Persian Version

“So where are you from?”


“Wait, is Persia a country?”

“Technically it’s modern day Iran.”

Awkward pause because what is probably going through their head is either A. back off, she’s

definitely linked with a terrorist group or B. why is she not she fully covered with only a strip of

her face showing?

Unfortunately, that is the judgment people automatically make about Persians.

“So not all Persians are bombing terrorists?”

Shake my head in a sad, crushed manner, deeply offended by the thought…


Let me break it to you, you have heard lies your entire life.


1. It is not everyday that you run into a Persian. Just because one says “I’m Persian” rather than

“I’m Iranian”, does not mean they are from the B.C era linked with a rare bloodline that is

running scarce.

Persians are not extinct.

Just because I use different terminology, does not mean it is my goal to confuse you. “Persian”

and “Iranian” are synonyms.

One day you will recall this article and thank me for expanding your vocabulary.


2. Warning: A Persian-American has the tendency to subconsciously transition from speaking

one language to another. Our poor minds have to keep up with two languages so bebakhsed age

harf—oh sorry I did it again. I meant, sorry if we suddenly transition to another language.

Thinking in both languages is hard to keep up with sometimes.

Do not treat a Persian like Google Translate—it gets annoying when asked repeatedly how to say

various cuss words in Persian. If a Persian says “akheeey moosh bokhoradet!” in an adoring

manner to a little kid, they are saying, “aww a mouse should eat you!” Do not be alarmed, they

actually mean, “aww you’re so cute!” Some idioms are not translatable.


3. Stereotypes vs. reality:

Just because Persians have a dress code, does not mean they cannot look stylish.

The movie 300 led men to believe that the Persian leader is an 8-foot giant named Xerxes with

perfectly waxed eyebrows, drowned in pure gold accessories. In reality, he looks like Santa

Claus with a turban and glasses.

The hit Bravo show, Shah’s of Sunset, has convinced women that a Persian’s friend group must

consist of the one diva with a voluptuous figure, a Persian version of a frat boy, the princess who

relies on daddy’s money, a “Persian Pop Priestess” who claims to have created “Diamond

Water”, a gay man with a seductive mustache, and a grown 30-year-old who throws birthday

parties bigger than weddings. If you live in California, yeah, this may be the case.


4. Search the term “Persian” on Google images. You would expect to see images of the country,

the culture, Persian people, right? But actually, you enter a page of cats. Not just one or two

images of them, but roughly an entire search feed made up of fluffy, possessed looking Persian

cats that are not even cute. Glad to know a country with a rich and cultural background is underprioritizedby a ball of laziness.


5. A Persian’s home is unlike any other. Expect to see rugs. Persian rugs. Everywhere. I have

four Persian rugs just on the main floor of my house—five if you count the one my mom has

framed and hanging in the foyer. Eleven if you include the three in the basement, the two in the

storage room because my mom is still debating where to place them, and the one mini Persian

rug found in our computer room—not on the floor, but the Persian rug-designed computer mousepad. But I for one, do not own any Persian cats. I do, however, own an exotic African Grey

parrot that will greet you in either Persian or English (she is bilingual… pretty advanced). Expect

a spontaneous choreographed trapeze act in her custom-built sanctuary complete with her own

shower. Do not be surprised; even our birds have over-the-top houses.


6. Be warned, if you are entering a friendship with a Persian, you are also entering a friendship

with their mom, dad, sister, brother, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, cousin’s cousin, cousin’s

cousin’s cousin. The extent of that is still underestimating my point. You should basically

consider yourself Persian, because your friend’s parents will include you to every Persian

gathering from there on forth. There are some habits you need to accept and adapt to:

A. Persians are a little too welcoming. At a dinner party, do not bother extending your

arm out to politely introduce yourself; Persians will attack you with kisses on either

cheek. And do not be alarmed with the elders of the group come up to you, grab your

face, kiss your cheeks, and start babbling in Persian, asking you your life story. Somehow

they cannot distinguish their grandchildren from the blonde hair blue eyed American in

the bunch. As they talk without end, simply nod your head and agree to everything they

say—unless you would like to be occupied for another 45 minutes.


B. Persians are teaholics.

Teaholic: /tē hôlik/ adjective/ someone with an excessive fond and unhealthy attachment

to tea. Alcohol beverages are overrated. What is this “latté” you speak of? For the love of

God, where can I find some water?

Get used to tea like your life depends on it. Not the sweet, floral-tasting tea from

Teavana, but the strong classic black tea which you probably have never even tried.

Because that will be the only beverage served at any Persian gathering.


C. Dinner parties, whether there are 4 guests or 44, expect to see the dinner table filled

with food as if it is a thanksgiving feast. Start with the five appetizer plates until you

work your way to the post-appetizer/pre-entrée salad options—then eventually to the

main entrees. After you have gone in for seconds, just when you think you cannot eat

more, expect a Persian mom next to you to insist you eat more. I recommend you listen to

her and take another dish of food. Or else you will deeply offend her and receive a lecture

about how dieting is a sin. Be open to trying some weird looking meals. Do not let the

look deceive you, I promise the food actually tastes good. I hope you like rice and meat

because that is what all the entrées will be. Ghemeh and Khoroshtesabzi and are basically

the same dish, only differing by their type of meat sauce and the addition of syllables.


7. Do not ask a Persian to hangout on weekends, they will say they are busy and going to a party.

After asking them about 10 time, and they give you the same response each time, you will

probably assume your friend is some crazy partier that goes to ragers every weekend—

sometimes twice a weekend. Not really. Persians go to family-friend dinner party gatherings

“thing” called “mehmoonis”. Here is an analysis of the various types of “mehmoonis”.

Type A: The “party” that your family friend invites you to, last minute, for the following

day, insisting it is only a casual get-together to drink some tea and catch up—when really

they have thought about inviting you over since last month and they spent the past two

weeks cleaning the house and preparing extravagant meals, that can feed like 20 people,

but is really for only 6 individuals. This is deemed as the “casual” mehmooni.

Type B: The legit parties held at enormous private banquet halls or in a Persian’s

basement, same thing. Dress up nice, in your top-notch designer brands, or at least make

sure your fake designer brands do a good job looking devious. Before saying hi to the

host, prepare an excuse you will use for being an hour and half late. Do not make eye

contact with any of the crazy moms who are first on the dance floor. They are there as the

icebreakers with one goal: hunt down innocent and vulnerable prey to drag to the dance

floor to start the party. If you are the lucky victim, you will be hunted down and not

insisted to dance, but forcefully tugged to the dance floor, literally being dragged on the

center. I recommend you practice your Persian dancing—which is basically the act of

changing ceiling light bulbs with some occasional torso twists. Remember the grandma

who you talked to earlier? The one you nodded your head yes for everything she said?

She probably insisted you dance later and you nodded yes, so just wait for it—she will

come running to you with a belly dancing skirt and demand you dance. Haha, that is what

you get for not knowing Persian and nodding at everything. While that is happening,

there are the socially awkward non-partying kids who gather around one another and

nonchalantly bring up their high school transcript and how they are complete failures for

having one A- in the midst of 30 A’s and how their future at Harvard is done. Then there

are the dads (consisting of doctors, lawyers, or engineers) who are bragging about their

latest car purchase, which is either a BMW, Mercedes, Porche, all of the above, or

multiple of all of the above. If you feel overwhelmed by the Persian extravaganza, get a

drink at the bar—the alcohol bar. I guarantee the majority of the party will be occupied at

the hookah bar.


There is more to a Persian than meets the eye. Persians have had an impact on the world. Do not

fall into the trap of stereotypes, believing Persians are strictly dressed, scary hairy, bombing

terrorists who smoke hookahs 24/7. Just kidding they are pretty hairy. But they are actually

kindhearted people who have provided the world with Persian cats, articulately designed rugs,

delicious kabobs, and entertaining (yet misleading) TV shows.