It`s obvious that Iranians` attitude to things quite differs from the one foreigners have. It`s absolutely normal and understandable, but sometimes it really makes one uncomfortable. What happened to me today made me take a closer look on perception of modesty in Iran.
Walking in the street somewhere in the southern part of Tehran (not some slums though, but quite a busy business place) I received a couple of comments on my look. I believe they were triggered by just my coat unbuttoned (due to nice warm autumn weather) revealing a modest sweater underneath instead of a manteau which is common in Iran. Normally, having heard it in my country I would get excited and certainly perceive them as compliments. But the thing that bothers me is that here in Iran the way these men were looking at me (without even trying to hide their interest) made me feel like a whore and try to cover myself more!
So, the problem I am facing now is that what I should feel? Should I really feel ashamed wearing what people of my country would call a modest set of clothing? That`s where two different perceptions actually clash.
|A shop window in the area known among Tehranis as Champs-Elysees
due to the huge amount of clothing shops
The bright side is that such a thing doesn`t happen everywhere in Tehran. As soon as you are in the center of Tehran or anywhere in the northern part of the city, it will be absolutely OK to walk like this in the street. Moreover, you won`t be the one to look like this! Although, if you plan to go south, be prepared to see less educated people who won`t hesitate to tell you what they think of you! So be prepared to experience these:
- Singing (my favorite!)
- Saying “Hello!”
- Saying things like “Sweetheart! Darling!” in Farsi, of course
- Some just stop, wait for you to pass by and then STARE their eyes off :))))
I believe it can even be a nice experience that will make another funny story to tell friends if you take it easy!
PS Your opinion is much appreciated! Share your stories and your feelings if you`ve been in a situation like that yourself!