The Fancy Pants Misadventure
It’s always highly recommended that you learn about the social and cultural practices of a country you are visiting but sometimes we miss on some seemingly unimportant details. The miss can lead to a misadventure as was the case for me.
I travelled to Iran for a business trip in Nov 2013 for about 2 weeks and I continued with my habit of going for an early morning jog. Now I fall in that category of people who sweat buckets with the tiniest of physical activity and hence my chosen attire of quick dry shorts and T – shirts, irrespective of the ambient temperature (which was incidentally 0-5 degrees).
So I get up at 5 in the morning, don my workout attire, put up my earphones, initiate my workout app and head out in the chilling temperature for a 5 KM run. I head to beautiful Mellat Park and start doing circuits on the jogging track.
With the music on and high tempo of my jog I normally become oblivious to my surroundings but I noticed a strange reaction from people I was crossing on the track. Almost all of them were pointing at my exposed legs and saying something with a disappointed look on their face. I figured that they are wondering about my inapt choice of wearing shorts in such low temperatures. I completed my jog and returned back to the hotel still sort of disturbed with the reactions I received on such a mass scale.
Went to office and told the experience to my local counterparts. It was revealed that I had committed a cardinal sin and was lucky to have escaped a confrontation. You see, Iran being a conservative Muslim country has serious reservations about the amount of skin the population can expose in public. This includes legs for both sexes. In fact the national football team is the only group of people which can expose their legs (they still have to wear shorts) however the women are banned from watching them play either in person or on TV.
Maybe I was running too fast so as to limit the displeasure to finger pointing only, but it was a lucky escape from an incident of indecent exposure in public space. Imagine not being able to wear shorts when you are working out in Iran!
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An upcoming Blogger and curator of an platform which strives to capture real life misadventures.
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