Some of the lies.
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Iranian parents and close family have two types of advice for their children regarding relationships, pick from the above according to your sexual orientation. But joking aside, I've learned that they are correct.
I say this with confidence as I am only too aware of the increasing distance between what I do and what I say I do, who I'm with and who I say I'm with, where I am and where I say I am. I am becoming a rather persistent liar and due to my inability to keep up with the fictitious life I'm presenting, I've unknowingly slipped into a new control method to avoid persistent interference by the many family members and curious appendages.
"Noise", is the term I've come to apply to my response to the list of intrusive questions that arrive with my every activity. I've learnt to respond with rapid yet contradictory information. I've learned to not avoid questions, but rather engage them and undermine them, being certain that my feedback is plausible yet unlikely – yet more importantly, inconsistant. My hope is that lack of a credible response will lead to a reduction in questions. It's work in progress.
To my friends, this is life as they know it and I hear stories of how invasions of privacy are accommodated. It seems odd to me that regarding relationships, female friends of mine are of an age where they may elect a governing body for their nation yet not bestowed the honor of electing a suitable male candidate for their pleasure. Even at my beyond-ripe age, I too am pestered (for my own benefit of course) with callus judgments cast following an interrogation that may go something like:
Where were you? Who were you with? What do their parents do? What car do they drive? Where is their house? What do/did they study? How was the mother's cooking?
"You don't know Iran, there's no such thing as female friends in this country!"I have become 12-years old again. I choose 12 because it's the age where I remember having an amount of autonomy yet was not fully responsible for my actions. This is how I am treated once again. "You don't know Iran, there's no such thing as female friends in this country!", they echo, reassuring me that it is protection they offer. But the distorted gossip that previously returned to me about my activities is evidence enough that they do the opposite.
The words of warning from parents seems to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yet the innocent avoidance of nagging by the paranoid parents and close family – concerned or nosy about the Children Of The Revolution – seems to have brought about an odd side-effect. In a culture of hidden activity, it seems that – among other things – having multiple partners has flourished. I hear this more than I see this and so it may also be "noise" (or more likely bragging), yet regardless, the results are the same. Any one relationship is underground and thus little evidence survives to effect an overlap or to dispute the possibility, the byproduct of which is a lack of trust and thus the parents have been proven right.