Behind every Persian daddy, there’s a mastermind: the Persian mother. She’s not just the brains behind the operation, she’s the neck. Your “Daddy Dictator” requires you to make him proud so that he can breathe easy at night- your success reassures him that you won’t be a total fuck up when you grow up—but you’re mother requires you to be outstanding for one overarching reason: so that she can brag.
Within the Iranian community, everything is a competition. Who has the best grades, who’s the most attractive, etc. Parents compete by posting their child’s report card on the fridge before a mehmooni (dreadful family party). Let me just make one thing clear about ME: My report card never made it on the fridge. My mother had to come up with creative ideas to “show me off” to her minions:
Example 1: “Child Star”
Growing up, I was a MAJOR Spice Girls/Mariah Carey (back in the “Fantasy” days) fan, who wasn’t? I would frequently put my Spice Girls cassette tape on in our living room stereo, throw my hair in a high ponytail and come up with my own dance routines. Looking back: the most God awful/humiliating routines you can imagine. Bytheway- I was eight years old.
My mother forced me to perform my Mariah Carey dance routines at every single mehmooni we had (um yeah, in front of PEOPLE) WHILE lip synching the words. I know what you are thinking… maybe I took a dance class? No. Maybe I was a good singer? HEEEELLLLL NO. I merely imitated what I saw performed on the music videos and on T.V. Embarrassing? Little bit.
But it doesn’t end there.
Obviously, I wasn’t a naïve bacheh (child) my entire life and I eventually, put an end to the one-woman-shows my mother tried to blackmail me with. Unfortunately, that only caused the pressure to increase… We all know how it goes at a typical Persian party: after a few plates of food and shots of Tequila, the lights are dimmed and the dance party begins. My mother forced me to be the first one on the dance floor every time. Mind you: I was a shy child, but if I didn’t get my ass out into the middle, my mother wouldn’t talk to me for the rest of the night. That’s right, Farrah isn’t dancing? GROUNDED FOR A MONTH. All she had to do was give me that look and I was fucking running to the dance floor.
Unfortunately, that “look” didn’t just apply to dancing.
Example 2: “My First Strip Tease”
When I was seven years old, my parents signed me up to be on the club swim team at the local gym. (Sidenote: Every Persian kid has to play a sport and an instrument… we have to keep up with the other hotshot Persian kids). At the end of each lesson, I would be waiting for my mother to come pick me up to take me home in my drenched swimsuit. The second she pulled up to the parking lot, she had the horrifying “look” on her face… I remember hesitantly opening the door and right away, she would start yelling at me, “Vhy are you still in your maayo (swimsuit)?! My car is going to get so dirty tanks to you! YOU ARE SO IRRESPONSIBLE.” (Yes, I was already irresponsible at SEVEN).
So, one day, swim practice ended early and I decided that I would be “responsible” and change before she came to pick me up. I got out of the pool and waited for the other kids to leave the indoor pool area. The only people left were me and my MALE swim coach. As he cleaned the toys from around the pool, I proceeded to be “responsible” by taking off my swimsuit. I vaguely remember him glancing up at me, dropping the toys and bolting out of the room. But, all I could think about was escaping my mother’s wrath that I didn’t even realize that… you probably shouldn’t be getting buck ass naked in front of a random person.
Of course, my mom walked into the pool area right as I was putting on the ugly ass towel robe she brought me back from Iran and her sudden shriek caused my heart to literally stop beating for one second. ”VAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU TINK DIS IS RESPONSIBLE?!”
But of course her wrath didn’t just cover proper etiquette and dancing…
Example 3: “Khar Shodi?” (Are You Stupid)
One bright, sunny day- my mother and I went to Target after my third grade class let out. As we were walking through the aisles, my mother suddenly pounced on me, “VAT COUNTY ARE WE IN?” I remember thinking… um county?
Let’s be real- they don’t teach you the state capitols until you are in the fifth grade (I remember exactly what year thanks to this particular incident) and when you are in the third fucking grade, all you’re really thinking about is whether you are going to play pogo or hopscotch at recess (just sayin’).
When I couldn’t answer her question, my mother suddenly whacked me upside the head in the middle of the store with a group of other families surrounding us- staring in shock.
After we left Target, my mother went and bought books about all the different states in the U.S. and their capitols, counties, etc. and forced me to spend an hour and a half after school everyday memorizing all of them. That’s why when the lesson in fifth grade came along, I WAS SET.
Obviously, when I look back on these times it cracks me up… but what gets me even more? SHE DENIES EVERYTHING. ”How could you say dat? I NEVER hit you… I NEVER made you do dat.” It almost makes me second guess my memories… did I just imagine these…? (No I fuckin’ didn’t… I’m not that oblivious, thanks).
Of course, I love my crazy Persian mother. She made me into the person I am today… After I grew up– I made damn sure I could give her reasons to brag about me- whether it was what college I attended or what job I was able to pull after (and surprisingly, it doesn’t include stripping) or simply making sure I was just there for her when she needed ME, but to this day- I will NEVER forget that “look” that sent me running to her mercy… or the way she would yell at my father to “stop chewing his gum so loudly” because it was “rude” (when in reality, I never heard shit when the poor guy was chewing gum).
Was your Persian mother as crazy as mine? Did she ever make you pinch YOUR butt so no one would “cheshm” (jinx) you?
Your favorite amateur stripper,