*Piece co-written by guest writer, Lincoln Daw. Illustrations by his not-quite Persian wife.*
Congratulations, you?ve married a Persian. You really couldn?t have done any better for yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back, take a deep breath. Do you feel the excitement? But don?t relax, never relax, this spouse of yours is going to keep you on your toes all the time.
Things are going to change for you, irrevocably, and you might initially be weirded out by how things are done in a Persian household. Chill. Just keep an open-mind and you will come to understand and embrace the unique customs of the life you are now living.
Here are four things to keep in mind when you move in with a Persian. Follow them closely and your union will be more blissful.
1) Embrace the sweet. But more so, the sour.
Persians love sour foods, and from their perspective there?s no better way to enliven an insipid dish than with an infusion of sourness. Breakfast eggs, roasted almonds, and even spaghetti bolognaise (waiting to hear some feedback from the Italians on this one) will all get treated to a squeeze of lime.
To ensure there?s always a lime within arms reach, they will be distributed all over the kitchen and beyond. Two lay on an otherwise spotless kitchen counter, there?s one in the fruit bowl nestled among the apples, one is sitting next to the under-watered living room plant. When you open a kitchen cupboard one might, cartoonishly, fall down from the top shelf and *plop* you on the head.
When at the movie theater, your partner may just pull a lime from her purse and squeeze it directly in her mouth. ?Movie snacks,? she?ll call them.
These limes are at varying stages of their life cycle. Some are newly cut with their full allotment of juice, others have already been squeezed once or twice and look like they should be thrown immediately in the trash. But, even, if you?re a super clean freak, resist this temptation. Do NOT toss the limes.
Desiccated does not equal dry.
Once the half has been fully squeezed, the lime is turned inside out and the rind is peeled off from the skin with teeth and eaten all in one motion. Warning: If you?re at a restaurant and you order a drink with a lime wedge in it, then you?ll be expected to fish out that lime from the bottom of the glass once you?re done with your drink.
2) Tread carefully
If you move with a Persian into a new house that is all wooden floorboards, then fear not for your cold feet, because the extended Persian family is definitely going to hook you up with a Persian carpet. On average in Persian families, there is a minimum inventory of at least five additional carpets stowed in the lounge rooms, garages, or guest rooms of various uncles, aunts and relatives, that at an immediate beckoning can be shipped to your new house. In fact, pay close attention next time you visit your new in-laws, the reason you always feel so tall when you go visit is likely because there are four rugs laying on top of each other in the living room.
But, just because there might be a factory?s worth of stock amongst relatives and friends doesn?t mean you can treat them with the slightest bit of disrespect. Don?t ? under any circumstances ? tread on a Persian carpet with your shoes. If you do this in the presence of a Persian it?s like setting off a booby trap from an Indiana Jones film. If they could, they would summon a giant boulder to roll down and crush you. Ok, not quite that bad, but stepping on a Persian carpet in the presence of a Persian looks extremely negligent, And this, will be difficult to forgive.
Imagine you?re rushing out the door and then you realize that you have forgotten something really important like your car keys. They?re on that side table, way on the other side of the rug. To get to them you have to cross an ocean of finely woven material displaying a beautiful pattern that has over a thousand years of history. Instead of walking on it with your filthy shoes ? you have to crawl, raising your calves so that not even the tips of your yuck shoes touch it. Do this and not only are you being culturally appropriate and classy AF, but you?ve also immeasurably earned their respect AND discovered a new workout movement.
3) Omnipresent Boiling Water
If you clean the house regularly, of course, your spouse will be happy, but by far the most important domestic chore you can do is to boil water. The first thought a Persian has when they get up in the morning is ? I must boil some water. The first thought a Persian has when they come home from work is ? I must boil some water. The first thought they have when they hear sirens and realize their apartment building is on fire is, damn, I hope I have time to boil some water.
It?s not the water which she?s after, it?s the constant need for tea! You will also accumulate a large number of teapots in your home, of all different sizes depending on the occasion: small ceramic ones for a quiet cup of tea before bedtime, large traditional copper ones to host and impress a large number of guests, or, transparent glass ones, where your partner will wile away minutes staring into the reddish gold color of the tea as it steeps.
If you have a beard, do not even think about shaving it. If you don?t have one, start growing one ASAP. It will give your Persian lady a sense of calm. A nice spiky sensation during a kiss, and a calming factor that –
?Yeah, he?s White but, he could also pass for a Turkish dude.?
?If I?m seen on the street with this guy, no one will know he?s white. As long as he keeps his mouth shut.?
Shaving isn?t banned outright, but, like facial tattoos, it is discouraged.
Now be a good lad and embrace your new, complex, albeit interesting life. If you take this advice to heart, your union will surely be blissful.
Thank you for reading! Please follow The Junction!
Always Not Quite is a graphic memoir written and illustrated by two sisters who grew up in the United States, post 9/11, feeling not-quite Iranian, not-quite American, and not-quite Muslim. We like to mix truth with funnies.
Lincoln Daw is an Australian, but since marrying into the Always Not Quite family, he too, has become not-quite Aussie, not-quite Persian.
If you like this piece, check out some other pieces by both Lincoln Daw and the ANQ sisters.