Everything You Missed | The Weekly Roundup

Here’s what you missed this week:

special needs

  • We all know Tehrangeles has it going on – Iranian restaurants, ice cream shops, cafes, and hookah bars. But who knew India has some of the oldest Iranian cafes around?
  • A story of Forgiveness and the most emotional story from the week: Iranian man spared from execution by the parents of the man he killed.
  • Speaking of eating, there is a fake Chipotle in Iran and it may looks better than the real one. Seriously.
  • Mohammad Ali Ziaei is the center of attention with his Iranian Caricatures (and even the non-Iranian ones).
  • Iranians invented math, ghormeh sabzi, and pajamas. You’re welcome world.
  • The clothing scene in Iran is transforming into a “hipper” style… and designers are making a splash all across social media.
Source: reorientmag.tumblr.com

Source: reorientmag.tumblr.com

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16 Reasons Why Middle Easterners Are Crushing it

Crushing it since 3,500 B.C. 

B0024P 0019

I am a Middle Easterner, and I approve of this message.

1. We have shame, therefore we have class.

classy

we may be obnoxious, but we’ll never be sloppy. Our mommas taught us better than that.

2. Middle Easterners are never late, White People are always early.

When white people are running late… running lat And when Middle Easterners are running late…

strolling

3. Our Reaction to everything is usually,

white people

4. We’re good at Math and Science, because we invented Math and Science.

yeah science

Our ancestors knew what was up.

5. We don’t have to look for our ancestors on Ancestry.com

ancestry

#sorrynotsorry

6. We’ll always be scared of our parents.

yes sir

And therefore, we’ll always respect them. Fore, they gave us life– and lots of traumatic and embarrassing experiences.

7. Our parents will let us move back in with them, even at age 45.

Rent Free.

snl lol

8. If there is a shortcut to anything, we will find it.

Assigned readings in college? We walk in like…

readings lol

 And still raise our hands to participate.

9. Every Middle Easterner knows that a deadline is actually the last date to ask for an extension.

shortcuts

Our nonchalant attitude isn’t arrogance, it’s just that…

10. Nothing’s ever that serious.

do not care

11. Except when it is.

celebrate

12. Middle Eastern hospitality is the stuff legends are made of.

Looking for small bites or hors d’oeuvres? umm…

time for that

We willingly starve ourself before our gatherings just to make sure we can feast like kings.

Everyone else has parties that end at a decent hour, like 9pm. Middle Eastern parties are like marathons. We love to feed, entertain, and then gossip about it all.

13. We’re all about equal opportunity shit-talking.

I ain’t even mad about it.

aint even mad

And since it’s equal, its fair right?

14. Holding Grudges is a testament to how great our memory is.

When someone wrongs you, it’s like…

kobe lol

Forgive and forget? Bitch, please.

15. Black Tie is never optional, it’s necessary.

suit pajamas

suit pajamas.

Dress down for what?

16. Finally, once you get past our hard exterior

we’re the warmest and kindest people you’ll ever know.

big bird snl

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Middle Eastern and Crushing it,

SAAGHI ساقی

Unveiling the City of Qom

I was born and raised in the Western world and have fond childhood memories of traveling back to Iran to visit family. Through traveling back and forth, I have been able to see things the way they are, not the way western media portrays them. With roots in both worlds, I’m lucky enough to be able to switch between two perspectives.

Downtown Bazar in Qom

Downtown Bazar in Qom

“Where in Iran do you visit?”

“Qom.”

Cue wide eyes and uncomfortable smiles; perhaps, even a…

“You’re not one of those mullahs, are you?” (it’s happened before).  Some Iranians are desperately trying to demolish the image of akhoonds and black chadors (trans: muslim clerics and black cloak-like veils), and the last thing they want is for an unassuming Iranian-American girl to blab to all of her American friends about one of the holiest cities for Shiite pilgrimage, which has a lot of both.

A store in Qom, with dresses on display and tape on the glass to hide the boobs, haha.

A store in Qom, with dresses on display and tape on the glass to hide the boobs, haha.

I’ve heard numerous times that…

“Qom isn’t even considered to be Iran,”

(due to its conservatism) The cultural gap widens upon entering the most conservative city in Iran. In the universities of Qom, chadors are ejbari (required) upon entrance. All over the internet, articles about the secret lives of Iranians center in on colorful, barely-there hijabs and underground bashes; but the secret life of Qomis’ is kept buried.

True, Qom is not as vibrant or exciting as Tehran or Isfahan, but there is something calming about walking through these proclaimed holy streets as the sun shines brightly during the day, and the lights of restaurants and shops flash alluringly, as the calming sounds of rosaries echo through the night (I, myself, am not even religious).

Arg Restaurant

Arg Restaurant

Though a large percentage are, in fact, wearers of the chador (even in their private lives), for many, it is out of devotion to God, rather than means of a political alliance. But many, including Iranians, don’t fully understand.

People from Qom get discriminated against, a lot.

“At first, the girls [from other cities] in my class at university wouldn’t talk to me,” my cousin, Farzaneh said. “They later said, ‘wow, we didn’t think you’d be that open-minded, being from Qom.’”

Like all other cities in Iran, Qom has something unique to offer to the country’s culture. There’s something oddly precious about akhoonds walking in the streets, old and young, riding motorcycles, pushing their kids in a shopping cart, or talking on the phone (some of them, barely in their twenties, talking on the phone to their brothers about what to tell Mommy joon).

Plenty of tourists visit the holy city every year; mostly Iraqis, Saudi Arabians, Lebanese, and even Chinese. The Haram is dubbed one of the holiest mosques, and it sparkles at night. One can visit plenty of graves of famous figures ranging from politics to royalty, as well as the tomb of Fatemeh Masume. The Arg restaurant and hookah lounge (see photo above) is an outdoor restaurant that is open year-round. With Tahitian-styled tents set up side by side, the restaurant imitates a tropical paradise with waterfalls, a decorated pool, and bridges. Not to mention, awesome food! Jamkaran Monsque: on Tuesday nights, people crowd the beautiful mosque to pray and toss their hand-written letters down the holy well, in hopes of Imam Mahdi hearing their prayers and helping them in a difficult time.

Jamkaran Mosque

Jamkaran Mosque

At the Bazaar (see photo earlier in the post), they’ve got just about everything from boots to Barbies. There’s also an entire building dedicated to jewelry (whatcha know about gold?!).

Over the past few years, the holy city of Qom has become one of the bigger cities, due to the construction of more universities. There has been fashionable progress in recent years; what used to be chaador-only outwear has now transformed into black manteaus, with well-groomed eyebrows and makeup. Males and females struggle to be discrete as they snuggle together in the corner of a dim-lit restaurant, softly reciting poems of Hafiz, as they stare lovingly at each other. Inside the universities, young people flirt between classes.

I had no idea they were posing for me!

I had no idea they were posing for me!

Surviving in a sub-culture of a closed-off society, the youth of Qom struggle not only against the labels given to them by the rest of the world, but across Iran, as well, but

They also have a story to tell.

SEXANDFESSENJOON@GMAIL.COM

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xoxo,

SARAH سارا

Gender Inequality, by an Iranian American Female

In my Iranian-American family, there is a double standard. I have a younger brother who has been raised and treated rather differently from me. I love him but he gets away with things, I would’ve been buried for. Sometimes, this double standard exists because he’s younger. But sometimes it’s because he’s a male.

And I feel that to be an attack on my gender.

After growing up in a pretty traditional household and working in a male-dominated profession, I’ve picked up on some of the subtleties that create gender inequality. Gender roles are often reinforced by harmless words and attitudes, moreso than by laws and handbooks. The fact that my brother is never asked to wash a dish or set the table. The fact that women have to remain feminine and submissive at the office to be liked; because assertive and intimidating are qualities that are reserved for men. 

Inequality goes both ways.

My brother is expected to stunt his emotional growth and deny any feelings of fear or vulnerability. Men in the office often only express their dissatisfaction by shutting down or getting angry. While, as a woman, my emotional intelligence is emphasized and accounted for.

She cried because she’s a woman.” The statement is actually more liberating than discriminatory. Yes, my tear ducts are smaller than a man’s, and I will cry when I want. For men? If you cry, you better run for cover.

While inequality exists for both genders, I still believe that ‘male privilege’ is quite an oppressive factor that women face in today’s society. But as an Iranian-American woman, I’ve discovered that gender equality, to me, is a change of attitude and perspective. It is the acceptance that genders are different, but equal, and that none of the current gender roles rightly define what it is to be ‘male’ or ‘female’.

As a female, gender equality isn’t looking at a man and saying ‘me too! me too!’

It’s saying ‘I’m different but my differences do not make me worth any less’.

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xo,

SAAGHI ساقی

To FOB or not to FOB?

Hi Joonies,

Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of dating FOBs.

image

First, a basic definition to start off with so we’re all clear as to who this concerns:

F.O.B – (n) an acronym for “Fresh Off the Boat”, and refers to new immigrants to a country (mostly Western). Now commonly used to describe any person new to a country, who is not well versed with its language or culture (mainly Western). Can be taken as an insult, or a term of endearment (eg; pride of culture).”

PRO: They speak the mother tongue so well, and it gets you kind of hot when you guys are alone. And you know that amazing ‘Farsi/Persian‘ skills means a slam dunk with the parents.

CON: But then you realize that they have a Persian accent when they speak English, and that just makes you feel all self-conscious when you bring him around your friends. (and let’s be honest, you can never convince yourself that the accent is sexy.)

PRO: They seem to still have some old school culture and chivalry, and that makes you feel warm and lady-like– I mean, a man with manners who picks up the tab is always sexy.

CON: But some of that chivalry just turns out to be chauvinism and ….

PRO: In their lives, FOB guys have had it pretty rough and left everything they’ve known to come to a new country with a new culture. They’ve proved they can stand on their own two feet.– DAMN. #Respect

CON: BUT, they may be on the prowl for a woman just so she can replace his mom. He could be missing the warm meals and clean laundry. (watch out!)

PRO: Finally, there’s so much they can teach you about a part of your culture that you never got to experience because you’ve never spent more than a vacation’s time in Iran.

That, arguably, could be priceless.

CON: Or it could be exhausting because you’d have so much to catch them up on.

Hello, Pop Culture waits for no one!

So I guess the jury is out. With a FOB, you gain some -you lose some. It all comes down to a matter of personal taste (and patience), right?

thoughts on our new look? sexandfessenjoon@gmail.com

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FOB/noFOB,

SAAGHI ساقی

IRANIAN MALES: Give Before You Take

A guest post from a male joony, who prefers to be anonymous:

Salam,

I’ve been reading your great blog posts, and it made me reflect a lot and I felt the need to give something back.

I’m what most Iranians would call an Iranian raised ‘hezbollahi’ simply for my political beliefs (and not my actual religious beliefs), but hey I lost my virginity to a doctor in London, who was older than me and was married, but not happy. Three years of crazy day-long sex encounters and not a single instance of thinking whether she enjoyed the experience.

It must be the sexual isolation in Iran that makes all men think penetration makes women as happy as men.

Some years later, I fell for a half Iranian religious, modest girl who I knew I wanted to marry. She was raised in the UK, unlike me and the Doctor. The first time she got intimate with me we dry humped till she orgasm-ed and I was left in such a shock! Women do that too???

It has been years since our wedding and as rule of thumb I do not penetrate unless she has come twice with the help of our powerful gadget :)

As religious people, we always talk about caring and giving but all of that disappears in the bedroom and it really upsets me to think how many Iranian women don’t orgasm as much as my loved one does.

However awkward this non-social topic might be, it is the only thing I talked about with my younger brother before he got married a few months back. [Read more...]

Body Hair: The NeverEnding Story

If you don’t know me personally you should know that I’m a sassy, liberal, Dominican, engineer, raised in New York City who is supposed to be planning a wedding with my Egyptian fiancé. We haven’t gotten to the actual planning a wedding part yet, but I have a Pinterest board (yay, progress!) Since most of his relatives live in Egypt and won’t be able to make it to the wedding we decided to visit them and have an engagement party there.

Admittedly, I was a little afraid of having an engagement party in Egypt. I’m not into events where everyone is paying attention to me, and my idea of primping for a special event consists of tweezing a couple stray hairs between my eyebrows, a grooming habit that I foolishly thought was good enough.

Little did I know that I was expected to remove every inch of hair on my body, below the hairline.

It all started the day before my engagement party, when a female relative made a casual remark about the need to buy a depilatory cream for me. I looked at her with a confused face and asked “why?!”, truly not understanding what she meant. She said that I needed to remove my body hair, especially the soft, almost nonexistent hairs on my arms and face. I told her I didn’t think it was so noticeable I had to remove it, and that I would prefer not to, but she insisted that it wouldn’t look appropriate for the engagement party.

I won’t lie, I was offended. I felt criticized and ugly, and wondered if everyone in the family wBas thinking the same thing. I left the room in a fit of pent up frustration and did what I do best, started to cry.

It got worse the day of the engagement party. I was scrutinized by every hair stylist and woman in the hair salon. They all asked (via my friend/Arabic interpreter) if I wanted to remove my body hair. When we said “no” I was looked at with pity, she was told that maybe I had not understood the question. A woman even asked if my dress was long and had sleeves, and as I replied that it was a sleeveless dress, I immediately knew why she was asking me that question.

Latinas, like all other women, have body hair. As an art teacher in high school told me once “if you have thick, dark, wavy hair on your head, it’s probably the same everywhere else in your body.” And indeed, it is, but it’s also soft and baby-like, and until I was a teenager I never felt ashamed of my body hair.

In Latino cultures body hair is considered beautiful. [Read more...]

Riding Unicorns

I recently happened to watch the romantic comedy, Guess Who for the first time when the following scene ensued.

“Would you open your mind, Percy Jones? Dante is a metrosexual.”

“A what?”

“He’s a straight man with taste.”

“No such thing. You might as well tell me he rode over here on a unicorn.”

I suppose most people watching the film took the scene lightly. Yet it got me thinking:

how many times do we insult or comment on personality traits of other people using sexuality and gender references?

At some point, we have all partook or grown accustomed to some comment to a man exclaiming, “don’t be a little bitch” or “you’re a pussy.”

Worse still, I have heard women in conversation complain that their potential dates had been “too gay.” Nobody knows just exactly what that means, but most guesses usually include quite a delusional perception of how men and women should “naturally” act.

And so it is really important to consider the real meaning behind these comments. First of all, no decent woman should accept that her anatomy becomes a tool of insult.

Being a woman is NOT an insult. [Read more...]

I Have A Little Problem…

I have felt fat and imperfect since I was about 7.

I can trace it back to the moment when my mom started discussing my weight and how I was pudgy with our doorman in Iran. Iranians don’t ever shy away from making extremely blunt comments:

“You look a bit fat, have you thought of losing weight?”

“Maybe you should start taking care of your mustache, you aren’t a kid anymore.”

“That haircut makes you look old for your age.”

We have all heard it at some point.

But this moment never really left me, and from then on my body, what I ate, and how I looked became a dominant thought in my head. When my mom asked my best friend’s mom, who was a nutritionist, how I could lose weight at 13 — When constant comments were made about why is it that I just can’t have a tighter stomach. There was a constant voice in my head about my imperfect weight.

thin

I started throwing up after binge eating in my last year of high school. I thought of it as damage control. I can throw up the food that I would accidentally binge eat. It wouldn’t happen that often, mainly because I ended up going on a self-imposed strict diet of only fruits and vegetables for 3 months.

When college started I was determined not to gain the freshman 15. Outside of my bulimia, I’m a very healthy eater. People think that you can only binge on unhealthy foods, I’ve binged on all kinds of food and thrown it up, unhealthy food is just easier to throw up. I didn’t think about this as a problem for a long time. Again, it was a form of damage control. I would get stressed, I would drink, or I would be mindless and end up binge eating. Then, when I realized what I had done, I would go and take care of it.

hungry

There is a wonderfully sick feeling of emptying yourself, a sense of relief and victory. I never considered asking myself why it was that I was binge eating, or why was it that I felt the need to binge to a certain point to make myself throw up. As college continued, my stress continued, and my body issues expanded. There was only so much I could control at times. And this form of “damage control” was effective and immediate.

It wasn’t until last year when I recognized my little problem, when I actually gave it a name and called it bulimia. [Read more...]

How I (Can’t) Feel

First off, in case anyone remembers or remotely cares, I did meet my Persian girlfriend’s mother. I feel like it went really well. (see my last post here!)

This may have to do with my mother always telling me, as a child, how charming I was, translating into a false sense of supremacy.

Regardless, my girlfriend told me her mother liked me enough. Either I am in the clear or my girlfriend has a great poker face.

Second, I would like to thank Saaghi and Farrah for posting my blurb and genuinely caring how my visit went. They have set up a wonderful blog giving voice to first generation Iranians abroad. Merci Farrah and Saaghi joon.

I can’t express my emotions properly.

I’m not a quiet individual nor am I my great-grandfather whom apparently only spoke to berate the loose morals of 50s youth: “‘Laash’ women and their harlequin print dresses.” My issue isn’t that I’m an introvert. My issue isn’t that I think speaking about feelings is a feminine trait. My issue is that I don’t know what to do when feeling: sad, upset, vulnerable, distressed, etc…

I would categorize myself as an emotional person. I don’t mean that I sob during long distance phone commercials. I mean that whether I am really excited or melancholic, the emotion overtakes me. I have moments where I’m animated from happiness and moments where I’m as un-enthused as Al Gore in a library.
My mom has accused me of taking drugs. My doctor has accused me of not taking enough drugs.
I’m not trying to make myself sound like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, nor am I painting a picture of a cross between Cary Grant and Behrouz Voussoughi, I’m only trying to be honest. People whom I build strong relationships with, friendly or romantic, understand this about me. My girlfriend, bless her heart, know this well and remains with me, although I must say she isn’t always a walk in the park either. We’re great (for the most part) together.

This little biography brings me back to the first sentence; I can’t express my emotions properly. I can sit and listen to my friend, partner or parent speak about their issues and give semi-decent advice. However, when the roles are reversed, Lassie does a better job at explaining his issues.

This ends up complicating my relationships. Building a relationship is difficult enough as it is. While we always think and speak of our partner’s best traits, it is really their worst you must accept. This is a given, of course. No person is baggage-less. Even if I think Alicia Keys and I would mingle quite well, I’m sure she has characteristics I would have to try to get over; such as not knowing how to make loobia polo. My baggage is the stress I can put on a relationship by not knowing how to say “I am sad.” I end up going quiet or getting upset. What is worse is at times I don’t even know why I’m upset. My girlfriend then gets frustrated because I’m in a bad mood and I won’t open up. I have managed to string together sentences blaming her and the 1979 Revolution simultaneously for my own issues. I’ve also been a big enough jerk to blame her for lack of caring when she asks “what’s wrong?” An oxymoronic jackass.

I’ve read in the odd female magazine, yes I’ve looked inside Cosmopolitan and the Oprah one,

….that most men do not know how to express their feelings or that we’re afraid of our emotions. I find it funny that those articles are always written by women who do not have a) any clue about being male & b) testicles. [Read more...]

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