A couple of years ago, we were looking for a rental place. During our search, we found one place that seemed to be appropriate. After the regular arrangements, we went to see the suit that was for rent. Due to our phone contact, we learned that the owner was Iranian. We arrived on time. We rang the door bell. Soon, the entrance door was opened by a middle age man who did not waste any time to introduce himself. In that short moment of introduction, we were able to observe something extraordinary. As soon as he opened his mouth until he stopped talking, we found out some overwhelming detailed information about this man. He told us his first name, his last name, his complete titles and his professional work back in Tehran. He said: Hi, I am Mr X-Y, professor in psychology, neurology, and brain surgery from University Z…in Tehran.
After last word, we were hesitant what to say. In my mind I was checking whether we were at the right address. It took us a short moment to catch our breath and realize that we were not in a hospital and we did not ask for any brain surgery. The owner invited us in. We entered to the hall way, while still feeling there was something odd with this man. We looked at the renting suit; however there was something about this man I did not like. I think he mentioned that his wife was back in Iran and he had to go back to take care of his clinic. For some reason, I felt bad for his wife. I pictured his wife suffering in a relationship where this man tried to be the Mr. Doctor X. I do not know why my impression of this man was this negative. I remember I thought, just because he had presented himself in a way to brag about his background, I could not dismiss him.
I did feel bad for him too. How come he needed to tell us who he was? We were there to just rent a basement suit. I had never met someone who would present himself with his entire profession. We ended up not renting his place; however, I am still thinking why this man introduced himself that way.
Obviously for Mr. Doctor X., it was very important to let us know who he was. But, did it matter really? It did not matter to us.
I came to think of our Iranian grocery store in our neighborhood, where the owner greets every single customer with names such as: Doctor or engineers. “Hi, Mr. Doctor or Mrs Engineer.” Even saying this in English, it becomes double weird.
I know many people loving his way of greetings, why, maybe because they feel like becoming someone with those titles.
What is really going on? Why do we need to show one another who we are? Can we not just be a person in our day to day meetings?
We Iranian know of the culture of pose or the culture of showing off.
How come having labels and status is this important for some of us?
Why is it that we are not able to let go of positions, status, labels, and masks? I am sure this man was a doctor or something, yet, in my view, he was no better than anyone else. He was just a person lost in his own label.
It is certainly my belief that healthy communication is the main step toward rebuilding what has been destroyed over decades.
I believe that we Iranian need to challenge our beliefs by analyzing our own culture, the ways in which we find our strength and also how it hinders us from self-development.
Our next generations could adjust better in their walks of life, if we can offer them a thorough and honest analysis of what has made us to be where we are now.
Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles November 5th, 2008 by this author.