, please it is all on me!
Behruz: You are too kind, honestly, how much?
Claire: Well ... $150 for the both of you, but really, it is on the house.
Ali: $150, what a ripoff!
Behruz: This is unbelievable!
Claire: That's my rate, you should have checked with me before.
Ali: You dirty whore!
Behruz: Your mother's a whore!
Ali: Your sister's a whore!
Behruz: Probably your brother's a whore!
Claire: I don't have a brother.
Ali: Yeah right, probably he's your pimp!
Behruz: That's right, your kos-kesh!
Claire: What?
Behruz: That means pimp.
Claire: What's wrong with you guys?
Ali (exhausted): Ah ... I'm sorry honey ... please forgive me and my brother. We are just two poor horny immigrants, you understand. Here, let me pay you your cash. Wait, do you take credit card?
Claire: No
Ali: Why not?
Claire: Because I don't work that way.
Ali: Unbelievable! What kind of whore are you?
Behruz (breaking in): Ali Joon please, let me pay ...
Ali: No, I'm older, allow me.
Behruz: But I insist!
Ali: No little brother, and do not ask me again.
Behruz: Dear lady, please allow me to pay (trying to slip her the money)
Claire: No, I cannot accept!
Behruz: But please -
Ali: No, allow me!
Behruz: No me, me!
Claire: You are both too kind!
(Ali slips it into her cleavage ... Claire looks confused)
Claire: Well ... goodbye!
Ali: Goodbye darling!
Behruz: Please, stop by anytime for tea.
(Door closes)

The end

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